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  1. #1
    Congalltee Congalltee is offline

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    6th December, 1921: what’s the real reason why Griffith disobeyed instructions from Dev?

    “2. It is understood before decisions are finally reached on a main question, that a dispatch will be sent to members of the cabinet in Dublin, and that a reply will be awaited by the plenipotentiaries before final decision is made.

    3. It is also understood that the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed will similarly be submitted to Dublin and a reply awaited.”

    The “plenipotentiaries” were under specific directions from the President to communicate full version of the draft treaty to Dublin. They disobeyed that direction. But why?

    1) The poor quality telephones is sometimes one excuse.
    2) threat of immediate resumption of war by the British is even touted as a reason.
    3) A final excuse is that although the British never accepted them as delegates of a sovereign state with plenipotentiary powers to sign without recourse, that the Dáil has given them lower and Griffith felt he could explicitly disobey the President’s direction.
    4) it was an effective coup Griffith backed by the minister for finance, Collins.
    5) the delegates had gone native in London society.
    6) the cabinet and Dáil would have a say (ie they recognised they did not have plenipotentiary powers) and if they signed their names it had a better chance of passing.
    7) they genuinely believed that land annuities, oath, partition, and giving three ports to the British, and De Valera would have agreed if he hadn’t held himself in reserve. Though it’s hard to read article 5 now and think it was a good deal. http://treaty.nationalarchives.ie/do...r-1921-page-1/

    Does History actually record why Griffith and the others signed in breach of their direct instructions (resulting in the mythology that the blame lay with the President who wasn’t contacted).

    Edit: I notice the current government version on the website has a timeline, which has no reference to the Presidents instructions to the delegates. A curious omission. Here’s its timeline:

    December
    Counter proposals are presented by the British and brought to Dublin for full consideration by the Cabinet in Dublin on 3 December. External association is stipulated as the plenipotentiaries’ default position in the negotiations to follow. The oath of allegiance, as worded in the British document, is rejected – even if the consequence is a resumption of war – while it is reiterated that no document can be signed without reference back to the Dáil.
    3 DecemberDe Valera visits counties Clare and Galway and makes speeches defining his republican position.
    4 DecemberDiscussion by both sides of the written Irish counter proposals. 5 DecemberA meeting is held between Lloyd George and Collins which discusses the proposed boundary commission in more detail.
    6 DecemberAn ultimatum is delivered by Lloyd George to the delegates in which they are faced with the option of either signing the text of the Treaty as it stands or refusing to sign and face the consequence of an immediate resumption of war. The ‘Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland’ are signed by both delegations at 2.15am.
    8 DecemberDe Valera issues a public statement that he cannot recommend acceptance of the Treaty. The Cabinet decides by 4 votes to 3 to recommend the Treaty to the Dáil on 14 December.
    Last edited by Congalltee; 2nd December 2017 at 06:47 PM.
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  2. #2
    Dame_Enda Dame_Enda is online now
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    I think it was because Lloyd George wouldnt allow the team to seek instructions from Dev.

    It is true though that the SF party originally founded by Griffifth was dual-monarchist (supporting abstentionism to get the Hungarian model of autonomy), not republican. It became mainly republican when 1916 veterans flooded into it because the press mistakenly called it "the SF rebellion". Theres no doubt the Treaty was closer to Griffith's vision in his pamphlet "The Resurrection of Hungary".

    So it cannot be completely ruled out that Griffiths personal beliefs on the constitutional question were the real reason for the Treaty being as it was (Ireland as a Dominion Status country not a republic). But I am inclined to favour the view expressed in paragraph 1 of this post, because there were also republicans on the team - though then again some of them e.g, Childers and Brugha, were anti Treaty.
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  3. #3
    tonic tonic is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Congalltee View Post
    “2. It is understood before decisions are finally reached on a main question, that a dispatch will be sent to members of the cabinet in Dublin, and that a reply will be awaited by the plenipotentiaries before final decision is made.

    3. It is also understood that the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed will similarly be submitted to Dublin and a reply awaited.”

    The “plenipotentiaries” were under specific directions from the President to communicate full version of the draft treaty to Dublin. They disobeyed that direction. But why?

    1) The poor quality telephones is sometimes one excuse.
    2) threat of immediate resumption of war by the British is even touted as a reason.
    3) A final excuse is that although the British never accepted them as delegates of a sovereign state with plenipotentiary powers to sign without recourse, that the Dáil has given them lower and Griffiths felt he could explicitly disobey the President’s direction.
    4) it was an effective coup Griffiths backed by the minister for finance, Collins.
    5) the delegates had gone native in London society.
    6) shure the cabinet and Dáil would have a say (ie they recognised they did not have plenipotentiary powers) and if they signed their names it had a better chance of passing.
    7) they genuinely believed that land annuities, oath, partition, and giving three ports to the British, and De Valera would have agreed if he hadn’t held himself in reserve.

