No. 10 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P100

Summary of Heads of Missions Conference conclusions by Joseph P. Walshe

Dublin, 12 September 1945

1. Staff
The staff situation in some of our posts is so bad that an altogether disproportionate amount of routine and clerical work is thrown upon the Head of the mission. In two of our Continental posts the Minister is the sole Irish national and in four of them there is no Secretary of Legation. A definite promise could be made that this situation will be remedied in the near future.

2. Libraries
No post seems to have anything like an adequate library of Irish books and the means for doing cultural propaganda is therefore very largely absent. A word on the need of greater individual effort to build up such a library is urgently called for. Requests for books would always have been welcomed by the Department. The Heads of Missions could be told to send in their lists for this type of book immediately.

3. Proposals
This point is closely connected with 2. I have come to the conclusion from our Conferences that our Representatives have to be roused energetically to the consciousness that their main work abroad is to spread the knowledge and esteem of Ireland. They have been too static, too routine, too little conscious of the fact that we are in the pioneering stage and that their work of propaganda, in the good sense, should go on and should have gone on notwithstanding material difficulties. The war years furnished a certain excuse in all countries but our Representatives must now go out as Apostles for this country and look for every opportunity, whether by talks or lectures or personal contacts, to do the work for which they have been sent abroad. There is a real danger, especially in countries where opportunities have to be looked for, of our Representatives becoming almost exclusively small cogs in the social routine of the Diplomatic corps. It seems to me that a summing up reminder on this matter is essential. One of the Representatives said that he had done no cultural propaganda because he had not a cultural Secretary.

A word to the Representatives on the extreme necessity for treating Irish nationals (whether visitors from Ireland or temporarily resident abroad) with the greatest care and attention. They should be reminded that the reputation of the Government and the Department is to a certain extent in their hands in this matter. It would be a very serious matter if any of our Representatives abroad, however unwittingly, gave the impression that they were inattentive to Irish nationals or treated them with less courtesy than strangers.

4. Buildings
It is clear that the only ultimate solution is to acquire the property in our ultimate Legation premises so that we can decorate and furnish that in such a way as to reflect the cultural background of the home country. There is general agreement that the offices of the Legation should be separate from the residence and should be situated in the business part of the town.

A word of exhortation to greater effort and a promise to apply an early remedy to the most urgent needs.

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