No. 53 NAI DFA ES Rome 1921-1923
Rome, 15 January 1921
On 11th inst. I paid a visit, at his request, to Mgr. Ceretti the Under Secretary of State at the Vatican. (I had previously called on him quite informally as he knows some of my people.) He received me very cordially and we had a long conversation of which the following are the heads:-
He said the Bishops in June last year had left the impression in Rome that, while demanding Independence, they were doing so out of policy only, and would be well satisfied if Ireland got Colonial Home Rule. (I am told by the Rector that this alleged impression is due to a piece of propaganda by Cardinal Gasquet on the strength of a casual conversation with an Irish Prelate.)
The interview lasted half an hour, and on the next day, the 12th January, I had a message from the Cardinal, Secretary of State and called on him and saw him for about forty minutes. He was friendly but displayed less cordiality than Monsignor Cerretti. We went over much the same ground. I told him there would be no peace in present mood of the English Government and that we were determined to make the fear of us in England greater than the hate manufactured by L.G. He queried whether we could make England afraid. Told him we had no doubt of that. Cited hysterical examples of English mentality (before the Zeppelins and in 1867).
He raised Colonial Home Rule as proper settlement. I explained why we could not compromise. He said, anyway that would be a step and 'you would be much stronger in four or five years time.'
I again dwelt on our strong claims upon the Vatican. He said they had already spoken up in the Osservatore, but must condemn assassination. Told him we wanted no more of that kind, repeated suggestions made to Mons. C. and explained truth about the 'murders' and the present state of war.
He ended up by saying that, any way, the Bishops in June had asked the Vatican to keep silence and that it had replied that was an easy request to comply with.
That is a summary of the two interviews. I am sorry I have no machine to type it out. The salient points underlined above as to the Bishops and Col. Home Rule and as to the Bishops and Vatican silence, would, I suggest, be important for Dr. F.[ogarty] to know before the forthcoming meeting of Bishops and I hope this will be in time. Obviously the position was quite different when the Pope was asked in June last not to yield to English efforts to make him speak against us, and the unanimous declaration marks a big step forward, which the Vatican should take notice of. But England has gained ground here since June. The 'murder' propaganda has been effective and every important Prelate is convinced that Colonial Home Rule will satisfy us. I fear Archbishop Clune, being Australian, is not the best man to bring the facts home as they are to-day, to the Vatican. But I need say no more.
I may be too sanguine, but personally I believe the Vatican would do something to show its affection if adequately informed and pressed by ecclesiastical authority, not otherwise.
Mise le meas mór,
George Gavan Duffy
P.S. Dr. Amigo has arrived and Dr. Clune is expected The former I have not yet seen, but he is reported to be a sturdy champion of ours and would do good work at the Vatican. The Traveller reports that the Vaterland articles which C.[hatterton] H.[ill] wanted spread broadcast are not worth troubling about. I enclose a letter from Hill to Hamilton dated 4th ult. On all these matters I shall be able to write you more fully two or three weeks hence. Fr. Magennis is leaving in a couple of weeks. He will be a great loss here. I think he is going to S. or N. America and will be away for some six months. It is unnecessary to tell you what a tower of strength is Dr. Hagan and the Irish atmosphere here among the Colony generally is wonderfully good. Would you give enclosed stamp to the propaganda Dept. The idea is worth considering.
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....