§ 15. Mr. HANNON
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if any further negotiations have been entered into during the Recess for the settlement of outstanding difficulties between this country and the Irish Free State and with what, if any, result?
§ Mr. HANNON
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether any representations have been made to him from any of His Majesty's Dominions that this subject ought somehow or other to be brought to a definite conclusion at the earliest possible moment?
No one would welcome a satisfactory settlement of this question 185 more than His Majesty's Government. No communication of any sort has been made to us by any of the Dominions, for the reason that they believe that it is a domestic matter between the Irish Free State and ourselves. We, on the other hand, have never closed the door to any settlement.
§ Mr. HANNON
Would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared, when the deficit on the annuities is balanced by the special duties, to consider some means by which this festering sore in the body politic of the Empire might be healed?
I repeat that no one would welcome a settlement more than the British Government; but it would be a mistake to assume that you help towards a settlement by showing that you are not prepared to stand up for your rights.
§ Mr. D. GRENFELL
When the right hon. Gentleman says that no one would welcome a settlement more than the British Government, will he give a sign that he is prepared to make such a settlement?
I have repeatedly done so. As recently as Saturday night I said so, and it is responded to by a statement from the other side that they do not believe that they are entitled to pay the dues, and that they do not intend to pay. I cannot go on merely repeating that we want a settlement; we expect some response.
§ Mr. CRAVEN-ELLIS
Is it not a fact that these dues are not paid by the Irish Free State Government?
§ Sir WILLIAM WAYLAND
May I ask how long it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to remain the armchair upon which Mr. de Valera sits?