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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 13 Jul 1938

Vol. 72 No. 7

Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 67—External Affairs.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £54,074 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, agus Seirbhísí áirithe atá fé riaradh na hOifige sin (Uimh. 16 de 1924).

That a sum not exceeding £54,074 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for External Affairs, and of certain Services administered by that Office (No. 16 of 1924).

The total provision for External Affairs for the year 1938-39 amounts to £81,124, as compared with £84,512 for the year 1937-38. The reduction is mainly due to the provision of only a half year's contribution towards the expenses of the International Committee for the application of the Agreement regarding non-intervention in Spain. At the time the Estimate was prepared it was hoped that a half year's contribution would be sufficient to meet this country's liability under the non-intervention scheme. It may, however, be necessary to make provision for a full year's contribution at a later date. The receipts in the current year are estimated at £15,000, leaving the net expenditure at £66,124. The receipts of £15,000 are made up in the main from moneys collected for passports, visas and consular services. £10,000 of the £15,000 is made up in that way. The remainder is made up of fees for the issue of home passports, £3,004; Imperial communications, £500, and the Advisory Committee for services of representatives of Saorstát Eireann. In past years I drew attention to the assistance given by our representatives abroad in regard to estates falling to Irish citizens. Since the financial year 1932-33, the amount received from American estates in which the Consuls have been concerned is practically £250,000. Those figures do not of course represent the total amount of money accruing to Irish persons each year from American estates, nor the extent of the Department's work in regard to estates moneys, as well as giving advice and guidance in regard to securing the best legal advice and helping in tracing the next-of-kin. The Department's activities in the matter of estates though mainly arising in are not confined to the United States. Enquiries have been received and advice given in respect of estates in Canada, the Argentina, Colombia, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. The total number of estates handled in the past six years approximate to 4,000, at about two a day, involving sums varying from £10,000 to £20,000. In a few cases the estates were for even larger sums. During the year 1937-38 the number of new estate cases dealt with in the United States was: In New York, 263; in Boston, 200; in Chicago, 229, and in San Francisco, 90.

During the last year we have had the pleasure of establishing full diplomatic relations with Italy and Belgium. We were very glad indeed to be able to do so. Everyone in this country knows the friendly relations that have existed between Ireland and those two countries for many centuries. We are happy that those new relations have now been instituted, so that the former friendship and friendly intercourse between ourselves and those two countries may be the more firmly established.

What did sanctions cost us?

The Deputy can find that, I think, quite easily.

That was not very friendly.

As was known, the attitude taken by this Government in regard to its association in the League of Nations has been to perform our duties in that regard, and to fulfil our obligations.

At the dictation of England.

That is an untruth, a falsehood — a falsehood which is known to be a falsehood by every member of this House as well as by the Irish people. This Government has continued the policy of endeavouring to take part in promoting friendly relations between peoples. As a country with widespread racial affiliations with the peoples of other countries, we feel that we have a special duty, and a special influence in that regard, and we have never ceased to exercise them when the opportunity presented itself As Deputies are aware, a very large proportion of the population of several countries is of Irish descent, the largest proportion being, probably, in the United States of America, with which country we have closer relations than with any other country. We have there not merely a Legation at Washington, but four Consulates, a greater number than we have in any other country, and the work carried on, any more than the work of any of our other representatives, cannot be judged by what appears on the surface, with purely material results. A Department of External Affairs in most countries like ours, and particularly in small countries, is apt to be judged in a narrow way, by looking to the material results, forms of trade, etc., which cannot, in any sense, express the full value of what has been achieved by having representatives in these countries, because they not merely safeguard the interests of any of our citizens that may be in them, promote trade relations, but promote relations of a cultural nature, which are also of fundamental importance.

Besides the United States we have also a considerable proportion of our population in States of the British Commonwealth which have been uniformly friendly with us. We have a considerable proportion of our population in Australia, Canada, and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand, and we have special relations of a friendly character with the people of South Africa. It is the policy of the Government to try, as far as possible, to extend our representation, so soon as may be practicable, with these countries. We have not had an opportunity so far to examine the question of expense, etc., in detail, so that I have no immediate proposal to make to the House.

On the last occasion the principal part of this debate was taken up with our relations with Britain. On that occasion I pointed out that there were three main obstacles to the good relations which, I think, most of the people in both countries desired. There was the question of the continuance of Partition; there was the question of the retention of certain points in our ports of defence, and there was the financial dispute. The recent Agreement, which is fresh in the mind of every Deputy, has removed two of these obstacles, and, I think, the people of both countries can be satisfied that the removal of these two obstacles has, in fact, had a considerable effect in improving these relations. This Government intends to proceed on the line which it has been pursuing, to try to get on a firm foundation the relations between the two countries, by removing the obstacles to these friendly and good relations.

As two neighbouring countries we have — by our position and, to a certain extent, by the fact that for centuries there have been relations of one kind or another between them, relations of trade and so on — interests in common. We have always held that the full effect of these common interests would never show itself in the relations between the two countries until certain obstacles were removed. Two of these have been removed, and we shall certainly do our utmost to see that the third is removed. On the last occasion I was speaking in relation to the ports and the position of this country in regard to defence, and the anomalous position in which we found ourselves in that regard as long as these ports were being held. Now that, as far as this part of the country is concerned, the British garrison will soon be completely removed, and that the whole of it will be under the control of our people, we will be in a position to approach this whole question from a new angle. I indicated in general terms during the debate on the Agreement certain considerations which must be fundamental in our approach to that subject. We have not yet considered the Estimate for Defence. Perhaps that would be a more appropriate place to deal with the whole question than this particular Estimate. But these are considerations that I suggest Deputies should review, to see whether they are not sound.

In the past the main aim of our people was to try to win freedom. Until complete freedom is won that must still be the aim. According as we more and more secure our freedom there is placed upon us the obligation to make right use of it and to defend it. It would be a very foolish policy, indeed, and quite unworthy of our past if, having got it, we seemed to think it of very little value, as something not worth making a sacrifice for. I do not think the majority of our people are likely to approach it in that manner, and, consequently, when we consider, as we will in a day or two, the next Estimate, we will have to approach it from a somewhat different angle from that in which we approached it in the past. We may not all be able to reach agreement as to the extent we can afford assurance or insurance with regard to the future, to see that our freedom is not taken from us, and to see what we are prepared to do in order to secure it. I do not think we are likely to sanction a policy of remissness taking place for its attention. If there are any questions Deputies wish to raise I shall be pleased to answer them.

On the general position with regard to the Department of External Affairs I do not think any of us will subscribe to the Taoiseach's statement that the Department in the past has done a terrible lot for the country. During the last six years this country has been acting on a policy that was entirely contrary to the type that we would like to preach in an international assembly, and if many opportunities have been let pass during the last five or six years for helping other countries, either by sound advice or by foresight and advice, that fault lies entirely with the fact that we were pursuing policies here that absorbed us too much and absorbed us too much in quite a different direction. Now, happily, the Taoiseach is able to tell us that all that is past and that, in so far as our relations with other countries are to go in the future, there is going to be nothing but peace and harmony and particularly so far as ourselves and Great Britain are concerned; that there is only one problem now between the two countries likely to create any difficulties and that is the problem of Partition. When the Taoiseach was dealing with the question of events in the discussions in connection with the recent Agreement with Great Britain in the Seanad he said that he himself had introduced the question of defence in the Dáil but it was with a clear indication that it was not the time or the place to discuss defence policy. I quite admit that the Taoiseach is perhaps not in a position to discuss every detail of defence policy. I particularly agree that the Minister for Defence may not be in that position, but I do think that now is the time and the place to talk clearly as to what are the things in our political or in the international situation that dictate to us that we have a defence policy which will cost money even to the extent that the Taoiseach has already indicated that certain aspects of our defence policy in connection with the modernisation and equipment of the forts will cost. I think as I say this is the time and this is the place. I know of no other place than the Dáil where the broad aspects of defence policy should primarily be discussed and I know no better time than now to discuss the broad aspects of defence.

Deputies are aware that discussion on an Estimate may not anticipate discussion on a forthcoming Estimate. If the House thinks that the broad aspects of defence should be discussed now, there would possibly be no objection on the understanding that when the Defence Vote is reached it will be only the details of that Estimate that will then be considered, but the discussion should not be duplicated on the next Vote.

Speaking for myself, I have no desire to carry the discussion on the broad aspects of defence policy into the Estimate for the Army.

Yes, but the Chair would like assurance that such is the wish of the House. May I take it that if the broad aspects of defence policy were discussed now, only the details of defence would be discussed on the Army Vote? May I take it there is no objection to that course?

Some Deputies are not present this evening.

If there were to be a full discussion now, the Chair would not allow it to be duplicated.

It has been introduced by the Minister himself.

Yes, to a limited extent, and to that extent may be replied to on the broad principles. There should not be originated a debate of two or three hours, as it would be an abuse of procedure to have two consecutive debates on the same matter.

The Taoiseach has particularly stressed, when he was dealing with the Agreement with Great Britain, that there were certain considerations to be kept in mind in our consideration of these things now. I do not know exactly what he refers to, but at any rate there are certain things I would like to be clear about. I put aside the suggestion of the Taoiseach that having won our freedom we ought to be able to make sacrifices for it. So much has been lost in life and resources during the last 16 years in this country unnecessarily for the flag of freedom without any very clear examination of what it meant, or with perhaps little understanding of what it meant, that I do not want to discuss defence now from the freedom point of view. If we are going to talk about freedom, what are the things that are likely to be attacked here; what are the things we would be likely to be required to do here, that we would like to have freedom to do, and what is the extent to which they are likely to be attacked? I would particularly like to ask the Taoiseach what his policy is with regard to these things. There was a time when he used to talk about the desirability of this country being neutral during a war in which Britain was engaged. One of the things that most dominate our foreign affairs now is the statement made by the Taoiseach when he was discussing this matter on the 29th April, when he said the truth is, of course, that in modern war there is not any neutrality. So that with that change in the outlook of the Taoiseach on the question of neutrality I would like to turn to one paragraph of his statement here which I think embodies all the things that I want to deal with. In column 422 of 29th April, 1938, the Taoiseach asked: "Is it likely that we could escape if there was a major European conflict at the present time? If there is such a condition, will we continue to export cattle and food to Great Britain? Will the export of food be regarded as contraband of war or will it not? If we are going to send food from our ports to Britain when Britain's enemies, let us say, will be trying to starve her, will our position be respected by other people? Will our ports be free? Will we be immune from attack? I do not know if it was in the House that someone asked: `Could we have the audacity to have our neutrality recognised by foreign Governments? Would any foreign Governments think we were neutral when our ports were occupied by Britain, or if a Government here gave the facilities which might be asked for by Britain under Articles 6 and 7?' " Then the Taoiseach puts his own idea:

"I suggest that our people would be living in a fool's paradise if they thought anything of the kind."

I would like to ask the Taoiseach if it is part of the freedom that he speaks about that if Great Britain were at war with any other country we should still be free to export our produce to Great Britain. Personally I think it is of vital interest that we should be free, and it is of vital interest to us if any attempt was made to interfere with the export of our agricultural produce to Great Britain that we should then use all the resources in our power to see that our agricultural exports were allowed to go to Great Britain, because the economic wellbeing of our people depends on it. I would like to ask the Taoiseach if, in the event of any attempt at interference with our export of goods to Great Britain during time of war he is going to co-operate in the fullest possible way with Great Britain to protect our exports. I quite accept his statement that there are no definite commitments for co-operating defensively with Great Britain. I quite accept the constitutional position here that only a declaration of this Dáil can formally place our people at war with any other people. Assuming no declaration on our part of war, but assuming that Great Britain was in conflict with another country, threatening its trade routes, threatening the import of food to Great Britain whether from this country or any other country, I would like to ask the Taoiseach whether our ports at Berehaven and Swilly are going to be placed for refuge or other purposes at the disposal of vessels bringing food or other commodities to Great Britain, whether they are going to be at the disposal of the British Navy for refuge or for security purposes. That is a question that, I think, we should be perfectly clear about, if the situation in Europe is in the dangerous condition that we are given to understand it is. Many Ministers have stated that it is so. The Minister for Finance, at Ringsend, stated that nothing they ever heard of in their lives would compare with what might happen some day or another down at Ringsend when the new war which is threatening in Europe breaks out. If we desire on our part, by our declared voice at any rate, to keep out of such a war, we ought to be clear whether we are going to allow Great Britain to have the use of our ports in order to protect seaborne traffic. We ought to be clear, too, whether the modernisation of our ports at Lough Swilly, Berehaven and Cobh is a modernisation that is being carried out for the purpose of affording security to seaborne traffic or to the British Naval Forces, if the British Naval Forces require it.

So many questions of deep importance have been dragged into the arena of politics during the last 16 years, damaging to our people's political intelligence and damaging to the resources that the people have for the betterment of their own lives, that if there is any question more than another that ought to be kept out of the region of being made a question of party politics it is the question of defence. Arising out of many things that have been said and many actions taken in the past, I suggest that no aspect of our activities from the political party point of view is going to be more liable to misrepresentation. Our people will have to face the facts of the situation and those who can make the greatest contribution towards clearing up the situation are those who form the Government at the present time. We deserve clear answers from them on some of these questions. There is no purpose served by endeavouring to mix up a discussion of this kind with a discussion as to the number of men, aeroplanes or anything else that the Army should have in respect of its strength or equipment. Before we approach any consideration as to what the size of the Army should be, or what its equipment should be, we should be told whether the country is able to meet the cost.

