William Wallace McDowell (January 22, 1867 – April 9, 1934) was the "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary" of the United States to the Irish Free State. He was appointed on 15 January 1934 and presented his credentials in Dublin on 27 March 1934. He has previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Montana. However, what is most notable about his tenure as Minister to the Irish Free State was its brevity and unfortunate end. Mr McDowell died in his post on 9 April 1934, less than a month after he formally took up his post. The following from "The Times" (ed. of 11 April 1934) tells the story:
Minister's Death At Banquet
All Ireland was shocked this morning when the news of the American Minister's sudden death last night announced in the later editions of The Times became known. Mr. McDowell arrived in Dublin only on March 20, and presented his letter of credence to Mr. de Valera a week afterwards. He was the guest of honour in the Throne Room of Dublin Castle at a banquet which was given by the Free State Government, with Mr. de Valera in the chair, and was in the middle of a speech when he collapsed.
He had been looking rather pale during the evening, but nobody suspected that he was really unwell. The gathering was a private one, at which the guests were members of the Government and the Civil Service, as well as of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps in Dublin. Mr. de Valera made a short speech welcoming the new Minister to Ireland, and Mr. McDowell, who expressed a wish to speak, made a polished and witty reply. He was describing how he had been given his first start in life in Montana by an Irishman named Marcus Daly when he was seen to stagger and collapse on his chair.
Dr. von Dehn, the German Minister to the Irish Free State, was the first to rush to his assistance. Dr. von Dehn, who was a Curassier officer in the German Army, is an expert in first aid, and he and Dr. Ryan, Mr. de Valera's Minister for Agriculture, applied artificial respiration for almost three-quarters of an hour. From the outset, however, it was feared that there was no hope, and when Dr. McCauley, who was summoned immediately, arrived at the castle Mr. McDowell was already dead.
The Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Paschal Robinson, stayed by his side to the end. The occurrence caused a painful sensation among the guests, and the room was soon emptied but for the few who were trying vainly to restore the action of the dying man's heart. The body was afterwards taken to the United States Legation in the Phoenix Park, where it is being embalmed preparatory to removal to the United States. Throughout the day there was a constant stream of callers at the American Legation.
The following message has been sent by Mr. de Valera to the Secretary of State in Washington:
"On behalf of the Irish Government and people I wish to express our grief on the death of your distinguished and esteemed representative. Mr. McDowell had already endeared himself io all who met him, and his death has deeply affected us. He died while giving expression in affecting terms to his gratitude for having been chosen as his country's representative to a people which has such kinship with his own, and with whom he had intimate personal associations. I had the privilege of knowing the Minister before he came to us, and in his death I feel the loss of a dear friend. Please convey our deepest sympathy to Mr. McDowell's mother and relatives in their great sorrow."
All the flags on the Government buildings and foreign legations and consulates in Dublin are flying at half-mast to-day.[copyright violation?]