No. 44 NAI DFA ES Paris 1920

Sean T O'Ceallaigh to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)

Bagni di Casciana, Pisa, 27 July 1920 (received 20 August 1920)

A Dhiarmuid, A Chara,
Many thanks for your kind letters of July 5th. and 8th.1 with enclosures, all of which I received last night. I am glad to learn from you that my letters of June 16 and 182 to the Vice President and also my letter enclosing a copy of the French version of my memorandum to His Holiness were duly delivered. If, as you suggest, the Vice President3 has replied to these letters, I am sorry to say his replies have not reached me so far.

I saw with pleasure that the urgent matter I wrote to him about was dealt with in an article in 'Eire Og'. I am pleased to learn from you that the matter has been given some publicity in the 'Independent' also.

I note that the visiting ecclesiastics from U.S.A., Australia etc. are being looked after. I am sure that any courtesies shown to these visitors during their stay in Ireland will bear good fruit on their return to their respective countries. Since I wrote last on the subject, I have been trying to get into direct touch with Fiume through mutual friends. Nothing has come of this since but I am pursuing the matter. I shall put Hales into touch as you suggest.

I saw the report of the recent meeting of the Dail in some English papers and was very pleased you had such a successful gathering. Your account of the success of the Loan is most encouraging. Please convey my warmest congratulations to the Cabinet and in particular to the Minister of Finance, to whose energies I feel sure, this wonderful success is in no small measure due.

Riley, the French Canadian about whom you write, I met a couple of times in Paris last year just before I left for Rome. At neither of these meetings did he mention the subject of 'French Recognition' nor did I know he could be of any service to us in the matter. Therefore I am not in a position to give you the benefit of my views on the subject. If he is still in Paris, I will take the matter up with him on my return there and write you later my views. I may add that Riley himself made a rather good impression on me.

I am enclosing herewith a copy of the English version of my memorandum to the Pope.4 I suppose if members of the Cabinet wish to have further copies you will be kind enough to have your typist make them. I am sending copies to Bishops Fogarty and MacRory, to both of whom I promised copies when they were in Rome.

I suppose Art O'Brien has already passed on to you the account of my audience with the Pope which I sent to him for transmission. I am quite sure the frank talk I had with His Holiness did much good. That same day I also had a long talk with Archbishop Ceretti, political secretary to the Vatican, with whom I have been on friendly terms since our meeting in Paris last year. While he is a very cautious and astute man who does not give himself away much I feel certain he is most sympathetic. I keep in frequent correspondence with him and keep him well informed on developments of the situation at home.

I have, I think good reason to believe that my protests to the Vatican in re the attitude of the Catholic press of Rome, towards us have already borne fruit. At any rate the 'Corriére d'Italia' has been giving us a good deal of favourable notice of late. They have published interviews with me and a good many news items of the right kind with which I have been keeping them supplied. The Foreign Editor of the same paper whom I have made it my business to cultivate, and to whom I have given a little 'douceur' with the promise of more, if he carries out his promise to write a series of articles of the right kind on Ireland. I had a letter from him this morning to tell me that he hopes to publish the first of this series in his paper today or tomorrow. He has also promised to write some articles for some of the most important Italian reviews and magazines; I have already given him a good deal of material for these and have also introduced him to Father Curran who is to supply him with anything further he may require.

I think the moment most propitious for a big propaganda effort in Italy. Everywhere I have been I have found all classes of people ready and willing to listen to our story and very sympathetic, when they know the facts. While there exists a strong cult for English language, manners etc, the people, especially in political circles are by no means pro-English. In fact they are growing daily and hourly more and more hostile to her, so that they are ready to read anything against her that we can give them. How far they would be prepared to take any action which might be construed as a hostile act towards England is another question. I fear such a thing as looking for 'Recognition' from the Parliamenthere is not to be attempted yet. I think though that - after a strong campaign of propaganda and education in the Irish question - the Italians would and could be brought to the point of 'Recognition' before the French.

I saw the Roman correspondent of the 'Corriére della Sera' of Milan several times and I believe did good work with him also. His paper is perhaps the most influential political organ in the country. There is seldom or ever a day now that they have not some article or news on the Irish situation and the tone is invariably favourable. I intend calling to Milan on my way back to France and hope to make the acquaintance of their Foreign Editor.

Please convey to the Cabinet and accept for yourself, my warm thanks for their kind interest in the state of my health. I really have gone through a bad time during the last few months. I think I am not exaggerating in saying that I believe I would not be alive today only for the care and attention I received during my long and serious illness, from the Rector, Vice-Rector and all connected with the Irish College. Now thank goodness, I am feeling vastly improved, though the rheumatism has not yet completely left me. I have been here since July 12th - it took me till the day before to finish up my work in Rome - and have, by orders of a specialist I consulted in Rome, been taking baths here daily. It is not a very pleasant performance being stewed here every morning in hot sulphur water especially as the weather itself is so roasting hot, but I believe it has done me good and the doctor here assures me it will cure me altogether. I hope so, but in the meantime the change and rest have certainly done me considerable good. I am not yet certain how soon I can leave here but when I am finished with the 'cure' Cait and I will make our way back to Paris by easy stages. I expect to be back ready to resume work in Paris early in September. I shall be glad if you will please convey to the Cabinet my thanks for their kind consideration in the matter of vacation.

The reply to this and all future despatches should be sent to the old address:- Grand Hotel, Paris. I would be glad if you would note that I don't think there is any need to send any further letters or despatches you may have for me in duplicate. The one copy will be quite sufficient.

With warmest regards to the members of the Cabinet, yourself and all old friends,

Do bhuan chara,
Seán T. O'Ceallaigh

1 Not printed.

2 No. 40.

3 Arthur Griffith.

4 No. 35.


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