No. 95 NAI DFA ES Rome 1921-1923

George Gavan Duffy to Robert Brennan

(R to D 114.)

Rome, 30 June 1921

A Chara,
Vatican I enclose copy of a letter I have had from the Cardinal Sec. Of State and of my reply, as drafted, which will be delivered personally at the earliest opportunity. The correspondence speaks mostly for itself. At the suggestion of Cross's Director1 I had had bound a special copy of the Address for the Holy Father. We both thought it an excellent opening for a first audience. I had stayed away from the V. since I got back here, because of the impending manifesto in our favour as I knew a visit from me at such a time would embarrass them; I was moreover glad to stay away till I had a home, as the next step after the first audience would be to call on all the Cardinals, a thing I could not do with dignity from the Hotel, where they would not care to leave their cards. Before making my application, I had discussed the question of accepting a probable demand that it be treated as private - in conversation with the Director of Cross; I was very reluctant to agree, but he pointed out that this would be the only way of getting there and that there was trouble last year when Jack was privately received and then published the fact, with the result that the Vatican officially issued a note to the effect that he had not been recd as Teachtaire Éireann. I came round to his view and agreed to acquiesce in any condition of privacy that might be imposed and, sure enough, that was the first point raised by the Cardinal. I think the trouble last year with Jack may have something to do with the present bombshell, but it is not an adequate explanation of a step which is outrageous. There is a remote possibility of a change of mind, and I shall keep you advised. I fancy the Executive will agree with my step and with the letter in reply; I could not go on indefinitely here without asking for an audience, and I ought to be able to have such audiences as frequently as the Rep of the Black and Tan Govt. I should like to see you decide to apply formally for a recognition of your Envoy now, or of another sent here specially ad hoc who could retire home on refusal, if that course is preferred, but I do not press this point as I realise that a quarrel of that kind at this juncture may have far-reaching effects and feel it is for the Ministry at home to decide what had best be done.

The fact is that the underlying hostility in high quarters is very strong and the fear of England dominates; you will remember my giving you an example of this in connection with the submission to the enemy of a recent document and its alteration before issue. I have given to the person here most trusted by the Cross connection an envelope, by way of introduction, in my writing, addressed to Deputy Mauri, in lieu of my official card to you; when he presents it, you may take it that he is in the confidence of our people here; the only thing he knows nothing about is the subject of this letter, which I have treated as so confidential that only Cross's Director knows of it; Cross does not. The said visitor should reach you about 15th inst. He specially wants to speak to you as to the protection we may be able to afford to our citizens and their property here in case of trouble and as to the immense importance to us of standing by 222 in case of trouble overtaking him and as to the ladies of whom I lately wrote you; I enclose a note which 222 would like to have sent to two of their branches and which the visitor will explain. He will also tell you a good deal of the ceaseless intrigues here against our interests.

Always yours,
George Gavan Duffy

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