There is one other question that I should like to ask. Apart from any commitments that we may have in our relations with Great Britain for defence purposes, are the relations between our Government and the Government of Great Britain such that it has been arranged that our military authorities will be in close touch with the British military and naval authorities so that, whatever be our attitude within our constitutional rights as to participation in any war in which Great Britain is engaged, we shall at any rate know what the broad outline of the defence policy of Great Britain is so that, if it is necessary to co-operate, we will be in the fullest possible position to do so? There is no aspect of our foreign affairs policy, both from the point of view of our own security and from the point of fair and good relations with other countries, that it is more important to be clear about than that which arises out of these questions.

At the outset I would like to say that the Taoiseach's remarks as regards the consular services, particularly in the United States, in dealing with the estates in which Irish nationals are interested, are a compliment to those services and that compliment is very well deserved. I think the consular services, from the speed of their operations dealing with those matters in the United States, are an example to some Government Departments here. On the Vote for the Board of Public Works I raised a question on a token vote of £10, making provision for the Legation in Madrid. The Chair referred me on that occasion to the Vote for External Affairs. I would now like to ask the Taoiseach for some explanation of the provision in the Estimate for £3,215 in respect of the Legation in Madrid. It appears to me that the position as regards that particular service is peculiar at the moment. First of all, I doubt very much if there is any Government to-day in existence to which the representative of this State is accredited. It is perfectly obvious to anybody who has been observing the trend of affairs in Spain for the last 12 months that whatever may have been the position two years ago as to the then Government of the Spanish Republic, which claimed to be elected by popular vote, that argument does not hold good now.

There is absolutely no justification for continuing our legation service with them, because anybody will see that the personnel of the Spanish Republican Government has been changed five times in the last 12 months without any reference to the popular method of selection. We intend to spend £3,215 on a legation for that Government. That money is being provided by our taxpayers. I say it is money wasted, money for which no return can be given. It is being spent on a legation for which there is no justification. There is no earthly reason why the Government of Éire should continue to have relations with the Government of the Spanish Republic, as they call themselves. The position, so far as I understand it, is that the envoy of this State is accredited to the head of the Government of the Spanish Republic. The Taoiseach is not even certain of the name of that gentleman. Replying to a parliamentary question some time ago, he was not definite about the name of that individual.

Are there at the moment any officers of that service resident in Madrid? Are there any officers resident in the area covered by the jurisdiction of the Spanish Republican Government, or is the entire staff somewhere beyond the frontier in France? I do not believe there is any popular demand for this representation. There is no use in saying that this matter was an issue in the last election, because it was not. I do not believe there is any popular demand in this country for the continuation of representation to what I call the Red Government in Spain. The position is that we are one of the few countries recognising the Republican Government in Spain. A great number of bigger and smaller States have recognised the Burgos Government, but this country has not taken that step, although it should have done so long ago. Other countries are recognising the Burgos Government as de facto.

The British Government, which does not grant belligerent rights to either party, has a Chargé d'Affaires who is in direct contact with the Burgos Government; they are as much in contact with Franco as they are with the Government that call themselves the Government of the Spanish Republic. There is no justification for the continued expenditure of £3,215 for representation to the Red Government. I do not see what necessity there is for the continuation of that representation. I do not believe there are very many nationals who need the services of that particular legation.

I say that if there are Irish nationals who have chosen to go out and take the part of the Red Government in Spain and find themselves in trouble because they have taken the part of that Red Government and the Communists, the money of the taxpayers of this country should not be used to get these people out of their trouble. We have not any great pity for anyone who is in danger because he has taken part in the Civil War in Spain on the side of the Reds. I do not believe there is any justification that the Taoiseach can advance either on moral, political or economic grounds for continuing to pay that money to meet the cost of the legation with the Red Government. I say it is due to the people of this country who have very definite ideas as to the rights and wrongs of this war in Spain that a very definite statement on that matter should now be made by the President. It cannot be held either de jure or de facto that the junta in Spain that calls itself the Government of Spain is the Government of Spain. They control a little less than one-third of the territory of Spain and a little less than one-third of the population of Spain, while General Franco is controlling two-thirds of the population and two-thirds of the territory of Spain.

It is General Franco's Government that the people of this country want to recognise. Is there any reason, good, bad or indifferent, why this particular legation to the Red Government should be continued? Is there any reason at all why this expenditure should be continued? Is there any reason that can be advanced against the recognition of the Burgos Government? Is there any reason to believe that our recognition of the Burgos Government would interfere in the slightest with the position of this country, nationally, politically or economically? I believe myself that there is no earthly reason for the continued recognition of the Red Government of Spain except that the Government of this country are merely carrying on the same soft pedalling they carried on when they supported the Non-Intervention Agreement and that they will not take steps to realise what the position in Spain really is. I see no reason why the Government of this country should not, once and for all, withdraw the representatives of this country from the Red Government. If you are going to have any representation in Spain that representation should be attached to the Burgos Government.

I would like if the Taoiseach when replying would justify two cardinal points of the foreign policy of his Department. In his brief statement in introducing this Estimate he said in a rather boastful tone that we have cordial relations or that the cordial relations that always existed here in this country on the one hand with Belgium and with Italy on the other hand have been restored. I resent very strongly that the sanctions introduced by his Government against the Italian nation were introduced at the dictation of Britain. It is very strange how the coincidence arose. It is very strange how when the British Government realised the mistake it had made and the damage done to British interests that they sacked the Minister responsible for those sanctions and changed their policy. Concurrently, with Britain's change of policy the Taoiseach changed his policy——

The Deputy apparently was asleep a long time.

The Deputy was not asleep. I was very much awake. If there is one act that I am proud of it is my action in opposing sanctions in this House. If the good relations that always existed between this country and Italy are now restored, and if the position is now what it was before these sanctions were introduced against Italy, there is no credit due for it to our Government. What has Italy done that we, a little nation, should set out to help in imposing those sanctions against her? Why should we take part in such a thing? Why we could not stop a packet of Woodbines going into Italy. Yet we showed what we would do if we had the power to do it. Great Britain found out its mistake. Why did not we on that occasion look at that matter not with British eyes or as following in the wake of Britain? Why did we not look at it with Irish eyes?

Does the Deputy propose to reverse the decision taken by the House on that occasion?

I am merely criticising the policy of the Department of External Affairs on this Vote. I would like the Taoiseach to inform the House what those sanctions have cost the people of this country. Then we come along afterwards and interfere in the foreign policy or I should say the domestic policy of Spain and we incur a large expenditure for non-intervention. As the previous speaker has pointed out we refused to recognise what the world knows is the Government of Spain, the Government that the Spanish people overwhelmingly desire. We are spending money keeping up an accredited representation with the Communistic Government of Spain. It cannot be even pretended now that that is any longer the elected Government of Spain. I doubt if there is a single member of the present junta that forms the Barcelona or Valencia Government who was ever elected by the Spanish voters. We know what were the issues in Spain. We know them beyond doubt. Yet our Government instead of falling in behind Britain, waiting to see what Britain will do with regard to Spain, are attaching themselves to the Red Government.

We should be using our influence and influencing the British Government towards the recognition of the Burgos Government of Spain, instead of, as we are doing, standing behind to see what Britain will do. That is what we are doing. We should be, as far as we could, influencing Britain to take the steps she should take. We have not been doing that. We do not propose, apparently, to do it even now. As a matter of fact, the Minister for External Affairs and the Department of External Affairs closes its blind eye while we are feeding the Communistic forces in Spain. The Taoiseach may smile at that. Very well. Let the country know that the Taoiseach smiles at it. I do not know your ruling, Sir, on the question of whether we in this debate are debating the broad principles of defence.

They were touched on very briefly by the Taoiseach, and certainly not at length by Deputy Risteárd Ua Maolchatha. It would be wiser, as the Leader of the Opposition says, not to discuss these principles in full now. Absent Deputies may be interested in defence, and desire to raise these questions of defence on that Vote. The Chair did not object to the brief reference made by the Taoiseach on this Vote, but suggests it would be better to discuss the matter on the Defence Vote.

I do not want to transgress, Sir. Perhaps if it were the intention to have a full discussion on defence now on this Vote, that may prejudice it later on.

It should not be a full debate on both Votes.

On that point, is this not pertinent — that the Taoiseach, acting as Minister for External Affairs, took certain steps and is taking certain steps, and that the Minister, as Minister for Defence, cannot be held responsible for that? I know that there is collective responsibility.

On that I wanted to make a few remarks more or less by way of query. It is strange that, as far as I have been able to interpret the London Agreement, and quite apart from the question of our national defence, it is the intention to defend these ports. Whether any obligation to do so was undertaken or not, I do not know; I have not seen it anywhere, and I have read where it has been refuted by the Taoiseach that he or any of his delegation undertook any responsibility for the defence of those ports, but what strikes me as strange is that those ports were fortified and garrisoned by Britain, not for the defence of this country, but for the defence of the trade routes for Britain. Because of that I do not look upon their continued defence as being primarily for the national defence of this country, and it strikes me as strange. Of course, the question of other defences around the coast will arise on the Defence Vote, and I do not want to go into that, but unless we have other points around the coast which will be indicated when the Defence Vote comes up for discussion it seems strange to me how Spike Island and places around there could defend Limerick, or Galway, or Sligo——

Or Dublin.

——where you could land on any part of that stretch of the Western coast with a sailing yacht, so far as the guns or fortifications of Spike Island or Lough Swilly are concerned. Those ports, however, fortified and properly equipped, would be invaluable in defending the trade routes for Britain along the north coast of Ireland and the south coast of Ireland. If it is undertaken that we are to pay for those ports I say that it is wrong that we should be asked, as one unit in the Imperial array, to pay for what is obviously an Imperial system of defence and for what should be the concern of all the component parts of the Empire. We should get down to it now and talk about the Empire, for that is really where we are heading — head, neck and heels within the Empire — in defending the Empire, and with the Taoiseach leading us in its defence. I should like to see how he relates those ports to a system of national defence as distinct from Imperial defence. I do not want to suggest that if we are to take responsibility for the defence of this country we should not do everything in our power to defend it, and I agree with the Taoiseach when he says that we or future generations of Irishmen and Irishwomen would be unworthy of the freedom that any generation of Irishmen has won if we failed to defend that freedom. Let not the Taoiseach think, however, that he will get away with an appeal to national sentiment in order to put over Imperial defence on us and ask us to pay 100 per cent. for that Imperial defence. Personally, I see that if Britain goes down we will go down with her. And if she has to be defended imperially I believe we would not only be justified in contributing our share, but we would be foolish if we did not contribute to Imperial defence in order to defend these islands, but we should only contribute our share and we should not be called upon to bear the whole cost of it. I think the Taoiseach or the Minister for External Affairs is asking too much from this House if he asks for the full cost of the defence of those forts as first-class forts to be voted by this House, because, in my opinion — and I am only going on what British strategists have followed for centuries —when they fortified those forts, they fortified them in the interests of Great Britain, and we are only continuing that same system of Imperial defence that generations of Englishmen have followed before.

Now, of course, the Minister for External Affairs says that there were three outstanding questions between this country and Great Britain, and that two of them have been settled. The financial dispute has been settled, and the question of the ports has been settled. I think that a broader view would accept it that those questions had been settled when the citadel of British power in this country was taken over by the National Government of this country. I well remember the day in Palace Street when I met Collins and Griffith coming out of Dublin Castle, and Collins said to me: "We took over the ould Castle to-day." That was the day when our liberty was established in this country and the citadel of British power broken down. It was only the farthest outposts, and the scavengings and leavings of that power, that the Minister was dealing with the other day when he went with horse, foot and artillery to Spike Island to take over one of the farthest outposts of all. Let us give credit where credit is due and realise that it was in 1922 the real citadel was broken down. If we have not given due credit in the past for that, let us here to-day unanimously give it. As for the economic dispute, that was an act of madness which should never have taken place, and if we were able to realise our charter of liberty in 1922 as we have been able to realise it in 1938, the economic dispute would never have arisen, at least in the form in which it arose in the last few years, because, when the apportionment of the accounts after the transaction was being settled, all Irish representatives would have been there at the settlement, and, with a united front, we would have said to Britain: "This is what is due to us; will you pay it?" If we said that with a united voice in either 1922 or 1926, we would have got a better settlement than we have got now, and perhaps the third big question — what is, perhaps, the only surviving question, that of the North— would also have been settled. That is what might have happened if we had spoken with the same united voice in 1922 or later.

The history of 1922 is not relevant to this Vote — or any other Vote, for that matter.

I shall be interested, and I am sure the country will be interested, to know what has been the cost and what justification we have for sanctions against Italy, and also to know what this non-intervention business in Spain is costing us. We all know the policy that is behind that non-intervention in Spain. I heard the policy behind non-intervention discussed there two years ago. The policy behind it is to create two Spains, and the appeal for peace is an appeal by nations who want a weak Spain and a partitioned Spain. We have heard, through the mouth of the Taoiseach— the leader of this House and the leader of this country and of the Government of this country — that the big outstanding question in Ireland to-day is Partition. Are we going to be non-Partitionists in our own country and Partitionists in Spain? Anybody who knows the issues at stake, the bitternesses engendered and the atrocities that have taken place, must realise the situation there. I have seen a good deal of these atrocities. I have travelled all the battle fronts in Spain and have seen them, but being there only a few weeks, I never said much about them because it would be presumptuous for a person visiting a country to go and write about that country. But I can easily say that I know a lot more about it than people who have made good money writing about it. However, I was not there commercially, and I am not speaking on behalf of nationalist Spain commercially. I want to emphasise that this non-intervention policy in Spain is dictated and has been dictated with the idea of partitioning Spain, and I challenge contradiction on that. Our support of that policy is supporting the partitioning of Spain. It has been suggested that we are not in step with those countries; that we are following blindly behind; that what they will do we will do. Those countries have appealed very speciously for the stopping of bloodshed in Spain. Let there be peace! There cannot be peace in Spain until one side wins, because the atrocities have been so terrible. Everything that old Spain stands for, everything that Christian Spain stands for, has been outraged by the Government which we recognise there. Let us not get away from that. We should have thought of that when we went down to Marlborough Street for the Votive Mass. When we asked God to direct our actions in the coming Dáil session we should have laid emphasis on our foreign policy. Our foreign policy is supporting a Government that has wiped God off the face of the land of Spain where they had the physical power to do it.