    Does History actually record why Griffiths and the others signed in breach of their direct instructions (resulting in the mythology that the blame lay with the President who wasn’t contacted).
    Not strong enough on the day, surprising given Collins was involved, but maybe the situation just wasn't his thing.
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  4. #4
    stray creditor stray creditor is offline

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    The Irish delegation were sent as plenipotentiaries, Churchill only, towards the latter end of the negotiations applied that term to them.
    Last edited by stray creditor; 3rd December 2017 at 01:30 PM. Reason: correction of details.
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  5. #5
    Bleu Poppy Bleu Poppy is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Congalltee View Post
    “2. It is understood before decisions are finally reached on a main question, that a dispatch will be sent to members of the cabinet in Dublin, and that a reply will be awaited by the plenipotentiaries before final decision is made.

    3. It is also understood that the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed will similarly be submitted to Dublin and a reply awaited.”

    The “plenipotentiaries” were under specific directions from the President to communicate full version of the draft treaty to Dublin. They disobeyed that direction. But why?

    1) The poor quality telephones is sometimes one excuse.
    2) threat of immediate resumption of war by the British is even touted as a reason.
    3) A final excuse is that although the British never accepted them as delegates of a sovereign state with plenipotentiary powers to sign without recourse, that the Dáil has given them lower and Griffiths felt he could explicitly disobey the President’s direction.
    4) it was an effective coup Griffiths backed by the minister for finance, Collins.
    5) the delegates had gone native in London society.
    6) the cabinet and Dáil would have a say (ie they recognised they did not have plenipotentiary powers) and if they signed their names it had a better chance of passing.
    7) they genuinely believed that land annuities, oath, partition, and giving three ports to the British, and De Valera would have agreed if he hadn’t held himself in reserve. Though it’s hard to read article 5 now and think it was a good deal. Anglo-Irish Treaty – 6 December 1921 (page 1) | Treaty

    Does History actually record why Griffiths and the others signed in breach of their direct instructions (resulting in the mythology that the blame lay with the President who wasn’t contacted).

    Edit: I notice the current government version on the website has a timeline, which has no reference to the Presidents instructions to the delegates. A curious omission. Here’s its timeline:

    December
    Counter proposals are presented by the British and brought to Dublin for full consideration by the Cabinet in Dublin on 3 December. External association is stipulated as the plenipotentiaries’ default position in the negotiations to follow. The oath of allegiance, as worded in the British document, is rejected – even if the consequence is a resumption of war – while it is reiterated that no document can be signed without reference back to the Dáil.
    3 DecemberDe Valera visits counties Clare and Galway and makes speeches defining his republican position.
    4 DecemberDiscussion by both sides of the written Irish counter proposals. 5 DecemberA meeting is held between Lloyd George and Collins which discusses the proposed boundary commission in more detail.
    6 DecemberAn ultimatum is delivered by Lloyd George to the delegates in which they are faced with the option of either signing the text of the Treaty as it stands or refusing to sign and face the consequence of an immediate resumption of war. The ‘Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland’ are signed by both delegations at 2.15am.
    8 DecemberDe Valera issues a public statement that he cannot recommend acceptance of the Treaty. The Cabinet decides by 4 votes to 3 to recommend the Treaty to the Dáil on 14 December.
    An article, in The Irish Times, must be some 30 years ago, recounted how De Valera refused to take a phone call from London on the night of December 5th, 1921. He was staying in Strand House, Limerick, as guest of the father of the then Mayor of the city, Stephen O'Mara, Junior. The Corporation had granted De Valera the Freedom of the City that day.

    The article was written by Stephen O'Mara Senior's great-grandson, whose father was present that night and the following morning- when De Valera did take the phone call which informed him that The Treaty had been signed. I have been told, recently, that he returned to Dublin by train sharing a carriage compartment with another house guest- Cathal Brugha. Other house-guests- Richard Mulcahy and the aforementioned grandson, Michael Rynne, were not permitted to share the compartment.... Why? Were De Valera and Brugha scheming?
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  6. #6
    Congalltee Congalltee is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleu Poppy View Post
    An article, in The Irish Times, must be some 30 years ago, recounted how De Valera refused to take a phone call from London on the night of December 5th, 1921. He was staying in Strand House, Limerick, as guest of the father of the then Mayor of the city, Stephen O'Mara, Junior. The Corporation had granted De Valera the Freedom of the City that day.

