Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 21, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
36 TK6 IETHBRIDCE HERALD Thursday, June 21, 1973---------------------------------------------------------------- THE EXECUTION OF ROGER CASEMENT: British government suffers in new biography By CAROL KENNEDY LONDON (CP) A dusty file, buried deep in the re- cesses of the home office until the year 2016, may hold the final clues to the execution of Roger C-niement in 1916 and the so-called "Black which helped put the noose around his neck The British government of the day and Pnnif Minister Herbert Asjquith badly out of the story as loW in a new, well-documented biogra- phy of the Irish-born Com- ment, a former British consul knighted for exposing colonial abuses in the Belgian Congo and South America. He was hanged for treason after try- ing to enlist German aid for the Irish nationalists during the First World War. In Ms book Roger Case- ment, published by Hodder and Stoughton, author-journal- ist Brian Inglis recounts how the British government made calculated use of Casement's private diaries, which con- tained passages of explicit homosexual detail. The diaries were not used at Casement's trial but after his conviction and sentence extracts were circulated sur- reptitiously, probably at the instigation of a home office mandarin named Sir Ernley Blackwell, in order to quell the rising demand for a re- prieve. Sympathy gone Home Secretary Herbert Samuel later admitted: "Had Casement not been a man of atrocious moral character, the situation would have been much more difficult." Ripe extracts from the diaries were shown to in- fluential Britons and Ameri- United States still being neutral at that time King George V saw them and showed them to a leading bishop. Prime Minister As- quith checked that U.S. Am- bassador Walter Page had seen them and told him over dinner: "Excellent, and you need not be too particular about keeping it to yourself." The strategy, in an era only 20 years after the Oscar Wilde scandal, effectively poi- soned potential sympathy for the condemned man, although much American opinion was already sensitive about the executions of the leaders of the Dublin Easter Rising. It was short-sighted, to say the least, for Casement promptly joined the roll of Irish martyrs and his mem- ory embittered Anglo-Irish re- lations until 1965, when Brit- a i n s Labor government allowed his remains to be re- turned to Ireland for a state funeral. Alleged forgery Among many Irishmen, says author Inglis, the belief persists that the diaries were forged, although since 1959 they have been rvailable for inspection by researchers at London's Public Record Of- fice. Inglis himself believes they are one thing, it would have been a mammoth job to forge diaries covering Casement's consular service from 1903 to 1914. But he notes that none of Casement's relatives or close friends knew of his homosexual lean- ings, which chiefly involved native youths in the countries of his postings. Inglis suggests Casement's homosexuality and the inevi- table guilt that attended it in that era may have had a cru- cial bearing on his self-de- structive career and particu- larly on his sympathy for frustrated minority groups like the Irish separatists. Without some such ex- planation, Casement's actions seem extraordinary. Although as early as 1905 he was telling Irish recruits in Ulster that if they joined the British army they were traitors to their country, he accepted British decorations, a knighthood and an early pension. 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In a report issued today, the U S. agriculture department said recent actions by other countries to increase food sup- plies and cool prices have in- cluded new laws, tariff in- ducements and rationing of ex- ports. The report was published by the foreign agricultural service and was prepared before the economic actions were an- nounced last week by Nixon. Those actions include the price freeze and a possibility that U.S. farm exports might be con- trolled to protect domestic food supplies. The report said: New Xealand govern ment is subsidizing sheep an lamb production in an effort t slow down price increases t consumers. More imported por is being sought, and the govern ment has suspended a 20-per cent tariff on Canadian pork. has increased Its beef import quota for the sec ond half of the fiscal year to million pounds from 50 million a year ago. has reduced a tax charged to beef packing plant for domestic consumption bu set a tax of nine cents a pounc on beef for export. CANADA LIFTS DUTIES has removed a] duties on imports of beef, veal and pork. the Dominican Re- public, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador have temporar ily suspended beef exports. "Trade reports also indicate that the European Economic Community (Common Market" will continue until July 1 and possibly mid-September their 50-per-cent reduction of Impor duties on live cattle and the report said. World meat supplies have been drained sharply by rising Jemand in affluent countries The Nixon administration, in an attempt to cool off food prices, says larger crops of com and soybeans are needed this year so that livestock feeders will ;urn out more meat. The report of the agriculture department showed that the ood crunch overseas has mainly involved meat. Even some of the traditionally self- sufficient countries and big sup- pliers have been Moves back WASHINGTON CAP) H. R. Haldeman, former White House chief of s t a f f, has moved his family back to California from Washington. He still must tes- tify here before the Senate Wa- tergate committee which wants to know if he had any in- volvement in the Watergate break-in and cover-up. 1914, he decided Irish hopes lay with Germany, which he predicted would win, and he travelled there from the neu- tral United States, only to meet jeers and humiliation when he tried to persuade Irish prisoners of war to re- turn home and fight the Eng- lish. Disillusioned also by Ger- man apathy towards an armed rising and believing any such venture to be doomed. Casement hitched a ride on a U-boat to Ireland in an attempt to postpone it. He failed to get word to the lead- ers before his arrest and the Easter Rising took place three days later. Naturally, he was fatally linked with the Dublin insur- rection. "It is a cruel thing to die with all men misunder- he wrote in his last letter from the death cell at Pentonville prison. He did not deny treason but in his eloquent speech from the dock tried to convince the English judges that his loy- alty must primarily be to the Irish people. "Loyalty is a sentiment, not a law. It rests on love, not on restraint. The government of Ireland by England rests on restraint and not on law, and since it demands no love it can evoke no loyalty." Biographer Inglis is himself an Anglo-Irishman who says in his introduction that if a conflict of loyalties had arisen during the Second World War, when Ireland was neutral, he would have taken Ireland's side. He brings out vividly the bitter ironies of Casement's trial, which he describes as a "show trial" for the benefit of the neutral countries. F. E. Smith, for instance, the prose- cuting attorney-general, was a fiery Ulster separatist who before the outbreak of war had advocated the Protestant North getting guns from Ger- many or any other source to stop unification with the Cath- olic South. 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