Just as in Northern Ireland.

Much worse than in Northern Ireland. You can practise your religion in Northern Ireland, any religion you like, but you cannot do it in Spain. We are recognising and supporting that policy. During the last election a twist was given to politics —particularly by the Minister for Finance who is adept at those matters —suggesting that certain candidates up for election were trying to cash in not on Christianity as was said here in this House, but to cash in on Catholicity.

When the Minister's Vote is under discussion, Deputies must confine the discussion to the acts of the Minister responsible. If election fights are to be refought here, I do not see any hope of an adjournment before Christmas.

Are we going to stand for the partitioning of Spain? That is what non-intervention means. Every penny we subscribe to non-intervention there, and to those who are promoting it, we are subscribing to the partitioning of Spain.

Perhaps I might interrupt the Deputy? I am very interested in the line of argument which the Deputy is pursuing. Perhaps he will show us in what way non-intervention leads to partition? I confess I do not see it.

Surely the Taoiseach is not ignorant of the history of the Spanish conflict since 18th July, 1936, when the revolution broke out. He is not ignorant of the source from which non-intervention emanated. He is not ignorant of the fact that the authors of non-intervention took steps, made soundings, for peace in Spain. Peace in Spain means partitioning Spain. I know first-hand that there were no illusions in the Franco Government about what was meant when an appeal was made for peace and the cessation of hostilities in Spain. I was in company with two of General Franco's Ministers one night when that was discussed, and they mentioned a certain country which was responsible for promoting it. I am afraid the Taoiseach has been influenced by the policy of that particular country. Their outlook was that while a Spaniard in Franco territory lived there would be no peace with the church burners of Communist Spain. I do not want to labour that aspect any further. The Taoiseach can be better advised than any Deputy in this House. He is paying a Minister over there, and he has a direct source of information. I hope he will justify his keeping of that Minister accredited to the Madrid Government, while he is not accrediting any Minister to the Burgos Government. It has been said here before that the Vatican had not recognised the Franco Government, so why should we? Should we be more Catholic or Christian than the Vatican? I think a big change has come about in the relations there since then. Also, the Burgos Government controls about threequarters of the national territory of Spain, so that from every point of view the very least that should be expected from this country, not now but for the last year and a half, would be that we would not recognise the Madrid Government. That is the very least that should be expected from us. We are the most arrant hypocrites in the world——

A Deputy

Speak for yourself.

——when officially we recognise the Communist Government of Spain. For the national honour I should be glad if the Taoiseach would convince me that there are good, sound and sufficient reasons for continuing to recognise the Communist Government. I cannot see them, but for the national honour I should be glad to be shown them, and I hope that when he is winding up this debate the Minister for External Affairs will explain them to us. Personally, I am satisfied beyond doubt that the Taoiseach is influenced by Britain's policy in the matter. I hope that is not so, but that is my opinion, and I am sure the Minister will not quarrel with me if I give my honest opinion here. I hope he will be able to show that I have been wrong in forming that opinion. I hope the Minister for External Affairs—who happens to be the Leader of this House and the Head of the Government—if he had difficulties in the past in making a decision on this matter on what I consider were the proper lines, will be able, some time in the future or when some event happens, to take steps to recognise the national Government of Spain. We should not be left in the dark any longer. We should not continue any longer to recognise the Communist Government, seeing what the position is in Spain. The country, I am sure, would welcome an indication by the Head of the Government of Éire as to when he will feel justified, in the national interests and in the national honour, to change the policy that he has carried out up to the present.

The Taoiseach, as Head of the Irish delegation which signed the recent Agreement with the British Government in London, took responsibility for the taking over of certain forts, and for the future defences and protection of this State. This is the occasion and this is the Estimate upon which all the implications of his signature to that particular section of the Agreement should be explained to the House and to the country. The Minister for Defence was not a member of the delegation and, therefore, had no responsibility for signing that Agreement but, undoubtedly, there was collective responsibility for carrying it out as a whole. The Taoiseach, as head of the delegation, took responsibility for the Agreement which, for the time being—and I hope it will be a short one—recognises the might and the right of the British Government to control in the Six Counties. In his brief introductory remarks the Taoiseach very properly claimed credit —as he was entitled—for the work being done in States where we are represented and where our representatives are looking after the interests of Irish nationals. I think it is much more important that the Taoiseach should explain who is going to look after the interests of the Nationalist minority in the Six Counties as long as Partition remains a part of the problem that the Government has to face. Deputy Belton spoke about the position of Catholics in Spain and compared their position to that of the Catholics in the Six Counties. The Deputy stated that in Catholic Spain the people were prevented from practising their religion by a Communist Government. I submit that if the Catholics are allowed to practise their religion in the Six Counties they have to pay a very high price for professing Catholic principles there. As one who has been a member of the House for many years, I am anxious to ascertain from the Taoiseach what progress was made in the recent negotiations with the British regarding the future position of Six-County citizens, particularly the Nationalist minority, who are living there under very peculiar conditions.

I am interested to know if any attempt was made during the negotiations to secure the ordinary rights of citizenship for the Nationalist minority in the Six Counties, and, if so, what steps were taken by the Minister and his colleagues for the purpose of having Proportional Representation restored for Parliamentary and local government purposes. Proportional Representation was provided for in the Treaty, but was subsequently abolished by the Six-County Government. Proportional Representation here and everywhere else gives minorities certain rights of representation to every citizen, man or woman. I am anxious to know what advance, if any, was made in that respect during the recent negotiations. I hope the Taoiseach will agree that, wherever this Government has rights, they should be exercised on behalf of Irish nationals. Surely it is more necessary to do that on behalf of Irish nationals inside our shores than to do it in Belgium, Italy, or anywhere else where very few Irish nationals reside. A little more light on the position will be welcomed by every person who is prepared to support the Taoiseach in his desire to see the Boundary removed in our time. We are also entitled to know what is the policy of the present Government in connection with the removal of the Boundary. No one is prepared to suggest that it should be removed by ordering the National Army to march over the Border, or that we should make any attempt to remove it by economic pressure.

What the Deputy suggests could scarcely be considered external affairs.

The Constitution of this State, and the position the Taoiseach occupies in it, place upon him an obligation to safeguard the rights of every Irish citizen, whether residing in the Six Counties or in the Twenty-Six Counties. I should like to hear whether the Taoiseach challenges that.

If the Deputy admits that they are Irish citizens, it is not a question of external affairs.

I submit, Sir, that it is within your knowledge that this question was discussed in the recent negotiations that took place between the representatives of the Irish and the British Governments, and I am anxious to obtain more information.

That was discussed when the Agreement was debated. That is the difficulty the Chair has. The Deputy has not related the points being raised now to external affairs.

Some of these points are not raised then.

The others were raised in another Dáil, and I think that those of us who have survived the recent storm are entitled to have a little more light thrown on the situation than was shown in a passing reference to-day.

If it has reference to external affairs, yes; if not, no.

I should be surprised to hear that the Six Counties are situated outside this State.

Therefore it does not come under external affairs.

Six counties in this country are being controlled by an extern Government, and not as they should be by the Government of the people of Ireland. That matter was under discussion during the recent negotiations, and if we could have an assistant Minister in London, or if we could send a suitable Minister to Sandy Row to look after the interests of Northern Nationalists, I would be quite willing to sacrifice one of the Ministers and to send him back there for that purpose. I was amazed to read the speech which one of our warlike Ministers made recently in which he referred to most of us as Unionists now. I am sure, if that is so, that he would be very acceptable in Sandy Row as a representative of this Government to look after the interests of Northern Nationalists in that area until the boundary is removed. I hope the Taoiseach will take that into consideration when he is thinking over the question of the most suitable means of safeguarding the minority in the Six Counties. I am sure Lord Londonderry and people of that type would be willing to receive any Minister even if he had to go to the Falls Road for one. Deputy Belton and Deputy Mulcahy referred to the question of defence. I submit that the Taoiseach is responsible for the defence policy so far as it concerns the taking over of the ports which came into the possession of the Irish Government within the past few days, and for the cost of protecting these ports in the future. Subsequent to the London Agreement £600,000 was provided for in this year's Budget, presumably for the purpose of indicating to the British Government that we were serious in our desire to maintain these ports, and to modernise them, if necessary, at the expense of Irish taxpayers. While everyone was glad that these ports were handed over to the Irish Government, and that the Taoiseach had taken them over, we are entitled to know what is the defence policy of the Government.

What do they intend to do with the forts they have taken over? Do they intend to modernise them? If so, have they given any consideration to the cost of modernising these forts and if and when the forts either at Berehaven or Swilly or elsewhere are modernised what ships, battleships, submarines, or seaplanes or other implements of war are going to protect these forts when they are modernised?


The "Muirchu" is not a battleship. The "Muirchu" has, I believe, a gun which would not kill anybody at any very long distance. But, surely, if the taxpayers' money is going to be spent in very large quantities for the modernisation of forts like Berehaven and Swilly and other places, we are entitled to know and to understand that when that money has been spent, when these forts are modernised, there is some kind of naval force lying behind that will protect them whenever they are attacked. Reading the speeches of some of our warlike ministers recently one could——

The Chair has already had occasion to remind Deputies—the Deputy will please resume his seat for a moment—that when an Estimate is under discussion Deputies should deal with the Minister responsible, not with the speeches of the Minister's colleagues.

But, Sir, the Taoiseach is surely responsible for the existence of his colleagues as Ministers, and I am very sorry for him that he has to shoulder such heavy responsibility in the case of some Ministers.

The established procedure on Estimates is that Deputies must discuss the Minister's administration.

I am dealing with the position of External Affairs, and if a Minister makes a warlike speech——

It has nothing to do with the Minister for External Affairs.

——which gets it into the skull of the ordinary citizen that there is likelihood of this country being engaged in war in the near future, we are entitled to know from the Taoiseach, in his capacity as Minister for External Affairs, whether there are any good grounds for making speeches of that kind. If the Taoiseach will confirm statements of that kind, everybody will have to face up to his heavy responsibility in the matter, and we will, no doubt, be confronted with the problem in the near future, if there is going to be a war, a European war or a world war, of making some kind of preparation to defend ourselves against that kind of attack.

The Deputy seems to be persistently pursuing some member of the Government. I do not know whom. The second next Vote is Defence. The Deputy will therefore have an early opportunity of dealing with defence generally. On this Estimate the reference to defence must be brief, dealing with the point raised by the Taoiseach in his opening speech. Debate should not be duplicated.

The Taoiseach, Sir, in his capacity as head of the Irish delegation, gave assurance to the British Government that the taxpayers of this State would provide £600,000 for the modernisation of the forts this year. We were subsequently told in this House that that £600,000 was for equipment.

You are arguing on a false premise. I did not make any such statement or enter into any such commitment.

May I ask the Taoiseach, who was very reserved in his introductory remarks, if he will now explain what this £600,000 is provided for, whether the forts which he said at one time might not be modernised are now going to be modernised or not, and if he will also say, following that, whether, when they are modernised, any naval forces, whether Irish or British, will be there to protect them? That is a simple but at the same time a serious question which deserves an answer.

A Chinn Comhairle, I am not averse to discussing the whole question in broad principles in this Estimate. I deliberately mentioned the matter as I felt it might possibly arise. After all, it is a matter of external relations which does arise out of defence, and will arise in that connection. I have no objection to dealing with it. It is only a question for the Chair, whether the Chair thinks this is the best place to discuss it or that it should be discussed on another Estimate on the specific Vote for Defence. In regard to the question the Deputy has asked, I can only say that he is using phrases that have come out of his own head and that there is no basis for them in anything we have said here. In regard to the introduction of the Estimate for £600,000, that was, I think, an additional sum provided for defence and had no relation to the ports or anything else.

Sir, I may have misunderstood the very lengthy speech which, I understand, it took the Taoiseach one and three-quarter hours to deliver when he spoke recently in Castlecomer on this very same issue. I read it very carefully, but the pertinent points I am very anxious to have answered were not answered in that very lengthy speech.

Because I could not answer for all the vagaries of the minds of Deputies who wish to read a simple Estimate of £600,000 any more than I can enter into and anticipate the vagaries of Deputy Belton in talking about how our foreign policy is dictated from Britain and trying to adduce in favour of it things that anybody who remembers the sequence of events knows are quite wrong.

I suppose the Taoiseach and his colleagues will have five more years to consider the matters, and at the end of that five long years the people will have the answers, whether they are given here in the House or not.

I will give the answers to Deputies, but I cannot anticipate such questions.

I followed the Taoiseach's speeches closely, but he got away from answering the very important points.

I answered actually that question.

It would take far less than one and three-quarter hours to answer the question I want answered.

