No. 113  NAI DFA 243/529

Letter from Frank Aiken to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 2 August 1941

A Chara,

I have your letter of the 25th ultimo1 regarding the collection of funds in America for the relief of distress here. Personally, I am opposed to making a general ad misericordiam appeal to the people of the United States and American dollars do not add to our ability to relieve distress here unless we can procure and transport the goods which these dollars could purchase in the United States.

I don't see any basis for a successful appeal to the American public on humanitarian grounds. They are perfectly well aware that we are, up to the present, very much better supplied with the essentials of life than the people of Continental Europe and that we are not suffering from the effects of war in the same severe way as those nations and England.

Our strength in the United States at the moment I think is largely dependent upon the fact that we are looking for nothing from anybody except the recognition of our right to decide our own destiny in peace or war, and for facilities to make purchases of arms and supplies for which we are prepared to pay in sterling to a London account.

I think the hundred thousand, or at the most, couple of hundred thousand dollars, which could be raised after an intense drive among enthusiastic friends of Ireland, would not be worth the sacrifice of lowering the pride which our people over there take in the attitude we have adopted up to the present. One of the points which they never fail to make in speeches, letters and articles, is that the Irish people are not begging for anything but are prepared to pay for anything they get, and this is put in contrast with the immense burdens that have been put on the American people for aid to other peoples who could as well afford to pay as the Irish.

Is mise le meas,
[signed] FRANK AIKEN
Aire Coimhriartha Cosantais.

1 Not printed.

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