No. 45 NAI Gavan Duffy Papers, 1125/1

Note on the need for a foreign press bureau1

1 August 1920

This note, written in entire ignorance of the proposals that may have been submitted to last meeting of Dail and its decisions on the matter, is intended to emphasise the urgent importance of establishing at once an efficient press bureau in Paris.

  1. A general continental press and information bureau is wanted.
  2. It should be in Paris, because
  1. Paris is still the political capital of Europe;
  2. It is the most important international meeting ground;
  3. There is there no censorship and comparative liberty of speech and growing hostility to England and a genuine traditional sympathy for Ireland;
  4. Switzerland suffers from 2 grave drawbacks, viz: that it is in abject terror of Bolshevism with which English propaganda confounds S.F., and that it has become more abjectly pro-English than any other country in Europe; consequently the bureau's tenure there would be most insecure, decidedly more so than in France;
  5. Latin Europe is the Europe that matters most today; Central Europe is too unsettled and desperate to trouble much about remote affairs, while the tendencies in Germany are now in general quite openly pro-English and for reasons both commercial and political seem likely to become more so; Scandinavia and Holland need propaganda, but are of much less account than the Latin countries; Paris is the best centre to combine work in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Rumania, Switzerland, the Rhenish Provinces and Belgium, remoter countries being dealt with as occasions offer;
  6. It is not unlikely that the Paris Envoy will sooner or later be evicted; it would in that event be very unfortunate to have no representative in Paris save the Consul, but an established press bureau would have a chance of surviving the Envoy's departure since it would not be transgressing by setting up as the diplomatic representative of a country not diplomatically recognised and its suppression would be much harder to justify;
  7. Paris has an immense advantage in its splendid facilities for communication with London and its nearness; the further from London the bureau is planted, the less in touch and the more cut off it will find itself, especially in an emergency.
  1. The bureau should by no means take the place of a London bureau to feed and check the continental telegrams; that bureau is needed very badly.
  2. The bureau should be quite separate from and in the main independent of the Delegation.
  3. The functions of the bureau would be: - to receive, adapt, translate and disseminate the Bulletin - to go thro' some 4000 cuttings per month in the Latin languages and such cuttings as can be got in the other languages, analyse and file same, answer at once every hostile article and acknowledge to author and editor every friendly article, offering them further information, and also to correct or contradict the tendentious and lying telegrams from the agencies - to give interviews to pressmen - to get out pamphlets and leaflets and circulate them among deputies, clerics and public men and newspapers - to be ready to supply with appropriate literature all enquirers on the many phases of Irish activity, such material to be in French - to guide and document the Irish press on all matters of continental interest to Ireland - to supply all the libraries of Europe with up-to-date and accurate material on Irish developments - in a word, to be a centre from which knowledge of Ireland would radiate all over the Continent.
  4. It would be necessary to have competent Frenchmen, preferably Bretons, on the staff or available at short notice.

1 Author unknown. Handwritten in margin: to Ríobárd [Brennan], Erskine [Childers], E.[amon] de V[alera], Desmond [FitzGerald], Mick [Collins] and M.P.D.

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