I remember perfectly well making a speech in Clare in which I answered that very question.

Apparently the Press did not report it so fully as they did when you answered it in Castlecomer.

Is that what you spend your time at?

I am entitled to spend my time at that, and if the Taoiseach does not want to answer my questions I hope the Deputy, who speaks very seldom, will do so. I am glad to know that the Deputy speaks much oftener in this House now than he did before. I would be delighted to hear him.

The Chair would like to hear the Deputy on the Estimate.

Sir, references were made by Deputy Belton which I do not want to follow up in connection with the position of our representatives in foreign countries. I am not taking any exception to the provision which has been made in this year's Estimate for the cost of a section of an exhibition—the Empire Exhibition—in Glasgow. I would like to hear from the Taoiseach, who is Minister for External Affairs, why it is that when international exhibitions are held in places like France and other foreign countries nothing whatsoever is done to advertise the position of this country in places of that kind. Why, for instance, is a large sum of money being spent on the international exhibition which is being held in Glasgow this year and nothing at all spent in France the previous year? I would like to hear that explained. I asked for an explanation of that in another place, but I did not get it. I am sure the Taoiseach is the only one that can give that explanation. France is a country where there is a good deal in common with the people of this country and I think it was a great blunder when there was an international exhibition in France last year that no steps whatsoever were taken for the purpose of advertising this country and the conditions of this country at the time. I believe the Irish Government should, wherever it is possible—everywhere it is possible— advertise the existence of this State in every exhibition, national or international, wherever they are held, provided the cost of doing so is not prohibitive. Those are the few points I want to make.

Listening to the speech of the Minister on this Vote, one wondered really whether it was the head of the Civil Service Department of External Affairs was speaking or a Minister. The statements of the Minister point to the fact that he had no definite line of policy.

I would like to know, before we get on to a definite line of policy, what information the Minister has in regard to compensation for the death of Miss Boland who lost her life, I think, at the hands of the Red Government in Spain some time ago.

Speaking from my own point of view, I must say that I was impressed with Deputy Belton's statement that the Government appears to have followed British foreign policy and to have been almost directed in their policy by whatever happens to be the British policy of the moment. It does not by any means follow that British policy is always wrong but it is a mistake for this Government or for any Government merely to follow the policy of another Government in connection with foreign affairs or in fact in connection with any affairs. The policy, for example, with regard to sanctions was not only a mistake on the part of the British Government but a mistake on the part of this Government and of all the Governments who took part in it. I believe that it was stated at that time that if sanctions were to be a success they would require to be supported by military operations. If you are going to impose peace by means of military operations, then it is no longer peace.

I should like to hear, in connection with this Estimate, what is the policy of the Government with regard to foreign affairs generally, what action they would take, if any, in connection with the international situation. The only information which people in this country can get in connection with matters affecting international politics, or relations, or peace, is from the radio or from discussions which take place in the British House of Commons. Most people in this country were uneasy during the last six, eight or 12 months at the turn of events in connection with international affairs. It certainly seemed as if war were imminent. The Minister's statement in connection with the policy of external affairs this evening indicates that they are in favour of peace, that they are doing all that is possible towards contributing to that end. I do not know that there was ever a more popular time in the world for peace. Everybody is speaking about it. Every Government addresses itself to the desire to maintain peace and every Government is spending more and more on armaments in order to preserve peace.

Has there been a change in the international situation during the last six, eight or 12 months? Is there such danger of war to-day as there was, say, 12 or even six months ago? If there were, our policy with regard to defence would naturally be different to what it would be if we were likely to have peace and our contribution towards defence in this country will at all times be a relatively small one, as it is in the case of countries of small populations, limited means and restricted resources. It is quite true that at the time negotiations were opened with the British Government last January the international outlook was quite different to what it is to-day. At that time, mainly owing to the mistaken foreign policy of the principal Governments in Europe, a war situation was almost imminent. They have seen the error of their ways, and I think one of the leading agents in that respect was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Just at the precise moment more sane counsels seem to prevail and efforts were made to correct that mistake made in connection with foreign policy that had been pursued for so long.

It is a strange recurrence of history that the country, perhaps the most peaceful on the Continent, Spain, the country which was a remote cause of the Franco-German war, was likely to be the cause of a war during the last few months. The situation in Spain, according to the newspaper reports, has improved. I should like to know from the Minister if he has any reports from our accredited representatives out there as to what the situation is in the area under the control of General Franco, or the Burgos Government, as it is called, and the area in control of what is popularly, and I believe correctly, styled in this country the Red Government. If my information is correct, the area of the country under General Franco is peaceful and orderly, the prices are within the capacity of the people to pay, and there is full and free practice of religion allowed in that area, whereas in the area of the Red Government there is practically no religion practised. Some relaxation in relation to religion has been in evidence, I am told, within the last few months, but prices are high and there does not seem to be ordered Government in the place.

I would like to know whether, in view of these circumstances, and in view of the very strong opinion of our people in favour of what is generally known as the Catholic Government there, it is the intention of our Government to withdraw our Minister from being accredited to Dr. Negrin, or whatever is the name of the Prime Minister there, and have him accredited to General Franco. Generally, I would like to hear whether or not there has been an improvement in the international situation, whether there is a danger of war now and, if the war clouds have passed and there is less danger of war, if our Estimates for defence are going to be reduced.

On that question of defence, I would like to know whether it is intended to co-operate, in the event of attack, with the forces of the British Government and, if so, what will be the general lines of co-operation. Of course, it would be impossible to explain in the House every item of detail, but at any rate the House is entitled to know what the general policy of the State is with regard to them. I think that if there had been no agreement whatever during the last few months with the British Government there would be a general acceptance on the part of the people of this country to provide whatever money is necessary for national defence. The disposition of the people is to maintain what they have got and it is not to-day or yesterday they have got it and it is not to-day or yesterday that they have made use of what they have got.

I will conclude by saying that I felt disappointed at the explanation of the Minister in connection with external affairs. I think the House is entitled to learn direct from our own Minister what the international situation is and we should not have to look to reports of discussions in foreign Parliaments in order to find it. There is every reason why the matter should be explained fully and completely here and the people should be taken entirely into the confidence of the Government with regard to the situation. We are not pressing for details, but we think we are entitled to hear about the general lines of policy.

I intend to confine myself to a few matters. I am glad that in the past year the Taoiseach thought fit to realise that the great war which he was engaged in with Britain should come to a close. He began to realise that the Irish people were not fit to beat the British Empire. He cut his stick and he came out of the struggle as best he could. I am glad to say that he came out in a fairly satisfactory manner. One of the chief subjects with which I would like to deal is connected with the Legation in Madrid. I am satisfied that we, a Catholic nation, seeing what is going on in Spain for the last two years, should now place ourselves definitely on the side of General Franco and the Catholic Government. We should withdraw our Legation and not spend one penny on keeping a Minister attached to the Red hordes of anti-Christ in Spain. It is a poor thing for the people of this country to realise that our Government will not even now do the right thing in this matter. They are recognising the godless beings who have destroyed the churches, murdered priests and nuns and wiped out so far as they could the Catholic religion in Spain. It is a sad thought that the Catholic Government of Ireland is standing by seeing these things happening and that they will not make a move to end them. We in this country suffered for nearly 700 years national and religious persecution. To-day we see our Catholic friends in Spain suffering, aye, suffering far worse than we ever did. I now ask the Taoiseach, in the last year of the Spanish War, to declare that we stand for Franco and the Catholics in Spain and that we withdraw our Embassy from the Red Government. We are in the Commonwealth of Nations, the only Commonwealth in the world that to-day stands for Christianity. It is due to ourselves to give a lead to the other members of the Commonwealth, to Canada, Australia and South Africa, as well as to Great Britain, and to say that we recognise Franco and that we recognise that the Christian religion is at stake and that we will stand with Franco on the side of Christianity.

Tell that to the North.

The North is all right. If there was less talk about the North it would be better.

It is a good job for you that you are not there.

In the old days when the Catholics of Ireland were in trouble the people of Spain came to our aid. Spain calls on us to-day not for military aid but to recognise that General Franco's fight is a fight for Christianity. I ask the Taoiseach now to give us a clear indication that he will do the right thing. I think it is a terrible thing that we, who call ourselves a Christian people, should stand idly by and allow the Jews, the Gentiles, the Freemasons and Communists to dictate the policy of the world. We stand for Christianity. We stand for it against the Jews, the Gentiles, the Reds and the Freemasons of the world. Let our Government show that it stands for it. Let us show the world that we will lay down our lives before we will cow before the Red hordes of this world. I now put it to the Taoiseach to tell us what he is going to do, and to give a clear indication that he is a Catholic Leader of a Catholic country and that at last he will do what we have been asking him to do for years.

The Department of External Affairs is in many respects the most important Department in this country. I say that because it is the Department which is to control and look after our external interests and to a great extent safeguard the freedom and interests of the nation. To a great extent the progress of this country will depend upon how its external affairs are managed. We know that we are living in a world in which there are great dangers of international conflict, and it will require the utmost vigilance and the utmost intelligence on the part of those who are dealing with our external affairs to guide this country safely through the many perils facing us on every side.

If we look back on recent history we know that in 1914 this country was rushed headlong into the European War. That was done through the action of its elected representatives. Whether the course they took was right or wrong, we have to realise the tremendous effect which the action taken in 1914 had on the history of this country. We must realise the tremendous losses which have been imposed on this country by the action taken at that time. In order to avoid being rushed into a similar situation in the future, our leaders ought now take council together and should, as far as possible, insure that the policy in regard to external affairs will be a wise and prudent one. It is for them to see that the policy will be directed towards preserving the freedom of this country and, at the same time, saving it from international conflict.

There is no doubt whatever that there always will be grave danger of this country becoming aligned with one or other of the groups of conflicting nations on the Continent. We know that a few years ago the question of Italy's intervention and Italy's invasion of Abyssinia came before the League of Nations. This country through loyalty to the League of Nations became almost involved in an international war with Italy. We are now entitled to know if it is the policy of our Government to continue the same attitude of loyalty to the League of Nations which they displayed at that time. Are they prepared in their loyalty to this so-called League of Nations to plunge this country into international conflict? We are entitled to a fair reply to that question.

The statement has been made by the Taoiseach and some of his Ministers that there can be no neutrality in modern warfare. It is necessary to point out that in the last Great War there were certain nations that were neutral. Certain European nations— and very small nations, too—managed by some means to escape being dragged into the vortex of that international conflict and so being sacrificed. Have the Government abandoned all hope of this country being dragged into the next European war? As I have said a number of nations like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland succeeded in keeping aloof from the last war. The most important question that faces this country at the moment is the question of our neutrality in the next war. That is a question that concerns every citizen of this country. We must realise that becoming involved in a European war would be a calamity—a disaster such as this country has perhaps never experienced, at least not experienced in recent years.

There is one question which has been discussed to a considerable extent here to-day. It is the question of the mistakes that have been made with regard to the attitude of our Government on the Spanish civil war issue. As far as it was possible, without actually intervening in a military sense in that war, our country has identified itself with the Communists in that country. That is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. It should not be continued. It should be rectified immediately by a withdrawal of the Minister accredited to the Communist Government of Spain. We are entitled to have from the Taoiseach a very definite assurance that that course of action will be taken—that the Minister accredited to the Red Government will be immediately withdrawn. It is along these lines that this country will avoid aligning itself with either side in the next European conflict.

We must remember that countries are drawn into war, not at the moment when war is declared, but by their actions immediately preceding the declaration of war. It is by emphasising the neutrality of this country, as far as possible, by ensuring and making it clear to the world that this country is not bound up in a system of defence with any foreign nation and that it is a free country and an absolutely neutral nation—it is on those lines that we as a nation can escape being involved in the next European conflict. If, as has been stated, there is any understanding with Great Britain in regard to defence; if there is any definite understanding that this country is to co-operate with Great Britain in defending her trade routes, in using the ports which were recently handed over, for the purpose of facilitating the British Navy—if there is any understanding of that kind it will make it absolutely impossible for this country to remain neutral in the next European conflict. It is essential, therefore, that it must be made clear to the people of Ireland and to the people of the world that there is no such understanding of any kind and that as a nation we will hold ourselves aloof from any military measures adopted by any other nations and, by holding ourselves aloof, preserve the citizens of this country from the calamities which, everybody realises, participation in an international war will involve.

There are some questions I should like to raise on this Estimate. Some of them are matters of detail, but I should like to have a definite answer when the Minister for External Affairs is replying. Is there any change in the form of a passport that is issued at the moment to the citizens of this State? What is the precise form of the passport issued? I am asking the Minister for External Affairs what is the precise form of the passport that is issued at the present moment to citizens of this State. To whom are foreign Ministers to this country accredited, and in whose names are our Ministers to other countries accredited at the present moment? Is it in the name of the President, or is it in the name of King George? As I said, these are matters of detail, but I should just like to have the position clarified and to have a definite statement on the matter.

The last speaker was referring to a question that, I have no doubt, has exercised the mind of the Minister and his Government, namely, the question of neutrality. There are two things, I think, to be borne in mind so far as that is concerned: the policy we would like to pursue, and the policy we can pursue. I gathered from the statement that the Taoiseach made on the 29th of April—I think it was when summing up the debate on the Agreement, here in the Dáil—that he regards it as practically impossible for any country like ours to be neutral in any big European conflict: that even if we were to take no further overt part in a general European war than, say, supplying foodstuffs to Great Britain, that would almost automatically involve us in a war. I think that was then the opinion of the Taoiseach— I do not want to stress, or to shove or force, words other than those actually used, but I think it was his opinion that there was at least a very grave danger that we would become involved in a war.

