No. 310 NAI DFA ES Box 8 File 55

Monthly report from Michael MacWhite (Geneva)

Geneva, 1 August 1922

Report for the month of July

Only very meagre commentaries on the Irish situation has appeared in the Continental press since the beginning of this month. The action of the irregulars in provoking a revolt which lead to the destruction of one of the principal streets of the Irish capital and of its most imposing architectural monument has however called for universal condemnation. In this respect they have been compared to the French Communists who in 1871 attempted to destroy the Louvre and other public buildings though unlike the latter they can scarcely plead illiteracy in extenuation of their crime.

Opinion on the Continent is very well disposed towards the Irish Government but foreigners find it extremely difficult to grasp the significance of its leniency towards the irregulars who fall into its power. Internment is looked upon as a punishment altogether too moderate for those who have resorted to every stratagem, fair and foul, particularly the latter, in order to subvert the laws on which government is built.

The National Army, notwithstanding its inexperience, has called forth many encomiums and its work under exceptionally trying circumstances is regarded as most praiseworthy by those who are qualified to speak on military matters. On the contrary, the rank and file of the irregulars are held to be no better than bandits and brigands whereas their leaders are looked upon, at best, as very bad losers who are lead from one stupidity to another by their exaggerated ideas of their own importance. The sniper is considered to be nothing less than a human pest, in the extermination of which every honest citizen should freely participate.

The action of the Irish Labour Party by endeavouring to organise a movement, inspired more or less by hostility to the Government, did not find any echo in Labour circles on the Continent. As a matter of fact that step showed that the Irish labour Movement is not very deep-rooted and can only progress as long as it advocates a national programme. Labour people here who have studied the Irish question were hitherto under the impression that the Irish Labour Party was a force to be reckoned with; now they realise that the latter body has made a fiasco of its electoral success.

The delay in assembling the Irish Parliament has given rise to no adverse comments that I am aware of, in the Continental press. As a matter of fact, to debate the measures necessary for the restoration of order whilst the authority of the Government was being openly challenged and defied would be a sign of lamentable weakness on the part of the Executive, and a proof of inability to govern.

M[ichael] MacWhite

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