No. 567 NAI DFA 19/2

Confidential Report from Michael MacWhite to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(1008-61-31) (Confidential)

Washington DC, 8 September 1931

During the twelve months that have just elapsed, I have been frequently in touch with Sir Ronald Lindsay, the British Ambassador, and have always found him courteous and obliging. My relations with him as well as with the Embassy Staff may be described as cordial and correct.

After the establishment of the Consulate General in New York, and in the early stages of the transference to us of the Consular functions formerly dealt with by British Consuls, a number of notes passed between Sir Ronald and myself, none of which gave rise to the slightest friction or discussion. They were based on the agreement as set out in the notes from the Minister for External Affairs to the Secretary of State for the Dominions and vice versa, and there was no effort on his part to raise difficulties over points that were not clearly defined and that might have given reasonable grounds for argument.

Both the Consul General at New York and the Consul at Boston were of the opinion at one time that the British Consular officials were somewhat reluctant in handing over to Saorstát officials business of a revenue producing nature, but no specific case of this kind has come to my notice. On the other hand, we find the British Consular officials almost invariably willing to help, and while we are reluctant to utilize their services, there were two instances recently where we found it advantageous to do so. One of these concerned the shipping off to China from San Francisco of a Saorstát citizen who would otherwise be deported to us as an undesirable. And the other related to steps taken in Chicago to get an R.I.C. pensioner to contribute to the upkeep of his wife and family who were resident in the Saorstát.

Our relations with the Staff of the British Embassy are also cordial. Whenever we have occasion to ask for any information from them, it is usually supplied without hesitation. Mr. Ronald Campbell, who was Counsellor at the Embassy for five or six years was transferred last month to Egypt, and was succeeded a few weeks ago by Mr. F.D.G. Osborne, Minister Plenipotentiary, whom I have not yet met. Campbell was well liked, and always seemed disposed to be friendly to us. Mr. Shone, who is First Secretary, was I understand born in the West of Ireland, but he is not particularly demonstrative of the fact. Mr. Huxley, the Second Secretary is the brother-in-law of Sir Edward Harding. He is by far the ablest British official here. Colonel Fitzmaurice Day, the Military Attaché, was born on Valentia Island. He is a brother of the Protestant Bishop of Ossory, and seems to be typical of his class. Captain Macnamara, the Naval Attaché, is also an Irishman whose family has been Protestant for something like one hundred years, but he seems much more interested in the progress of the Saorstát than his Colleague.

The British Embassy does not figure very prominently socially since the arrival of Sir Ronald and Lady Lindsay. The latter is an American by birth, and is said to be of a very critical disposition. Many people who have been accustomed to receive annual invitations to Embassy functions do not hesitate to express their disappointment at the change that has taken place since the departure of Sir Esme Howard.

Our relations with the South African Legation are close and cordial. The Minister has been absent on leave during the last four months, and is expected to return soon, but Mr. Scallan, who is running the Legation, is a frequent visitor here. Whenever they are at a loss for any information, they usually address themselves to us.

With the Canadian Legation also we are on a very friendly standing. The Chargé d'Affaires, Mr. Hume Wrong, was formerly a Professor in the University of Toronto, and although of Conservative if not Imperialistic sympathies, he is not very popular at the British Embassy, as he seems disinclined to allow himself to be patronized by the Embassy Staff. Nevertheless, scarcely a day passes that he does not consult them on some subject or other. The other members of the Canadian Legation Staff, however, feel themselves very much at home with their British Colleagues. The new Canadian Minister has only spent about eight days here since he presented his credentials three months ago. He is expected to return soon.

[signed] M. MacWhite

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO