No. 171 NAI DT S1967

Gordon Campbell to Diarmuid O’Hegarty (Dublin)
(C. 1331)

DUBLIN, 12 December 1923

I am directed by the Minister of Industry and Commerce1 to refer to your minute of 10th December enclosing a memorandum from the High Commissioner on the subject of participation in the British Empire Exhibition and to say that this Ministry has seen little sign of any public interest in the Exhibition on the part of industrial or commercial concerns in the Saorstát. Some time ago certain of the Shipping and Railway Companies enquired whether the Saorstát intended to participate but they have not since pursued the matter. Practically no other enquiries have been received from industrial or commercial concerns.

Since traders and manufacturers themselves are not taking any present interest in the matter it is unlikely that any great commercial advantages would result from such an Exhibition as it would be possible for this Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture to organise in the time available. Some good results could undoubtedly be expected if energetic manufacturers or traders in the Saorstát could be got to utilise the opportunities presented by the Exhibition and some such persons could be found.

The question, however, appears to this Ministry largely a political one, a decision depending upon whether non-appearance at the Exhibition may tend to prejudice Irish trade. It is considered that it would for various reasons and that for the sake of the outlay mentioned by the High Commissioner, viz., £7,000, it would be a mistake to risk this prejudice. The fact that the Saorstát do not intend to participate was adversely commented on in several directions at the recent Imperial Economic Conference and much the same reasons apply to participation in the Exhibition as applied to participating in the Economic Conference. If it were possible to organise a proper Exhibition in the Saorstát itself within the next 12 or 18 months it would be better business to do so but enquiries have been made as to the possibility of this and the conclusion has been reached that such an Exhibition cannot be organised in the Saorstát before the Summer of 1925 at the earliest.

I am to add that the Minister is doubtful as to whether the general advantages to be expected from participation would not be largely neutralised if it was necessary to occupy a small Pavilion in line with the Newfoundland and Fiji sites. In such a Pavilion the importance of Saorstát trade in relation to Great Britain and the Dominions would be unduly depreciated. It is difficult to decide how far this effect might be created without actually seeing the proposed location and its relation to other buildings. The plan referred to in the fourth paragraph of the High Commissioner's letter was not available to this Ministry.


1Joseph McGrath.

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