In that connection I should like to ask the Taoiseach, or the Minister for External Affairs, whether he and his Government have fully considered all the consequences of that position, especially so far as the general question—I am not now going into particular questions—of defence is concerned. Situated as we are here—it is quite true that we are pretty far off the Continent of Europe—we might hope to escape many of the forces that might compel this country into a European war. But I gathered from the speech to which I have already referred that there is a particular danger of our being involved in a war owing to one particular reason, namely, our position as regards foodstuffs being supplied to Great Britain. I am not referring now, indeed, so much to the foodstuffs being supplied directly from this country across the Irish Sea to Great Britain. Our position could be of extreme strategic importance so far as the protection of foodstuffs, coming either into this country or into Great Britain, is concerned. Situated as we are here, with ports that could be eminently useful——and possibly air bases also—so far as the routes approaching Great Britain, either via the North of Ireland or the South of Ireland, are concerned, is it the opinion of the Government that we would be allowed to be neutral? As I say, I gathered from the speech made on the 29th April by the Taoiseach that whatever our wishes might be, and whatever our constitutional position might be, in practice it is his opinion that we could not be neutral and that we should be forced into a major European war—at least one in which Great Britain was a party —with or without our will. I do not think I am misrepresenting the Taoiseach in any way when I gather that as the legitimate conclusion from his speech on the 29th April.

I do not know whether the Taoiseach has had any reason since to modify that particular view. But, that being so, and accepting that position as they must accept it—I suppose, he would say, as after all he could easily say: "It will be taken out of my hands; it is not a matter that, ultimately, will be decided by the Government of this country, but by outside forces, probably,"—I think we ought to be told to what extent the Government has fully realised the consequences of that position, and whether or not they are shaping their external affairs policy and their defence policy with the full realisation of all that that involves. I think that the Minister for External Affairs will admit that these are matters on which the country is entitled to as much information as he can possibly give. The plea cannot be put forward that by giving this information he is weakening the defences of the country in any way. As I say, it is a matter not of the details of defence; it is a matter of general policy.

Quite recently, as far as we were able to judge at the time—and everything I have heard since from any quarter, from Continental and other newspapers, bears it out—we were on the edge of war; we were very close to it. That being so, I take it for granted that the Government must have considered the matter, and considered what their attitude and the attitude of this country would be in cases of that kind. It is not purely an academic question any longer. Anybody who is acquainted with the forces that are operating at the present moment on the Continent of Europe knows perfectly well that the difficulty is not to find a cause for war or to start the trouble going. The difficulty—and it requires the greatest possible effort on the part of everybody interested in it —is to prevent war. It is quite true that the situation may be a little easier now than it was, say, two or three months ago, but the forces that made the situation dangerous three months ago are still very much alive. Certain policies may have received a set-back. I do not know that we have any guarantee that it was anything more than a set-back. Nobody living in this Continent, nobody living even in one of the islands off the shores of this Continent, can have any guarantee that within the next couple of months a similar dangerous situation will not arise. Therefore, as I have said, the questions that I put to the Minister for External Affairs are very far from being academic. I have considered the full difficulty, and in this I have great sympathy with the Government. It is not an easy question. It is not an easy matter for anybody who is entrusted with the destinies of any country in Europe at the present moment to shape the external policy of that country. At the moment, however, we are interested only in our own particular country, and seeing, as I say, that the Taoiseach realises the practical impossibility—or what may very easily become the practical impossibility—of neutrality, we should like to know whether he is shaping his policy, both from the point of view of diplomacy and from the point of view of defence, with a full realisation that neutrality will probably be impossible.

There is a certain number of other matters that we have discussed in this House before. I bring them up now rather with a feeling of despair, and not with any hope that the Government will act, but I feel it my duty to refer to them. There has been in operation now for the space I think of about eighteen months, so far as we are concerned, this policy of non-intervention in Spain. We read, according to the particular paper that we read, about the failure of that policy of non-intervention. The failure, as I say, according to the colour of the paper we read, is ascribed, on the one hand, to one set of forces operating in Europe and, on the other hand, to the other set of forces operating in Europe. In that connection, would the Minister be able to tell us whether he has any information as to how far that policy of non-intervention has been a success and whether he anticipates any particular danger? Quite recently, within the past couple of days almost, a certain plan for implementing the policy of non-intervention was put by the Government of Great Britain before the other signatory powers. As this Government is a party to it, and as there are issues involved which we have already dealt with and which I do not intend to deal with now, I should like to have the Government's view as to what attitude we are taking up in this new proposal as regards the withdrawal of volunteers from both sides in Spain. How far can it be done? How far is it a practicable proposition? Technically, it may be much easier for instance in the case of one army to say: "Those are all foreigners; they are all brigaded together; out they go." Is that possible on the other side? Is the segregation of the foreign elements fighting on one side as easy as that segregation on the other side? We are a party to that non-intervention agreement. We are a party now, I presume, to the modification of it. Has the policy of non-intervention been a success? Has it been carried out? Is there any prospect that the new policy will be any more successful?

The last speaker, and I suppose other speakers as well, raised the question—the matter has often been dealt with and I merely mention it now—as to why it is any longer necessary for us to keep our Minister accredited to the particular head of the particular republic to which he is accredited. I do not see the necessity for it. Whatever excuse there was, say, 12 months ago, that excuse has diminished day by day, it seems to me.

Apart from matters of detail, the main question I was anxious to raise was the general question of policy. I think it is a matter deserving the gravest attention, not merely from the Government but from everybody interested in the future of this country. What I should like to be sure of— perhaps the Taoiseach will enlighten us when he replies—is whether the Government really have a carefully thought out policy in that respect. I am not now wishing to press the Taoiseach too far. I recognise that there are many matters of detail which will have to be considered when the actual question arises, but I think the country is at least entitled to know the general lines of the policy which the Taoiseach proposes to follow.

The Taoiseach to conclude.

While listening to the speeches that have been made by members of the Opposition, I took a few notes, and I will try to deal with them. I think, first of all, I should deal with the objections which have been raised with regard to our representative in Spain. Now, I have to repeat what I have said on previous occasions in that regard, and that is, that it is not to Governments that representatives of States are accredited. They are accredited to States, and in the main it is to peoples. In the policy of Governments, the accrediting of a Minister is neither an expression of approval nor of disapproval. The position in which we found ourselves in regard to Spain was that we had a representative to Spain. We were very glad indeed that diplomatic relations had been opened up between us and the Spanish nation, just as I expressed my pleasure in saying that diplomatic relations had now been fully entered into between Italy and ourselves, and between Belgium and ourselves. Our general policy is, and ought to be, so far as possible to have representatives to the great States and the great peoples of Europe, particularly to those States and peoples with whom we have special interests, because of historical reasons. The Spanish Civil War began, and within a short time a proposal was made that there should be non-intervention in that country by outside States. We had to make up our minds whether we were in favour of that policy or not. At the time I explained why our Government was in favour of it, on the ground that we believed that policy was best from the point of view of the general preservation of peace in Europe. We saw that any other policy, if generally adopted, was going to lead to participation by outside States, when it would be almost impossible to avoid an extension of the area of conflict. On that account we were glad to see the States of Europe adopt that policy, and so far as it was possible for a small State to encourage that policy by becoming a party to the general agreement, we became a party to and encouraged it.

I have been asked by Deputy O'Sullivan whether that policy in general has been successful or not. I am not going to pretend that, over the period of a couple of years during which that policy obtained, I am satisfied that all that was hoped for from the point of view of keeping outsiders from interfering on one side or the other in Spain was successful. The truth is you have participants on both sides. At any rate, this has been achieved by that policy, that, so far, it has not led, as was greatly feared, to a wider European conflict. The only thing I can say in favour of that policy is, that by getting States that might have interfered on both sides very actively, to meet, and by trying to induce them to be favourable to that policy, it has been successful to this extent, that what we thought was inevitable, if the policy of non-intervention was not accepted, has not happened so far. I was asked by Deputy O'Sullivan if I have greater hopes for the latest agreement than I had in the past. I am not a prophet, and I can only judge the future by what has happened in the past. All I can say is that I hope it will be a success. As I explained to the House when dealing with the reason of the Government's adoption of that policy, I believe it is better, in the general interest of peace, and also in the interest of Spain, and of the Spanish people, that other nations should not become involved in the conflict. Civil war in all conscience is bitter enough without making it still more bitter and more terrible by having on each side people not belonging to the nation. I have supported and urged the House to maintain the policy of non-intervention on two grounds, namely, that it was in the interest of European interests generally, and, in my belief, also in the interest of the Spanish people themselves. The fact that we have done that cannot fairly be interpreted as approval of the action of any one side. From the fact that our representative was originally accredited to the Barcelona Government—I put it in that way because it was originally that party formed the Government in office—it is not to be taken that we did not change. To change at the time, in my opinion, would be a form of active intervention.

As I pointed out on one or two occasions when the matter was before the House, the fact that we did not change is not to be taken as approval of the action of the Government to which he was accredited, or rather to the head of the State to which he was accredited. It is to the head of the State he was accredited. I think it is wise that we should continue that policy. I do not propose to change it, unless circumstances so change as make it seem to us that the policy we have adopted so far is a policy that should no longer be continued, namely a policy of trying to forward non-intervention. If circumstances so change, and if that policy seems no longer practicable, or does not make for the aim we have in view, we may have to change. Change in cases like that, unless there is definite need, is not wise. The Spanish people will settle their own difficulties ultimately.

I cannot see what Deputy Belton means by the policy of non-intervention making for the partition of Spain. Perhaps I am wrong and that he is right in adducing any argument that seems to him to have weight. It seems to me that the intervention of a foreign State in that conflict was much more likely to lead to the partition of Spain.

My belief and hope is that the Spanish people will ultimately settle the conflict, that we will again have a united Spanish people, and that we can continue our representation to the united State through the chosen head of the State. How soon that may happen I cannot tell, but I believe it will be the case and that we will be in the position of continuing our representation to the Spanish people when they have definitely changed their State, if they do change. If they have a new head to the State our representative will automatically be accredited to that head. It is suggested that our present representative is not able to do the work of representation in Spain. I believe he is able to do it better from where he is than if he were attached to one of the two conflicting States. As a matter of fact, he is in the position of being able to make representation to both sides, and we do not feel that there is any necessity to send a de facto agent as, for instance, other Governments have done.

We are able to do whatever it is possible to do under the circumstances in the way of protecting the interests of our people on one side or the other. I cannot, therefore, say to the House that I see any prospect of an immediate change in our policy in that regard. I think that, on the whole, it is the wisest and the soundest policy and that having adopted and adhered to the policy of non-intervention, we should not change from that attitude unless it becomes clear to us that the policy is a complete failure and I fear if that day should arise then we should be faced with the dangers that I anticipated when I spoke of a general European conflict.

May I put a question to the Minister on the point he has just made which was not followed in his opening statement. He says that the accredited Minister to Spain or to the head of the Spanish State can do his work better by not being in direct contact with either of the parties at war. Has the present accredited representative ever made representations or ever had direct contact with General Franco on any occasion about any subject?

Yes. On more than one occasion we have been able to make contacts. In fact, there has been more communication with representatives of the Franco Government, if I may put it that way, than with the other. Representations have been made on both sides. He has been in a position in which he has been able to make representations where these were necessary.

I have been asked—I think it was by Deputy Cosgrave—whether any compensation has been demanded in the case of Miss Boland. As is usual in these cases, demand was made on both sides because we did not know which side is going ultimately to have the responsibility for the actions and for the liabilities of the State to an external power. We want to do what is usual in these cases and that is to make our demand on both sides. That has been done. So far there has not been any acceptance of liability so far as I am aware.

Another matter was raised on the score that I had mentioned Italy and our former friendship with Italy. There was a hearkening back to our attitude at the time of sanctions and a remark was made which I resent. I do not care whether it comes from a Deputy in an important position in the House or not, I resent very much the suggestion that our foreign policy is being dictated by Britain. That has never been true as far as I am aware and certainly it has not been true since I came into office. The external policy in so far as I have anything to do with the direction of it and for which I can directly and immediately account and any actions we take in external affairs are taken from the point of view of our interests alone. If it happened that our interests were the same as those of Britain, then our policy was the same, but it was the same because of common interest, not because one dictated it to the other. Repeatedly we have taken different views and different sides from the sides taken by the British representatives, and this policy of sanctions at the time was taken because of our commitments under the League of Nations to protect the independence of one of the State members. I was surprised to find the Leader of the Opposition following Deputy Belton's line in that direction, because my recollection was that when we had the question of sanctions under discussion in the Dáil the Opposition did not go into the Lobby against the proposals at the time. I think there were two Deputies who asked to go on record in disapproval. Deputy Belton was one and I think Deputy Kent was the other. But that policy was not adopted by us as the national policy because Britain was following on those lines. You might as well say that we adopted it because any one of the other 50 nations had agreed to that policy. The policy was adopted because we regarded it as being in accord with our obligations under the League of Nations, and as we were one of the States whose independence we hoped might be protected by combined action in that way, we felt that we, at any rate, should not be one of the nations who would refuse to fulfil their obligations. The whole question of the League of Nations can be raised on the next Estimate. Deputies if they wish to discuss it can do so, but, merely with regard to the past, our action was taken at that time for the reasons I have stated. It is easy to be a prophet after the event, but even if we could have prophesied what might have resulted, still, so long as we are members of the League of Nations, with those obligations, we propose to carry out our obligations under the terms of the Covenant.

