No. 387 NAI DFA 19/7

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh (Paris)
(E.A. 231/228)

Dublin, 24 June 1930

Your letter of the 6th June1 concerning co-operation with the British. The situation is, as you are quite aware, full of pitfalls. Too much discussion would encourage the 'hen and chickens' attitude, and would gradually convert the legations of the Dominions into satellites of Great Britain. You will have noticed some quite extraordinarily frank comments in the American and Canadian Press on the new Canadian High Commissioner to London. The general line of the commentators is that Massey, instead of being Canada's representative, was a second British representative. If we were habitually to discuss our relations with a particular foreign country with the British, we should find it exceedingly difficult to maintain the freedom of mind necessary to form independent judgments in keeping with our own historical background and our own present needs. The Foreign Office sends a certain number of prints to all the Dominions every week. As a general rule, the 'Times' articles contain everything that is of interest to them. The despatches sent are carefully selected so that we really know just as little from these sources about British policy abroad as the average intelligent reader of the 'Times'. I mention the 'Times' of set purpose, because the information given in its articles on the different foreign countries is so similar to what is given in the British despatches that there can be no doubt about the relations between the correspondents and the British Embassy in the country concerned.

Anything like formal meetings or discussions should certainly be avoided. When a question or some aspect of a question has a common interest for all the Dominions or for ourselves as well as for Great Britain, discussion is of course called for. But I doubt very much whether the habit of discussion merely for the purpose of learning what the British may be pleased to tell you could be anything but detrimental. Our relations with the British abroad must be cordial so long as they treat us cordially, and we must avoid giving them any reason for thinking that we suspect their bona fides. But it is perfectly clear that they will not lose their sense of superiority vis-a-vis the Dominions in this generation, and there is no possibility of getting them to be really frank with us. I doubt if it is possible for the officials of the Foreign Office to take the straight-forward line in anything. We are therefore obliged to be exceedingly careful in our dealings with them. Our policy, as well as our natural inclination, is to be wholeheartedly friendly with the Dominions, and to spare no effort to win their confidence and goodwill. Without them we can make no progress. As friends of the Dominions our hands are enormously strengthened in our dealings with Great Britain, and every member of each of our Legations abroad can help in cultivating that friendship.

I think this note sufficiently indicates to you the Minister's mind, and you will be able to regulate your own conduct accordingly.

[signed] J.P. Walshe

1 Not printed.

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