No. 48 NAI DFA 19/2A

Confidential report from Michael MacWhite to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Washington DC, 11 May 1932

During the past season, the social life of Washington continued without any modification notwithstanding the general depression that prevails elsewhere. From the beginning of November until the end of April, dinners and receptions followed in quick succession at the principal Embassies and Legations as well as in the homes of local society leaders. It has been stated in the Press that the Italian Ambassador gave 36 dinners and luncheons, the Japanese Ambassador 32, and the Brazilian Ambassador 24 during the season. Sir Ronald Lindsay, the British Ambassador, has been criticized in the Press because Lady Lindsay and himself have not been showing the hospitality Washington society expected from them. Since then, however, they have noticeably endeavoured to make amends.

The social side of Washington life requires considerable time and attention from the Chief of a Diplomatic Mission. It is necessary that his wife and himself pay their respects at least once during the season to the Vice President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Chief Justice and his Associates, in addition to the New Year's call on them which is held to be obligatory. Then the members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations receive, as well as a number of other outstanding members of both Houses must get due attention, while it is necessary that the families which are considered to be the leaders of Washington society must not be ignored.1

Custom also requires that diplomats exchange calls between themselves during the season. European diplomats meet frequently, but Latin-Americans, if the representatives of Argentine, Brazil, Chile and Cuba are excluded, keep very much to themselves and are only rarely invited to American or European functions. The higher officials of the State Department entertain rarely but are, on the other hand, entertained extensively by members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Although this kind of life appears puerile, it cannot be ignored by any diplomat without loss of prestige to the country he represents.

During the past season we had many engagements, but our time did not permit us to accept all the invitations we received. I am enclosing herewith a list of people whom we entertained either at receptions, dinners or 'at home'. Our guests at one or the other of these functions included almost everybody known in official diplomatic or social Washington.

[signed] M. MacWhite

1 This sentence is reproduced as found.

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