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national disarmament, the absolute freedom of the seas, and the much-talked-of open covenants openly arrived at, and the abolition of secret treaties. It was not an ideal thing. I say that it was the whole basis of any league of nations that would prove effective. It was the parting of the ways between secret diplomacy, and open covenants that a free people could understand and act upon intelligently, as I know you are trying to act upon this question to-day. I believed that such a league of nations was possible, and I so abhorred war that I gave what strength I had to the formation of such a league. Having been a humble member of the League to Enforce Peace, after the armistice was signed I accepted a position upon the executive committee of that body, and took part in the nation-wide tour for a league of nations.
Senator Borah. Did you travel with Mr. Taft for a while?
Mr. Walsh. I did. I traveled as far as Chicago with him. From there I went to St. Louis and he went in another direction, and I will say that I was in accord with Mr. Taft and Dr. Lowell and others who spoke with him upon this general proposition, and I believe at heart if I understand them I am in accord with them to-day; and perhaps if I can get to it as I hurry through I may show the point of departure, and hope that the rest of them will depart at the same point. [Applause.]
It was thrown in my way to go to Paris. I might say here, although it is nothing to be proud of or to be ashamed of, that I have not given as much attention to the so-called Irish question that formerly existed as some of these gentlemen have who appear with me here to-day. I was not a member of any society that had for its object help to Ireland, but I was called into this by the gentlemen who organized the Irish race convention. My ancestry was Irish, every bit of it This appeals to me as an American proposition. It occurred to me that if the case of Ireland so splendidly described by the President of the United States could be given to the world, if it could be understood that that was what we fought for, the greatest advance could be made by our country, and the greatest evidence could be given of our entire good faith in this enormous and awesome enterprise upon which we had entered, so that I went in as the representative and as the chairman of the committee of the American Commission on Irish Independence from the Irish race convention. We have here, gentlemen of the committee, and have given vou a copy of, all the correspondence that we had with all persons wiiile in Paris. We have given you a splendid copy of the report on conditions in Ireland. We have addressed a letter to your honorable chairman, a copy of which is on the first page of the brown-covered pamphlet in which we have embodied this correspondence. In addition to that we had interviews with every member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. Some of them we believe to be very significant, and we wanted to give the full text of those interviews in an executive session of this committee, because I believed there were matters in it that ought not to be made public, that would be embarrassing to some gentlemen if they were made public, but we will offer them to an executive meeting of this committee or to the Senate of the United States, if called upon.
Senator Moses. Mr. Chairman, I move that these communications be received and printed as a confidential committee document.
The Chairman. If there be no objection it will be so ordered.
Mr. Walsh. We were sent to Paris and we went there with the commission of these 5,132 men and women, with this idea.
Senator Johnson of California. Just a moment, Mr. Walsh.
The Chairman. The Senator from California.
Senator Johnson of California. I want to suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that the hearings of this committee have all been open. We have endeavored to make a departure from the rules that have prevailed heretofore, and to act in the open; to observe one of the 14 points, that of open covenants of peace openly arrived at.
I think these communications, if printed, ought to be open to the public as well as to the United States Senate. (Applause.) I want to amend the motion made by the Senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Moses) or to substitute for it the motion that the communications be received, be accepted, and be printed as a part of our record of the proceedings.
Senator Moses. I accept that substitute, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. The question is on the substitute.
Senator Borah. What are these communications?
Mr. Walsh. The communications are the interviews which we had with the members of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, including the President.
Senator Fall. Mr. Chairman, this commission waited upon the President of the United States and there declined to receive from him any confidential information which they could not impart to the people of the United States. If the committee could riot conscientiously receive information of that character from the President of the United States—and I was one who would not have attended the conference had it not been open, I must decline—and I had intended to so state later—to keep anything confidential from the people of the United States which it is their business to know.
Senator Swanson. Mr. Chairman, I submit that this matter ought to come later, because it was understood that we would have nothing but hearings this morning.
Senator Fall. This is a part of the hearing, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. The question is on the motion for the printing of these documents.
Senator Fall. That will leave them at liberty to present them under those conditions, if they desire to do so.
