No. 118 NAI DFA EA 1/26

Extract from a letter from Timothy A. Smiddy to William T. Cosgrave(Dublin)

Dublin, 22 September 1927

General MacNeill's1 experience here convinced him that many advantages would accrue to the appointment of a Military Attaché to the Legation at Washington, and personally I concur with him and wish strongly to endorse his views. The reasons he submitted to me are as follows:-

(a) A Military Attaché could obtain information on military matters of very great value to the Defence Forces of the Saorstát. Through such an officer we could avail ourselves of the experience of the United States Amy in every phase of military affairs. We could reap many of the benefits of the research carried out by Army agencies at a huge cost, and could obtain information and advice on many problems with which we have to deal in Ireland. Without such an officer it is difficult, and in fact practically impossible, to obtain these advantages.
(b) The enhanced prestige and diplomatic value that would accrue from the presence in Washington of an Irish Military Attaché is best known to you. In my personal opinion they would be considerable. Not alone is such an officer in constant contact with Army personnel who travel throughout the country, but he himself would have a certain amount of travelling to do, inspecting posts, etc., and our experience goes to show that local papers always feature the visits of such foreign officers. In this way we would have indirect opportunities for gaining additional prestige for Ireland all over the country.
(c) The personal contacts made by an Attaché would be of great value in promoting mutual understanding between our forces and those of the United States. Such an understanding would be of inestimable value in the event of such a remote, but nevertheless possible, contingency as joint military action.
(d) The experiences gained by an Attaché would be of very great personal value to him from the standpoint of his profession. By changing the officers employed on such duties at suitable intervals, a number of our officers could be afforded opportunities for reaping this great benefit.
(e) Finally, it will be, I believe, admitted that as a result of the close personal and official contacts made by members of the Military Mission with members of the American Army, we can now claim to have established a closer liaison with that Army than with the Army of any other country. It seems to me that it would be very unfortunate if this close liaison with its obvious advantages was allowed to lapse. Once the members of the Mission2 leave America there is only one way in which it can be satisfactorily maintained, viz through an efficient and tactful Military Attaché

1 General Hugo MacNeill, Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Irish Defence Forces.

2 In 1928, six Irish Free State army officers spent just over a year at various military establishments in the United States.

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