No. 288 NAI DFA ES Spain

Extract from a letter from George Gavan Duffy to Ormonde Grattan Esmonde (Madrid)

(Dictated) (No. 51/1922) (Copy)

Dublin, 22 May 1922

A Chara,


1. I have your letter No. 161 and realise your difficulties very clearly.
2. As to East Ulster, we have been very reluctant to emphasise the differences between Irishmen, but the conduct of Sir James Craig's Government and its followers has made it necessary that the position should be stated clearly and you will have noticed that it has been very emphatically dealt with in some of the other Bulletins. The position is that Sir James Craig, though himself pacifically inclined, is too weak or too nervous to assert himself against the domination of the combined Orange extremists and Orange militarists in Belfast, so that we have today a perfect example of military dictatorship over the Civil Government in that area. There is a powerful group that is exceedingly anxious to seize the opportunity for driving out the Catholics at any expense of bloodshed, and influential members of the group are anxious to find an excuse for war with the rest of Ireland and a pretext for bringing the British forces into play. The British Government is not blameless in this matter, for though, generally, it has observed the terms of the Treaty loyally, in this matter it is subsidising the armed gangs of Specials in Belfast and it has not exerted any adequate pressure upon Sir James Craig to compel him to observe his agreements with Mr. Collins. The prisoners whom he was to release as a result of the last agreement are still in prison.
3. The agreement with the Dail Opposition ought to help you very considerably; I think we may now count on the restoration of order in the 26 Counties, and it is likely that we shall now be in a position to obtain satisfaction from Sir James Craig.
[87 words omitted]

Le meas,
George Gavan Duffy

1 Not printed.

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