No. 39 NAI DE 2/245

Diarmuid O'Hegarty to Eamon de Valera (New York)

Dublin, 8 June 1920

A Chara,
I am instructed by the Ministry of Dail Eireann to acquaint you that at their recent meeting1 your envoy, Enri O'Beolain,2 T.D., presented to them a report on the activities of the Irish Delegation to the United States, and conveyed to them on your behalf certain proposals and suggestions for their consideration as follows :-

  1. That Consuls and Diplomatic Agents be appointed by Dail to the following Countries, viz., Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and that four Diplomatic Agents be appointed for the cities of Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco and Boston to act as organising directors of Irish opinion in these areas. That these Agents should be directed from Washington to ensure constant communication, and that they should submit weekly reports in triplicate to Washington, one copy of which would be forwarded to the Dail Ministry. That the Dail should choose thirty names from which the President might select these Agents as occasion arose, and that their salary be about $100 per week.

    The Ministry are in accord with this proposal, which they will recommend to the Dail at an early date. They will request the Dail to select thirty persons from amongst whom you would appoint the Agents as required, and they will ask that the necessary allocation for the purpose be made. They agree that for the present these Agents should be directed from Washington, but it may be subsequently found desirable to transfer the seat of direction either to Ireland or to the Continent of Europe.

  2. That a Delegation should be despatched to Russia immediately to seek formal recognition of the Government of the Irish Republic, and that Mr. Thomas Johnston should be included in the Mission.

    The Ministry agree with the proposal to send a Delegation to Russia without delay, but they consider that some time would necessarily elapse between the arrival of the Delegation and the presentation of the formal demand for Recognition. They understand from Mr. Boland that you will likely present a formal demand for recognition to the President of the United States in the early Autumn, and they are of opinion that this demand should be made before similar demands are made in other Countries, and that, when the proper moment arrives for the presentation of the formal demand in other countries, it should, as far as possible, be simultaneous. They feel that a demand for recognition made to Russia prior to a similar demand being made in any other country might be availed of by British Propagandists to misrepresent the Government of Ireland, and might militate against the success of such demands in other countries. This argument does not, of course, affect the desirability of having the Delegation to Russia despatched at the earliest possible moment, and the Ministry will recommend this proposal to the Dail for favourable consideration.

  3. That a Director of Propaganda be sent to the United States to supply material for the Agents referred to in paragraph (1), and that the services of Mr. R. O'Brennan be made available for the purpose.

    The Ministry understand that this proposal was made principally because it was the opinion in the United States that communications between Ireland and other Countries were much more restricted than they really are. The Ministry think that their propaganda could, for the present, be more efficiently carried on from Dublin, as far as the Continent of Europe is concerned, but they do not exclude the possibility of its being considered desirable, with the development of their Propaganda Department, to send a man to the United States in connection with this work. They understand that propaganda requirements in the United States and in South America and Australia are being satisfactorily catered for from the United States.

    While on this subject, the Ministry would be glad if you would consider making a proposition to Mr. Hearst that he should establish an Office in Dublin of equal status with his London Office which would collect and distribute news from Ireland. This, in their opinion, would be a great advantage, as accurate versions of occurrences could thus be speedily and reliably transmitted, and the present Castle control of news messages thereby discounted.

  4. That the President be empowered to utilise one million dollars to secure Recognition.

    The envoy having explained the details of this proposal the Ministry will recommend to the Dail to give you discretionary powers in regard to the expenditure of the sum mentioned.

  5. That one million dollars be placed at the disposal of the Department of Defence.

    The Ministry are in thorough agreement with the proposal and will ask the Dail to make an appropriation accordingly.

  6. That Mr. Erskine Childers be asked to take the post of Ambassador to the United States.

    The Ministry realise the importance of the post of Ambassador to the United States and the suitability of Mr. Erskine Childers for the position, but they fear that, owing to the loss of Mr. Barton, he is at present too valuable an asset to the constructive side of their work here to be allowed to leave Ireland. They will endeavour to find some other suitable person for the United States Embassy, but they hope that they may find it possible in time to spare Mr. Childers for this post.3

  7. Mr. Boland explained to the Ministry that you desired their direction as to whether you should return home or proceed on a tour to South America.
    They are of opinion that you should not return home just now. They feel that your presence in the United States at the present juncture is of more importance than a visit to South America, but they have, of course, no objection whatever to such a tour, if you think your presence in the States can be spared for the necessary time. They, however, desire to refer to the necessity of taking due precaution for your personal safety in the event of such a tour being undertaken. They have authorised Mr. Boland to procure a Secretary for you, and the data as to the constructive work of the various Departments of the Government, with particular reference to actions tending to show that it was assuming a 'de facto' status, are being prepared for him.
  8. Arrangements are also being made to secure the services of two Clerk Accountants for the Bond Office in New York, and the Secretary for Finance4 will supply Mr. Boland with details of the means of transmitting money to Ireland.

    With regard to the query as to the amount of money required to be transmitted, the Ministry wish to say that this amount could not be accurately estimated at present. Large schemes in connection with Land, Fisheries, and other urgent problems are at present under consideration, and the amount of money required will be contingent upon the extent to which these schemes are adopted. Meanwhile, however, the Secretary for Finance is of opinion that arrangements might be made for the immediate transmission of £500,000.

  9. The suggestion that Mr. O'Connell, the Hearst correspondent, should be seen is being attended to. Representations will be made to Dr. Fogarty5 in connection with the invitation to be extended to him from Chicago. With regard to the suggestion that Mr. George Russell should be asked to make a lecture tour through America, the Ministry have, as yet, been unable to consult him about the matter as he is away from Dublin. They will have his views on this proposal ascertained, but they fear that he will not be likely to consent to leave Ireland.
  10. The Dail has decreed that all its members, clerks, officials and employees shall take an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic in the following terms :- 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government Authority or power within Ireland hostile and inimical thereto, and I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability I will support and defend the Irish Republic and the Government of the Irish Republic which is Dail Eireann against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion so help me God.'

It will, of course, be incumbent upon all persons employed by the Republican Government in any capacity whether that of diplomatic agent, ambassador or in any minor post to accept this oath before their appointments can take effect. The Ministry are exceedingly gratified to learn of the success which has attended your mission to the United States, and they hope that your further efforts may be attended with like results. They are also glad to hear that you are keeping in good health notwithstanding the strenuous campaign which you have carried through.

Mise le meas,
Diarmuid Ó hEigeartuigh

1 5 June 1920.

2 Harry Boland.

3 This paragraph has been heavily highlighted in pencil in the left hand margin.

4 Michael Collins.

5 The Bishop of Killaloe, Ireland, one of the trustees of the Dáil Éireann loan in the United States.


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