Deputy Belton, I think, tried to make out that when the British changed their policy we changed ours, and tried to use that as an argument in favour of his contention that we followed Britain and that Britain dictated foreign policy to us. He did not follow his line of argument by giving any facts that supported it. As a matter of fact, the facts to which he appealed prove quite the contrary because our attitude in regard to Italy was not following up any action taken or any changes made by Britain. We had anticipated these long before and they were taken because of our view that a new set of circumstances had arisen, new conditions had arisen and we were satisfied that we had fulfilled our obligations to the League of Nations and that there was a change inevitably coming about and as long as there was not going to be combined action in a certain direction we did not see that it was serving our interests or serving the general purpose which we have at heart by continuing to refuse as it would have meant, to have diplomatic relations with Italy. So that the very facts to which the Deputy appeals in support of his argument prove not that he is right but that he is wrong. This question of foreign policy we had before. I mean the question of our foreign policy and its relation to British foreign policy. We had it before and we have had people talking very foolishly about a common Commonwealth policy. As far as I know there is no such common foreign affairs policy. Each individual State decides its foreign policy in accordance with its own interests. In deciding that policy it will naturally take into account what other States with which it is closely associated may be doing, but ultimately the decision is taken on the grounds of the interests of the particular State and there is no such thing then as a general common Commonwealth policy.

The same thing is true in regard to defence. There is no such thing as a common Commonwealth policy of defence. I have never heard of it. Each individual State, just as in foreign affairs generally, in regard to that vital matter of defence, makes up its mind as to the policy that is best in its own interest. Naturally, in coming to a conclusion as to what is best in its own interests it considers what is going to be the policy of States which may have interests in common, and in so far as considerations of that kind affect it, to that extent, but only to that extent, is the policy of one State determined by that of the other States.

Before I go any further into the question of defence—I raised it myself; I mentioned it at the outset, and I have no objection at all to talking in general terms about it—we may as well deal with it on this Vote; in fact, there could be considerations put forward as to why it is better that we should discuss it on this Vote rather than on the Vote for Defence itself. Nearly all Deputies followed me in referring to it, but I would like to emphasise at the very beginning that any defence policy which this State adopts, or which the Government proposes for adoption, is a policy which it will adopt in its own interests. In deciding its policy, if it is wise it will take all the factors into consideration. The extent to which the State or the Government proposing the policy neglects to take account of any particular factor, to that extent the whole policy may be faulty.

May I ask if that involves consultation with the other States?

It involves anything which the Government which is responsible for the time being for the protection may think wise or valid—not necessary, but wise; what is wise at any particular time. We can discuss that at some other period, but what I want to stress at the moment is the fact that we will have in a short time the whole of the territory of this part of Ireland ours. It will be ours to defend or to neglect. There are no commitments of any kind, either on this Government or a future Government, with regard to what we shall do. What we shall do will be done purely from the point of view of what we consider right and wise in our own interests.

After consultation?

Before consultation, if necessary. If we do have consultation, it will only be because we consider it wise. I have not committed myself, this Government has not committed itself, and far less is any future Government committed to the question of consultation. That will be done in accordance with our own interests. We have plenty of time to discuss this. There is nothing of greater importance, perhaps, for our people at the present moment, nothing which would so justify a discussion, as this whole matter. I am only anxious at this stage not to have misunderstanding or misrepresentation. I want to make it clear that we are perfectly, completely and absolutely free to adopt any policy we choose. The moment that is done, then we will be arguing on right lines. There are no commitments, consultations or anything else. Anything we may do, or any steps we may take, we will be perfectly free to take. Those steps will be taken only if we consider it wise in our own interests to take them.

Perhaps I should again refer to the smaller question asked by, I think, Deputy Davin with reference to the £600,000. The sum of £600,000 was not introduced into the Estimates for the defence of the ports. There is no justification from anything I have said for such a belief. There is nothing that I can remember having said that would justify anybody saying that this £600,000 was for the defence of the ports. This additional sum of £600,000 was put into the Estimates because of the fact that we wanted to increase the allowance made for our defence. And why? For the reason that Deputy O'Sullivan has been talking about. We are living in a time of danger, a danger that nobody can say is past. It seemed to be more critical some time ago, but one never knows. In these matters it is the thing that you do not expect will happen that actually happens, and very often the thing you think will happen does not happen. It would be very wrong for us to calculate on one thing or the other. Wisdom in our case suggests that we should calculate on the worst, that we should prepare for the worst. If we prepare for the worst and try to do our best to meet the worst, then we can hope it will not happen. If it happens it will not strike us unprepared. If we keep on hoping for the best and the worst should happen, then we would be unprepared.

As regards the international situation, there is no use in pretending that I can give any secret information or that I can give a better picture to Deputies than they can get from the newspapers. Again, the best information may be completely misleading. We do from time to time get information of a certain type, but the Government would be making a very big mistake were it to rely upon that, depend upon it as an excuse for not taking the steps that should be taken by people who realise they are in a critical situation. I believe we are; I believe the world has been in a very critical and dangerous situation, in danger of war for a considerable time past. It was that very strong consideration of our responsibility here for the defence of our people, seeing that if there was a European war we should not be taken unawares—that was the immediate reason for my sending the despatch out of which the negotiations began. It was quite clear, as regards the position of a Government here if the ports were to continue to be occupied by British forces, that it would be quite a different position from the position in which they will find themselves if these places were not occupied.

What about the Six Counties?

As I said at the beginning, the Six Counties remain the cause of friction between Great Britain and ourselves. It is a separate matter. I would not suggest for one moment that in a debate on external affairs it was not an appropriate matter to raise. When we are dealing with Great Britain we are dealing with an external affair and there is no doubt in regard to any negotiations or dealings we may have with Britain the question of partition is bound to arise. It was a British Act of Parliament that was responsible, in the first instance, for partition and, according to British law, Northern Ireland is a part of the general State; although there is a certain separate Parliament in the Six Counties, they still regard it as a part of the State—the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Therefore, in so far as we are dealing at any time with Great Britain, that must obviously be a primary matter of consideration and a fact that must always be at the back of the minds of any people who are trying to bring about better relations between the people of this country and Great Britain.

Deputy Davin asked for some information as to what had taken place at the Conference. I made it quite clear that from the beginning to the end the importance of this matter was stressed, so far as the Irish delegation was concerned. That it did not have any effect so far as the ultimate Agreement was concerned, is clear from the face of the Agreement itself, in which that matter is not mentioned. Whether it had any other effect, I am not in a position to know. The British Government had first-hand information of the situation as we saw it, both from the point of view of our people who are held in that area against their will and who are suffering there, and also from the point of view of the relations between the two countries as a whole. That fact has been stressed. These aspects have certainly been stressed. They were certainly stressed by the delegation and it is not the delegation's fault if a full realisation has not been brought home to the minds of the people who were negotiating with us.

Whose fault is it?

If they still occupy the Six Counties?

Does the Deputy want me to pass a general historical criticism upon what has happened for the last 20 years or so? I am not going to do it. I know so far as a majority of the Irish people who are living in this island are concerned, they want to have a united Irish State. Of that I am certain. I do not think I could usefully go into that question of partition any further. That it will be the aim of this Government to do everything that it is in its power to end that situation, I can assure the Deputy. I feel that that is equally true no matter what Government sits on these benches. That the removal of that remaining obstacle to good relations must remain the primary purpose of every Government here is apparent to everybody. More than that on behalf of this Government or any other Government that may be present on these benches, I can hardly say except to add that the Government will use every opportunity that comes its way to promote the achievement of reunion in this country.

Might I ask the Taoiseach what steps, if any, have been taken by the Government to make known the sufferings of the minority in the North, or what steps have been taken to alleviate the sufferings of the people of the North? What steps have been taken in regard to Proportional Representation, to end the farce of elections by the methods in existence there and to protect the interests of the minority?

I can only say that all these matters were brought into the question during the negotiations.

Was the question of Proportional Representation mentioned?

The whole question of the position that arose there, in which you have gerrymandering and all the rest of it, and the question of inequalities in the representation at the moment there, were brought to the attention of the people who were negotiating on the opposite side.

And then we propose to imitate them!

If the Deputy wants to debate that, we can do so.

A Deputy

You did your share of it in your time.

There may be a time when these matters might be made the subject of a very interesting debate. I think the people on the opposite side might not all agree on that question. I think their statements in the past showed that they were not all of the same mind on that matter. I do not know whether political opposition has united them in favour of it or not. However, that is a matter for another place. It is an important matter. The whole question of how you are going to get satisfactory representation is one which is naturally of great importance in any representative assembly.

I do not know whether this is quite relevant, but does the Taoiseach wish to make it quite clear that this is relevant: that that matter was raised, that the question of Proportional Representation and gerrymandering was raised at the recent conference? Would the Taoiseach say "yes" or "no"? A mere nod does not get reported.

I was only giving my advance assurance to the Deputy. The point is that all these aspects of Partition were, in fact—I will not say discussed—but the position was explained from our side. That is all I can say.

Including Proportional Representation?

I would have to look the matter up. I do not know if I have any notes that would enable me to give a definite reply to the Deputy. All I can say is that the various aspects were put forward. The various aspects that appeared to be relevant were mentioned so far as I can remember.

Then I am afraid I must resign myself to the fact that I am not going to get "yes" or "no" for an answer.

Be it so. To be absolutely positive, I would have to look up the notes to try to get something definite. I am almost as certain as I can be, without written confirmation, that that aspect of the matter was discussed, that under Proportional Representation there was a certain principle which would have given representation to the present minority in the North, and that they were deprived of that. I am almost certain of that, but I would not be quite certain without having some written confirmation.

Coming back to the question of defence, in the conditions in which we find ourselves the question of national defence is of primary importance. Until this question of the forts had been settled it was not easy to get any satisfactory line upon which one could go. I pointed out the dilemma in which the Government necessarily found itself as long as the forts on these ports were in British occupation. I do not know if it is necessary to remind the House what the dilemma was. Perhaps, as there may be some new Deputies here, it would be no harm to repeat it. The position was this: First of all, it was not merely the occupation of the ports that was the important thing. These Articles of the Treaty of 1921 definitely gave Britain the right to make a claim for other facilities—not merely to occupy these ports but for any facilities she might require for the defence of Britain and Ireland by sea. If war broke out and the British Government made demands in accordance with the terms of that Treaty, my belief is that any Government that would accede to these demands would immediately forfeit the confidence of the majority of its own people. The Government would find itself in this position, that by acceding to the demands it would alienate the sympathy of the people which a Government needs to have in a crisis such as war. If, on the other hand, it refused to accede to the demands that might be made under the terms of that Treaty, then you had a danger of immediate hostilities between this State and Britain. There you had in one case a danger at home, an internal danger, if the Government took cognisance of the Articles of the Treaty and acceded to the claims in accordance with it or you had a danger of war or conflict with Britain if you did not accede. Now, these Articles of the Treaty have gone.

There was another aspect of it too that perhaps I should refer to. It is this that whatever chance there was of an outside State recognising the neutrality of this country if we had the ports, there would be no likelihood of their recognising it if our ports and harbours were being used on one side. The enemies of Britain in such circumstances would have a further reason for refusing to recognise our neutrality. Suppose our people desired to be neutral, there was a grave chance of that desire being frustrated so long as the ports were in occupation of the British or so long as she had these rights under the Treaty. That brings me to the question of neutrality. I think that our people do not differ from the people of any other part of the world in their desire not to get into a war if they can keep out of it. I think it is a very natural desire to avoid all such wars. Modern wars are not luxuries. They are not things that people desire to have. People will only get into a war if they are forced to do so, if every possible means of avoiding it fails. I think we can take it as a general proposition, true of our people as of every other people, that we do not wish to get into a war if we can keep out of it, and that it should be a part of our general aim to keep out of war if we can and not to get into war if we can keep out of it. Assuming other things were equal, if there were any chance of our neutrality in general being possible, we would probably say that we want to remain neutral. I do not know that you can follow that up by saying in any war but, in general, our desire would be for neutrality as far as possible.

When I said some time ago that neutrality did not seem in modern circumstances to be possible for a State, what I meant to say is this, that neutrality requires not merely the desire on the part of the State that wishes to be neutral, but recognition by the opposite party of that desire and of that fact. The trouble is that States are not willing to recognise neutrality if a refusal to recognise it gives them any advantage whatever. We had States that did not desire to take any active steps in the last war, which took no initiative and no active steps, and yet they were not treated as neutral by Powers which were strong enough to ignore the fact that the States in question wanted to be neutral. If I wanted to be more accurate in the expression of what I said, I should have said that the trouble in modern times in that neutrality is not recognised, that you want to have a recognition of neutrality, and not merely the fact that the State in question desires to be neutral and does not desire to take any active participation.

I think that, when considering this question of defence, we ought to distinguish carefully between the constitutional position and the position that facts may bring us into. Constitutionally, I want every Deputy to realise that we have no commitments, we can keep out of war, we can be neutral if we want. There is no constitutional obligation on us, so far as I can see, not to remain neutral. I think our position in that regard differs in no wise from the position of Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. The heads of Governments in these States have very definitely stated that they cannot be committed to war and cannot be committed in advance to take any action, except whatever action may at the time be considered right and advisable by the Parliament in all the circumstances of the time. We are exactly in that situation. There are no advance commitments on us to take any side in a conflict that may ensure or any action whatever, except such as, at the time, may commend itself to Parliament. In other words, the Parliament of that date, in these circumstances, will be completely free.

