No. 43 NAI DE 2/11
London, 12 July 1920
I should be much obliged if you would ask the Ministry to state what exactly is to be the relation between the various departments of the Ministry and the offices abroad. I am asking this question, because matters in connection with the propaganda department and the London Office seem to be developing in a somewhat unsatisfactory manner.
Last December, at my request, D.[esmond] F.[itzGerald] came over here, to help me to get in touch with the correspondents of the foreign press in London. At a later date, he again came over, at my suggestion, in order to work up the luncheon of foreign press correspondents, which was attended by A.[rthur] G.[riffith] and E.[oin] MacN.[eill] on the 11th Feb. in connection with the Albert Hall meeting. Since then, he has been over on several occasions, without this office being acquainted either of his visit or the purpose of his visit. On one of these occasions, his errand was to establish an office for the propaganda department in London. I became acquainted with this more or less by accident, and I then had a conversation with D.F., on the matter, suggesting the advisability of anything of this sort being dealt with in conjunction with the established office in London. I, also, gave him generally my ideas with regard to matters of this kind, and also with regard to the relationship of the Departments with the offices in other countries. I asked D.F. to mention this matter to the Ministry. Quite recently, D.F. has been over here, for the purpose of establishing a telegraphic news service; he has, I understand, established this service, definitely, and has engaged an office and staff for the purpose. It was quite by accident that somebody over here mentioned this matter to me, and was naturally astonished that I knew nothing about it.
I am not writing the above for the purpose of finding fault, personally with D.F., for I quite appreciate that the work which he has done over here for the foreign correspondence is very valuable, indeed; I also quite appreciate the value of establishing a telegraphic news service, (I actually suggested this myself, some months ago), and I also agree that it is necessary to have greater activity in the matter of propaganda here. I think, however, that D.F. holds rather distinctive views on some matters, and that, with the best intentions in the world, he takes certain steps which, if allowed to develop, might lead to complications later on. Whilst I agree that, wherever possible, matters of commerce and trade should be kept apart from matters of politics, yet, I think it will be agreed that all political activities in a given territory should be kept under one head. If we have several offices springing up here in London, for instance, dealing with different sections of the political work, and each one working in its own account, it can only lead to confusion and inefficiency. There is a further reason why propagandist activities abroad should come under the one management, and that is in order that these activities may be co-ordinated. At the time that the W.[ormwood] S.[crubs] hunger strike was starting, there were two members of the propaganda department, (i.e. D. F. and R.[obert] B.[rennan]) over here, and I suggested to both that they should help us with the press propaganda in the matter. Neither of them were impressed with the necessity of it and, of course, I had no authority to go further in the matter. We, here, were able to give bare outlines of events to the press, but had we had someone apart for this work, we could have had the matter written up in both the Irish and English press to a much greater extent than was done at the beginning. I understand D.F's opinion in this matter to be, after several discussions with him, that the propaganda department should work entirely on its own account, without regard or reference to anybody else. To my mind this spells confusion. If every department of the Ministry were to act similarly, it would mean chaos. When the Ministry, as a whole, establish an office in any particular territory, it is to be assumed that that office will act as agent for the various departments of the Ministry.
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