Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

"Cautela, Seguir Mudo". Madrid's Diplomatic Response to the Emergence of the Irish Free State 1918-1931

Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

"Cautela, Seguir Mudo". Madrid's Diplomatic Response to the Emergence of the Irish Free State 1918-1931

Article excerpt

Abstract. This paper will primarily seek to examine the official response of the Spanish Restoration and Primo de Rivera governments to the events in Ireland during the time of the Irish Civil War and Partition, as well as giving some insights on the reaction within Spanish society. The quotation, attributed to US Ambassador Juan Riano, was in response to the Provisional Government of Ireland's request for official Spanish recognition of Ireland in post war international institutions. The paper will analyse the extremely cautious response of the Spanish authorities to the emergence of the Irish state, as exemplified by Riano's quote, which, within the echelons of the Spanish diplomatic service, was viewed as the apparent victory of separatism in Ireland. The paper will also touch on the influential role of the Spanish Ambassador in London, Alfonso Merry del Val, and how his pro-British establishment view coloured the efforts of Dublin to establish diplomatic ties with a country it believed to be a natural historical ally. It will chart the difficulties which prevailed in the setting up of limited diplomatic ties in 1924 and the formal establishment of a Spanish consulate in Dublin in 1927 and examine how the links between Republican Ireland and Monarchical Spain developed until 1931.

Key Words: Spain, Ireland, Spanish journals (El Debate, El Socialista, La Vanguardia, El Sol, ABC), Merry del Val, independence, diplomacy.

Resumen. Este articulo se propone examinar la respuesta oficial de los gobiernos de la Restauracion espanola y de Primo de Rivera ante los acontecimientos en Irlanda durante la Guerra Civil y particion de la isla, asi como ofrecer una perspectiva sobre la reaccion en el seno de la sociedad espanola. La cita, atribuida al embajador de EEUU Juan Riano, fue en respuesta a la peticion del gobierno provisional de Irlanda para que Espana reconociera oficialmente a Irlanda en las instituciones internacionales de posguerra. El ensayo analizara la respuesta extremadamente cautelosa de las autoridades espanolas ante la emergencia del Estado irlandes, tal como evidencia la respuesta de Riano, que en las esferas del servicio diplomatico espanol se vio como la aparente victoria del separatismo en Irlanda. El ensayo tambien abordara el influyente papel del embajador espanol en Londres, Alfonso Merry del Val, y como su vision pro-britanica influyo en los esfuerzos de Dublin por establecer lazos diplomaticos con un pais al que se consideraba aliado historicamente natural. Se consignaran las dificultades que imperaron en el inicio de lazos diplomaticos restringidos en 1924 y el establecimiento formal de un consulado espanol en Dublin en 1927 y se examinara la evolucion de las relaciones entre la Irlanda republicana y las Espana monarquica hasta 1931.

Palabras clave. Espana, Irlanda, periodicos espanoles (El Debate, El Socialista, La Vanguardia, El Sol, ABC), Merry del Val, independencia, diplomacia.

Political background and pubic opinion to the Irish question 1918-1922

Ireland and the issue of Irish independence post Easter 1916 was one that did not sit comfortably with the main currents of political and ideological opinion in the Spain of the Restoration. Whilst being an obvious embarrassment to the British, which gained it certain support among the right leaning parties and cultural and political elites in Spain that had tended to support the cause of the Central Powers during the Great War, the overtly nationalist, anti-establishment, antimonarchical, rebellious movement did little to endear it to this grouping in Spanish political circles, the so-called 'official Spain'. (1) Similarly, among Spanish nationalist, liberal and leftist groups, sympathetic to the Allies in the War and these progressive causes,--the so-called 'real Spain'--the prominence of the Catholic Church and German support, with its overtones of authority and order, made it difficult for them to identify fully with Irish independence. …

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