Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 131 NAI DFA EA 3/1

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh (Brussels)
(E.A. 3/) (Copy)

Dublin, 23 February 1928

A Chara,

I am instructed by the Minister for External Affairs to refer to your letter (confidential) of the 18th instant1 and to state that the question of the anthem to be played at the St. Patrick's Day Banquet cannot be referred to London. The 'Soldiers' Song' is the accepted National Anthem of the Saorstát. The toast of 'The King' would become quite impossible if it had to be accompanied at Irish functions by an anthem which in this country became the rallying song of the party which consistently opposed the aspirations of the majority of the people. The King belongs equally to each nation of the Commonwealth and his toast at an Irish gathering should be associated with the National Anthem of Ireland. If in the course of the function there is an opportunity for playing the airs of the other nations of the group there could be no reasonable objection to including the English anthem, but to make it the principal air with the toast of the King would be fundamentally wrong and a political error of the first magnitude. An explanatory speech would not be wise. New customs and new precedents will have to be created to meet new situations. We can afford to wait until foreigners understand the exact relations existing within the British Commonwealth, but we cannot risk disturbing the excellent character of these relations merely to enable foreigners to find more speedy solutions for their intellectual difficulties.

Mise, le meas,
[copy letter unsigned]

1 Not printed.