Volume 1 1919~1922

Doc No.

No. 3 NAI Gavan Duffy Papers 1125/15

Extract from a memo on Dáil Éireann policy attached to a letter
by Arthur Griffith

Gloucester Prison, 23 January 1919

[Matter omitted]

An official document from the Dail, contrasting Ireland, Czecho Slovaks and Poland might be used, showing how while under Austrian and Russian rule these two countries increased in population and wealth. This not to excuse Austrian or Russian rule in these two countries but to make it clear to the world that the case of Ireland against England surpasses by far the case of any other country in Europe, against foreign domination. Several men might perhaps be needed to draw this up, but a reliable statistician is essential. F.E. O'Byrne and T. Galvin would be useful men in the latter respect.

In any discussion regarding Ulster, it should be always pointed out that Ulster prosperity is fictitious. Show the continued decline of her population since 1845 especially in the Protestant counties year by year. Antrim, Down, Derry, and Armagh, decline every year. See Census and Registrar General's figures. Contrast the decline in these counties with the increase in the others (?) which are industrial.

Above all concentrate on the Peace Conference. If there is no way of getting substitutes from Ireland, substitutes from the U.S.A. should be appointed. This should be done even in addition to substitutes from Ireland, provided men from America of high standing could be secured. The passport barrier will be worked very probably by Clemenceau for the French, and against Irishmen or non-naturalised Irish Americans. Therefore American citizens should be chosen. They should not be confined to any one Irish or American party. If Judge Goff, Cardinal O'Connell, two Senators, - one a Democratic and the other a Republican could be got together with Diarmuid Lynch and [Patrick] MacCartan and [Liam] Mellowes if he is an American citizen, it would make a delegation impossible to keep from being heard at the Conference. If two Senators, one a Democrat and one a Republican could not be got, one Senator and one Congressman representing two different American parties, or failing a Senator, two Congressmen of different parties should be secured. Every effort should be made to get Cardinal O'Connell and a messenger sent anyhow to America about the Delegation. If arranged Dail could formally ask them to proceed to the Congress in view of the fact that the appointed delegates were prevented by imprisonment and force from so doing.1

Efforts should be made to secure the sympathy of the small American States which are at the Peace Conference, Mrs. Seamus McManus who is grand-daughter of the Liberator of Venezuela in the United States [of] America might be able to see the Nicaragua, Guatemala etc., presidents.

In sending out the address to the Nations there ought to be a covering letter to each separate state or nation recalling Ireland's associations with it. Thus in the case of the S.[outh] American states Boliraris2 message of thanks to the Irish for liberating them should be recalled. Have the history of the Irish Legions under Devereux and others recalled and stress laid on O'Higgins of Chile, Admiral Brown of Argentina etc (See Brown's letter to O'Connell about 1843 - Proceedings of Repeal Assocn.)

Similarly the Association of Ireland with the European countries should be individually dealt with. Serbia's first organiser and Leader against Turkey 1810 was Colonel O'Rourke. Italy and Germany, Belgium, Austria - (See association of missionaries, soldiers, and teachers) - and Portugal (Look up O'Dunn, Premier in 18th century). Remind Liberia and Haiti that Ireland is the only European country that never engaged in the Negro slave trade. Remind Bohemia, Poland, Roumania and Bulgaria of the similarity of our struggles.

Consuls to be sent abroad as soon as practicable probably not practicable now but existing men in other countries might be utilised, Gerald O'Loughlin in Denmark may be thoroughly relied upon. William Dunne in Norway equally able and reliable. O'Loughlin will have his address. He is I think working [in] the Norwegian Press at present. There is a very able Sinn Feiner of high standing in Brazil. If he could be communicated with from the United States, it would be useful. He has kept `O Muada' an important paper there sympathetic. Sean T. may know his address (As to French politicians, George Barry, and Denys Cochin more or less Royalists and Catholic Leaders are powerful, especially the latter, and the former is very sympathetic. Lucian Milleroye the Nationalist is a fairly strong man and sympathetic. See Victor Collins, Stephen McKenna, etc, about French politicians (see them separately.) The ecclesiastics should know much about D. Cochin see Mgr. O'Dogherty of Omagh about this.

I see Gompers3 is apparently to have a different kind of international labour Congress to the Socialists. If so Ireland's case should be urged there equally. Gompers would probably have more influence with Wilson than the others. If Ireland is not officially represented by Trades Unions at it some Sinn Fein trades branch with, if possible, a member of the Dail should go there to state the case. If this is impracticable an official statement from Ireland should be sent to it.

It is a mistake in tactics to suggest that Wilson is not sincere. If he is not the suggestion will not help Ireland, and if he be it will dishearten him. Our attitude should be that Wilson is a sincere man striving to give effect to his programme of freedom for all nations and struggling against all the forces of tyranny, imperialism and lusty world power which are seeking to dominate the Peace Conference. That Ireland therefore supports him heartily and seeks to strengthen his hands. This is the politic and I believe the true course. The English propaganda will twist any slighting phrase that may be used of Wilson in Ireland to make Ireland appear to America and to himself to be hostile to him. Continue to strengthen his hands until he - if he ever does - yield[s] up his own programme. Up to the present he has stood up to it, and his position is one of serious difficulty.

Mobilise the poets. Let them address Wilson, and let them remind him in their best verse that he has the opportunity and the duty of giving the world true peace and freedom. Let them extort4 him to stand firm and win a great victory for man than any that has been won for centuries. Let them remind him that the peoples look to him as to the Man of hope, that all his ideals fail if Ireland is permitted to remain enclosed. Starkie, Stephens should do much to help Ireland now by that genius. Perhaps Yeats would use his muse for Ireland now.

Someone should write an article for us and it should be, if possible, circulated through the American and Continental Press on the Congress of Vienna and the Emperor Alexander of Russia. Alexander had ideas not unlike Wilson's. He desired to base a world settlement on the freedom of all nations. He was over borne by Metternich and Castlereagh. Had he succeeded the late war would not have occurred. All Europe might have escaped war for the past one hundred years and a General League of all nations exist. Let it be pointed out that Wilson stands in relation to foresight and idealism now very much in the position of Alexander, but that he has what Alexander had not, the power to make his ideas prevail. Let it be pointed out that the consequences of failure must be as disastrous to the world as the consequences of the failure of Alexander.

The facts of Ireland's over taxation as revealed in the 1896 Report should be circulated. Get Sexton to write on them. See statement in report that Irel and without England's rule over her would be not less self supporting and independent than Sweden.

1 The delegates were de Valera, Griffith and Plunkett.

2 Bolivar's.

3 Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), founder and first president of the American Federation of Labor.

4 exhort.