No. 323 NAI DFA ES Box 34 File 239

Memorandum on the work and staff of the Berlin delegation by John Chartres

Dublin, 21 September 1922


At the basis of the work in the Berlin office has been the collection and classification of information on Irish affairs. This information has both been used for the Bulletin and has been supplied to persons interested in obtaining it. The operations involved have been the careful reading of English newspapers and of all available Irish papers and periodicals; the marking of items of importance; the cutting up of the papers; and the classification and filing of dated cuttings and notes on a system tested by myself in practice during many years and devised to obviate the necessity of research when facts, comments or quotations are required.

In addition to issuing (unofficially) 1,200 copies of the Bulletin twice a week, some 70 or 80 per cent of the issues being used in whole or in part in the press, we have practised other forms of publicity.
a) Short pamphlets have been issued at intervals under the general title of 'Irische Amtliche Notizen.' Included in these were two articles from the series written by General Collins. Occasionally, also, a pamphlet was issued without the generic title.
b) When urgent news of importance was received I issued it to the press direct through three news agencies with which I am in close contact.
c) The news agency of the Centre party was at my disposal for the dissemination of news of primarily Catholic interest, and I was able to supply it with material at least once a week. This was of special value at the time of the Belfast atrocity campaign.
d) I made a practice of circulating to the German hierarchy statements of a political nature issued by the Irish bishops.
e) Journalists, professors and other persons interested in Ireland used to write from different parts of Germany for information on specific topics or for matter to be used in general articles, and their needs were supplied. It often happened, also, that readers of the Bulletin desired additional details of matters dealt with in the Bulletin, and this involved much correspondence. Most of these inquirers were persons who used the information supplied for further publicity in the form of articles, lectures, etc.

Other work done in my office included the following:-
1. I tried to keep the Minister for Foreign Affairs informed on the attitude of the German press towards developments in Ireland. To this end I supplied him monthly with a survey showing the Irish incidents most dwelt on; the general view taken; the political importance and colour of papers expressing opinions on Irish affairs; and an indication of the most important Irish articles of the month, with quotations where requisite. This involved much labour, not only in reading masses of press cuttings but in classifying their contents with summaries and translations.
2. For the information of the Minister I supplied him with regular reports on such German political developments as were likely to have international consequences. I was in a position to obtain sound information in these matters, sometimes of a kind not available to the press.
3. Sometimes at the Minister's request I obtained and sent him information on special topics, e.g. taxation of foreigners, exchange values, premises or German passport regulations.
4. The records and claims of German subjects wishing to visit Ireland were investigated, and passports were issued in approved cases. Each case involved much correspondence. The repatriation of survivors of the Irish Brigade was also dealt with.
5. Interviewing, conversation and entertaining incidental to our work.
6. Keeping and rendering accounts.


Dr. Power
During the past year I was absent from Berlin for periods amounting in all to nearly six months. This was caused by my presence in London during the peace negotiations, my transfer to Paris and my visit to Dublin last May. During all that time Dr Power, who had founded the Bureau before my arrival in Germany, carried on all the office work I have mentioned. For the greater part of the time she had to do it without any assistance. When I was in Berlin she supervised the running of the machine under my direction. She knows German exceedingly well, and her academic distinctions carry much personal weight in Germany. I have seldom, if ever, met anyone so quick of comprehension or so efficient in assimilating methods and carrying out general instructions in detail.

Michael O'Brien
Appointed last March. He is very useful for what I might call 'outside' work - visiting offices, making appointments, and interviewing officials and others for the purpose of obtaining detailed information. He knows German well - he recently completed his studies in Berlin for his Doctor's degree in Celtic subjects - and he is also conversant with Russian, a qualification which might prove useful later. He is interested in economics and, in my opinion, has in him the makings of an excellent official.

Miss Doyle
Appointed in June of this year by Mr Gavan Duffy. She takes a good shorthand note and would do well in a routine office where there was a good deal of ordinary English correspondence. For our special work she has, I am afraid, been rather lacking in adaptability and initiative, and the salary paid her (£5 a week) seems to me out of proportion to the services actually rendered.

Fraulein Hohlwein
A young, well-educated German girl of about eighteen. She does all the messages, addresses the envelopes for the Bulletin (over 1,000 twice weekly), and despatches each issue. She also deals with a certain amount of purely routine correspondence, such as requests for back numbers.

The translator (Fraulein Meyer) cannot be described as on the staff, but comes in twice a week to translate the Bulletin. She is assistant to the Professor of English in the University of Berlin.

John Chartres


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