Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Irish Minister called to see me this morning at his request.

The Minister stated that some days ago Mr. Hickerson28 had telephoned him saying that some other agency of the United States Government had reason to believe that hundreds of Japanese tourists had reached Ireland during the past two years, that the staff of the Japanese Legation and Consulate had been greatly increased, and that these conditions were a source of great danger to the interests of the United States.

The Minister stated that he had telegraphed his Government in compliance with Mr. Hickerson’s request in order to have a report [Page 773] on these charges. He said that he had now received a reply from his Government stating that the total number of Japanese in Ireland was four, namely, the Japanese Chargé d’Affaires, his wife, the Japanese Consul, and one stranded seaman. The Minister went on to say that his Government was deeply irritated by the inquiry addressed to it, which it regarded as proof that the Government of the United States insisted upon the belief that the Irish Government was permitting every kind of Axis subversive activity to be going on in Ireland notwithstanding the frequent and official denials on the part of the Irish Government. The Minister stated that he would like to send me a statement covering the views of his Government on this matter. I said that, of course, I would be glad to receive it.

The statement in question, received subsequently, is attached herewith.29

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Chief, Division of European Affairs.
  2. Not attached to file copy of memorandum.