No. 209 NAI DT S5857B
Extracts from a letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)
Dublin, 21 May 1929
The Minister for External Affairs wishes to have an opportunity at tomorrow's meeting of reporting to the Executive Council on his recent visit to Rome and to make certain proposals in connection therewith.
The Minister instructed the Secretary of the Department to remain in Rome until a definite reply had been received from the Vatican and an agreed statement issued for publication. This statement was issued in Rome and in Dublin on May 11th, the Vigil of the Feast of St. Achilles - the Pope's name day. The Irish Bishops were informed individually of the agreement by letters addressed to them from Rome on 6th May. The Vatican authorities particularly requested that the Government should not anticipate them in informing the Bishops, as that would be a departure from what they regarded as correct procedure.
2. The Minister, foreseeing from the beginning the possibility of difficulties arising should too long a period of inaction be allowed to intervene, and feeling the particular appropriateness of the later days of June this year for the solemn reception of the Papal representative, decided to press for an appointment by that time. This was, accordingly, done and the position is now definitely as follows. The Vatican have promised to send their representative immediately after the Emancipation celebrations. In exchange they have been positively assured, at their request, that our Minister Plenipotentiary will reach Rome in time to have the entire formalities of the presentation of his letters of credence terminated before the Papal representative leaves Rome. The representative will arrive first as Chargé d'Affaires. He will have the fullest possible capacity for representing the Holy Father and can, therefore, be treated with whatever ceremony the Government wish to attach to his reception. The only difference between the representative as Chargé d'Affaires and later as Nuncio or Inter-Nuncio consists in this technicality that on the occasion of a public function at which he is not the principal guest he does not precede Ministers Plenipotentiary. It is understood that the character of the Legation will be fixed about November. The difficulty of finding a suitable Irish representative within such a short time has been explained to the Vatican authorities, and they have accepted, without a moment's hesitation, the suggestion that the first appointment might be from the Department and merely provisional. As has been explained to them, the first Envoy would not spend more than four weeks in Rome after first arriving and would probably not need to spend more than a further eight weeks in November and December as a permanent representative would then have been found. This procedure is not regarded as strange or exceptional in the Vatican. The Diplomatic Corps has only recently begun to develop seriously and it is only beginning to adapt itself as a body to the habits of residence and stability in office common to diplomats at secular Courts.
3. The Minister intends to take the Supplemental Vote for the Rome establishment to the Dáil together with the general Estimates for the Department of External Affairs. He will use the opportunity to make a statement on the new step.
[signed] J.P. Walshe