740.0011 European War 1939/9530

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

The Irish Minister brought in the Irish Minister of Defense, Mr. Aiken, to see me tonight.

The purpose of Mr. Aiken’s visit was to communicate to me orally the desire of the Irish Government to purchase arms and munitions in this country, as well as to obtain ships to be transferred to the Irish flag.

Mr. Aiken started the conversation by complaining that the steamer Oklahoma, which the Irish Government desired to purchase, had not, as yet, been transferred to the Irish Government and that no reply had been received to the request of the Irish Government for the sale of the steamer Scot.

I replied that I was unfamiliar with these questions but that I would look into them and discuss the matter further with Mr. Aiken and Mr. Brennan next week.

I said that I should be glad to receive in writing any requests for arms and munitions and other matériel which Mr. Brennan or Mr. Aiken cared to give me and that they could be assured that these requests would receive every consideration. I said, however, that I must make it emphatically clear that assistance to Great Britain came first and foremost in our program, in complete harmony with our own efforts at rearmament, and that a request of this character received from other governments could only be considered in the light of the policy which I had made clear to them. I agreed to have a further conversation with Mr. Aiken and Mr. Brennan early next week.

S[umner] W[elles]