No. 133 NAI DFA 219/22A

Extracts from the annual report on the work of the Irish Consulate General in New York and Consulates in Chicago and San Francisco for 1939-40 (108/12/40)

Washington, 6 March 1940

[matter omitted]


In co-operation with the National Reception Committee in New York, the Legation was engaged for several months in preparing for the visit of An Taoiseach. Reception Committees and other groups were formed in 27 cities in 19 States to handle the local details in preparation for Mr. de Valera's coming. The perfection of these arrangements entailed much correspondence at the Legation and necessitated several journeys by the Minister to New York and a visit to Chicago to consult with the committees. As a result of these preparations, everything was in readiness for Mr. de Valera's visit and it is safe to assume that his tour would have been a most successful one.



An Tánaiste and his party on arriving at New York1 were met by the Minister who attended with them at the official opening of the Irish Pavilions at the New York World's Fair. Later the party journeyed to Washington. An official dinner was tendered to them by the Minister, and an interview with the President of the United States was secured for An Tánaiste and Mr. John J. Hearne. The party, including the Minister, travelled on to Chicago and attended sessions of the Irish Race Congress which had arranged to convene in that city in anticipation of Mr. de Valera's visit.


[matter omitted]



The enactment of the U.S. Neutrality Act and the consequent inclusion of Ireland by the United States in a zone designated as 'combat area' received the serious attention of the Minister. Several visits were paid by him to the State Department to protest against Ireland's isolation and the loss sustained by her due to the stoppage of sailings of American ships to Irish ports. So far these protests have been unavailing.2



Due to the prohibitions of the U.S. Neutrality Act, American trans-Atlantic air clippers have cancelled their sailings to Foynes and now make Lisbon their port of call. This is a great loss to the Irish Airport. The Minister has repeatedly endeavoured to get the State Department officials to consider the matter with a view to allowing trans-Atlantic planes to resume flights to Ireland. American Export Airlines is endeavouring to secure a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Civil Aeronautics Authority to allow it to fly the Atlantic in competition with Pan-American Airlines. The Minister has had conferences with officials of both the above mentioned companies and has discussed with them matters affecting the interests of the Foynes airport and the airlines.



Everything possible was done by the Minister in an endeavour to save the lives of these men. He solicited the aid of influential persons with a view to appealing to the President. We have been informed unofficially that the President intervened. The British Ambassador was approached and wired his Government that the execution of these men would be a grave mistake, but his intercession was unavailing.



During the course of the year material relating to the question of Partition has been supplied to several persons desiring to incorporate this information in articles for publication in magazines and periodicals. The Legation caused to be mailed 13,532 copies of the pamphlet entitled 'Unity of Ireland'. Copies of this booklet were mailed to the following: U.S. Governors of States and Territories; U.S. Senators and Representatives; newspapers represented in the Press Galleries of Congress; Catholic newspapers and magazines; High School libraries and public libraries, and to libraries of other classifications.



During the year many articles on Ireland and news despatches of Irish happenings appeared in the American press. On the whole the tenor of the articles has been fairly favourable and the despatches accurate. On several occasions, however, it became necessary for the Minister to approach the editors of newspapers in Washington and New York and to register protests against anti-Irish articles appearing in their columns and to arrange to have replies addressed to these papers by friends of the Legation.

[matter omitted]

1 Seán T. O Ceallaigh arrived in New York on 12 May 1939, with a party that included John J. Hearne and Kathleen O'Connell, aboard the United States Steamship Lines SS Washington.

2 See Nos 41, 45, 57, 69, 71 and 73.

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