It is very important for us to realise that that is the situation which we hold exists. There may be, as there can be on other grounds, States that may wish to ignore that position and will do so, not because there is a really good case that they can make, but because they will want to ignore it; just the same as any State that wants to ignore the neutrality of another State, wants to benefit by the ignoring of it, will naturally try to get some excuse for the ignoring of it. Constitutionally then, we are perfectly free, and it is actually written into the Constitution what our position is to be. I will give the reference in a moment when I get it. At any rate, the position is this, that war cannot be declared except by the Government and the Parliament; that war cannot be entered into except with the consent and sanction of the Parliament.

If we are clear about the constitutional position we can come down now and consider what are the facts in which we may find ourselves. What are they? It seems to me, in the first place, that we have to consider the general policy of defence from attacks from any quarter and I think we may divide these into two—an attack in which Britain would be attacking us and an attack upon us to which Britain would not in any way be a party. If Britain should attack us for one reason or another we shall have to defend ourselves against Britain as best we can. Just as we had to try to secure our freedom and our rights in the past by engaging in conflict with Britain, if such a thing should happen in future, we shall have to do the same and we have got to be, as best we can with our resources, in a position to make it unprofitable for Britain to do so.

I believe that such a thing is not going to happen. I think that with the progress of events and the direction in which we are travelling, and in which the world is travelling, that is not likely to happen. But I have nothing to say to anybody who says "It may happen and, therefore, you have to think of it in your general defence." To meet that possible contingency which may be in some people's minds we shall have to keep that at the back of our minds in planning our defence generally. If people think: "Well, you are too small a Power, and if Great Britain should attack you again you will not be able to succeed," all I know is that there are 750 years of history to show, at any rate, that we have not simply sat idly by and allowed our rights to be taken absolutely with impunity. We have done our best to try to secure our rights, and I can only say that I hope that that particular thing is finished, and that in future, in so far as our defence plans are concerned, if such an occasion arose we were not going to find ourselves in a position in which Britain was going to be one of the Powers or States that were making an attack upon our rights or liberties.

That position, of course, is complicated by the existence of Partition, and if Partition were solved and we were a united Irish State here, I would say that that possibility would merit far less consideration than it does at the present time. The same thing will be true for Partition and the effect of Partition in regard to the other alternative which I am going to talk about. The other alternative would be one in which Britain was not the attacker, but one in which our rights, or liberties, or interests generally were being attacked by some State other than Britain. We have to ask ourselves: will Britain be neutral in such a case? Would Britain just stand aside and allow us to be attacked by an outside State? If the attack were to go certainly to the point in which a foreign Power was likely to get possession of our territory from which they would be in a position to menace British interests or rights, either immediately or at a later time, there is no doubt that Britain would have an interest and an immediate interest because of her geographic position and not because of any association of a political character which we might have with her. The fact that there is a certain association at the present time means that, possibly, that consideration is likely to be reinforced. Therefore, it is more likely that, if we should be attacked by an outside State, Britain would, if she felt that she was going to be affected by the result, be interested in giving to us any aid that we might ask.

Would we ask it? Again, it would depend on the circumstances. It would depend upon whether we thought it advisable to act alone or not. If we considered that we had an advantage in acting alone we would act alone in all probability. But, we might be perfectly certain that if we wanted it in such a case British aid would be forthcoming—not in our interests. I am not pretending for a moment that States act in these cases from altruistic reasons. Sometimes they do, but such cases are rare. Generally, they do so for some immediate selfish interest. That is true of us as it is of other States. I am not saying of other States what I would not say in the main, and using general terms, of ourselves. Consequently, if we are going to be attacked by an outside State we may be able to—I think it is not unreasonable that we should—if we wanted it, count on assistance. And, if we are going to plan our defences, we can plan from the point of view of meeting that situation—the second alternative that I am proposing—not alone, but with assistance. Naturally, if we had a great Continental power attacking use we would recognise that we would need such assistance, because of ourselves we probably would not be able, in fact I think it is almost certain to meet frontal and a straightforward attack from any foreign State. All that we could do with that foreign State is what we could do with Britain if she attacked us— do the best we could, making up our minds that if it was going to take generations of further struggle to get that foreign State out, that then our people would have to consider doing it. But that we would be successful in the first instance, unaided, I do not think is likely.

In dealing with defence, it is facts, in so far as we can get them, that are going to count, and we would be very unwise, when dealing with a serious matter of this sort, to try to deal with it on any other basis. I think it was Deputy Mulcahy who pointed out the danger of trying to deal with a matter of this sort by appealing to feelings that were natural in other circumstances. That would be quite wrong, very unfair and unjust to our people. It is because I do not want to have any misunderstandings that I have been stressing, as much as I have, the fact of our constitutional and other freedom, because it is true that we are considering this from the point of view of Irish interests. I believe it would be true, no matter what differences there may be in our own views with regard to what is wise and reasonable, that the matter would be approached from that point of view by every member of the House.

Well, then, if we are going, in the circumstances that I have been talking about, to get assistance from Britain, or to have circumstances to meet in which we can only win and secure our freedom by getting that insistence, commonsense dictates that we should try to provide in advance so that that assistance would be of the greatest possible benefit to us. If, in order to do that, the consultation which Deputy Davin mentioned was necessary and advisable, then such consultation would be held by us. I think that not to do it would be to lose advantages which we could have in meeting a possible danger, and I do not think that we could, in a matter of this serious importance, afford to throw away any advantages. If, for instance, by consultation we should know what steps the British were going to take in such a case; if we were going to be attacked and the British, whose interests in such circumstances were going to be affected by it, were going to assist, a knowledge of their plans in such a case would be of very great importance, naturally, because we should, in anticipating what might happen, prepare our plans accordingly. If it is necessary to have an organisation here which would be able to take the utmost possible advantage of that, then we should strengthen our organisation so that we could do it. I am talking now in general terms.

The Minister for Defence is here, but the fact is that it is only recently that we have got a new situation, and that we have been able to get down to these matters in the way that we were anxious to get down to them. So far as the Government is concerned, we have not had before us a considered policy with regard to some of these items, because of the fact that it will, of necessity, depend very largely on the advice which we may get from the technical side. But this Government, anyhow, is going to get all the assistance that it can from any direction in the case of the circumstances which I have outlined as possible. All you can do is to try and provide for possible contingencies, and, of course, it is those that seem to be immediate and dangerous that will occupy our attention at first. As I have said, I am speaking in general terms. I am not giving the House at the moment—the time will come for that— the greater detail which I think the House would be entitled to expect if a longer time had intervened between the coming in of the new conditions and the present moment. However, I think we can usefully go along the lines that I have been going on, and see what they would suggest that we should do. I have already said—the matter has not arisen—that, in my opinion, if a consultation would put us in a better position to meet the danger that we might have to meet, then I think there should be consultation.

The next thing is, what part do these ports, which we have just taken over, play in the general scheme of defence? Again I have to answer by telling you that I do not know, because a general defence scheme, from the military point of view, has not yet been worked out. But I can say now—I have said it before—what, as a layman looking at this, I would be very tenacious about. If the experts put something of a contrary character before me, I would be very tenacious of my own view. These ports are obviously points controlling trade routes which could either be attacked or interfered with. Consequently, any power that was anxious to get possession of them, if there was a big world conflict, or if there was any power that was anxious to get possession of our territory at all and was prepared to face the consequences, it would have to think of these as points that would be especially useful to it.

I suppose they would be useful and, therefore, a point of temptation to a power that was going to ignore our rights and we should consider it important to have them so equipped that we would be in the position to deny that power. Of course, if a power lands anywhere in your country it can get around from the land side to your ports as well as from the sea but these are objectives which would, naturally, occur to an outside power engaged in a conflict in which control over trade routes might be of importance. We regard them as such and the most effective preparation to enable us to deny them to a foreign power should be made. Whether that is best done from the sea side or from the land side, I am not in a position to say at the moment but that they are important points and that, therefore, it would be a mistake for us to leave them undefended, is a thing to which I hold. I also hold to keeping them equipped and useful from that point of view—that we might be attacked either because a foreign power wished to get possession of our territory or wished to use our territory as a base for attack on Great Britain. It would not matter why they came once they got possession of our territory. It might not be easy to get them to withdraw and our purpose should be to keep them out. From the point of view of getting assistance and making that assistance of the greatest possible value, I think we ought to keep these ports and arrange for their defence, so that, in that particular second alternative they would be of the greatest possible value. As to how they should be equipped, that is a matter rather for the experts than for me or the members of this House. I am talking only in general terms but I think Deputies will agree that these ports are important because of their geographical position and, therefore, are prizes which a State attacking us would like to secure. We should, therefore, put ourselves in the best position we can to see that they do not secure them and that they are of the greatest possible value so long as we are able to hold them. The defence of our country, as a whole, has to be considered and how far these forts will fit into our general defensive scheme I am not in a position at the moment to say. Whether there must be modernisation of the equipment there, I cannot say. I had never been in the interior of these forts until within the last few days. I was in one of them the day before yesterday and in three of them yesterday morning. Our officers have not, I think, been in them, either, until quite recently. Therefore, what is to be done in regard to them will have to be worked out. They must fit into the general, national defensive scheme. If somebody says that these forts or harbours are not going to offer defence for the Shannon or for Galway I say that so far as direct defence is concerned that is quite true but how, indirectly, they may be able to affect the defence of the Shannon and Galway is another matter. It may be necessary for us to see that these points are not open and to consider now they should be defended. In all these defence plans, there is the fundamental consideration that the nation numbers only 4¼ million persons and that we, in this part, account for only 3 millions. Our resources are limited and, no matter how well we try, we cannot make certain that our defences will be adequate. It is almost certain that our best defences would be inadequate from the point of view of complete protection. Taking that fact into consideration, we have to go as far as we think our resources will permit. If our plans are wise and good, the farther we go the more certain we are that we shall not be attacked because the more expensive we make it for any possible enemy to attack us the less likely we are to be attacked.

We, here, shall differ as to the amounts that are available and the amounts it is reasonable to vote for this purpose. Again, that matter will be determined very largely by the technical, defensive plans put up to us. If we had a plan prepared and were able to obtain reasonable security by the expenditure of an additional £250,000, I do not think that the House would deny the country that measure of protection for the sake of an extra expenditure of £250,000. What the sum will be, I cannot at the moment say. All I can say is that we have provided the amount that is likely to be expended in the present year. We have provided in the Budget for an extra £600,000. The use of that money will be dealt with when the Minister brings forward his detailed Estimates. What the ultimate cost of our defences is going to be, I cannot say. It will probably differ from year to year according to the circumstances and according to the needs of the moment.

I do not know whether or not I have gone sufficiently into this matter for the present purpose. I have been able to deal only with general principles. I think that that is all I could be expected to do on this Estimate. What I have said will give a general indication of what my mind is on the matter and what, I am satisfied, the general attitude of the Government is in regard to these questions. The details will have to be dealt with on the Estimate itself. I should like, before I end, to stress what I have said—that any steps we are taking will be taken not because there are commitments of any kind—because there is none—but solely because they are, in our opinion, in the interests of our own country.

If as the Taoiseach admits that consultation with other countries that have interests in common is necessary, would he not also admit that consultation between his Government and other Parties in this House is also essential?

I do not know what may result finally from this, but the Government must, in the first place, go into this matter and examine it in detail in a manner which we have not been able to do up to the present and, so far as it is possible, to arrive at a public policy. I agree with the Deputy that this is a matter of very great seriousness and that it is one in which there should be the utmost frankness. There should be no hiding away of the essentials. There may be certain things which, from the military point of view, it is essential should not be made public—not because we did not want our people to know them but because people other than our people who should not know about it would know about it. But I think that in so far as it is practicable the Government will be very anxious to get assistance from other Parties in the House.

There were one or two small points which I raised and with which I think the Taoiseach intended to deal. There were also one or two questions of bigger issue. Of the smaller, one was who accredits our Ministers to foreign States?

Right. I have that matter here.

The other question was the general question of our external policy. On that I should like a little more definiteness. I will admit straight away that the Taoiseach has, to a certain extent, disarmed me by the number of times he said "I do not know" and a number of times he said he had no policy when he came down to the concrete. That does tend a little to disarm me. The Taoiseach made it quite clear from our written Constitution what the purely Constitutional position was. But he said that facts were something different. I had made that distinction myself when I spoke. What I ventured to devote all my attention to were the likely facts. I took it for granted that we should like to stay out of any future war, but I directed attention to the things that were likely to happen. I gathered from the various speeches of the Taoiseach and especially the one on the 29th April that the most likely way in which we could be involved in war was not by any attack from Great Britain. I admit that is out of the question, but I do not think either that any foreign power is likely to attack us for our own sake. But I think it is highly likely that we may be involved in the war—that was the position taken by the Taoiseach on the 29th April—owing to what I may call our geographical position. On that day Deputy Dillon put this question:—

"Did I understand the Prime Minister correctly when I believed him to have said that if we continued to send foodstuffs to Great Britain in time of war that it would be folly to pretend that we could maintain our neutrality?"

The reply of the President on that occasion was:—

"I think it would be so in fact."

Now, I think that can be expanded. To get food into Great Britain directly would almost inevitably be the cause of our being involved in war.

