No. 322 NAI DFA ES Spain

Ormonde Grattan Esmonde to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

Madrid, 20 September 1922

A Chara,
(1) Office
On arrival in Madrid, at the beginning of March, I found a partially dismantled office at Ayala. 144, with a Spanish servant and a clerk. I got rid of this flat owing to its distance from the centre of the city, and took the present offices, at Fernanflor.6. I have retained J. Fernandes, the clerk, who is extremely reliable and efficient. For translation, I have employed G. Perrin, a journalist.

On July 7th. Mr. Ambrose Griffith arrived from Ireland, to act as secretary for a period of three months; but since his arrival, owing to the hot weather, it has not been possible to find him much work to do.

(2) Publicity
Up to the middle of July, the publication of the Spanish Bulletin was continued; I noticed that it was frequently quoted by the provincial press, but rarely by that of the Capital.

Owing to the state of affairs at home, it was necessary to deal mainly with Belfast and trade matters.

I also wrote some twenty articles about Ireland, for different journals, mostly Catholic, in various parts of the country.

Of the Madrid papers, the two principal: EL SOL (owned by the English) and A.B.S., are hostile; but the Catholic DEBATE, and the most popular evening paper INFORMACIONES, are always at my disposal. The other metropolitan papers are friendly, but the editors have no independence.

I have given no press subsidies.

(3) Trade.
I have inserted some half-dozen articles on Irish Trade into Spanish Commercial journals, of which there are a great number; and have noticed that such Bulletins, as gave statistics of Hispano-Irish Trade, have been quoted extensively in the provinces.

All the Ministries which deal with trade, and most of the Chambers of Commerce, have communicated with the Delegation and send us their publications.

Being unable to discover the names of Irish Firms dealing with Spain, and consequently, being without any practical proposals, such propaganda and activity is largely a waste of time. Mr Jerome, an ex-British Consul in Seville and Mr Cinamond, a business man in Barcelona have offered their services as consuls in these cities.

(4) Political
Spain has no foreign policy, and Madrid is not an international political centre.

I had actually no particular reason for existing, seeing that, as representative of a State, the exact status of which is doubtful, I was not recognised, and did not claim to be. But I came in contact - in a social way - with a large number of

Political personages, including:-
(a) The Queen Mother, The Bishop of Madrid, the Dukes of Infantado, Frias and Santona, and a large number of Deputies and Senators, including ex-Ministers. I also made friends with the Director of Public Security.
(b) In the Diplomatic corps, I met the German Ambassador, the Nuncio, the ministers of Holland, Austria, Serbia, Poland, Turkey, and all the members of the British Embassy, except the Ambassador.
(c) I made the acquaintance of the members of the Irish Colony, which is not very numerous, or influential, and also discovered some half-dozen families of Hispano-Irish extraction.
(d) In popular circles, I went in for bullfighting, met all the Toreros, (who, as the national heroes, are the most famous people in the country) sent subscriptions to their widows and orphans, was made a vice-pres. of their association, and have had a bull killed in honour of Ireland at Toledo, during the Festival.
(e) In academic circles, I have dined with the president of the University college in Madrid, which is an Anglicised institution, and was invited to speak there, but unfortunately did not know enough Spanish.

Should it be decided that Irish Representatives abroad are to retain a status corresponding to the international status of Ireland, then the Irish office in Madrid might be retained, seeing that:-
(1) Spain is the first of the Neutral and 2nd class powers.
(2) It is probably the most friendly country to Ireland in the World.
(3) There is a wide field for cultural and trade propaganda, when affairs are quiet at home.
(4) None of the foreign representatives in Madrid have any more to do than the Irish, but they all remain!
(5) The removal of the office would be hailed as a victory by the Brit. Colony and would be the end of the Irish colony.
(6) The Irish Foreign Office will eventually control Passports.
(7) There will have to be a Trade Treaty with Spain.

At the same time, it cannot be denied, that Irish representation in Madrid, if there are not to be High Commissioners in the capitals of the Great Powers, would be absurd.
(1) Madrid is not a political centre, and there is nothing to do politically.
(2) The arguments in favour of representation are purely local; i.e. from the point of view of local Irish prestige in Spain. In other words, from the purely local point of view of the Irish at home, it is not essential, and to a certain extent a luxury.

I would suggest that the office be kept open for another three months provisionally, at the end of which time, if it is to be closed, the documents and library could be handed over to the consulate, when it is set up in Seville or Barcelona.

In the meantime, there is not enough work for two people in Madrid, and an Irish secretary is not necessary.

Is mise,
le meas mór,
Ormonde Grattan Esmonde

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