75857 - The previous proposition

Ν. Lygeros

After the fall of Chamberlain, Winston Churchill formed a National Government. It was an all-party coalition. This was a reason to keep Malcolm MacDonald. His political career was well known in Palestine due to the McDonald White Paper. But the crucial point is the following. MacDonald wasn’t only the Minister of Health but in June 1940, he was sent to Dublin. In the meetings he had with Eamon de Valera, he was authorized to offer nothing less than the end of the Partition of Ireland with only one condition i.e. the future Free State would enter the war on the Allied side. But de Valera refused. In his mind he certainly had many reasons to do this but none of them were correct. In his mind neutrality was sure and unification risky. He wanted guarantees that at the end of the war the united Ireland would be a reality. For him the cost of the immediate abandonment of the neutrality was too big. Instead of that he tried to persuade MacDonald to authorize the sale of small arms and artillery to Ireland. But the British government refused it. They were afraid with that to help a potential successful Nazi invasion. Tactics were too important to allow strategy existence. But the offer was made and this is the important thing of all this. It was the previous proposition in wartime. Now we know the reality of neutrality even for Finland and Sweden. Things have changed. Neutrality is no more an argument for a nation.