78 Heydon to Burton and Chifley
Cablegram Austdel 216 PARIS, 15 November 1948, 4.40 p.m.
On 12th November United Kingdom Attorney-General indicated that it
was proposed to send a communication to the Eire Government which
would probably be published outlining the important consequences
which might result from the repeal of the External Relations Act
of 1936. The draft referred to other Dominions and to the Chequers
talks. The Minister pointed out that the Chequers talks were to
have been resumed but that no further talks had taken place.
Fraser for New Zealand and Pearson for Canada adopted the same
attitude. All agreed that nothing should be left undone to retain
the maximum degree of co-operation and agreement with Eire.
On 14th November the Lord Chancellor and Noel-Baker arrived in
Paris and called a secret conference on the general questions of
the position of Eire and India in relation to the Commonwealth in
which the three Dominion representatives, Fraser, Pearson and the
Minister all stressed the importance of keeping India in the
Commonwealth. Beasley was present at the Conference.
The upshot was an invitation from the United Kingdom Government to
Eire Ministers to resume the Chequers talks and it is likely that
these talks will resume within the next 48 hours.
It does not now appear possible that Eire will refrain from
repealing the External Relations Act. However, the time may be
opportune to lay down principles as to trade relations and
citizenship rights which might possibly be regarded as
establishing a sufficient link with Eire to enable Eire to return
to the Commonwealth upon a new footing.
The objective throughout has been to lessen public feeling and
disputation about both Eire and India, to retain India within the
British Commonwealth and, if possible, to facilitate Eire's re-
entry at a suitable time. Further efforts will be made towards
ensuring India's new constitutional arrangements being such that
she is a member of the Commonwealth.
The talks have been treated as highly confidential and no
reference has been made to them in the Press.
[AA: A1838/2, 1521/1]