I do admit that we are not committed to any policy except we think that policy is wise—in the best interests of the country. The Taoiseach again and again repeated that the only thing that would govern our conduct would be what would be good in the interests of this country. What I am anxious to get from the Taoiseach is a statement of what he thinks would be a wise policy and what would be good in the interests of this country. Has the Taoiseach made up his mind as to what a wise policy would be? He told us again and again that we are free to adopt what is a wise policy. What I was anxious to get was whether the Taoiseach had made up his mind in the contingency what would be a wise policy. We were facing the prospect of a European war a short time ago. The Taoiseach hinted that once a war was on it would be rather late in the day to consult about measures. Admitted we are not committed to consultation except we think it wise, am I to assume that the Taoiseach does think it wise to have consultation? Admitted that he need not do it if he does not think it wise, does he think it wise to have consultation? Does he think it wise to have a plan of co-operation beforehand? He indicated in the course of his speech that in a certain contingency, namely that we would be attacked, Great Britain would come to our aid. Would it be wise then to start consultation beforehand in order to know where we were? Again, there is this one question which I admit the Taoiseach has prevented me from asking by saying he did not know, that is what the cost would be. He says he does not know and that is quite true. Let us look on this matter of defence in this way: Either that we stand alone or that we stand in co-operation with another power, namely Great Britain. I ask does the Taoiseach think that £600,000 a year is any real contribution to defence if we stand alone in case of attack? I do not think it is or ten times that sum. Therefore, I must take it, unless the Estimates jump up very much, that the question of consultation and co-operation must come up for decision very quickly. I admit that it is a matter of extreme importance. I am not at all anxious to make a debating point, but this matter is of great importance for the country. I want now to know definitely whether the Government has made up its mind definitely on the policy it is going to pursue from now on in what, after all, is the most likely contingency why our defence forces should be called into action.

The Taoiseach to conclude finally.

Well, what I have just said was really in answer to an invitation from the Taoiseach himself.

I do not think that the Deputy can complain.

I will be glad of any liberties the Chair can give to either side on this matter because I do think it will help to clarify the situation on both sides, if we clear our views as to what is the most important matter we could discuss. Now we are discussing this matter for the first time in a set of circumstances in which we can get down to bed-rock for the future. I am sorry to say it is not as far as I would like it to go because of the disturbing factor of Partition which disturbs everything we are considering here. I will deal with the general argument we have been using already. I quite admit that my analysis of the possibilities was defective to this extent. Besides the two that I mentioned there was another one in which Britain was attacked but in which our interests were so obvious in the matter that we should consider, though not the direct means or object of attack, that we were directly concerned. I should also consider that as one of the alternatives because assuming that the people of this island were free, that Partition was out of the way, there is hardly a doubt that having settled our difficulties with Great Britain as regards our independence, we would see here a continuance of that situation, a continuance of our independence and the fact that Britain recognises that independence.

Therefore, if you look at the map of the world, or the map of Europe, and think of a completely free and independent Ireland in relation to that map, there is no doubt that the island of Britain would be a natural shelter between us and attacks from the Continent. So long as Britain was there as a shelter, and so long as she was not attacking us herself and was sufficiently strong to be a shelter between us and an attacking state, we, therefore, would have an interest in seeing that that sheltering position was maintained. Consequently, there are circumstances in which a direct attack upon Great Britain, even though it was not a direct attack upon us, but which might remove from us the shelter or protection that we had up to then, would be a matter of serious importance to our people. In our general plans, therefore, we might have to take that possibility into consideration also.

I think, however, that these two are really only one aspect of the same thing in practice, and that is that, in practice, it would mean that we should have plans so as to enable the Government of the day, taking its decision in the circumstances of the day, to be in a position to have the utmost preparation made. As I say, these two aspects of it are really one, namely, that of being able to see how Britain and ourselves, if we were co-operating, would have the most effective combination or co-operation. I can see, from the arguments that are put forward in that respect, that it would be of very great importance indeed that each country should have a fair idea of what the other's plans were under these circumstances, and that it is very hard to get that knowledge without consultation in advance. The Deputy asked me whether, as a fact, we had made up our minds in that regard. I have to answer him "No," because there are other aspects of that question which would have to be considered before we would finally make up our minds in the matter. Consultation might connote something different from what the facts are, and might involve consequences, too, which should be considered in that regard before one's mind was definitely made up. As I have said the Government as a Government has not considered definitely its final plans, because sufficient time has not intervened to enable us to have the reports of our experts considered. That is one general aspect of the question which has been raised by Deputy O'Sullivan.

Now, with regard to food and what, in fact, would be our attitude in that connection, again we are very slow to commit ourselves in advance, because I think that, whilst we should make plans to meet contingencies, we ought not to commit ourselves in advance to policies in regard to these certain contingencies, because to the extent you are doing that, to that extent you might be depriving Parliamentary Government of its proper liberty. However, that we should make our plans to meet these contingencies is certain, and as far as commitments are concerned, we should not enter into them except where they are absolutely necessary if our plans are to be made satisfactorily. Now, with regard to the question of food: suppose a country regarded our sending of food to Britain, or our continuing our ordinary peace-time trade with Britain, as being inimical to their interests in war, and that they regarded the disruption of that trade as being essential to them, I suppose they would do as other powers have done in recent wars; that is, they would ignore any position we might have taken up in regard to neutrality and do their best to disrupt that, either by warning us, so to speak, that if we continued that trade, such-and-such would be the consequences, or, without warning, they would simply attack that trade and disrupt it by simply attacking our ports or whatever vessels would be carrying on the trade or attacking any other lines of communication that, inland, might be leading up to that trade.

Well, I think our people would insist on the right to continue their ordinary peace-time trade with another country, and if we were strong enough to do so, I think we would resist any such attack; but a modern war is not a thing to be engaged in lightly, at any rate, and one has to balance very carefully the losses which would result from a war with the other losses which might result, and the Government of the day might very well say: "Very well, leaving questions of principle aside, the loss of our trade is such-and-such, but if we engage in a war to defend our trade we are probably going to lose a great deal more." The Government of that day might have to hesitate as to the line it would take in such a case, but I would take it that in general the natural disposition of any Government and any people would be to defend their ordinary rights. They would have to weigh the costs, however, and that should not be left out of consideration. Ordinarily, however, as a people carrying on our peace-time trade, if we were attacked we would naturally defend ourselves, and the moment you engage in defence it is necessary that you should make it as effective as possible. Very often, as is well known, the most effective form of defence is a good attack. Accordingly, in such a case, the Government of the day, or whatever Government had the responsibility, might have to take action, but at any rate, whatever might be the decision of the Government of the day and in the circumstances of the time, the duty of any Government, before the time, is to make provision so that the necessary defence could be put up. Consequently, this Government, at any rate, I can say, in considering that matter, would try to make plans in advance so that the Government of the day would find itself prepared and equipped with plans to meet a situation of that sort. I do not think the Deputy would expect me to go much further into the matter at this moment.

Well, then, with regard to consultation, and with regard to plans, I have indicated what our general attitude is, and before final decisions are taken we will have to know more from our experts as to what these things might involve. The final question I have been asked is: what are the terms of our passport? There will be no change whatever made in the passport. Our external relations and our associations with the States of the British Commonwealth, as the Deputy knows, are determined in the Constitution. First of all, the power to have these relations is fixed by an Article in the Constitution. Just at the moment I forget what Article it is, but, as I am quoting from the Constitution, I may say that I now have the one about war—the Article to which I referred in general terms. It is Article 28, and it is on page 58 of this copy of the Constitution which I have here. Section 3 of Article 28 says:

"War shall not be declared, and the State shall not participate in any war save with the assent of Dáil Eireann."

That is sub-section (1) of Section 3. Sub-section (2) of the same section says:

"In the case of actual invasion, however, the Government may take whatever steps they may consider necessary for the protection of the State, and Dáil Eireann, if not sitting, shall be summoned to meet at the earliest practicable date."

These are the two sub-sections that deal with war. Now, with regard to the question of a passport, I have said that the terms have not been changed.

Will the Minister read from one, because I have not seen one for some time?

As I say, the terms have not been changed. Our external relations are governed by Article 29. Our associations with the States of the British Commonwealth are governed, first of all, by the fact that we have these powers under Article 29. Article 29, Section 4, sub-section 1, says:—

"The executive power of the State in or in connection with its external relations shall in accordance with Article 28 of this Constitution be exercised by or on the authority of the Government——"

so that the executive power is exercised by or on the authority of the Government—"and

(2) For the purpose of the exercise of any executive function of the State in or in connection with its external relations, the Government may to such extent and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be determined by law, avail of or adopt any organ, instrument, or method of procedure used or adopted for the like purpose by the members of any group or league of nations with which the State is or becomes associated for the purpose of international co-operation in matters of common concern."

That is the general enabling power, enabling laws to be passed to make any arrangements that are necessary for procedure in regard to external relations of a certain type. That has been implemented, or rather it was in accordance with an Act that had already been passed, which may be regarded, if you like, as implementation of it in a certain direction. Section 3 of that Act—it is the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936—says:—

"(1) It is hereby declared and enacted that, so long as Saorstát Eireann is associated with the following nations, that is to say, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa, and so long as the King, recognised by those nations as the symbol of their co-operation continues to act (on behalf of each of those nations on the advice of the several Governments thereof) for the purposes of the appointment of diplomatic and consular representatives and the conclusion of international agreements, the King so recognised may, and is hereby authorised to, act on behalf of Saorstát Eireann for the like purposes as and when advised by the Executive Council so to do."

Those two taken together govern our relations with regard to the States of the British Commonwealth. Now, as I have said, since those were passed there has been no action taken in regard to the passport. The Irish section has been stamped over, and is rather difficult to read. It says:—

"Deinimíd-ne, Aire Gnóthaí Coigríche Saorstát Eireann, in ainm a Shoillse Seoirse V. Rí na Breataine Móire, na hÉireann agus na dTiarnaisí mBriotáineacha thar lear, Impire na nIndiacha, a iarraidh agus a éileamh ar gach n-aon lena mbaineann leigint don tsealbhóir dul ar aghaidh gan bac gan cosc agus gach congnhamh agus caomhnadh is gádh dhó do thabhairt dó."

Is there not an English form of it?

The English form is as follows:—

"We, the Minister for External Affairs of the Irish Free State, request and require, in the name of His Majesty George V., King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, all those whom it may concern, to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford him every assistance and protection of which he may stand in need."

That is the form as it stands at the moment. It is the form as it was, without alterations.

I said that owing to the importance of this matter I had a question to ask. For instance, we vote moneys allowing Deputies to go to inter-Parliamentary Unions, and the question inevitably arises as to what our general defence policy is. I wonder would I be right if I epitomize it as follows: First, we have constitutional provisions which prevent our armed forces or our people from partaking in war without a resolution of Dáil Eireann; secondly, we have no defence commitments with any country, not even with Great Britain; third, our general policy, as far as European conflicts are concerned, in the Continent of Europe at any rate, is one of non-intervention; fourth, if the territorial integrity of our country was threatened by a foreign enemy we might expect and we would welcome the co-operation of Great Britain in repelling such an aggression; fifth, if our important trade with Great Britain was interfered with by a foreign enemy we would expect and we would welcome the assistance of Great Britain in protecting our trade; sixth, because of those important considerations we have, without prejudice, constant consultation with Great Britain; and seventh, we believe that if Great Britain were engaged in a conflict in which we were standing neutral she still would expect the facilities of our ports, and we believe that our trade in connection with her is of such value as to warrant that she should get them. I ask is that a fair epitome of what our defence policy is?

I do not think it is, in this sense, that the Deputy goes further than I would be willing to go in taking decisions now with regard to what a Government might do afterwards. "Welcoming" and "Expecting" are words which I think are appropriate to an exact situation. If we should go on the basis of planning, on the basis that that might possibly be and would be likely to be the attitude of the Government of the day, then I agree, but I do not think it would be right that we, apart from the circumstances of the day, should try to negative—as it would be to a certain extent—that freedom which we should like the Government of the day to have.

Is it the present Government's policy that if they were attacked they would expect and would welcome——

We are not attacked, and I have not the circumstances. It is not a desire to hide anything. My desire is to keep the situation clear, and to avoid commitments even in words where commitments are not necessary. We are concerned at the moment not with giving pledges or promises or anything of that sort to anybody. We are concerned with the very simple matter of making the most effective defence plans we can. If the Deputy says that we, in making our defence plans, should consider that as a possible, and, in fact, if he wishes to go further, a likely attitude of the Government of that day, then I would say it is all right.

Of this day?

Of that day. We are not attacked. The Government of the day will be the Government who will be attacked.

You should have heard the Minister for Finance at Ringsend.

That was at the election.

I do not know what arguments the Minister for Finance entered into in connection with the matter. I take it that the Minister for Finance was trying to do a thing that it is very important should be done, and that is that our people should be wakened up to realise the dangers that are for them in the international situation.

Then the Taoiseach can have the greatest confidence in him because he left nothing unsaid. The gasometer was going to do the rest.

Again, I am not passing any judgment, but I think it is a thing that is very necessary for us to do at the present time. I think I myself said in some previous debate here that I felt it was rather strange that the thing which the Government should be the first to do—warn its people about the necessity for taking certain precautions—was being done by outside bodies.

The reason was that, at the moment that this was done by an outside body, we were trying to press that situation elsewhere, to make it quite clear that the defence situation, from the point of view of this Government, was an impossible one, and that we were anxious to clear matters up and get down to bedrock. This whole defence question is still more complicated by the fact that we have this Partition.

Am I to understand that, if I want to go to America now, the name of King George VI is still on the passport?

That is the passport being used at present.

Question put and agreed to.