No. 525 NAI DFA 19/1B

Confidential Report from Charles Bewley to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)1

Vatican City, 2 March 1931

I beg to acknowledge secret minute of February 24.2 At the same time I should like to express my satisfaction at having so clear an indication of the type of subject on which the Government desires to be informed. I realize, and regret, that I have been remiss in sending reports: I should be glad if you would assure the Minister that I have often been in considerable uncertainty what subjects were suitable, and have sometimes refrained from writing when I feared that conversations which I have had either with Irish clergy, Vatican officials, or diplomatic colleagues might be regarded as of insufficient value to be reported. Your minute has made very much clearer to me the matters in which I can be of assistance to the Minister, and I propose to send a series of reports on the various matters mentioned in it.3

I should be very sorry if the Minister were to come to such a conclusion as that mentioned in your last paragraph. The real difficulty which I find in this post is the climate. I have not mentioned the subject before, because I do not want to exaggerate it. Since coming here I have only on very few occasions even had to spend a day in bed. At the same time, I find, as do many persons from northern countries, that the type of damp warmth which is so frequent in Rome and which accompanies the Sirocco wind renders the carrying out of the ordinary duties of life much more difficult than it would otherwise be. Many persons, even from northern countries, appear to be quite immune from its effects: on the other hand, others, as for instance the Swedish Minister to the Quirinal and Mr. Wiggin, the late 1st Secretary to the British Embassy, have told me that they never feel well in Rome.

Without wishing to put the matter so strongly, I am quite convinced that the climate is in my case responsible for a definite depression and loss of vitality, which manifests itself in frequent digestive trouble, the tendency to fall asleep in the day time, irritability, failure to concentrate, and the general feeling of being tired and 'rundown'.

I fear that this may sound like the effusion of a hypochondriac: I can only say that never in my life until now have I paid, or had any cause to pay, excessive attention to matters of health. I should not now have referred to the subject were it not for the questions contained in your minute.

From what I hear from others, the climate of Rome is not one to which people grow accustomed if it does not initially agree with them: on the other hand, it is alleged to affect them more the longer they remain. This is my own experience; I find it this year considerably more tiring than a year ago.

I very definitely do not wish to suggest to the Minister that I am in any other way dissatisfied with my post. At the same time, I would not like to stay here indefinitely, and if at some time in the future there were to be a vacancy in a more northern climate, I would be most grateful if he would consider the possibility of a transfer.

[signed] C. Bewley

1Document initialled 'PMcG'.

2See No. 521.

3See No. 527 and No. 532.

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