No. 200 NAI DFA ES Box 29 File 191

Timothy A. Smiddy to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

Washington, 11 February 1924

A Chara:


The need of recognition has been recently made manifest in dealings I had with some of the government departments in Washington. While they have always been willing and ready to supply me with any information I sought, yet, they will not take action in important (and sometimes in small) matters without a direction from the State Department; and the latter will not act without a formal request from the British Embassy.

For instance in the recent case of the registration of Dr Russell by the Department of Agriculture for the export of meat and meat products from Dublin to the U.S.A. the chief officials put many difficulties in the way of such recognition. One of the difficulties put forward by them either displayed gross ignorance of their own regulations, or else it was only a pretext. This difficulty was promptly removed by the intervention of the British Embassy who requested the State Department to give a direction to the State Department to register Dr Russell.

In this connexion Mr Broderick, Commercial Counsellor to the Embassy, a Dublin man and one of the ablest (if not also imperialistic) in the Embassy raised with me the following question: 'Have any arrangements been made with the British Foreign Office by the Free State Government by which the Embassy could take action with the State Department here in matters similar to the above, and in still more important matters, such as extradition?' He stated they were only agents of the Foreign Office; and, hence, that they should get a direction from the l[at]t[er] advising them to act on my instructions as Representative of the Irish Free State.

Sir Aukland Geddes1 when I approached him last year on somewhat similar subjects made no such comment but directed the Secretary of the Embassy to facilitate my work, which he did most cordially whenever I made any request. Now, I do not mean to imply that Mr Broderick did not, and is not, anxious to help: he is; but he said the relations between me and the Embassy ought to be put on a formal basis.

It is then obvious that my relations both with the U.S.A. Government and the British Embassy are informal: both have acted - the former in many cases the latter in all cases - when I asked them to get things done. But in the case of both[,] anything they did for me was purely by act of grace.

It will be undignified, without official credentials, to attempt any longer to induce the government departments of the U.S. to take action in important matters that concern the Irish Free State. Last year, and recently, I attempted it with a measure of success through personal and social influences because it was tentative and there was the expectation at an early date of my recognition as an accredited representative. But you will agree it would be undignified for the Free State to pursue these attempts any further; and an invidious situation would be provoked if I were to call in the aid of the British Embassy in the event of the failure of my own efforts.

Hence, my relations to the Government Departments of the U.S.A. and to the British Embassy is anomalous and somewhat invidious whenever action on behalf of the Irish Free State is to be initiated by me here. However, there are no difficulties to be encountered where information only is sought in my capacity of a political or economic observer.

The Canadian Representative is theoretically in the same position. Officially, he acts through the British Embassy, but his offices, being in the Embassy he can ring up a government department directly - even the Department of State - and indicate his request as from the British Embassy. Some three [years] 2 hence Mr Mahoney 3- the Representative - consented to have his office (at the request of its officials) in the Embassy; he did so as a purely tentative and vocational arrangement to suit his own purpose. As soon as a Minister will be appointed at Washington (which he thinks to be imminent) the offices of the Canadian Embassy will be independent of the British Embassy.

Hence, immediate action is necessary to remedy this anomalous position either by arranging with the British Foreign Office that the Embassy here take action on my direction in matters that affect only the Free State, or by the Foreign Office directing the British Embassy to have me recognized as the accredited representative of the Irish Free State by the President of the U.S.A. and by the State Department. Naturally, this latter plan is the better. It will facilitate all the relations of the Free State with the U.S.A. Government, and it will indicate in a striking manner to the Irish Americans that the Irish Free State is a self-governing, independent nation, and will tend in an effectual manner to counteract the Irregular campaign here and illustrate the futility of the American people to subscribe moneys for the establishment of an ideal which is practically achieved.

The suggestion of Secretary of State Hughes that provision be made in the Johnson Immigration Act, 1924, so as to warrant a separate immigration quota for the Irish Free State is a good omen. The ground is prepared and I believe ready in Washington for an application for recognition. Is the British Foreign Office ready to present it?

At your convenience I shall be favoured by your remarks on this subject,

Mise, le meas,
[copy letter unsigned]

1 British Ambassador to Washington (1920-24).

2Word missing.(1920-24).

3M.M Mahoney, Canadian Representative in the United States.

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