No. 27 NAI DE 2/269

Dáil Éireann Report on Foreign Affairs presented by Count George Plunkett

Dublin, 27 October 1919

I have to report a steady progress in our relations with foreign nations, in spite of all impediments.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs met on two occasions since the last session, on the 11th September and on the 9th October.

The Committee had under consideration reports received from the Continent regarding the revival of a strong British Propaganda campaign against Ireland in the press of foreign countries. Messrs. O'Kelly and Duffy in Paris, Madam Vivanti in Switzerland and Italy and Mr. D.M. Hales in the latter country, have been working hard to counter-act this, and continue to meet with a fair measure of success. The French Press is very conservative and anxious to do nothing to offend Great Britain. Nevertheless, a good deal of work has been done in the way of securing the publication of articles friendly to Ireland's claims, in the French papers. Progress in this direction has also been made in Switzerland, and the whole tone of the Italian Press is friendly. A representative of a group of Italian Catholic papers has been in Dublin for some days and is being furnished with material for our propaganda. Efforts are now being made to open a propaganda campaign in Austria and the other central European countries, and the prospects of success are good.

One of the greatest difficulties in the way of dealing with the British propaganda campaign arises from the fact that Irish news items are supplied to the foreign press through the medium of English Agencies. Garbled versions of events in Ireland are thus circulated with a view to discrediting the Irish cause. Steps have been taken to counter-act this.

The question of Consuls and representatives in countries in which no appointments have yet been made, was also discussed by the Committee. The greatest difficulty in this matter is the dearth of persons possessing the necessary qualifications for such appointments. Enquiries are being pursued with a view to securing suitable representatives for Spain and other countries.

In America the President is at present engaged in a tour throughout the States as a preliminary to the issue of the Loan. The Irish question has been kept very prominently in the fore-ground in the campaign against the Ratification of the Peace Treaty by the United States Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee gave a lengthy hearing to the Irish case which was presented by Mr. F. P. Walsh, and several other prominent supporters of Ireland in the United States of America. Reports of the disclosures made at this hearing have already been published in the Irish Press. The Foreign Relations Committee have adopted certain reservations to Article X of the Treaty and further reservations dealing specifically with Ireland's position have been submitted for their consideration. The American Press continues to devote considerable attention to the President's visit.

In Australia a federation of Irish Associations is being carried out somewhat on the lines of the 'Friends of Irish Freedom,' and it is hoped that the power of the Irish in Australia will be greatly strengthened by this means.

Since the last session our representatives in Paris have presented to the various Governments, a further document drawing attention to Ireland's demand for independence.


The evidence of our activity in organising Trade relations with foreign countries has stirred up fear in England for the security of her system of her taking a share in our profits, and the English are endeavouring to penalise our newly started foreign trade. We hope soon to have the power, through an efficient consular system, to get rid of England's middleman control over Ireland's exports and imports. We are planning to establish trade communications with Austria and have initiated the statement of Ireland's case in the Austrian press.

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