No. 105 DFA ES Box 32 File 220

Report on Mission to New Zealand and Australia by Osmond Grattan

(Undated but post-July 1921)

I left New York Dec. 5th for Montreal and Vancouver, where I obtained a visé for New Zealand and Australia. Leaving Vancouver on the 'Makura' Dec. 17th we spent Christmas (two days) at Honolulu where Governor McCarthy (Democrat and probably now superseded), is a fairly good Irishman. Arriving a week later at Suva (Fiji Islands) I found the principal Irishman to be the Fr Superior, Marist Bros. School, Suva. A local editor, a Jew called Abel is also friendly. By this time, a lady-lecturer from New York City College had informed most of the passengers of a member of an Irish 'Diplomatic' Mission on board. Acting on this information a commercial traveller called Hughes informed a detective (Sergeant Ward) at Auckland, New Zealand where we arrived, Jan. 5th, and I was served with an order prohibiting my landing for 48 hours.

Before the expiration of the term we had left for Sydney, Australia, where we arrived Jan. 16th. The day previously a special edition of the 'Commonwealth Gazette' was published containing a new regulation of the 'War-precautions Repeal Act' whereby customs officers might require an oath of allegiance from any British Subject before admission to the country. I claimed the advice of a solicitor and issued a short statement to the effect that I had understood Australia was a tolerant country where people might hold what opinions they chose provided they obeyed the laws of the land.

The 'Catholic Press', wishing to be helpful! published everything they could discover about me in the back files of the Irish-American press; and the Government issued such information as they possessed. Press men came to me for confirmation of these reports, and not having any private room to which I could retire on the Boat, while refusing to make a statement, I was in an unpleasant position. Such private information with regard to my passport and legal position as I gave to my solicitor R.O. Meagher, he issued as a public statement, and the 'Makura' owing to a strike, was then towed out into the middle of the harbour, where I remained for two months.

I was visited by the late Mr. Ryan and members of the New South Wales Cabinet, and Jack W...1 - who is the most valuable man we possess in Australia if he is properly handled; - and before leaving Sydney the official organ of the Labour Party published a full page statement of mine on the Irish War. I had made all necessary preparations for escape when Mgr. O'Riley and other prominent Irish objected that it would be undesirable.

Leaving Sydney Mar. 4th we arrived in New Zealand three days later, and the ship was put in dry-dock for a week or two. I was prohibited from leaving, but most of the Police being Irish, was able with their assistance to visit most of the Irish and Catholic institutions of the North Island. As far as I could see the best Irishman in N.Z. was P.J. O'Reagan, solr. Wellington (the capital). In Auckland, the largest Irish centre, the most prominent Irish were:-
M.J. Sheahan (agent) 18 Smeeton's Buildings. (principal friend and agent of the Bishop of Auckland)
J.J. Sullivan (solr) Commercial Bank Buildings. (well-informed young Irish Republican)
J.D. Sullivan (auctioneer) Director. Leonard Coakley Ltd.
Hall Skelton (solr) Watson's Buildings. (Protestant, very prominent City Councillor, acted as my 'legal advisor' in N.Z.)
I am ignorant, however, of what position, if any, these men have been given in the Self-Determination League by Miss Hughes.

Leaving New Zealand, I was solemnly deported from the Fiji islands and reached Vancouver Mar. 29th. Detained for two days I was eventually admitted unconditionally.

On April 4th I was put in Gaol by Mayor Gale for sedition alleged to have been spoken at a private reception on April 1st. Gale tried to shelve the responsibility onto the Minister of Justice who declined; and then offered to release me if I promised to leave the country forthwith. This I refused, as the trial proceeded. The prominent Irish Catholics were too frightened to go bail but eventually T.D. Kennedy came forward. A fortnight elapsed before the first trial, during which I was constantly molested by loyalist gangs, and on the last night occurred the assassination of young W.F. Salisbury.

The Vancouver lawyers were all hold-up men demanding outrageous fees, to atone for the inevitable boycott of anyone who should dare to defend me. The local Irish wired from Seattle to the Council of the Republic in Washington for $2,000.00 as a loan which they promised to repay when they had collected the money in Canada. This he did through Sam Evans of his office. Dr. Maloney from New York deluged British Columbia with Irish propaganda and atrocity reports, which had a peculiar effect, confusing the minds of the ignorant professional classes of that province.

Mrs. P.A. O'Farrell, daughter of ex-lord mayor Flanagan of Dublin, was of great assistance to me.

