No. 40 NAI DFA ES Paris 1920

Sean T O'Ceallaigh to Arthur Griffith (Dublin)

Grand Hotel, Rome, 18 June 1920

A Chara dhílis
I trust you have by this received a despatch written by me on June 16th1 and sent yesterday per a friend returning to Ireland. In it I dealt with the importance of exposing at once the designs of the Vatican to interfere with the present mode of appointment of Irish bishops. I need not refer to this matter further now except to again urge upon you and the Cabinet how necessary it is to have this matter made public with all possible speed.

The Rector of the Irish College will be in Dublin in about a week or ten days and I trust you will look him up and take the opportunity of discussing this and Roman affairs generally with him. I am personally particularly anxious that a public pronouncement should be made in reference to this question of the Veto on appointment of bishops before Dr. Hagan reaches Ireland, otherwise the Vatican will surely blame him for the exposure and this would not help us and might be hurtful to him. I expect Keohane of Gills would be able to arrange an appointment so that you and Dr. Hagan could meet soon after the latter's arrival in Dublin. I am most anxious you should see him and discuss affairs with him. He is as you know a firm friend of the cause.

There are also three or four Australian bishops leaving here for Ireland in a week or so and our people should be instructed to show them every possible courtesy during their stay in Ireland. They are Dr. Barry (of Midleton) Coadjutor-Archbishop of Hobart, Dr. O'Connor (of Kerry) and Dr. Hayden. Archbishop Spence of Adelaide is probably already in Ireland together with Bishops Mac Carthy and Shiel, also Australians. All are good friends of ours. Of course I have been doing the honours here so far as my state of health permitted. Dr. O'Doherty, Archbishop of Manila is here and will be in Ireland soon with his brother the Rector of Salamanca Irish College. They should be looked after also. I don't know if Archbishop Hanna of San Francisco has gone to Ireland. He was not sure about doing so when last I saw him. If he goes, much should be made of him for he is an enthusiastic friend and gave considerable help to de Valera and the Bond Drive, I am informed. Dr. Cantwell, bishop of Los Angeles is already in Ireland I believe. He is from Tipperary and had a brother in Wormwood Scrubs, he is also reliable. Dr. Kelly of Sydney, now staying in Enniscorthy is by no means reliable in his public utterances while in private he always declares himself friendly.

I am enclosing herewith for your information a copy of a letter which I received some weeks ago from d'Annunzio. I have not yet replied to it. When I do I propose to simply send a noncommittal answer. I doubt if d'Annunzio or his friends can be of any use to us or that they have very much influence here. As to his offer of 'materials' - which I take it means 'munitions' I am enquiring further. I don't know if it can be taken seriously. You might please call the attention of our M. O'Coileain to this paragraph in d'Annunzio's letter and tell him I am making enquiries into the possibilities of getting munitions cheap from Fiume. I understand that our friends the Egyptians are using the port of Fiume for the exportation of arms per Tripoli (also Italian) to Egypt. I don't know how far 'twould be possible for us to follow their example. In any case I'd be glad to hear from M. O'Coileain what he thinks of the proposition and if he thinks it worth following up. I'd like to know if he has funds to dispose of for the purchase of munitions. I guess the Italians - and particularly d'Annunzio and Co. - are not inclined to be very philanthropic in this matter.

This morning I had a long and very satisfactory interview with Archbishop Ceretti, Political Secretary to the Holy See in which we discussed affairs generally. He seemed sympathetic to us and expressed himself as very indignant over the dictatorial attitude adopted by the English and particularly the London 'Times' in re my recent reception here. He seemed to take our view wholly in the matter and to resent English interference. I gathered from him that this is His Holiness' view also. He promised to fix for me an audience with the Holy Father for next week.

Cait2 conveyed to me your message in re our attitude towards American politics re in all interviews. I am grateful for your opinion which I will not lose sight of in future talks with journalists here.

I am sure I need not add anything to the description of the so-called interview given by...3 in the 'Daily Mail' given recently in the 'Independent'. This interview entirely misrepresented me in every particular.

I am sorry to say my health is still far from good. I suffer a great deal from the effects of my recent protracted illness. This evening some doctors are having a consultation over me as a result of which I expect I shall be ordered to take a rest and change for at least a month. It is likely they may order me to take a course of baths or waters somewhere. Where, I cannot at all say yet - perhaps in the North of Italy or South of France. I will of course go for a change somewhere for some weeks anyhow after which and as soon as ever possible I shall go back to Paris to resume my duties there. After I get back to Paris I shall write you and give you my opinion as to the necessity for further assistance there and on all other questions that may arise.

Three of the principal journals in Rome have up to the present published favourable interviews and notices re the Irish fight for freedom. I hope to be able to influence one or two more before I leave. At any rate we have already got practically all the important papers on our side. The moment is propitious for Italy - like France - is most anti-English and growing more so every day. I am arranging with Fr. Curran to keep the good work going after my departure and for this purpose I would ask you to please arrange to have the 'Irish Bulletin' sent to him daily to the Irish College in future.

Warmest regards and very best wishes to yourself and all old friends,

Do bhuan chara,
Seán T. O'Ceallaigh

P.S. I paid the Hotel expenses of Mr. and Mrs. Stockley, Count O'Byrne and Art O'Brien - at least so far as their residence here in this hotel was concerned. Their other expenses will I presume be met by H.Q. None of the other delegates who came here raised this subject with me so I only paid hotel expenses for the above-mentioned. S.T. O'C.

1 Not located.
2 Cait O'Ceallaigh, wife of Sean T O'Ceallaigh.
3 Name indecipherable.

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