The Chairman. If they are submitted, I think they ought to be published as a part of the record.
Senator Fall. I simply wanted to serve notice that I would not regard the information as confidential if it was submitted.
Senator Knox. Put the question.
The Chairman. The question is, shall these documents referred to by Mr. Walsh be printed as a part of the record, as submitted by him.
(The question was taken and the motion was agreed to.)
(Other documents referred to are here printed in full, as follows:)
Correspondence In Case Of Ireland's Claim For Independence Between American Commission On Irish Independence—American Commission To Negotiate Peace And Representatives Of Other Governments.
American Commission On Irish Independence,
Office Of Chairman, J///2 Woolworth Building, August 26, 1919. Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge,
Chairman Committee on Foreign Relations. United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. Dear Sir: We beg to hand you herewith, for consideration of your honorable committee, copies of all corrspondence between the American Commision on Irish Independence, the American Commission to negotiate Peace, and the representatives of other Governments, at Paris, between the dates of April 16, 1919, and June 27, 1019, inclusive.
We likewise beg leave to inform your honorable body that, in addition to this correspendence, we had personal interviews with all of the members of the American Commission to Negotiate Pence.
Immediately at the close of such interviews, the substance of the same were dictated to stenographers, and full transcripts of the important ones preserved. On account of the subject matter of certain of them, we do not consider It proper to offer the same at a public hearing. If your honorable body desires the information, however, we shall be glad to submit the full text of the interviews to you in executive session.
With assurance of our high respect and esteem, we are,
American Commission On Irish Independence,
American Commission On Irish Independence,
Hotel Grand, Port*, France, April 16, 1910. The President Of The United States,
Dear Mr. President: We beg to advise you that in pursuance of the commission given us by the Irish race convention held in the city of Philadelphia on February 22, 1919, we were, among other things, instructed to obtain, if possible, for the delegates selected by the people of Ireland, a hearing at the peace conference.
The delegates so selected are Messrs Eamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, and Count Plunkett.
If these gentlemen were furnished safe conduct to Paris so that they might present their case, we feel that our mission would be, in the main if not entirely, accomplished.
May we therefore ask you to obtain from Mr. Lloyd George, or whomsoever may be intrusted with the specific details of such matters by the English Government, safe conduct for Messrs. de Valera, Griffith, and Plunkett from Dublin to Paris.
If you could see your way clear to do this, we feel sure that it would meet with the grateful appreciation of many millions of our fellow citizens, would certainly facilitate the object of our mission, and place us under additional great and lasting obligation to you.
It would afford us the utmost pleasure to call upon you in person in order that we might pay our respects as well as make a brief suggestion as to the
subject matter of this letter, provided such course meets with your approval
Frank P. Walsh, Chairman.
The President Of The United States Of America,
Grand Hotel, Paris, April 17, 1919. . My Dear Mr. Walsh: The President asks me to say, In reply to your recent letter that he would be very glad to see you at his residence, 11 Place des Etats Unis, at 5.30 o'clock this afternoon, Thursday. Sincerely, yours,
Gilbert F. Close, Confidential Secretary to the President. Mr. Frank P. Walsh,
Grand Hotel, Paris.
American Commission Of Irish Independence,
Grand Hotel, Paris, May 17, 1919. Hon. Robert Lansing.
Secretary of State and American Commissioner to Negotiate Peace. Sib: On behalf of and representing the Irish race convention held in Philadelphia on February 22, 1919, we very respectfully request your good offices to procure from the British Government a safe conduct from Dublin to Paris and return for Gamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, and George Noble Count Plunkett, the elected representatives of the people of Ireland, so that they may in person present the claims of Ireland for international recognition as a republic to the peace conference.
As you know, the British Government assented to our going to Ireland; we went there for the purpose of conferring with the representatives of the Irish people and ascertaining for ourselves at first hand the conditions prevailing in that country. We have returned therefrom and are now more desirous than ever that the authorized representatives of Ireland shall be given the opportunity to appear and present the case of that country to the representatives of the assembled nations.
Awaiting the favor of an early reply, we remain,
Frank P. Walsh, Chairman.
