No. 39 UCDA P80/1407

Extracts from a handwritten letter from Desmond FitzGerald to Mabel FitzGerald (Dublin)

Geneva, 19 September 1926

My dear M[abel],

[matter omitted]

I had hoped that things would get quieter here - but they haven't done so far. I still have hopes - though every luncheon and dinner is booked I think from now until I go. Anyway it shouldn't be so worrying from this time on - though these functions take an awful lot out of me. It wouldn't be as bad in English - but it is very wearing in French. I am very pleased with our diplomatic moves here. I think I have done very well. MacNeill went back today. He had a pretty easy time here. But I think he will report to Cosgair1 that I did things pretty well. The Irish newspapers that I have seen have been worthy of themselves - they seem to get the wrong end of everything with perfect genius. If we had a proper press we should have had good publicity - but though the Irish Times quotes their 'own correspondent' no such person exists. Other years an English woman or a Cambridge youth who had never seen Ireland - or read anything about it - would inform us that they were 'covering' it for Irish papers - but this year not even that. We probably got a better show in practically every other press. We have been one of the most prominent countries here - a thing that means nothing but suffering for me personally - and those damn fools haven't sense enough to make anything out of it. But of course it doesn't really matter whether they do or not. The foreign papers have done well by us and from the point of view of prestige that matters much more.

As far as I can judge I have become quite a popular figure. Certainly if I took all the offers that I have verbally accepted as binding me to visit people it would take me all my time. It is of course quite nice to feel that one is a popular success but also wearing. The Crussols invited me to motor with them to the Simplon today and of course I had to lie and shuffle to avoid it. I like them - but am conscious that I periodically get shy fits too strong to be more than gauche. Also a whole day French speaking - having to be more or less smart - is too much.

[matter omitted]

I think my presidency has gone on all right. We are further on than some Commissions - and all members of my Commission express appreciation and seem quite affectionate. They are constantly coming to me and seem to feel that I am ready to do anything I can. This may seem quite swelled headed - but my life has been one long worry - and I am just telling you the few things that serve as very inadequate consolations. The Irish papers quite misunderstood our going up for the Council. We not only defended Dominion rights but also countries like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Abyssinia etc. We got the 10 votes with British against us. And only appearing on the scene the day before the election. I am quite satisfied that we could have been elected with a proper canvass in good time. Quite a lot practically blamed me for not telling them before they had promised their votes. But of course it was only when Spain definitely went out that we could do anything. And if another had gone up on our principle we should have left the field for them. Have to rush off.


1 William T Cosgrave, in Irish Liam T. MacCosgair.

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