80 Beasley to Chifley

Cablegram unnumbered PARIS, 17 November 1948, 7.40 p.m.


Reports of the Irish and Indian talks in Paris have now reached you but I wish to add that their handling by British Ministers has not been in keeping with the views of the Doc [1], Fraser or Pearson. They argued that in accordance with the International Law covering Treaties, Ireland would be a Foreign Country after the repeal of the External Relations Act, whereas Irish Delegates stoutly refused to accept this view and maintained they had no desire to be a Foreign Country or treat Australians, New Zealanders, British or Canadians as foreigners.

Only for the Doc, and he was supported by Fraser, and Pearson, the Conference would have bogged down and the obstinacy of both sides left further unpleasant memories. The Doc produced the Form of Declaration requesting it to be made in the Irish Parliament clearing this nationality question and MacBride agreed to so declare when the Repeal Bill is introduced.

On the Doc's representation, MacBride and his colleagues agreed to amend their Nationality Bill and will announce this fact in due course.

The Conference concluded in a most friendly atmosphere, the Irish privately fearing a little that the British Delegation may go back on conclusions agreed upon. I feel I must indicate the Doc's attitude not only produced the right atmosphere but provided the text upon which the future relationships can be mutually maintained. Naturally the Doc would have liked to have obtained much closer links but the point is that the problem must be kept fluid just now as the future, and not too distant, may, as indications at the Conference showed, bring these peoples very close together.

[matter omitted]

1 i.e. H.V. Evatt.

[AA: A1838/283, TS899/6/1, i]