Volume 1 1919~1922

Doc No.

No. 36 NAI DE 2/10

Dáil Éireann Report on the Propaganda Department1


Dublin, (undated) June 1920 The cost of running the Department during the last six months - 31st November to 31st May 1920 - has amounted to £889.17.10. Of this amount £392.15. 0 has been paid by the Ministry of Finance in salaries: £235.10. 0 was paid by the Ministry of Finance for printing of pamphlets, (The Small Nations) and stationery, while £261.12.10 has been paid out by me.

The printing of pamphlets and handbills paid for by me during this period has amounted to £135.1.2 In all cases we get estimates from the printer before ordering pamphlets.

Pamphlets are usually distributed free of charge except through the Self Determination League of Great Britain, who have received pamphlets from us to the value of £50, which we have not yet received from them.

When I first came into this Department our chief means of propaganda was by means of pamphlets. Besides this, the Department collected and co-ordinated information which it issued to newspaper correspondents, mostly American, who visited Ireland, and issued a weekly list of Acts of Aggression committed by the British in Ireland. The pamphlets were distributed through the Sinn Fein Organisation in Ireland, and large quantities were sent to our friends in America and to Messrs. Sean T. O'Kelly and George Gavan Duffy in Paris.

The great difficulty with pamphlets was to get them distributed in such a way as would bring their contents to the notice of foreign readers. For this reason we now print only matter of permanent or outstanding value.

It was brought home to me from copies of foreign papers containing articles about Ireland that as far as the outside world was concerned it was chiefly dependent upon the representatives of foreign papers living in London who were themselves dependent upon English sources for their news of Ireland. For this reason I proposed last September to the Committee dealing with Foreign Relations that we should take steps to get into touch with these foreign press representatives as we had no reason to believe that they were willing agents of anti-Irish propaganda although the very fact that they were living in London and dependent upon English sources for news of this country made them tools of the British.

It was agreed that I should go to London to see what could be done towards getting into touch with these foreign press men. I have made some five visits to London and the Ministry has seen my report u pon this work. Briefly, I succeeded in getting in touch with representatives of United States, South American, Australian, South African, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Japanese, Spanish, Danish etc. correspondents as well as the representatives of foreign press agencies.

In nearly all cases I found these men friendly and interested, and the fact that I succeeded in meeting so many of these men was due to their own active co-operation and help.

After seeing the correspondents I decided that the best way to meet their needs was to supply them with a Daily Irish Bulletin. We started this Bulletin on November 12th 1919. The result of this has shown itself in many articles dealing with the Irish situation in a friendly spirit in the papers of all these countries. I am entirely satisfied with the result of this work and with the general friendly spirit of the foreign press representatives. Mr. George Gavan Duffy noticed a change in French and other papers resulting from this work. Recently he has been much concerned at the anti-Irish note of the news appearing through the press agencies. In France the chief of these are the Agence Havas, Radio and L'Information. I have recently seen the London editors of these agencies and they stated to me quite frankly that they received their news daily from Exchange Telegraph, the Press Association Reuter and other English agencies. They do not feel that they can, on their own authority, alter the news they receive, and when news is 'splashed' in English papers they also feel bound to forward it. They all assured me that they were quite prepared to give news received from us as much prominence as they give to news received from British sources provided always that the material they receive from us is spot news. The only way I saw of meeting this difficulty was for us to have the use of the private wire of one of the Dublin newspapers for some period daily and to forward news which we consider valuable for immediate distribution to these men in London. Martin Fitzgerald of the 'Freeman's Journal' agrees to allow us the use of the 'Freeman's' private wire and we hope to arrange for the transmission daily of some 300 words which should reach the foreign news agencies and foreign correspondents in London in time for them to transmit it to their papers.

[64 word synopsis of memorandum omitted]

1 This report was probably presented by Desmond FitzGerald (First Substitute Minister for Propaganda (17 June 1919 - 11 February 1921 and 15 July - 26 August 1921). It appears to be a version of No. 41, but is sufficiently different to be included.