The Executive Editor is responsible for the initial wide choice of documents which are then assessed by the Editors, meeting once a month, to select the most appropriate documents. Documents are prioritised in terms of importance on a one to five scale and are processed by the Editors in geographical and thematic tranches.
In volumes of DIFP, documents are presented in chronological order based on date of despatch. The text of documents has been reproduced as exactly as possible. Marginal notes and annotations have been reproduced in footnotes. Where possible the authors of marginal notes have been identified. There are no alterations of the text of documents or deletions without indication being given of where changes have been made. No omissions of facts of major importance are made. Nothing is omitted that might conceal or gloss over defects in policymaking and policy execution.
Excisions from documents may be necessary to avoid publication of matters that would tend to impede current diplomatic negotiations or other business. In addition, the Editors’ remit is to be interpreted in conjunction with the obligations laid out in the National Archives Act (1986) and the Freedom of Information Act (1997), the provisions of which take precedence. In the case of volumes I, II and III, none of the documents had material omitted for such reasons and all material reproduced was already open to the public at the relevant repository. Volume IV includes one document, No. 215, which was de-restricted by the DFA. File S78 (from which it is taken) is Leo T. McCauley’s personal file and as all personal files are restricted by the DFA, the remainder of the letter and the file remain closed. .
At some points in the text the footnotes refer to documents that have either been ‘not located’ or ‘not printed’. In the first case the document referred to could not be found, and in the second case, the document was either routine or repeated information found elsewhere in the documents selected and so was not printed.
If it was impossible to make out a word or series of words an ellipsis has been inserted or the assumed word inserted with an explanatory footnote. Spelling mistakes have been silently corrected, but capitalisation, punctuation, signatures and contemporary spelling have been left as found in the originals and have been changed only where the sense is affected by the error. Additions to the text appear in square brackets. Original abbreviations have been preserved and either spelt out between square brackets or explained in the list of abbreviations.
English was the language of Irish diplomats. It is evident from the archives that communication in Irish was only used for documents of symbolic national importance. The Irish language was more commonly used for salutations and in signatures. In many cases there was no consistent spelling of Gaelicised names and in the volume many different spellings of the same name and salutation in Irish occur. These have not been standardised and are reproduced as found. Documents reproduced in Irish and English were checked against each other for consistency.
The authors of the documents reproduced tended to refer to Britain as ‘England’ or made no distinction between the two geographical entities and the editors have not thought it necessary to insert [sic] at relevant points throughout volumes.