Volume 1 1919~1922

Doc No.

No. 106 NAI DFA ES Box 27 File 158

Memorandum from Stephen M O'Mara to Eamon de Valera

(A - 5)

New York, 12 August 1921

Dear Mr. President:
After some consideration, I would suggest to you that this office be closed down and that a proper establishment be opened at Washington, with a Finance Department. This for many reasons - convenience, unity, economy, strategy. In regard to an objection which you might be inclined to advance, namely: that this address was the address of the old Bond Drive and would inspire confidence in the new one, I would say that the 'Department of Finance, Irish Embassy, Washington', would inspire still more confidence.

Tomorrow, Mr. Boland expects to sail, and informs me that you have instructed him to appoint me to act in his absence. In case that for any reason he should not return, I desire to impress on you the necessity of relieving me of either the financial or diplomatic responsibility as soon as possible. The former will be a whole time job in the event of a Loan being required. The latter will call for the services of one who has push and driving force of unusual intensity, in addition to other qualifications.

I believe that the coming Disarmament Conference might be used greatly to our advantage in the event of a break down of negotiations, even though the question of Recognition still stands where it always did in this country. The A.A.R.I.R. is capable of much political pressure (Mr. Boland I am inclined to think rather underestimates this), but it must be directed intelligently and forcibly, and all the time. To do this, send out a suitable person before hostilities are renewed.

I will undertake the work of either the Diplomatic or Financial Department, I am indifferent which, but I would prefer to see a second rate man on the financial, where I have had some little experience, than on the diplomatic.

These remarks are, of course, subject to negotiations being completed prior to the completion of the Anglo-American Conference. Should the latter precede the former, we will be absolutely powerless here from a political point of view.

Owing to the loss of time since these negotiations started, and the impossibility in the meantime of doing any effective work in the direction of a Bond Drive, I fear that it will be impossible to launch it in the Fall, as I had up to recently intended. That being so, the earliest possible date on which action might now be taken will be the Spring of next year. I suggest to you the adoption of the following suggestions when the time comes:(1) That the Bonds be made Bearer Bonds.
(2) That we secure, if possible, the cooperation of at least one bank in each State to act as 'State Bank', for the purpose of receiving and distributing Bonds against cash at face value and being responsible to me for same. Other banks to act as 'Local Banks' subsidiary to and conjunction with 'State Bank', simply for the purpose of bringing the Bonds nearer to the purchasers and so securing a quicker delivery of same.
(3) That the appeal for the Loan should come on this side from your financial agent:

  1. To the American public in general.
  2. In private to the A.A.R.I.R. seeking their cooperation.
  3. This appeal should not be issued especially to any other organization in the country, - above all and most certainly not to the F.O.I.F. Any official approach to this organization will in my considered opinion do more harm to us than good.

(4) The services of a number of Irish people will be required. I would suggest to you that at least ten young men should be sent out - men of education, who have been engaged in active warfare. The expense of sending these men out will be comparatively small when one considers the amount of money which would have to be spent in any event on traveling expenses, etc. of speakers employed here, in many cases under salary.

Today I note that Miss MacSwiney has been recalled. I propose to discontinue Mr. Dempsey, Mr. Morgan and Miss Walsh, also, as well as Mr. Sprading, 'one wise man of three'. New blood will be essential, much of it for a short period. I am taking the liberty of retaining the services of Miss Hughes until August 31st. I will discharge her on that date unless I hear from you to the contrary.

I have to inform you that the first bloom of enthusiasm has faded from the face of the A.A.R.I.R. Many internal differences have sprung up, and these will grow - especially in idleness. Membership is at a standstill. However, action in Ireland, if it should come, and a demand for help here, will have a tonic effect.

Your cable to the F.O.I.F. in Kansas City was some bomb-shell to the AA, which was just beginning to get a foothold there after many abortive efforts. Their cables to you were regarded here as offensive. There is no use in flirting with the F.O.I.F. even if your affections were reciprocated. The only result that I can foresee would be to reduce the movement in America once again to the position in which you found it.

Mr. Boland will tell you of the confusion which arises from the fact that a number of individuals, of whose bona fides we are doubtful, are collecting money in this country in the name of the Republic for various alleged Irish purposes. It will be necessary either for you to take action in regard to them or authorize me to do so, stating at the same time your wishes in the matter. A good deal of awkwardness arises here when action is directed from home without informing the Irish Mission.

During this period of truce, it would simplify our work here very much if we could get from you regular information by cable. At present we are solely dependent on Press Association reports, etc., which as you know are not alone unfriendly but unreliable.

I have received a letter from Mr. S. O'Mara in Limerick in which he states that he fears he did an awkward thing in writing to you in reference to my credentials on receipt of a cable from me. I sent that cable after I had written and cabled other addresses time after time without response. I concluded that the credentials, together with your promised letter, had either been seized at the time of your imprisonment or got lost in transit.

I beg to remain, Mr. President,
Yours respectfully
S.M. Ó'Meára

[Handwritten] H. B. is the ideal man. I trust he will return.