No. 58 NAI DFA 19/7A

Confidential report from Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(P. 19/7) (Confidential)

Paris, 4 June 1932

I have the honour to inform you that, accompanied by Mr. Boland, I attended the King's birthday dinner given by the British Ambassador, last night. Mr. Kerney had also received an invitation, but asked me if, in view of the special circumstances of his case, it would be possible, this year, for him to find a plausible excuse for not being present. As I recognised that there were special, if transient circumstances attaching to his case, I agreed to Mr. Kerney's not going - all the more readily as the presence of the Minister and first Secretary seemed to me to meet the needs of the case.

The dinner was a man's dinner - about sixty couverts. Opposite Lord Tyrrell1 sat Mr. Roy. On Lord Tyrrell's right was the Maharajah of Kurpala, on his left I was placed.

Lord Tyrrell was communicative, and, I thought, particularly friendly. He spoke in general terms of the Oath controversy, was critical of Thomas whom he was inclined to take as a joke, and volunteered the information that Lord Granard2 had recently been giving Mr. Thomas very good advice from the Irish point of view. It is interesting to know that Lord Tyrrell himself did not seem to attach an importance to the Oath. Last night he seemed instinctively to adopt the Irish view on several occasions. In the course of conversation he informed me that Mr. Lloyd George's chief characteristic was his unreasoning hatred of Ireland - a hatred, which, he added, was largely shared by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. The latter, so Lord Tyrrell said, hates Ireland because he hates Catholicism. Though posing as a Christian for the public, among his intimates Mac Donald professes to being an agnostic.

Lord Tyrrell mentioned the Coty3 episode and commented with approval on our letter. He was, I thought, quite surprisingly vehement in his condemnation of Coty.

During the evening I met, inter alia, Mr. Crawford the Paris correspondent of the Daily Herald, who was, as was to be expected in the circumstances, very friendly to the Legation. In the course of conversation with him and others the Ottawa conference was mentioned and the general note was one of very distinct pessimism as to the possibilities of its achieving anything positive.

I think I had mentioned in my original letter to you concerning the invitation to this dinner4 that I expected the atmosphere to be very chilly. In point of fact I found no trace of that feeling at the dinner. From what I could personally observe, I would be inclined to say that the Oath controversy did not really interest most of those present.

[stamped] Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh
Minister Plenipotentiary

1 William George Tyrrell (1866-1947), British Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1925-28), British Ambassador to Paris (1928-34).

2 Bernard Arthur Hastings, 8th Earl Granard (1874-1948), member of the Irish Free State Senate (1922-34), member of the Council of State (1946-48).

3 François Coty, perfumier, journalist, political activist and in 1933 the founder of the right-wing Solidarité Française organisation which was later involved in the 6 February 1934 demonstrations which brought down the Daladier government. In his newspapers Le Figaro and l'Ami du Peuple, Coty had accused de Valera's Fianna Fáil government of being under the influence of American and German Jewish financiers and had also attacked Fianna Fáil deputy Robert Briscoe. In May 1932, the Department of External Affairs issued a letter, refuting Coty's allegations, which was published in both newspapers.

4 Not printed.

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