No. 117 NAI DFA ES Box 33 File 233

Nancy Wyse Power to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)


5 November 1921

A Chara,
Owing to enemy pressure, it was necessary for me to leave Berlin for a day or so; and as Professor J. had important despatches, I took the opportunity of conveying them here. I return to Berlin this evening. Mr Magner1 passed me en route and should be in Berlin now. From information received here I learn that his return is regarded as temporary, for the purpose of making many arrangements, which would have been desirable at the time of his departure, close on five months ago, but which it was impossible to see to then owing to the rush in which he left.

I am writing now to put before you the urgency of Mr Magner's presence at Berlin. I am quite aware that it is not within my province to do so; but mindful of a conversation I had with you before I left Dublin, I am taking the liberty of putting my views before you.

The situation in Germany is most critical, events of the past week have proved that (I may mention that the attitude of the German Press towards Ll. George's speech has been from our point of view very satisfactory). Our enemies are seeking to injure us by every means in their power. Our friends in Berlin are all of the freelance pattern and while of use under direction, are apt to be carried away by their enthusiasm into indiscretions. It is absolutely necessary that there should be in Berlin some person with authority in Irish affairs, to whom such people will look for leading and whose instructions they will follow. The conduct of our propaganda in such very difficult circumstances requires some one of wide experience and tact. The gentleman in charge was from this point of view ideal, which makes it all the more pity that he should have been whisked away just when he had begun to settle down. It is quite impossible for any man to keep in touch with the political feeling of a foreign country if he is to spend four weeks in London, one week in Berlin and then another four in London. Moreover, the whole work suffers from the break in continuity and our work in Germany has been handicapped by the fact that so many fingers have been dipped into it beginning with your envoys visit last Feb. Another change would be a calamity, but I understand that your Minister does not contemplate making a definite change; but apparently wishes to keep Mr M near him when necessary, and allow him to look after our interests in Germany in his odd moments. I know that the answer to this will probably be that in these odd moments, he can give directions which I can carry out during the rest of the time. This is not so. In the first place, crises arise in the most unexpected manner in Berlin, and in such, a person must be on the spot with authority sufficient to direct action during the crises. In the second, that authority must be undivided. Nothing is more damaging to our prestige than for our friends to find one person in charge this week and another next. Moreover, if it is necessary for me to come here on a message, as has happened now, it leaves the mission deserted for a period of at least three days. With all Ireland to choose from, it should not be impossible to find some one to fill Mr Magner's place in London, and thus leave him free to conduct the work in Berlin. If it is impossible, I can only say that progress need not be looked for there, and that it might have been better to leave the matter untouched, rather than conduct propaganda in this haphazard manner.

Neans de Paor

1 Apparently a codename for John Chartres.

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