No. 26 NAI DFA ES Paris 1919

Extract from a letter from Sean T O'Ceallaigh to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)

Paris, 18 September 1919 (received 28 September 1919)

A Dhiarmuid Dhilis,
[matter omitted]
The letter from Madam V.[ivanti] just emphasises the remarks I made in a couple of recent despatches on the same subject. I feel now however that there is no really urgent need for a man in Switzerland. My anxiety about having a representative there arose from the fact that Geneva was to be the Headquarters of the League of Nations. As things stand at the moment we cannot say for certain if the League will ever come into existence. Even if it does, as of course it may do, it looks as if it cannot be in a position to begin functioning for months yet. This of course all depends on what the U.S. Senate does with the Peace Treaty, but for these reasons I think that the question of the appointment of a man for Switzerland need not be considered as of great urgency for the moment. Nevertheless I would like to repeat my former advice to the Cabinet, that is that they should be earnestly on the watch for a suitable man to take up our work in Switzerland when the question of the League of Nations is definitely settled.

I gather from the tone of Madam Vivanti's letter that she is anxious to be re-employed on our work in Switzerland or elsewhere. I cannot however see what employment we could give her for the moment. She is - as I have so often before told you - a most useful worker but she in my opinion ought not be put in any place where she would have responsible work to do, unless she had some person with a better knowledge of Ireland and Irish affairs to guide her. If we had a representative in Switzerland he could not have a more useful or energetic assistant than Madam V.[ivanti] but unless under conditions such as these I cannot for the moment see how we could use her kind offer of help to good advantage.

[matter omitted]

Duffy and I met Albert Thomas, ex-cabinet minister,1 at lunch a few days ago but I regret to say that neither of us were particularly favourably struck by him or by his views about Irish affairs. However as he seems to be inclined to help, I need not tell you that we intend keeping in touch with him and getting all the value we can out of him.

When writing a few days ago to Art O'Briain I asked him to find out from Childers if it would be possible for him to come over here again in a month or so, say for about a fortnight. In spite of my previous prejudice to the contrary, I am glad to be able to report that Childers' work here was most valuable. He was more successful with the French press in his week or two, than Duffy and I have been all the time of our stay. I need not explain that the French journalists look upon anything in the nature of news or other communications coming from us as tainted. They were however glad to meet Childers and paid great respect to all he said, both on account of his war record and of his reputation as a writer. For this reason I think it would be a most useful thing, so far as propaganda here is concerned, if he could be got to come over here for another week or two, soon, to make another round of the Paris press.

I suppose the Cabinet are considering the question of the appointment of a representative in Berlin as soon as the Treaty of Peace is ratified?

Needless to say I and all here are delighted to see the renewed activity in political circles at home. One or two accidents that have recently happened to some of our - shall I call them friends - have I can assure you caused great sorrow.

Warmest regards and best wishes to all,
Seán T. O'Ceallaigh

1 Later Director General of the International Labour Organisation.

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