No. 22 NAI DFA GR 224

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh (Brussels)
(224/149) (Copy)

Dublin, 6 August 1926

A Chara,

With reference to your letter of July 30th1 concerning the Wytschaete Memorial, I am instructed by the Minister to inform you that if an invitation is sent to you to be present he desires you to accept it and to attend the ceremony.

It must be remembered that this celebration has certain aspects which lessen very considerably the validity of the arguments advanced in your letter.

The ex-service men in the Saorstát form an integral part of the British Legion of Ex-Servicemen. They fought in the British Army and their comrades to whom the Memorial is being erected died fighting in that army. It is therefore quite natural that the British Ambassador, outside his capacity as Diplomatic Representative of the States of the Commonwealth, should be present as one of the chief guests. Even if the entire organisation work had been done through you it is difficult to see how you could have assisted in any but a subsidiary capacity. If the Saorstát had existed prior to the Great War and the Irish Army taken part as a distinct unit, a different view would have to be taken.

Your presence cannot in any sense be interpreted as bestowing the blessing of the Saorstát Government on the details of the ceremony.

The Minister is entirely opposed to the line you proposed taking which could be justified only if you were a fully accredited diplomatic representative and the army concerned were the Irish Army. You are therefore instructed to be present if invited.

Le meas,
[copy letter unsigned]

1 Not printed

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