No. 91 NAI DFA EA 3

Letter from Peadar MacMahon to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin), enclosing a memorandum from the Chief of Staff on the appointment of a Military Representative in London
(2/6660) (Confidential)

Dublin, 16 May 1927

Appointment of Military Representative at High Commissioner's Office, London

I am directed by the Minister for Defence to state for the information of your Minister that for some time past the necessity for having a permanent Military Attaché in London has been seriously felt by the Army. Such an officer would be of immense value to the Forces who would thus be enabled to keep in touch with the latest developments in military science and equipment in England and, possibly, indirectly, in other countries. He would also be in a position to smooth out many difficulties for our officers when on duty in London in connection with purchases of warlike stores etc. It will be appreciated that in a newly formed Army, such as that of the Saorstát, no opportunity exists for keeping abreast of modern developments in military science. The absolute necessity for the creation of such an appointment was forcibly illustrated during the attendance at the recent Imperial Conference of representatives from this Department. They were completely out of touch with what had been and was being done in other countries. Extraordinary advances were found to have been made in mechanical transport, artillery, aircraft, and anti-aircraft defences, and in almost every sphere of military activity. It was learned that the War Office had decided that the present rifle, bayonet, Lewis Gun, and grenades were out of date and were being scrapped and that the methods of using and counteracting the use of gas during the European War were now found to be obsolete. His Majesty's Government are well aware that our defence is essential to their defence, and appear to be quite willing to give all information at their disposal and to keep the Saorstát in touch with all new discoveries and inventions.

I am to enclose a memorandum prepared by the Chief of Staff on the matter and in view of the points raised therein, to request that your Minister will be so good as:

         (a)  to give an expression of his opinion as to the constitutional desirability of creating such an appointment in the existing circumstances, and
        (b) to request the High Commissioner to make exhaustive enquiries as to the status of existing Dominion Military Representatives in London and their  relation with the British Forces.

[signed] Peadar MacMahon


Appointment of Military Representative at High Commissioner's Office, London

[matter omitted]

If a Saorstát Military Representative were sent to London at the moment, it can be taken as pretty certain that the British War Office would be as friendly to him as possible. At the same time, they would, in all probability, give him the same status and treatment as the Australian Representative, and as the Australians are in every way most anxious to meet and co-operate with the British, this would probably make his position difficult for himself and the Defence Forces in addition to being constitutionally undesirable and open to political attack. For this reason, it is suggested that, without making any proposal to abandon the creation of such an appointment, no effort should be made to fill it without:-


Firstly consulting the Department of External Affairs, and finding what their position is as to the constitutional desirability of creating such an appointment under the existing circumstances, and

Secondly, through the Department of External Affairs getting the High Commissioner in London to unofficially make exhaustive enquiries as to the status of and relations of existing Dominion Military Representatives in London with the British Forces.

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