No. 317 NAI DFA ES Paris 1923

Memorandum from Maurice Moore to Michael Hayes1 (Dublin)

Dublin, 25 August 1922

Before my departure for Paris to take up the position of Envoy I received the following instructions from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

'The most urgent matter in Paris, to which I should like you to direct the attention of your Secretaries, is the finding of suitable and adequate premises for the Irish Delegation, which will shortly become the recognised Diplomatic Delegation under one title or another'.

In accordance with this instruction a search was instituted and after considerable difficulty on account of the congestion in Paris, a very suitable Apartment was found, and all arrangements made for obtaining a Lease. Details have already been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I think it may be desirable to state for your information the importance of this matter in respect of the Delegation, which has been housed since its initiation in the Grand Hotel. No doubt there was no alternative at that time, but I have no hesitation in saying that a hotel is utterly unsuitable for the purposes of a Legation, and improper housing has prevented the Envoy taking up his proper position in French Society, and exercising the influence he ought to possess in Diplomatic Circles. Moreover the expenses are very great, the few small rooms cost Frs.60,000 per annum, besides many contingent expenses. The rent of the splendid Apartment in the Boulevard Hauseman with four large Salons and seven bedrooms is only half of that amount, and when all the expenses of service etc., are added there must be some saving. I believe that to continue the Delegation in the Hotel is a waste of money and a loss to the National position. I may add that this is not only my personal opinion, but that of all the members of the Legation and of all our friends in Paris, in fact of everyone who is acquainted with the facts.

Since my return I have heard it stated that it is the intention to discontinue the delegation to France and establish a small Bureau for information; this would have the advantage of economy, and I am not in a position to discuss the financial necessity or otherwise of such a change; but unless there is some overwhelming obligation of this sort. I consider that such a move would be a most unfortunate one, for the National interest.

I can only guess the reasons influencing the Government, but I believe it is argued that Ireland cannot obtain recognition in France. That is to a certain extent true at the present moment, and is equally true in Washington; until the Free State is established by the act of the Irish people, it cannot be recognised by any Foreign Government. This however, we may reasonably hope, will take place almost immediately, and it should be the duty of the Envoys to establish 'relations' with those persons who will be helpful when this matter comes up. I believe that the present time, when feelings in France are most friendly to Ireland, and other influences have weakened, is the worst possible moment to make this change. The French President's tribute to President Griffith is only a slight indication of the drift of French feeling. I believe an Envoy whose position and qualities render him acceptable to the members of the Diplomatic Corps and the French Government, would do a great deal to smooth the way for recognition in some form or other. The action of Canada in sending a Representative of its own to Washington and of South Africa in sending her Envoy to Berlin covers our case sufficiently for our needs, and insures our final recognition by all Foreign powers.

Last year I was in South Africa and was impressed by the virile yet intelligent attitude of the Dutch in similar matters, and it must be remembered that Smuts, whatever may appear on the surface, is working in the Boer interests, and for the Independence of S. Africa, when a suitable moment arrives. He contrived to secure the signature of the Dominions to the Treaty of Versailles, and then claimed, that that very action removed the over-lordship of the English Parliament, and placed S Africa on a level with England; thus in one stroke washing out the result of the Boer War.

A few months ago the United States invited the English Government to send delegates to a Congress in Washington; England asked the Dominions to attend, but Smuts declined, on the plea that an Independent State should be separately invited by America. England backed down: South Africa was invited and nominated Mr Balfour, who signed twice, once as the English and once as the South Africa Representative, thus establishing a principle.

It may be noticed that Smuts having once introduced a wedge between the two countries, never misses an opportunity to drive it further and further in.

If my advice is of any avail - and I come direct from Paris where I have heard all sides - this is pre-eminently the moment for developing our Foreign relations as we are now entitled to do. As far as I know my opinion is that of all who are conversant with the subject.

I shall be glad if you will give me an interview to discuss this matter.

Maurice Moore

1 It is not clear to whom the memorandum is sent but it appears to be Hayes.

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