No. 290 NAI DFA ES Paris 1922 - 1923

Sean Murphy to George Gavan Duffy (Dublin)


Paris, 23 May 1922

A Chara,
With regard to the ordinary functions of our delegation here they have been in need of a guiding hand for some time past. Mr Chartres' stay in Paris was not sufficiently long to allow him to establish his excellent machinery, and I greatly regret that there seems to be some possibility of his not returning to us definitely. In the event of Mr Chartres not returning here I think it would be well if you gave me authority to organise the office until you have appointed some one to replace Mr Chartres, and so prevent it becoming a burden on your ministry. It must be admitted that organisation was not the strong point of this office until the arrival of Mr Chartres, though undoubtedly a great amount of useful propaganda was done chiefly through pamphlets, leaflets etc. It seems to me that this propaganda work can be taken up again and run on other lines. We have a great deal of interesting information to give the French people on Ireland.

It will be more interesting for them and for us when this information leaves aside the Ulster question and is confined to facts about our resources and the possibilities of trade relations etc, as well as to our cultural development. When a stable government is established the shrewd Frenchman will court us once more, at present he is leaving us severely alone.

I was delighted to see by your letter to Mr Chartres that you intended changing the delegation to a private house or a flat. As I wrote you in reply I would like to know if you wish me to make enquiries, because if so I would want to know, the quartier, the rent you propose to pay, and whether you want the house or flat furnished or unfurnished. The eight arondissement seems to the quartier in which most countries have their offices. The Grand Hotel is essentially a provisional local, and the establishment of the delegation in a private house or a flat would doubtless remove to some extent the impression of instability which our affairs at home and abroad are helping to create.

There are clubs and societies all over France in which good work could be done through lectures given by one of the local members. It would be fairly easy to get requests for slides and good general pamphlets from a good many of them. La Jeunesse Catholique alone, to take an example could be made the vehicle for spreading the knowledge of Ireland throughout the whole of catholic France. The Catholics are at present extremely powerful behind the scenes and an effort to get their support would be well worth while. Dempsey1 and I feel that we can do some useful work here given the means, but authority from you 'to carry on' is a primary condition.

Dempsey is very keen on international politics and has a genuine flair for making liasions in high places, he has also an excellent university record. I have a reasonable good record in my legal examinations and have had some experience practising as a solicitor besides almost a year's experience in dealing with Frenchmen. These qualifications, take them as you will, should make a fairly useful combination in our present work. At any rate they represent a sum of potential energy which has at present no outlet.

I was extremely interested by your outline in the Dail of a scheme for training young Irishmen for our service abroad. I should very much like to hear more about it. The idea is full of interesting possibilities.

One of our greatest needs here is a good library, but Mr Chartres has probably given you full information about that.

I write this letter without a thought of complaining in any way whatever. I simply desire to let you know that the delegation can in my opinion be made something of, even in the unavoidable absence of a head, and I believe that in expressing my opinions frankly I am only doing what you wish all the members of your service to do.

I should have written you personally long ago, but the possibility of Mr Chartres coming back and of matters righting themselves that way prevented me doing so.

Is mise le meas mór
Sean O'Murchadha

1 Vaughan Dempsey, Irish office in Paris 1922 - 1924.

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