No. 98 NAI DFA ES Paris 1921

Extract from a letter from Sean T O'Ceallaigh to Robert Brennan (Dublin)

(P.L. No. 24)

Paris, 15 July 1921 (received 23 July 1921)

A Chara,
Situation in France The recent turn of events at home has once again quickened the interest of the French people and press in the future of Ireland. Not a single day passes now without one or more than one of the principal papers in Paris publishing long special articles on the Irish situation and the possible outcome of the present conferences in London. There is no doubt whatsoever but that the sympathy of all elements of the population here is with us; there is no country in the world, where there is not a large Irish population, that would welcome with greater joy a conclusion to the Irish fight for independence satisfactory to the Irish people. The numbers of enquiries and callers here daily alone would prove this. All shades of people and all politics are represented among those who come here looking for information or to merely express their sympathy.

While sympathy with us is widespread, I do not think that this would permit us to hope that the French Government could at an early date be induced to seriously consider the question of recognising the Irish Republic. The political and particularly the financial position of France towards England would not at present at any rate permit of their taking such action. France is for the moment obliged to try to keep on good terms with England so as to get her help in forcing Germany to make the reparation payments which are demanded of her, as long as there is hope of getting this money out of Germany, France will try to keep England with her, and therefore will do nothing which would lead to any rupture of the Entente. It may therefore be taken for granted that unless France breaks with England for any other reason, she will not be likely to take such an important step as the recognition of the Irish Republic, unless some more independent and powerful nation, such as America could be induced to give her a lead.

I think it would be possible to induce the French Government to consider a conditional recognition of the Republic, as has been suggested by E.[rskine] C.[hilders], provided that America and Italy be induced to act similarly and simultaneously. If there is any hope of getting the American Government to consider such a suggestion, I would be glad to know, I could then start to work here on similar lines and I feel confident that on these conditions I would be able to obtain the support of influential politicians of practically all the parties here.

If a serious effort is to be made to obtain recognition here for the Republic, it would be at once necessary to open a vigorous campaign all over the country by means of public meetings, lectures with cinema and lantern demonstrations as aids. For this purpose it would be necessary to employ a number of persons as organisers and speakers and to have founded in every city and large town, branches of an organisation, such as the American Association for Recognition of the Republic. If we had the money to set this going, I think there would be little difficulty in forming and keeping alive a vigorous organisation all over the country. During the last two years all the press of France and all members of the two Chambers, members and officials of the Government, Catholic hierarchy and priests, university professors and professional men of all kinds have been bombarded with a variety of literature on the Irish question, so that I think it can be truly said that the true conditions of affairs in Ireland together with a knowledge of Irish claims and aspirations is widely spread among the reading public. In this way the basis of an organisation, such as mentioned above has already been laid. If it is thought well to do so there would not, outside expenses, be much trouble in adding the super structure of the organisation, of course the cost would be considerable and unlike America I do not think we could hope for any return in the way of financial help, such as America so generously provides us with.
[Matter omitted]

Kindest regards and best wishes,
Sean T O'Ceallaigh


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