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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

2O2    ______._________________-----------------------------------------
of five years from the date hereof, with a view to the under-
taking by Ireland of a share in her own coastal defence.5
Article 7 says :
" e The Government of the Irish Free State shall afford to
His Majesty's Imperial Forces (a) in time of peace, such
harbour and other facilities as are indicated in the Annex
hereto, or such other facilities as may from time to time be
agreed between the British Government and the Government
of the Irish Free State; and (3) in time of war or of strained
relations with a foreign Power, such harbour and other
facilities as the British Government may require for the
purposes of such defence as aforesaid/
In the Annex the ports in question are specified as Berehaven,
Queenstown and Lough Swilly, and in those ports the defences
are to remain in charge of British care and maintenance
parties. I think hon. Members will have appreciated that the
really important part of those passages which I have read out
refers to the right which is given to the British Government to
have the use of those ports in time of war or of strained
relations with a foreign Power. I believe that, at the time
when the Treaty was signed, great importance was attached
to that particular provision. I do not by any means under-
rate its importance now, but I must point out to the House
that when the Treaty was signed, that provision was based on
the assumption of a friendly Ireland,.and that, if you had an
unfriendly Ireland, the situation would be completely changed,
because you would have to send troops to Ireland then to
protect your rights in the ports. We had to recognise in the
discussions that we had a far better chance of having a friendly
Ireland if we handed back those ports to them than if we were
to insist upon treaty rights the effect of which would be to
perpetuate a grievance in Ireland which constituted in their
eyes an affront to their independence and self-respect.
Nobody who knows anything of Ireland would under-
rate the genuineness and the seriousness of any feeling of that
kind in the minds of the Irish people. I observe that Mr. de
Valera, speaking in the D2il in support of this Agreement on
ayth April, said :