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Historical documents

113 High Commission in London to Evatt

Cablegram 274 LONDON, 10 September 1946, 9.30 p.m.


Your 4999 [to] Dignam [1] was telegraphed to him through the
Dominion Office and the United Kingdom Representative Dublin, for
reasons of cypher security.

After passing on the message the Dominion Office Representative
told us informally and confidentially their concern that
furnishing of letter of accreditation to Dignam by the
Commonwealth Government at the request of the Eire Government
might have constitutional significance affecting the United
Kingdom and other Dominion Governments, and they asked us to
mention this to you.

The position was, that hitherto, neither the United Kingdom
Representative in Dublin, nor the Canadian High Commissioner in
Dublin (so far as known to the Dominions Office) had presented an
accrediting letter at the formal reception ceremony. This was the
procedure which was applicable to Ministers of Foreign Countries,
and was not appropriate for the British Commonwealth
representative in Dublin or in other Commonwealth countries. The
desire of the Eire Government was to represent themselves as a
country external to the British Commonwealth and they accordingly
sought every opportunity to give British Commonwealth
representatives in Dublin the appearance of Foreign Ministers.

The United Kingdom Government hoped that Australia would follow
British Commonwealth precedents and would not allow herself to be
manoeuvered on the occasion of the appointment of the Australian
High Commissioner in Dublin, into a step which would be
embarrassing to other Commonwealth countries. [2]

1 See Document 110, note 2.

2 On 16 September Watt cabled Dignam to inform him that
consideration was being given to what form of document should be
issued, and that meanwhile 'some ceremony to welcome you could
perhaps take place'. In late October Dignam presented a formal
letter from Evatt to de Valera, the Irish Prime Minister, stating
that 'the bearer of this letter' had been appointed 'Australian
High Commissioner to Eire'; no record of the occasion has been

[AA:A1066, E45/11/7]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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