No. 281 NAI DFA ES Box 30 File 199

T.A. Smiddy to George Gavan Duffy (Dublin)


Washington, 4 May 1922

A Chara:
I have been speaking to several Americans of Irish birth and sympathies holding responsible positions here; they were daily becoming more bewildered at the state of affairs in Ireland. The good news of yesterday, however, will modify their misgivings.

Some very active and well informed friends of Ireland, among them Dr Constantine McQuire, pointed out to me that the relations between Gt. Britain and the U.S.A. are far different from what they were in the Autumn of 1921.

Gt. Britain has succeeded in getting the Four Power Alliance signed in December last which is the forerunner, and will soon bear the fruits, of a more intimate alliance with the U.S.A. This pact was vital to England, and to obtain it she was ready to make peace with Ireland. The Republic not having been achieved when the Four Power Alliance was signed, it could not, and will not, be achieved until the alliance breaks. The U.S.A. stepped into the place held by Russia from 1906?1917, in the Anglo-Franco-Russo-Japanese 'trusteeship for world peace'. Hence, if Gt. Britain has again to adopt severe methods in Ireland and elsewhere she can do so without imperilling the success of her policy with the U.S.A. In fact, some keen political observers say that the foreign policy of the U.S.A. will be directed by England. It is obvious to any one that the U.S.A. is at present strongly pro-British, and no public man strikes the popular imagination here with more approval and appreciation than Lloyd George.

One sincere Irish American holding an important position in the U.S.A. Government goes so far as to say that 'We (the U.S.A.) are now partners in the British Empire; and the great Irish race which so long checked this cherished plan of England is being pounded with fragments here and every where else... . The part of statesmanship in Ireland to me seems so clear that I groan when I see what is abroad in that land. The unity of the people, the establishment of direct transportation means, the liberation of Irish finance, industry and agriculture from British control, the development of education, literature, a national spirit, the conciliation of the North East, the steady, resourceful, unflinching building up of a nation ? these are the things calling out to be done, and with independence as the reward. But these things, to be sure, mean hard work, research, study, application and self-restraint; and a horde of loud-mouthed wiseacres and rifle brandishers will not devote themselves to such abnegation, ? when they can achieve a republic by the simple process of making another government impossible.'

This statement is fully characteristic of the present attitude of the average Irish American in the U.S.A.

The other important fact that strengthens England's position here and makes her indifferent to Irish propaganda against her is the funding of the debt due by her to the U.S.A. The details in connection with the funding are practically left altogether in the hands of the Secretary of State; and he and the administration are unequivocally pro-British.

I am also receiving further confirmation of what I have already pointed out to you that in the course of time, at the appropriate moment the British debt will be cancelled. The present administration is endeavouring to pass a high tariff which will make it exceedingly difficult for the U.S.A. debtors ? especially England ? to pay their debts to the U.S.A. by the only means in their power, viz. an export of goods. Hence the connection between the tariff and the cancellation of England's indebtedness. As you have also doubtless observed England seems to be subtly at work in effecting the cancellation of European War indebtedness.

Mr. McCullough has succeeded, I think, in inducing the purely Irish Press here, Viz, 'The Irish Press', Phil. and Mr. J. Devoy, to abstain from personalities and bitterness. 'The Irish Press' in its last two issues has shown a marked moderation in its pronouncements.

There will be a National Convention of the A.A.R.I.R. in Washington on next Friday and Saturday, May 5th, and 6th. McCullough is coming here this evening and will endeavour to get into touch with some of the leaders with the object of endeavouring to prevent the split going deeper. He intended to be present at the obsequies of the late John Archdeacon Murphy on behalf of the Dail.

Mr. Ml. Collins's interview to the representative of the New York Herald is satisfactory; he struck the right note which will have good results here. An occasional repetition of the same idea, and an appeal for a fair election, will be productive of much good.

It is much easier and more effective to give publicity to such points in the U.S.A. through American Press men in Ireland than directly to the press in this country. Any pronouncement by Mr. Collins or Mr. Griffith carries great weight here as their 'stock' is very high.

You will find enclosed in the paper cuttings a statement that [James] Larkin will not avail himself of the opportunity to be released from prison because he was being discriminated against.

Do Chara,
T.A. Smiddy

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