No. 130 UCDA P150/1602

Eamon de Valera to Director of Publicity
(No. 11) (Urgent)

Dublin, 24 April 1921

If you are approached by the press with reference to the new Peace rumours, answer in substance as follows:

'The public are now accustomed to this ruse of the British. If a special infamy has to covered up, or a special difficulty has to be got out of, a pretence of initiating a new Peace move is set up.

Notwithstanding all rumours, Peace negotiations properly so-called, there are none. Of that you can be sure. On the other hand President De Valera would scarcely have refused to see Lord Derby if he sought an interview.

The President's attitude is very simple and plain - and whether in public or in private, the same. It expresses the attitude of the Nation. England is the aggressor. Once the aggression is removed there can be peace. If the aggression and interference is maintained it will be resisted.

England has no right whatever in Ireland. The presence of her Forces here is an invasion of the right of the Irish people. They must be removed. The Irish people must be recognised as an independent nation with a right to determine freely its own government. Interference or dictation from outside must be ended. That done England and Ireland might well be the most friendly of neighbours.'

For your own information, to be treated as confidential, Lord Derby requested an interview with me. He came over for it. I saw him as I would any influential public person or press man - just as Lloyd George is receiving the group of Irishmen, Messrs. Jameson, etc. I want you to be constantly on the alert and to be closely at hand so that through your department we can make sure that no other complexion is put upon the meeting. It is likely that we shall have to use you as our fighting arm in a special way for the next month or two. There will be the greatest need for skilful handling on our part.

I believe that a big drive will be made to divide the country. We must keep in the closest consultation and personal contact all the time, and everything that it is proposed to issue officially dealing with Peace must be submitted to me.

By the way, I sent you a copy of a wire forwarded to the Convention in Chicago for publication. If the press wouldn't take it it should have been put in the Bulletin. I send you herewith another copy. Like the previous communication it would have been far more appropriate some days ago than now. We mustn't lose the tide in these things.

Eamon de Valera2

Copy to Staff Attache (Enc.)

1Laurence Ginnell, Director of Publicity from 2 April 1919 to 26 August 1921, was at this time on a special mission to Latin America, following the arrest of Desmond FitzGerald on 11 February 1921, Erskine Childers was appointed Second Substitute Director of Publicity until mid-July 1921. It is most likely the memorandum was received by Childers.

2Until the 11 July 1921 truce de Valera initialled his letters with an overtyped S E.

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