IRISH FREE STATE: Both Are the King

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Up to last week "the person of the King in the Irish Free State" (as in any other Dominion) was the Governor General appointed by the King. Irishmen thought the British crisis (see p. 14) an opportunity too good to lose. In Dublin the Dail by a vote of 81-to-5 frostily "approved" the fact that there is a new King, said nothing about "allegiance" and passed an amendment 79-to-55 that the office of Governor General of the Irish Free State is abolished.

Ebullient Dubliners said this makes their country a republic and it certainly kills "the person of the King" in the Free State, but that person has been a legal fiction. Teacherish President Eamon de Valera said dryly that his Free State has not withdrawn from the "British Commonwealth of Nations." The Dail vote he explained "leaves the King only a vague title in the international affairs of the Irish Free State. He has no longer any internal powers."

This had to mean something because it was a President who spoke, otherwise it was almost Irish gibberish. If no further step is taken, the "dominion status" of the Free State under the Crown—which in any case does not exclude the right of secession—is left pretty much in its gossamer status quo.

The hastily drawn bill was afterward said by Dublin lawyers to have two interesting though unintended features: 1) if the Dail is ever dissolved there appears to be no legal provision for it ever to meet again; and 2) both Edward VIII and George VI are today King, according to this bill. By another technicality Edward VIII in the Union of South Africa will be King until its Parliament meets next Jan. 8 to confirm His Majesty's abdication in that Dominion.