No. 175  NAI DFA 317/40

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe
'The Duties of Our Representatives Abroad'

DUBLIN, 28 January 1942

During the present period of crisis, the duties of our Representatives abroad call for the very highest degree of care and self-sacrifice. The main purpose of an Irish Representative is to uphold the good name and the right to independence of his country in the official circles of the Government to which he is accredited. Irish independence, so long as it remains incomplete in territory and character, can easily be lost again in a clash between the Great Powers such as that which is now only beginning. The Representative's whole energies must be concentrated all the time on securing the goodwill and strong sup- port of the receiving Government for the completion and maintenance of Ireland's status in the community of nations.

The Taoiseach requires from all our Representatives idealism and a spirit of genuine selflessness in their work. He exhorts them to be completely representative of everything that is best in Irish life and to practise openly the teachings of the traditional religion. Moreover, he requires our Representatives to take a profound interest in the Irish language and literature, because he believes that, without this qualification, it is impossible for a Representative to have whole-hearted zeal for Ireland.

The Representative should keep his Department constantly informed of everything which affects the welfare of Ireland, however remote. Apart from watching and reporting on matters of direct Irish interest, those, e.g., dealing with the protection of our citizens, our trade, etc., he should send constant reports on every aspect of the life of the country to which he is accredited which might in any way be helpful in the building up of the Irish State.

The Representative should cultivate good relations with all the members of the diplomatic corps. He should take the greatest possible care to avoid giving offence to anyone. His conversation amongst his colleagues must be completely representative of his country's policy. He should remember that he is not a free man. Any expressions of opinion contrary to his country's policy would be not merely a betrayal of a very high office. It could easily lead to the Representative acquiring a reputation for putting his personal feelings before his country's interests and he might in the end render himself unfit for further service.

The Taoiseach hopes that all our Representatives will acquire for themselves the highest reputation for charity towards the Representatives of all nations. He does not think we can afford to take part in the quarrels of the Great Powers. He urges all our Representatives to make their friends as far as possible amongst the Representatives of the smaller peoples akin to ourselves.

[initialled] J. P. W.

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