At the first trial in the Supreme Court there was a disagreement and by the time the final trial took place I had been two months in Vancouver. The last trial I conducted personally, the proceedings being of a farcical nature. Judge Morrison declared I was innocent; the Jury brought in a verdict of 'guilty' and further demanded my deportation. The Judge then refused to pass sentence and asked me to proceed on my journey - which I did.

Vancouver contained a great number of secret service agents including one young woman who had already served in Berlin. One of them who was attached to me, Thomas Bell from Co. Antrim, (Invest. Dept. Reg. No. 9770) on being unmasked committed suicide at Regina, Alberta, June 28th.

It is also stated that, living under an assumed name on a ranch near Calgary, Alberta, is Capt. Bowen Colthurst, but his exact address is unknown.

Arriving at Ottawa and Montreal, I met Hon. C.J. Douherty, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, who arranged for the renewal of my passport by Under-Sec-of-State J. Connolly. I understand Douherty has been offered the position of International Supreme-Court Judge by the League of Nations. I also saw Hon. Chas Murphy, real leader of the Liberal party who will be in the next Cabinet.

At Montreal, after a dinner given by the Rich Irish - who has seized upon the Cohalan affair as an excuse for doing nothing - I was given a Franco-Irish farewell reception by Mayor Martin and the City Aldermen.

When on the Makura, during one of the innumerable searches I had $185 cash and a draft for £850 ($3300) stolen. At Montreal I got word that the duplicate draft - the original being cancelled - was being forwarded to Washington; and on arrival in New York, left power-of-attorney to G. Ward of 411 (O'Mara being away) to cash same.

The U.S.A. Consul-General at Montreal refusing to visé my passport I went across the line in a car at Plattsburgh, arriving New York July 10th. On July 23rd I sailed on the 'Celtic' and had no difficulties whatever.

O.[rmonde] Grattan Esmonde

In the event of the nation being plunged back into a very prolonged struggle, the following facts may be worth considering.
1. For all practical purposes the war and the Tour of the Prince of Wales have eliminated national patriotism in the British Dominions and substituted an aggressive British loyalty, which is not confined to the Governing Class but shared by the majority of the population and the totality of the daily Press. Republicanism and Separatism which twenty years ago were popular, are now enthusiastically suppressed as 'sedition' and 'treason'. To act on any other assumption would be grave self-deception.
2. The Irish population in Australia is 25%; in New Zealand 16%; in Newfoundland 18%; in Canada 12% (with the French 45%). More intensive agitation on their part, while increasing the active opposition to Ireland - possibly culminating in public pronouncements in favour of England by Dominion Parliaments, as in the case of Tom Mahon - would at the same time increase the desire for peace.
3. Owing to the suppression of local patriotism the Irish in the Dominions look upon themselves as Irish citizens, in the same way as the Irish in Great Britain.
4. In the S-D.L. (and AARIR) there is the complete framework of a world-wide race organisation; although at the present time it is only a skeleton, paralysed by small membership and consequent lack of funds.
5. Local propaganda depends on money, money on membership; - which can only be increased and maintained by giving the members interests, contact with the nation and work.
6. The new Irish organization being solely for the benefit of the Irish in Ireland - unlike former organisations - must receive inspiration from home. The organised Irish look to the Irish Government for advice, information and suggestions as to the lines on which they can help the Irish State - which is not interference in foreign politics.
7. The only way to obtain efficiency and activity in the world-organization is constant communication from the Irish Government, including copies of the Official organ documents etc: - with the request that they be made known to the branches, which otherwise might not be the case.
8. Unless the people of Irish Race feel that they are in closer contact with the Nation and Government, by joining the organisation, they will not join, and it will be unable adequately to perform its work of propaganda and the collection of money.
9. The Rich or 'Prominent' Irish, who have shown some interest in Irish relief - will never take an active part in the World-organization, and very few will ever join. They can however be of service, and should be given special treatment - which they do not deserve. At present they have no contact whatever with the State, and are in general hostile to the policy of the Irish Government. A little cultivation of the 'prominent' Irish by the Ministry of Information - the occasional dispatch of communications and documents, - would have a satisfactory result; would ultimately produce greater activity on their part, and would provide that contact which they strictly do not deserve, but which they will never seek inside the race organization.
10. Any non-Irish action in the Dominions can only be done by a British organization such as that of Lord Henry Bentinck.

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