No. 165 NAI DT S8530

Letter from Michael McDunphy to Eamon de Valera (Dublin) with handwritten annotation by Seán Moynihan

Dublin, 13 December 1932


1. Some time ago I provided the Governor General with a formula which has proved very useful to himself and his household in fending off importunate visitors, namely that

the Governor General will under no circumstances receive anybody except by appointment.

He asked me today whether similar assistance could be given him in the matter of social functions. I mentioned that I was contemplating a formula which, subject to your approval, would run somewhat as follows:-

'It is the desire of the Governor General to reduce to the minimum compatible with the requirements of his office his attendance in an official capacity at receptions and other functions of an official or social character.

In pursuance of this intention he proposes to limit his commitments of this nature to such as he is advised by the Executive Council are necessary or desirable in the State interest'.1

He expressed himself as very pleased with this, and stated that if put into operation would save him an immense amount of trouble and transfer from him to the Executive Council the onus of deciding troublesome matters of this nature.

2. The formula could be suitably embodied in letters from the Governor General's Private Secretary in reply to invitations, whether in respect of purely social or official or quasi-official functions, as in the case of those given by foreign representatives. Each such invitation could then be transmitted by the Private Secretary to this Department for the Executive Council's decision.

3. As a matter of courtesy the Department of External Affairs could explain the position in advance of foreign representatives accredited here, so that in the event of such a representative wishing to invite the Governor General to a function, the views of the Government could be obtained informally beforehand.

4. On the general question of control, I think that it is in accordance with your view that all official communications to the Governor General should emanate from this Department as the mouthpiece of the Executive Council, and that other Departments who wish to have communications transmitted to him should operate through this Department. Any other procedure would militate against unity of control and lead to needless confusion.

Mr. McDunphy2

The President has considered the formula suggested in paragraph 1 of your minute. He feels that it will be sufficient that the Governor General, when declining invitations, shall state that he is unable to accept, without giving reasons. It is, of course, understood that the Governor General, in dealing with invitations sent to him in his official capacity, shall act only after ascertaining informally the views of the Executive Council.3

The President will discuss the suggestion in paragraph 3 with Mr. Walshe or Mr. Murphy.

He agrees with the view expressed in paragraph 4.

S. Ó. M.

1 Handwritten marginal note by Michael McDunphy: 'Agreed to by President as embodying Govt. policy. MMcD 14/12[.] But not to be quoted in letters to outsiders. MMcD'.

2 This note is handwritten.

3 Handwritten marginal note by Michael McDunphy: 'See my note on p.1. MMcD. 14/12/32'.

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