No. 77 UCDA P150/2183

Handwritten memorandum from Joseph P. Walshe to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

Dublin, 8 July 1932

President, Minister for External Affairs

    I The letter is not of much use. It only helps to date the second or third conversation which took place on the Sunday following the French Legation incident.1 The other note which I cannot find and probably have torn up, was dated about a fortnight later as it was an invitation to go and see him2 urgently when I got home in the evening.

    Things were getting more strained and the G.G. brought me up at that late hour (after 11.15 p.m.) because he had worked himself up to a state of pique and was boiling over. There was no other reason that I could see.

    II The order of events would be somewhat as follows:

      A. About a week or ten days after you took over the Government I went and told the G.G. on your behalf that there was no personal feeling whatever against him, but that it would be better for all concerned if there were no invitations sent to yourself or the Ministers for the time being at any rate.

      He accepted that position in quite a friendly way and asked me to inform you that he understood the position and would do nothing to make things awkward. I told him also on this occasion that you thought the invitations should be postponed for later consideration. That he also accepted.

      B. There then followed a visit from Seán Murphy who went up, at my request, as I was too busy in the office; and the G.G. complained that he was being kept waiting too long. You then told me to take an early opportunity of going up myself and I think the next visit was on Sunday 24th April. As I told you at the time, he was not aware that day of what had happened at the Legation the night before - at least he managed to conceal it perfectly from me if he did know. I then felt that I could no longer stave him off the invitations and I suggested that he should get into direct touch with you by letter.

      The night visit must have been about a fortnight later. I could only tell him there was no new decision. He showed anger and generally declared his rights to ask anybody he liked.

      The final visit was about two Sundays before the Congress3 - when he told me definitely that he was going to invite the distinguished visitors even without the help of the Department.

    I am sorry this is all so very vague. There may have been another visit or two. I reported to you on each occasion. But the number adds nothing material to the situation.

    I regard the G. G.'s threat to publish as the purest bluff caused by annoyance at the withholding of an invitation from the State Reception. No G.G. with a grain of sanity would so jeopardise the very foundations of his office - and I can't imagine the very wildest advisers urging him to such a course. It would be exceedingly detrimental to the whole institution in the Commonwealth. And unless he gets quite out of hand he has no intention of carrying out his threat. We have other and better means of getting rid of the institution and I believe that a firm letter from you, refusing to agree to publication, will finish this phase.


    1 On the evening of Saturday 23 April 1932 Seán T O'Kelly and Frank Aiken walked out of a reception at the French legation on the arrival of the Governor General.

    2 The Governor General, James McNeill.

    3 The Eucharistic Congress which opened in Dublin on 22 June 1932 and closed on 26 June 1932.

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