No. 57 NAI DFA ES Box 28 File 181

Timothy A. Smiddy to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)
(Absolutely Confidential)

WASHINGTON, 11 April 1923

James Larkin:- There is a break of a definite nature between Larkin and the Irish Radicals who are of the Irish Communist party but who subordinate their Communism to Republicanism and who are anxious to support de Valera in his efforts to destroy the Free State. Miss MacFadden of 53, Jane Street New York, meeting place of the Irish Republican Communists, is the leading spirit of this group; her two associates and intimate confederates are Albert Hickland, No 323, West Twenty Third Street, New York, and Tim Sullivan also of 53, Jane Street. In this latter address James and Peter Larkin reside when in New York.

These people complain that Jim goes out of his way to declare personal war on both the Free State and de Valera. In a letter to de Valera[,] Larkin stated that even if the Free State were defeated and driven out of office to-morrow the Republicans would at once be confronted with the Labour question, and that he could see no difference between Ireland governed by English, Free State, or Republican bourgeois so far as the working classes were concerned; and that, finally, it would be easier, more advisable and better politics for de Valera to revise his programme in harmony with Labor's demands before getting rid of the Free State than after such an event. It was stated that this was very painful to de Valera who wrote to Larkin pleading against anything that might cause any further dissension on this side of the Atlantic; but Larkin would not give way an inch and insists on his rule or ruin policy.

Larkin was told by above that any remarks about bourgeois or middle class people came with very poor grace from him, as it was the bourgeois, that got him out of Sing Sing when his own bunch could not do anything for him: also, there was a good deal of money being sent to Larkin personally for the cause and Larkin and his friends persisted in holding on to it, refused to account for it, and devoted it to the Labor cause instead of Ireland's cause.

One of the above said that they had to move very carefully so as not to let the other side know that they had another split within their ranks. De Valera sent, on advice from this side, instructions, under seal of the Irish Republic to the effect that all of the existing credentials for organizers, collectors, representatives, propagandists, etc., in the U.S.A. are cancelled and new ones are issued. Headquarters at 8, Forty First Street New York, are to be the only authorized place to which remittances are to be sent, or whence orders are to be received: all other places are declared non-official.

It is stated that this means a lot of trouble and will create ill feeling; but it cannot be helped: that Larkin and his friends cannot be allowed to wreck us just as we are getting our summer programme ready. 'We could not openly disavow Larkin, and he cannot afford to antagonise us openly, so we took the best way out of it. Now we can get down to business and knock the ground from under Larkin's friends. Larkin will not take orders from any one so we had to make the order a general one.'

Miss MacFadden stated after the round up in England and Scotland that it did not matter what the other side did, that they would just keep on until there was no one left; also that the Irregulars had good friends in Belgium and Germany and even England who were willing to supply them with guns, and who actually are supplying them in small quantities.

Miss MacFadden stated on the 26th March 'If we could only get enough equipment over there we would put an end to it in short order. But we cannot get any of the larger stuff there, and it is hard to win a war with small arms. We must find a way; we have plenty money.' 'The loss of the stuff (amunition captured by our special secret service) was nothing, but we are being watched very closely' and she knew that it was the British Government who are working hand and hand with the Free State; the British were watching every thing like a hawk. [']We know for a fact that it was no accident on [the] part of the policeman, and that other plans were interfered with and had to be abandoned'.

Note. It is of the utmost importance that the above information be kept absolutely secret as any leak would identify a very special agent and thereby close one of our channels of information as also seriously imperil him.

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO