Location: Mansion House Oak Room. Private meeting.
THE ACTING-PRESIDENT:—Since our last meeting over two months ago, Dáil Eireann, a body composed of the elected representatives of the Irish people, has been proclaimed a dangerous association by the enemy. In convening this meeting, the Ministry sent out a peremptory request to certain members not to attend because there was a possibility that the attendance of these members might involve imprisonment. There are some members whose health would not stand the strain, and there are others who must retain their liberty to carry on the work of the Dáil.
Dáil Éireann was proscribed by Dublin Castle on 12 September 1919.
The period since last session has been one of strenuous activity by the Enemy Government. On the 13th September they made a general raid throughout the country, issued a Proclamation suppressing Sinn Fein, The Irish Volunteers, The Gaelic League, Cumann na mBan, and the Sinn Fein Clubs, and this Proclamation was promptly followed up by the suppression of the National Press. The effect of these proclamations and suppressions has been of tremendous usefulness to the campaign in the United States of America. The President's letters testify to that. I regard all these acts which succeed each other in regular procession as of the greatest assistance to our efforts in the United States, and it is there that the centre of gravity of the whole political situation is for the present fixed.
These organisations formed the core of nationalist political life in Ireland.
We have had for a considerable time back the assistance of the Socialist elements of the Italian press, while the organs of the middle classes were partly hostile and indifferent. In the course of the last few months there has come a change. Quite recently we had over the Special Correspondent of the "Corriere d'Italia" and the "Corriere del Sera." The "Corriere d'Italia" has completely come over to our side. A correspondent from the "Corriere del Sera" is now in Ireland touring the country collecting first hand information as to the situation here.
Italy's territorial claims to Fiume and Dalmatia were rejected by the major powers at the Paris Peace Conference. Italian popular opinion, accordingly, was anti-British.
In France there has been a considerable revival of activities during the course of the last two months or so. I think we may take it as likely that M. Clemenceau will go out at the forthcoming elections, and that M. Briand will be returned to power. A considerable amount of propaganda is now being done in that country. This morning I received a request from the Director of the National War Museum in Paris to be supplied with copies of all the Sinn Fein pamphlets which have been issued during the War with a view to giving them a place in the Museum together with the Literature issued by other countries in that period. We have been fortunate to be able to convince the editor of the "Chicago Tribune" of the justice of our case, and his sympathy has been enlisted on our side.
The French legislative election was held on 16 and 30 November; Clemenceau stepped down on 20 January 1920 to be replaced by Alexandre Millerand.
Our President opened a big campaign on 29th September, and has since addressed meetings in a very large number of cities in America.
He visited Cleveland within a day of the visit of the King of the Belgians to that city. The King of the Belgians was accorded the courtesy due to his position, but President de Valera was received with a salute of 21 guns, and was accompanied by a procession headed by the Police and Military.
He is thoroughly sanguine that the promise in regard to the Republican Loan will be fully realised.
The Commission set up by the Dail to enquire into the Natural Resources and the present condition of manufacturing and productive industries in Ireland, and to consider and report by what means those natural resources may be more fully developed, and how those industries may be encouraged and extended has begun its labours.
The Dáil established a Commission of Inquiry into Resources and Industries on 18 June 1919; chairman, John O'Neill; secretary, Darrell Figgis.
The Limerick Technical Schools which were closed as the result of the action of the English Administration have been reopened in consequence of the subsidy granted by the Dail for that purpose.
Director of Limerick Technical School, Mr. de Lacy, was in dispute with Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction; he had refused to promise not to engage in political activity; Dáil had agreed to subsidise the school.
I will give a brief summary of the activities of the various Departments. We will take up the detailed reports later.