No. 484 NAI DFA EA 231/5

Confidential Report from Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 17 November 1930

I have the honour to inform you that I have received an invitation to be present at the Annual Paris British Legion dinner to be held on December 5th. The President, Colonel Abbot, called on me personally to tender the invitation. He informed me that among others, General Weygand and General Gouraud would be present, as would also be Mr. Roy, the Canadian Minister. I have left the matter open provisionally and refer it home to you for final decision.1

The position as I see it is as follows:

a) the British Legion in Ireland is run by the most antinational elements in the country. Its leaders have no sympathy with and no comprehension of Irish national aspirations.
b) It is certain that if I attend this dinner I will be in an atmosphere utterly foreign to our outlook and it is possible that I may have to listen to speeches with the sentiments of which I would have no desire to be associated.
c) On the other hand this manifestation will be attended by the highest French Military and Civil Authorities and the absence of the Irish Minister (while the Canadian is present) may very possibly be interpreted to our detriment. You will recollect that I sensed a certain hostility to Ireland among the military elements ever since my arrival in Paris. Participation of the Irish Minister in a manifestation of the sort would certainly tend to remove that feeling whereas failure to attend would tend to confirm it.
d) It is a question of balancing the pros and the cons. From the point of view of my mission in France I am of opinion that attendance at this dinner would serve me. From the point of view of national sentiment I should certainly abstain.

I have tried to sum up the situation objectively and would be glad to receive your decision as soon as possible.

[signed] Count G. O'Kelly de Gallagh

1 Handwritten marginal note by Joseph P. Walshe: 'If at all possible avoid attending, but if circumstances oblige you to go, you should not make a speech. The presence of so many French military and other authorities will make your presence less conspicuous. J.P.W.'

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