841D.24/40: Telegram

The Minister in Ireland (Gray) to the Secretary of State

36. For Secretary and the Under Secretary. The Irish Government is exploiting Aiken’s mission as American approval of its policy at the same time making political capital out of inciting anti-British sentiment. Unless Aiken has made undertakings of cooperation of which we are ignorant I believe the time has come for a firmer attitude and the demand that de Valera clarify definitely his position. If you instruct me to do it I would tell him that I must report to you the significance of his statements in his American broadcast which charges Great Britain with blockading Ireland equally with Germany and of the implied charge that Great Britain was engaged in an imperial adventure rather than a defense of democratic liberties.

Also, the meaning of the Minister of Supplies’18 statement that he was not satisfied with the explanation of the British Government regarding the reduction of the tea allotment. This is generally understood as charging Britain with responsibility for supply shortages. The facts of course are that all imports which are still considerable come from England; Ireland makes no contribution to the safety of Allied shipping and has stopped the export of butter and some other foods.

I would further tell the Prime Minister that in as much as he is anxious to get supplies from America it is desirable that we be informed whether he is prepared to adopt a policy of sympathetic cooperation in our stand against dictatorships. I would point out to the Premier the economic difficulties which lie ahead of him according to his own statements and the opportunity that hunger and unemployment will create for German agents, that he will then need our help and that unless he makes it impossible for us to extend it to him we shall do what we can but that we must help those who help us. If he is allowed to go on playing both ends against the middle I fear he will get into a position from which he cannot withdraw.

  1. Sean Lemass.