Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 554 NAI DT S2366

Copy of the text of cinema newsreel speeches made by William T. Cosgrave

Dublin, 11 June 1931

Sound Picture Speech

(Message to United States)

In addressing yet again an American audience I cannot but recall once more the cordial welcome and kindly hospitality given to me as the representative of my country on the occasion of my visit to the United States three years ago. In my speech at Philadelphia during a memorable day at that great city I stated - what is so well known - that 'it is not possible to draw closer the bonds of affection between this country and mine'. The establishment of the Irish Free State was followed immediately by an exchange of diplomatic representatives between Washington and Dublin. That event, emphasising the new international status of Ireland, was followed by the appointment of Irish Ministers in the key-capitals of Europe.1 With those diplomatic exchanges the story of 'Ireland amongst the Nations' has begun: the frustrated ideal of so many centuries has become a reality. In September 1930 the Irish Free State became a member of the Council of the League of Nations.

The first years of her career in foreign affairs find Ireland standing side by side with the United States in the promotion of a policy of international peace and goodwill. Historians of the future will chronicle in their proper order and place in their proper relation the individual and collective efforts now being made by the peoples of the earth to organise and stabilise peace as the universal and permanent condition of civilised mankind. I say to organise peace because that blessed ambition will require the devoted service and constant co-operation of the best statesmanship and the highest culture of our time to achieve. The Nations of To-day are bound together not by the memory of a common origin, not even by the consciousness of common interests, but by the menace of a common danger. I believe that the history of this generation will be an unhallowed chapter if the collective genius of its statesmen fails to solve the twin problems of security and disarmament. When disarmament comes to be faced frankly and fearlessly at the Conference of 1932 the great contribution of American statesmanship to world peace in the Pact of Paris will come to be realised. That instrument has given a new impetus and a new direction to the moral forces making for the removal of the causes of War and the reduction of the weapons of War. It has given a new meaning to the notion of 'national security' in the structure of the post-War world. The honour of that achievement will belong forever to the President of the United States and that noble American statesman after whom the Pact of Paris is called; and it will be shared by those countries, like my own, which pursue a policy of 'peace on earth' both as a precept of Christian ethics and an ideal of international comity.


For Great Britain.

It is now nearly a decade since the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. The ratification of that instrument by the United Kingdom Parliament and the Provisional Parliament of Ireland marked the end of the age-old Anglo-Irish controversy and opened up the prospect, since happily materialising, of a better understanding and a growing friendship between the two countries. The Irish Free State as an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations works out her own political and economic destiny in accordance with her own national traditions and her special economic needs. Her independence secured, all interference from outside in her affairs removed, she is enabled to co-operate with the other members of the Commonwealth in the promotion of those common causes which are the concern of all.

In the field of international affairs the Irish Free State has pursued and will continue to pursue a policy of world peace and world economic development. The impressive and paramount need is peace. I believe that the peace of the world will depend in the last resort upon the conviction of mankind of the evil of war, the moral calamities which follow in its train, the economic ruin which it must invariably involve, and the consequent necessity for abolishing it as the final arbitrament in international disputes.

Disarmament is first and last a political problem; that is, a problem which must be faced and solved by the people themselves. I have no doubt that amongst my audience in this theatre there are many for whom the horrors of war are a none too remote memory and to those I need not emphasise the importance of preventing the recurrence of a catastrophe so memorable because so dreadful. To the youth who are listening to me for whom the World War may be no more than dates in a text book I would say: War is amongst the greatest of the scourges of mankind, concentrate and persevere in your efforts to place the organisation of peace upon sure foundations. We who are associated in the British Commonwealth of Nations have a special interest in the preservation of the peace of the world. Great Britain and Ireland are great emigrating countries: our sons in a very real sense 'inhabit the earth'. A repetition of the strife of 1914-1918 would find our people engaged in armed conflict with each other and this would be so whether the struggle were a War of Nations or a Conflict of Continents. It is for the youth of all countries by their enlightened and unspoiled idealism to work together for a better understanding between Nations. When they are old their children will bless the efforts which they have made; their reward will be in the happy consummation of Peace and Goodwill on Earth.

1 Irish legations were opened in Berlin, the Holy See and Paris in 1929.