    The article was written by Stephen O'Mara Senior's great-grandson, whose father was present that night and the following morning- when De Valera did take the phone call which informed him that The Treaty had been signed. I have been told, recently, that he returned to Dublin by train sharing a carriage compartment with another house guest- Cathal Brugha. Other house-guests- Richard Mulcahy and the aforementioned grandson, Michael Rynne, were not permitted to share the compartment.... Why? Were De Valera and Brugha scheming?
    Interesting. It would be the most rational explanation.

    A google of his name produced corroboration, though with an obvious typo as to the date and the use of the past tense that signing had already taken place.
    “When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London on 5 December 1921, de Valera was staying in Strand House when he received the news.”

    http://www.askaboutireland.ie/aai-fi...ll-article.pdf
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  7. #7
    Congalltee Congalltee is offline

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    “A: The Dáil voted to give the delegates plenipotentiary status though.
    What power had Dev to override a vote of the Dáil?

    B: He was the President of the Executive council. That is enough for Griffith not to sign until he complied with the direction. Why did he breach that direction from his president?

    A: Because he had a mandate from the Dáil that the President had no right to circumscribe?
    Or because he had no other option?”
    Or both?”

    (Private message exchange on the same topic)
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  8. #8
    Breanainn Breanainn is offline

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    I'd suggest Dev never travelled himself because he knew Lloyd George would never recognise an Irish Republic, also that any hope of obtaining the Six Counties had formally vanished with the Government of Ireland Act, so dispatched the plenipotentiaries to be the fall guys.

    Admittedly, it's unlikely that Lloyd George would have resumed the War after five months of cessations, but the Treaty was arguably the best deal that could have been secured at that historical juncture, and Dev just wanted to avoid the responsibility for that fact.
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  9. #9
    Catalpast Catalpast is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breanainn View Post
    I'd suggest Dev never travelled himself because he knew Lloyd George would never recognise an Irish Republic, also that any hope of obtaining the Six Counties had formally vanished with the Government of Ireland Act, so dispatched the plenipotentiaries to be the fall guys.

    Admittedly, it's unlikely that Lloyd George would have resumed the War after five months of cessations, but the Treaty was arguably the best deal that could have been secured at that historical juncture, and Dev just wanted to avoid the responsibility for that fact.
    Dev knew that the North was gone by that stage or at least that another war would have to be fought for it someday

    But he was quite right NOT to leave Ireland for an extended period of time

    The Country was in a very fragile position

    Absolutely his place was here in Ireland to maintain order and discipline

    There is an idea about that once the Truce was signed that was the end of it until Civil War broke out in June '22

    Nothing could be further from the Truth!

    The Nation was indeed in a State of Chassis

    From my Blog:

    7 October 1921: Eamon de Valera, the President of Ireland issued secret instructions to the plenipotentiaries about to depart to London on this day. They were to begin negotiations with the British Government to secure a Treaty that would give recognition to Ireland’s claim to be an independent Nation.

    They were as follows:

    (1) The Plenipotentiaries have full powers as defined in their credentials.

    (2) It is understood however that before decisions are finally reached on the main questions that a despatch notifying the intention of making these decisions will be sent to the Members of the Cabinet in Dublin and that a reply will be awaited by the Plenipotentiaries before the final decision is made.

    (3) It is also understood that the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed will be similarly submitted to Dublin and reply awaited.

    (4) In case of break the text of final proposals from our side will be similarly submitted.

    (5) It is understood that the Cabinet in Dublin will be kept regularly informed of the progress of the negotiations


    De Valera was concerned that the meeting of the inexperienced Irish delegates with some of the most astute and clever minds in British politics would leave the Irish wrong footed and he wanted to ensure that any deal would have his Imprimatur on it before it was signed.
     
    And indeed when the Treaty was signed in December of that year he was not happy with the result that gave the Irish Free State the status of a British Dominion rather than all of Ireland becoming an independent Republic.
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  10. #10
    Congalltee Congalltee is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breanainn View Post
    I'd suggest Dev never travelled himself because he knew Lloyd George would never recognise an Irish Republic, also that any hope of obtaining the Six Counties had formally vanished with the Government of Ireland Act, so dispatched the plenipotentiaries to be the fall guys.
    .
    So why didn’t Griffith not follow the instructions from the politician who set him up as the fall guy? Wouldn’t it be the obvious thing to do: share the blame for what was a very poor deal (see articles 5 and 9)
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