No. 45 NAI DFA ES Box 30 File 193

Letter from Timothy A. Smiddy to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

Washington DC, 1 October 1926

Dear Mr Minister,

Mr Macaulay has shown me his letter to the Secretary of your Department dated 18th ultimo,1 notifying his intention to cease to continue to act as Secretary of this Legation since he has not been appointed to that position nor is his salary sufficient to keep it up.

I am accordingly without an official Secretary. The entire staff, as appointed by you, now consists of one First Clerk, one stenographer and one messenger. The term First Clerk appears to me to be a misnomer and entirely inapplicable to conditions here, since it suggests that I have a staff of clerks headed by a First Clerk and presumably in addition to a Secretary. This is not the case.

The work of the legation cannot be satisfactorily carried on without an official Secretary. Mr Macaulay having declined to continue in his present anomalous position, puts me in a very awkward position. I entirely sympathize with his attitude and cannot press him to do work and to accept responsibilities incidental to a position to which he is not appointed and for which he is not paid. He is declining all invitations to official functions, the result being that the Free State will not be at all represented since I personally can attend only a limited number.

The lack of an official Secretary entails, however, more serious consequences when it comes to dealing with Government Departments. As Minister Plenipotentiary I am bound to observe the conventions obtaining here as regards our connections with various Departments and Bureaux which require that every enquiry made by me personally must go through the Secretary of State who forwards my enquiry on to the appropriate Department and in time transmits the reply. Previously Mr Macaulay could, in view of his appearing in the Diplomatic List as First Secretary, go himself to the Department concerned, interview the Secretary of it and arrange whatever was required informally and there is no one attached to the Legation with the standing enabling him to have access to officials of sufficient importance to assist us and these Secretaries and Chiefs of Divisions are not inclined to give any attention to a 'Clerk from the Irish Legation'.

I fear you have little conception of the amount of 'out door' work which is necessary here if anything is to be done. With the Departments of State, War, Agriculture, Labor, and Commerce there is continual correspondence and interviews, as well as with the Post Office, Treasury Department, Bureau of Animal Industry and many others. All the difficulties which arose over the certification of meat, the arrangements for the admission of the Military Mission, arrangements for Mr Hogan's tour, to quote but a few, were settled by a visit to the Department or official concerned.

The view of the Minister of Finance as regards the cost of living in America appears to have undergone a change since he has, I am informed by Mr Macaulay, sanctioned local allowances of £900 per annum free of tax in the cases of the officers here for training, while Mr Macaulay's allowance is £328. There seems to be no valid reason why he should receive less than they, on the contrary if he were to continue to act as Secretary he would have greater expenses. The disparity in these allowances is in my opinion nothing less than extraordinary and I fail to see how it could be justified.

The present position cannot continue indefinitely. The most insignificant countries represented here have at least one Secretary and the withdrawal of a diplomatic staff from this Legation will make us look ridiculous and destroy what prestige has been achieved.

I must therefore ask you to be so good as to arrange for the immediate appointment of an official Secretary, either by the appointment of Mr Macaulay whom I consider entirely suitable, or by sending out a man of the type and with the personality and qualifications this position requires, at a salary appropriate to the position to be maintained.

Yours, very sincerely,
[copy letter unsigned]

1 Not printed.

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