811.248/747: Telegram

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

204. Information received confidentially from Kirby ranking British Air Force officer in Northern Ireland is that two American pilots have recently made forced landing on Eire side of border but have been spirited to safety and that 16 arriving bombers were lost for some time over Eire territory but eventually landed safe in Northern Ireland. Kirby says it is inevitable that American pilots will come down and be interned and American planes confiscated. Believe therefore I should warn you that I may have to ask for immediate instructions as to internment of American personnel and seizure of American aircraft possibly with secret equipment.

Britain has acquiesced in internment of their air crews although Eire is in some respects in the Commonwealth to the end of having German crews interned and under control. Eire Government now [Page 768] connives at escape of newly grounded crews near border in regions where little publicity attends incident.

My view for what it is worth is that while right to intern can not well be questioned, it would be unfortunate to accept internment without protest on ground that internment is unfriendly act in view of fact that practically all Eire’s sea borne supplies are protected by United Nation air patrols.

News of internment of British pilots is suppressed by British censor. Am writing Winant recommending that he request release news of American internments by Eire Government on American news service. If you rule otherwise please telegraph him and me.