De Valera and Anti-Treaty Policy

Introduction from Chronology

Writing to anti-Treaty TD Charles Murphy, de Valera outlines the three options he saw with regard to setting up governance of the anti-Treaty side: (1) ‘The Republican Party … take control, acting as legitimate Dáil’;  (2) ‘The Army Executive take control and assume responsibility’ and (3) ‘A Joint Committee be formed to decide policy for both’. 

More Detail

De Valera thought the first option to be the constitutionally correct but could not see getting ‘from the Army that unconditional allegiance without which our Government would be a farce’.  He went on to say “Even if we had the allegiance we have not the military strength to make our will effective; and we cannot, as in the time of the war with the British, point to authority derived from the vote of the majority of the people – We will be turned down definitely by the electorate in a few months’ time in any case”.  He rejected a joint executive and concluded that the only practicable policy was for the Army Executive to publicly accept all responsibility (as this would answer pro-Treaty propaganda that Republican politicians were behind the military resistance).  He went on to say “Rory O’Connor’s unfortunate repudiation of the Dáil, which I was so foolish to defend even to a straining of my own views in order to avoid the appearance of a split, is now the greatest barrier that we have.