No. 109 NAI DE 5/21

Précis of a report on Argentina by P.J. Little

Buenos Aires, 4 October 1921

Argentine. Total population 7¾ millions. 27,000 are English (which evidently includes people of Irish birth). People of Irish extraction going back many generations, 40 or 50,000. Those of Irish birth are very few.

All European nations and U.S.A. have big banking concerns. English banking influence predominates Argentines and biggest men amongst our own have to look to England to market their meat, wool, grain, etc. North America not strong here: the exchange so much in her favour that her goods are too expensive - German goods pouring in as in South Africa - A strong tendency to develop industries. As to the Import of Irish Goods, a very careful report will have to be made on prices and import duties which are heavy. The English practically control Railways with Lowland Scotch Engineers who are even worse enemies to us than Englishmen.

All Argentine Loans except the last (floated in U.S.A.) were floated in England. Hence its great influence - Enormous amount of English capital invested in exploiting this country.

The Irish Republican work in Argentine not nearly so advanced as in South Africa. No effective organisation and many differences amongst best Irish - However, L.[aurence] Ginnell so very well received by rich people connected with our cause that he launched the Loan - Total to be aimed at £500,000. Probably not more than £10,000 or £15,000 will be realised. Grounds of hope for Loan are:
(1) The friendship of rich Irish.
(2) Good feeling amongst rich Argentines towards Ireland and hostility to England.
(3) The good record of Irish here in the past.

The big push to be made in October and November, which are the months for sale of farmers' produce. Unfortunately for Loan there is a slump in cattle market.

Ginnell was invited to certain public functions to which usually only public officials are invited - Some of the biggest newspapers published interviews with him.

Newspapers - England exercises much influence on newspapers all over the country through the advertising of big commercial houses. Papers whose staffs are sympathetic cannot advertise Loan, e.g. 'The B.A. Herald' and the 'Nacion' - the latter one of the biggest dailies. Practically all too timid to publish anything good about Ireland except 'Southern Cross' which is read all over South America by the Irish - One evening paper 'Razon' rather good and an Irish weekly 'The Hiberno' - 'The Standard' voices the jingo in Argentine.

The President of A.[regentine] Republic Irregoyen, of Basque extraction is head of Radical Government and a most determined opponent. Irregoyen's Government tho' favourable to us, would not involve the country in diplomatic entanglements by recognising Republic - A resolution of sympathy and support might be got through after Loan is well on its way.

On the whole the Argentine citizens dislike the English because of their superior airs and their efforts to force English ways, language, etc., on them. Also they make money and then spend in England. Won't become Argentine citizens. This is resented by the A's. Another sore point is, the taking of one of the Falkland islands by England for strategic purposes. Another memory is the 'Reconquiste'. The English once seized and held it for some time but were afterwards driven out. The anniversary of the capture of the Union Jack is celebrated. Public opinion very favourable towards Ireland, but their ignorance about the whole question is very great. Propaganda badly needed. Those of Irish extraction have right spirit but practically no work done owing to a split. Not much chance of help from Labour Party which is intensely anti-Catholic and anti-Nationalist.

  1. Loan might bring in anything from £10,000 upwards.
  2. Irish require to be organised and are not as prepared as other countries for Irish International.
  3. General conditions and public opinion not hostile, rather favourable.
  4. English power is very great here.
  5. The Irish Question is not intensely alive among general public and working classes.
  6. Our friends are Representatives of small nations here (Basques etc) and strongly Argentine Nationalists and Priests.
  7. Enemies of England here - German Socialists (some not all) Strongly Argentine Nationalists and Irish (not all).

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