No. 341 NAI DFA EA 231/1/1929

Confidential Report from Michael MacWhite to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(M.P. 1008-9-30) (Confidential)

Washington DC 14 February 1930

On Wednesday, February the 12th, the Apostolic Delegate at Washington gave a dinner in honour of the Eighth Anniversary of the Coronation of His Holiness, Pope Pious the Eleventh, at which I had the honour to assist. The Spanish, French and Italian Ambassadors were the only other members of the Diplomatic Corps present. There also assisted Cardinal Hayes of New York, Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, Monsignor Ryan, Rector of the Catholic University, Senator Thomas A. Walsh, Senator David I. Walsh, Admiral Benson and Mr. John D. Ryan of New York.

During my illness last November, the Apostolic Delegate accompanied by Monsignor Ryan paid me a visit, and the conversation turned on the delay in the appointment of a Nuncio at Dublin. He inquired as to the cause of the delay. I could not enlighten him as I had no communication from my Government on the subject, but I heard from more than one source that it was likely to lead to misunderstandings in the Saorstát, which were liable to be exploited against the Government. Monsignor Ryan then said that the Diplomatic machinery of the Vatican might have been more expeditious in the present instance, although there were difficulties in the way which were not easy for a layman to understand. In any case, he continued, a hitch in the relations of the Free State and the Vatican would have a serious repercussion on the Irish of this country, who composed about 80% of the Catholic population. The Apostolic Delegate then said he would convey the views he had just heard to the Cardinal Secretary of State. I paid no more attention to the matter until he told me at the dinner that he communicated at the time with the Holy Father in the matter. It is possible that the Nuncio was appointed and all arrangements made for his Mission before this communication reached Rome but it is, nevertheless, true that the Vatican is very sensitive to any recommendation made from the Apostolic Delegate here, whose intimate adviser on church and political matters is the Rector of the Catholic University.

Cardinal Hayes talked in very favourable terms of the Nuncio, whom he had met in Rome a few days before he left for Dublin. He was extremely gratified to learn that he had such a magnificent reception on his arrival in the Irish capital. Some of the church dignitaries expressed surprise when I informed them that three Archbishops and twenty-one Bishops assisted at the official State banquet in his honour.

Cardinal Hayes only visits Washington once or twice a year. It was suggested to me by Monsignor Ryan that it would be a very good thing if I got up a dinner at my house for His Eminence. I replied that I would be only too pleased to do so, whereupon he turned to Monsignor Donahoe, the Cardinal's Secretary, and asked that he give me timely notice of the visit of His Eminence to Washington.

It is not easy for anybody who has not had American experience to realize the attractions diplomatic receptions and dinners have, not only for the highest church dignitaries, but also for the wealthiest Irish-Americans. I know of busy men who think nothing of travelling from Chicago or Boston in order to participate at a diplomatic function here. The fact of their doing so very often gives them a standing in society which, notwithstanding their wealth, would otherwise be difficult to attain.

[signed] M. MacWhite

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