No. 21 UCDA P150/96

Eamon de Valera to Arthur Griffith (for Cabinet) (Dublin)
(No. 3)

The Waldorf-Astoria, New York, 13 August 1919

A Chara,
Yours of July 12th and statistics accompanying received.1 Get the industrial expert and [Robert] Barton over. Considerable difficulty in getting the bond issue started. Am trying to get the Walsh-Ryan-Dunne Commission to take it over. If I fail will take it up directly myself and organise. Will be starting out on big tour probably first week in Sept. Recent trip to Pacific merely a preliminary demonstration. The bond issue will be for 5 or 10 million dollars not yet decided which. Living expenses here enormous but borne by 'Friends of I.[rish] Freedom'.

The political situation here obscure for the moment. I am trying to give Wilson to know that if he goes for his 14 points as they were and a true League of Nations Irishmen and men and women of I.[rish] blood will be behind him. So Democrats and Republicans are bidding for our support - Democrats by amending covenant Republicans by destroying it.

Until I came the attack on the L. of Nations was conducted by our people as if they were American Republicans. I preferred for our part to deprive Wilson of his appeal to a mystic sentiment (by which he would beat the Republicans). We accept his altruistic propositions and find fault because he did not apply them. This puts us in line also with liberal thought everywhere. The Irish-Ireland Weeklies should be very careful not to attack any section of Americans just now. No matter how fair the articles they will be used with terrible effect by Br. propaganda here. It is not necessary to tell you of its strength.

I would like to have the following information

  • (1) What was the sum the D.[ublin] Corporation tried to borrow for housing? Was borrowing-powers denied them during war? How much do they want now?
  • (2) I want facts telling against [Horace] Plunkett. e.g. W M. Murphy's letter re the Convention; a statement of his to some Br. merchants or Corporation assuring them that he would not do anything in Ireland which might interfere with their interests etc.
  • (3) Governmental or administration expenses of Br. Gov[ernmen]t in Ireland during recent years.
  • (4) Number of Irishmen who fought in the war and no. who were killed and wounded.
  • (5) Exact amount by which Br. Treasury benefits annually through excess of farmers annuity rate over rate of borrowing land purchase money.
  • (6) I cannot get time to write all the articles the press would like from me. Well written articles to which I could put my name would be received by all the big magazines - I have been asked to write a small book and we are getting up a 'movie' for propaganda. Half proceeds to go to Irish Fund.

It will be difficult to get big business men here into that Industrial Commission we spoke of. Best way is to try individuals like Ford already interested in Ireland.

Keep your eye out generally for any published matter which would be useful to us here. Would suggest that you get useful articles into Nationalist and send them along. Is there any chance that the Independent would send over a special correspondent for our big tour?

It is not necessary to mention that the obvious tactics of the Br. Govmt will be to try to drive a wedge between the sections of the Irish people by raising controversies as to whether 'Colonial' home rule should be accepted or not. The only safe way to my mind to deal with this question is to refuse to discuss it as if it were a serious question - no discussion of 'offers'. No divisions over mere hypotheses. The Republic is established, is there, and our fight is to have it recognised. Certain people are making it appear, in a subtle way, that there is a private understanding between Wilson and George re Home Rule. It is madness for even those who believe in Home Rule to place dependence on such flimsy agreements.

The mayor etc of Newport and Governor of Rhode Island sent me invitation to go to N'port. I am waiting till the Crown Prince of England gets there and he is waiting till I leave there - meanwhile all the ball-dresses of the aristocracy who were ready to receive him are getting musty - most amusing! The battleship is the compromise.

Since I wrote first part of this more dispatches to hand from Ireland. Those which cover information asked for will be noted by you. We have sent [Patrick] McCartan to Washington to stay there in touch with political developments in America also to watch world affairs generally. (We would want twenty different departments here to attend to everything. The organising of this big trip and the issue of the bonds are both big undertakings - and we need one of our own home men in each. People take plenty of time to do things here and we have no time to spare like that.) As I am so much among the trees here for the moment I cannot see the forest so the department of foreign affairs at home should keep its eye on the world. I want to get in touch with [Eamon] Bulfin very badly - have you got his address? Send it on if you have. The Summary of the Proceedings of the Dáil and the projected reconstruction schemes are very valuable - I'll make use of them in a way I have in mind so as to further the loan. I never read anything that gave me more pleasure.

Eamon de Valera

P.S. Recently I had to visit Bourke Cockran on business relating to my mission here. Shane Leslie and his family were there. You know Mrs Leslie and Mrs Cockran are sisters. I was playing with one of the children when Mrs Leslie brought out camera to take photo. I saw use to which Leslie could put such a photo, to make it appear I was on very intimate terms with him, but decided better to dissimulate - not let on. He has taken the photo with him - should you find he has been using it either publicly or privately in any clandestine way explain publicly how it was procured. He is in the Northcliffe and British service and is gone to help in the Plunkett campaign. He will be used with the bishops mainly I think.

You may be surprised that I took the big step here of openly asking for recognition so soon. Haven't yet sent any formal demand to Washington - but said to the people generally that was what I was here for. No other time could be as suitable for the informal demand. It brings up the whole question in a very definite way. Notices should be sent to all the nations now discussing the ratification of the Treaty and the League of Nations giving the Irish position and containing copies of the matter sent to the Peace Conference. I am getting such a notification printed and McCartan will deliver them at the Embassies in Washington - will send duplicates for you to send to France. One at least of our men should remain on in Paris.

Attempts should be made to get other National Parliaments to pass resolutions such as that passed by America - I am on to the Panama Republic. Bulfin should get on to Argentina.

I wish I could get on to a solid leading lay Irish Australian to get the matter taken up [by] the Australian states and the Commonwealth. I think I'll get on to Premier Ryan [-]Brisbane for one.

The same should be attempted in Canada, Spain etc. I have addressed two legislatures - Massachusetts and Montana - I told you they were not in session except a few. They meet only at rare intervals.

Have to let this go,
beir geara,
Eamon de Valera

1 Not printed.


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