No. 94 NAI DFA Paris Embassy 19/34

Confidential report from Art O'Brien to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(P. 19/34) (Copy)

Paris, 4 October 1937

Conditions at the Legation during the past few months

It will no doubt be of interest to you and the information may also be very useful in formulating a view with regard to the calls upon a Minister's time in Paris, if I give a brief account of some activities during the past months.

From the beginning of May onwards, the calls upon my time for diplomatic functions, social functions and visitors, have been such that it is only with the very greatest difficulty that I have been able to find sufficient time to deal with the administrative work of the Legation. The International Exhibition in Paris has, of course, been chiefly responsible for this abnormal state of affairs. Firstly every pavilion that was opened had an inaugural ceremony to which all members of the Diplomatic Corps were invited. These inaugural ceremonies took place for the most part in the morning at any time between 9 and 11.30. In addition, each national pavilion had an evening reception in connection with its opening to which all the Diplomatic Corps were invited. These receptions took on a variety of characters and were held at any time between 9 p.m. and midnight. Again over 200 International Conferences of one sort or another have been held in Paris or will have been held from the beginning of May to the end of October. To a few of these, as you know, we have sent delegations. In connection with nearly every one of these international Conferences, the Members of the Diplomatic Corps have been invited, always to the two séances d'ouverture et de clôture and, in a great number of cases, to evening receptions and dinners or luncheons and afternoon functions, garden parties, etc.

Of course it would have been physically impossible to accept all these invitations, but to even attend to a minimum of them has been a very great strain.

Since about the middle of June, there has been a continuous flow of visitors from Ireland calling at the Legation with the request to see the Minister and in nearly every case, on account of the position which the callers held, or on account of the introductions which they brought, or because they were formerly associated with me or again because they were old friends, either personal or in the movement, it has been incumbent upon me to see them. In a very large number of cases, it has further been incumbent upon me to entertain them at luncheon, dinner, or otherwise. The number of visitors has seldom been less than 3 or 4 a day and, on many occasions, the number has been from 8 to 10 during the day (N.B. This does not, of course, include visitors who come to the Chancery for consular or business purposes).

Miss O'Briain and I were calculating the other day that for the past three months, we have only had a meal alone on about 12 occasions.

In addition to the above, there has, of course, been a number of delegations calling at the Legation to whom I have given varying attention and entertainment. Altogether it has been a very strenuous and trying season and from a personal point of view, I should be very sorry indeed if the Exhibition were continued next year, i.e. if it still continued to be as big an attraction as it has been on the present occasion for two years in succession, it would demand very great physical endurance.

[copy letter unsigned]
Aire Lán-Chómhachtach

P.S. - Owing to the state of affairs above-indicated, many reports on recent events have remained in abeyance. I am now clearing a number of these up and will continue to do so during the first days of my leave.

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