American Commission On Irish Independence.
Suite 760, Grand Hotel,
Paris, May 20, 1919. Dear Mr. President: Following the interview courteously accorded by you to the chairman of our delegation on the 17th ultimo. Col. House made the following request of Mr. Lloyd-George:
"That safe conduct be given by the Government of Great Britain from Dublin to Paris and return for Eamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, and George Noble Count Plunkett, the representatives selected by the people of Ireland to present its case to the peace conference."
Upon the day following Col. House conveyed the information to us that Mr. Lloyd-George was willing to comply with such request, but desired an interview with the American delegates before doing so, and that it was the desire of Mr. Lloyd-George that arrangements for the meeting with him be made through Mr. Philip Kerr, private secretary to Mr. Lloyd-George.
After two tentative dates had been set by Mr. Kerr for the meeting with Mr. Lloyd-George, and not yet having met him, we were advised by Col. House to repeat our original request in writing to the honorable Secretary of State, Mr. Robert Lansing, which we did upon the 17th instant.
At this moment we have been informed by the private secretary of Mr. Secretary Lansing that our request has been referred to you.
May we not therefore respectfully ask of you that the undersigned, our full delegation, be given an opportunity to present to you in person In as brief manner as consistent with the importance of the case suggestions which Messrs. de Valera, Griffith, and Plunkett, the representatives aforesaid, have asked us to convey to you. together with certain facts of grave import now in our possession.
May we also take the liberty of suggesting, in view of existing conditions in Ireland (which can not and will not be denied), that to foreclose its case by refusing a hearing to its representatives at this time would be disconsonant
with the declared purpose for which the war was prosecuted and out of hum >
with the common principles of democracy.
We would gratefully appreciate a response at your convenience, and whip assurances of our continued high regard. Sincerely.
Frank P. Walsh, Clin inn an. Edward F. Dunne. Michael J. Ryan. To the President Of The United States,
American Commission To Negotiate Peace,
Paris, 21 May, 1919. My Dear Mr. Walsh: The President asks me to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of May 20 signetl by yourself. Gov. Dunne, and Mr. Hyan and « say that he has taken the matter up with the Secretary of State, and that by the President's direction, Mr. Lansing will reply to It. Sincerely, yours,
Gilbert F. Close, Confidential Secretary to the President. Hon. Frank P. Walsh,
Suite 760, Grand Hotel, Paris.
American Commission On Irish Independence,
Grand Hotel, Paris, May 22, 1919. The original of the fo'lowing letter was to-day handed to M. Clemeneeau's secretary at the foreign office, Qua! d'Orsay, Paris, by Sean T. O'Ceallalgh, envoy of the Irish republican government at Paris, and copies were handed personally by Mr. Frank P. Walsh, chairman of the American Commission on Irish Independence, to President Wilson, Col. House, Secretary of State Lansing, Mr. White, and Gen. Bliss, the members of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace:
"mansion House, Dublin, May 17, 1919. "To M. Clemenceau,
"President of the Peace Conference of Paris. "sir: The treaties now under discussion by the conference of Paris will, presumably, be signed by the British plenipotentiaries claiming to act on behalf of Ireland as well as of Great Britain.
"Therefore we must ask you to call the Immediate attention of the peace conference to the warning which it is our duty to communicate, that the peop'e of Ireland, through all its organic means of declaration, has repudiated and does now repudiate the claim of the British Government to speak or act on behalf of Ireland, and consequently that no treaty or agreement entered into by the representatives of the British Government In virtue of that claim Is or can be binding on the people of Ireland.
"The Irish people will scrupulously observe any treaty obligation to which they are legitimately committed; but the British delegates can not commit Ireland. The only signatures by which the Irish nation will be bound are those of its own delegates deliberately chosen.
"We request you to notify the peace conference that we the undersigned have been appointed and authorized by the duly elected national government of Ireland to act on behalf of Ireland In the proceedings of the conference and to enter Into agreements and sign treaties on behalf of Ireland. "Accept, sir, the assurance of our high esteem,
"Eamon De Valera.