841D.01/217: Telegram

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

141. For the Acting Secretary. Sir John Maffey returning from London told me on November 7 (reference my telegram number 136, November 1, 7 p.m.) that he had been informed that no decision by his Government had yet been taken on the question of the proposed note to Eire. He understood that there was a divergence of views in the Cabinet and that the matter was with the Prime Minister for final decision.

He had gained the impression that political considerations were responsible in part for the divergence of views. Some members of the Government were so strongly anti-de Valera that they would not open the door to him even though assured that he would refuse to come in and join us. They have in mind strong measures after the war. They feel that their constituents would not understand the reasons for offering de Valera an opportunity to gain credit by affording us facilities and that they would lose support. They do not seem to appreciate that a generous offer refused by de Valera would go far toward eliminating him as a trouble-making influence after the war nor will they believe that he has definitely nailed his flag to the mast of neutrality and will under no circumstances whatsoever join with [Page 161] United States. This irrational obstinacy is his fundamental weakness and should be exploited by United States and not ignored.

They do not understand the American situation and the desirability for weakening Irish extremist opposition to Anglo-American understanding while the war continues instead of later. Nor will they accept the proposition that in the long view, it would be better for England as well as Eire that Eire should join the United Nations even at this late date.

Our view of other forces in the British Government opposing the President in my number 136 above referred to. We who are in Eire think it desirable to work out some concrete compromise joint understanding with a minimum delay which will serve both American and British long-range interests.

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