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NORTHERN PREMIER'S PROTEST. (Received December 16, 9.10 a.m.) LONDON, December 15. Sir James Craig, m a letter to Mr Lloyd George, protests against the intention to place Ulster automatically under the Free State. He says it ib a complete reversal of the British Cabinet's policy expressed m the King's speech at Belfast and m correspondence between Mr Lloyd George and de Valera. There is neither explanation nor justification for the ' astounding charge which has been given to the 1920 Act. The latter has-been completely violated and the standard of allegiance granted to the Sinn Fein makes it impossible for Ulster ever to enter a Free State. (Received December 16, 10.35 a.m.) LONDON, December 15. Sir James Craig has left Belfast for London. It is officially stated that his sudden departure is due to the grave situation arising from 'Mr Lloyd George's reference m the Commons to Tyrone and Fermanagh. (Received December 16, 9.26 a.m.) LONDON, December 15. Sir James , Craig, m a letter dated the 14th, expresses the grave concern with which the Ulster Parliament notices that an agreement has been signed by his Majesty's Government without their having been previously consulted or since. On November 25 Me Lloyd George had promised that Ulster's rights would be m no way compromised until . the proposals were placed before the Ulster Cabinet. Referring to the proposal to revise the boundaries, Sir James Craig says he believe^' there, is no precedent m the history of the British Empire for taking territory from an established Government without its sanction. Moreover, it is a breach of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, which was only put m operation m June last. At a meeting on December 8, Mr Lloyd George explained that it was only intended to make a slight readjustment of boundaries so as to bring the loyalists who were just on the outside into Ulster and conversely to transfer an equivalent number of, Sinn Feiners to the Free State. . {Sir James Craig notified Mr Austen , o Cbamberlain before leaving London that he reserved the right of dissenting from the appointment of a Boundary Commission, saying: "We protest against : ,the intention of your Government t>o place Northern Ireland automatically m the Irish Free State. It is opposed to the British Premier's pledge of November 25 and is antagonistic to the general principles of the Empire regarding her people's liberties. It is a complete reversal of • the British Cabinet's own policy as declared in' the King's speech at the opening of the Northern Parliament and m the Premier's published correspondence with d© Valera. That policy was that Ulster should remain out until she chose of her own free will to enter an All-Ireland Parliament. Neither explanation nor justification for thiß astounding change has been attempted." Sir James Craig resents the reference to the future of Belfast Lough and asks: "What right has the Sinn Fein to be 1 a party to an agreement concerning the defences of Belfast Lough, which touches only the loyal counties of Antrim and Down?" Sir James Craig proceeds: "The principles of the 1920 Act have been completely violated, the Irish Free State being relieved of many of her responsibilities towards the Empire. The Sinn Fein receives a financial advantage which will relieve her considerably from the burden borne by Ulster and other parts of the Kingdom. Ulster can obtain such concessions only by first becoming subordinate to the Sinn Fein." He sees m the abandonment of the original condition that there should not be protective duties the beginning of friction and a tariff war, involving Ulster m particular. The Sinn Fein demanded and the British Government conceded a different oath from the standard of loyalty required from the rest of the Empire, making it impossible for Ulster ever to enter the Free State. Sir James Craig concludes: "In spite of the inducement held out to Ulster, we are convinced that it is not m the best interests of Britain or the Empire that Ulster Bhould become subordinate to Sinn Fein. We are flad to think our decision will obviate he necessity of mutilating the Union Jack."

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Bibliographic details

THE POSITION OF ULSTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XLII, Issue 9413, 16 December 1921

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THE POSITION OF ULSTER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XLII, Issue 9413, 16 December 1921