No. 98 NAI DFA Ottawa Embassy File 850
Ottawa, 22 December 1939
There has been no question of the British Forces occupying the 'Treaty ports'. The occupation of those ports would be regarded as a violation of the sovereignty of the Irish State and any attempt to do so by force would be resisted. The respect shown by Great Britain for Ireland's right to be neutral and to maintain her neutrality in practice gives added moral strength to Great Britain's stand for Poland and Finland. There are, no doubt, many who feel that the German submarine
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But investigation has shown that there was not a single case in which the story could be verified.
(1) In the sphere of internal politics, the Government have found it necessary to take a strong stand against the practice of the hunger-strike amongst political prisoners. The majority of the prisoners gave up the struggle at a relatively early stage, but a few persisted until their lives were in real danger. The Government then decided to release them so that they would take food. It is believed that hunger-striking in Irish prisons is now at an end.
(2) The problem of national unity, always a major issue, is the subject of the Government's constant study and care. Mr. de Valera has again emphasised (Dec. 12th)1 his view that the use of force to secure the reintegration of the national territory would, if unsuccessful, result in throwing everything into the melting pot again. 'My Government' he said 'is as conscious of the cruel wrong of partition as any body of men, but they have the responsibility of knowing where they are going before they lead their country in that direction.'
(3) The Government are concentrating upon the revival of the national language as one of the things essential to the restoration of our national life. They are satisfied that the lot of small nations is going to be ever more difficult if the war is followed by a close European Federation, our national distinctiveness will depend for its continuance upon the Irish language more, perhaps, than any other factor.
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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