No. 644 NAI DFA 19/9

Confidential Report from William J. B. Macaulay to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(54/100/32) (Secret)

New York, 8 March 1932

Within the past few weeks I attended the Annual Dinner of the American-Irish Historical Society, the Annual Dinner of the American Fraternity Sons of Erin, the Quarterly Meeting of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the private Dinner of the officers of that Association before the Meeting. The last named took place on the 7th March. On each occasion I was the guest of the Organization.

Great interest in the political situation in the Saorstát was evinced on all of these occasions. In general the trend seemed to be towards apprehension lest a change in Government might retard the progress of the country. The two last Dinners having been held since it became evident that the Fianna Fáil Party would form the next Government in the Saorstát, discussion took a very definite form and ran generally on the lines as to how far the next President would go. I pointed out that Mr. de Valera had already announced his programme, that he anticipated no difficulty as regards the abolition of the Oath, that he maintained payment of the Land Annuities is a matter to be decided by law, being merely the interpretation of Statutes and that his economic policy was one which the people apparently had now determined to give a trial. These were all informal discussions and while I have endeavoured to avoid political matters, I find it impossible in practice to refuse to comment on the situation at home. This was especially the case at the last Dinner which was a small one and included all the distinguished Irishmen in New York. The two Surrogates were there and about six Supreme Court Judges. My attitude has been that the majority of the people have the right to determine what the form of Government shall be and have elected a majority of one Party to the Dáil, presumably to permit that Party to carry out its declared programme, and that all friends of Ireland should refrain from prejudgement and hostile criticism. On the contrary they should give at least their moral support to our new Government in the hope that it will succeed in achieving our political, economic and cultural advancement.

There was a Meeting of the Clan Na Gael on Sunday, 6th March, which, I understand, is dominated by Judge Cohalan and his group. The Judge made a long speech pointing out the difficulties which the new Government will meet. This Organization never entirely approved of the policy of the last Government and now appears prepared to be highly critical of the policy of the next one.

[signed] W.J.B. Macaulay

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