No. 15 NAI DFA ES Box 35 File 250
Letter from Seán Lester to Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh (Brussels)
(782/98) (Personal) (Copy)
Dublin, 9 June 1926
Dear Count O'Kelly,
With reference to your inquiry addressed to the Secretary (825/E/26) regarding Sir Roger Casement,1 it is not possible to give a satisfactory official reply. There is no biography of Casement available. The Diary written in Germany was published in America, but I am told that it is not entirely reliable as Casement wrote in reference to affairs in Ireland at a time when he was not very well informed. There is also the German sea captain's story of the voyage of the 'Aud', which brought the arms to Ireland, and I think there is something written by the commander of the submarine which conveyed Sir Roger to the Kerry coast. There have also been a large number of articles in various publications, but it is quite impossible to obtain or assemble anything without a tremendous amount of work. If you were very keenly interested, a certain amount of information might be got from George Gavan Duffy, Casement's legal representative in London at the time of his trial, and possibly one of his literary executors. Mrs. Parry, cousin of Casement, was certainly one of the literary executors, but I do not know in what part of the world she resides.
Do you think it is worth while making a serious effort to meet the prejudices of men, even in the position of your present inquirer? If Belgium had been permanently subjugated and later on, in a world war, some of her people saw a prospect of freedom, do you think they would examine too nicely into the rights and wrongs of the war? Casement was not pro-German, he was pro-Irish. Wolfe Tone was not primarily pro-French, he was pro-Irish. It might be well to turn the conversation with such violently anti-German inquirers to the number of Irish soldiers who, in spite of all the circumstances, were killed fighting at the call, on behalf of Little Belgium.
I met Casement once or twice, and found him to be a very noble-minded Irish gentleman and I am sorry that without spending more time than is at all possible, I cannot obtain much material for you about him. You may be interested, however, in the enclosed copy of a cutting from an American newspaper which I received a few days ago.2
You will, of course, recall that his object in Germany was to ensure that, if Germany won the war, Ireland should have freedom, and he actually obtained a signed agreement to this effect with the German Government.
With kind regards,
[copy letter unsigned]