No. 54 NAI Gavan Duffy Papers 1125/21

Extract from a letter from Diarmuid O'Hegarty to George Gavan Duffy (Rome)

Dublin, 15 January 1921

A Chara,
You are of course aware that the President has returned to Ireland and he has asked me to send you a note of his views regarding the tour. He would like you to proceed to Madrid, Berlin and Stockholm and furnish the Ministry with a report on the condition of these countries. If possible he would like if you could get through to the Hungarian Capital and see how things are there. He wishes to find out what prospect there is of a division in the Czecho Slovakia and the return to Hungary of its former Nationals who have been apportioned to that country and to Roumania by the Treaty of Versailles.

He was told by certain agents who came to him in America that a serious effort was about to be made to reconstitute Hungary and that this would take place in conjunction with a general Alliance of the latin countries - i.e. Southern Europe in general against the Northern countries in which it was hoped that the South might win. The North wants to be Britain, Germany and Russia. He would like to know if there is any truth in the attempt to form the Southern Entente principle - its chances of success against the North can be easily estimated. France was spoken of as the leader of the South. This information was given to the President with vehement request for secrecy which he would like to have respected.

The President says Catalonia in Spain are very sympathetic through fellow-feeling. He does not know how Castille feels, but he would like to know. He goes on to say that the position in Germany is more or less obscure. He feels certain that they will play for an understanding with the British and we would therefore be tabooed.

The President asks me to convey to you his personal regards and to ask for as full a report as you can give on the whole European situation from which our general foreign policy with respect to Continental groups, no less than our propaganda in several countries, might be determined. The President is anxious to set up something that might correspond to a real Department of Foreign Affairs and any assistance you can give from your experience during the past two years will be most valuable.

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