Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

You will recall that on September 18, 1943 we instructed Ambassador Winant to obtain the views of the British Government in regard to our proposed approach to the Irish Government on the question of naval and air bases in Ireland. I now enclose paraphrases of two telegrams, dated December 22, from Ambassador Winant,41 quoting the British Government’s reply on this matter. Mr. Eden expresses the opinion that Mr. de Valera would avoid a direct negative reply to any approach on the question of air and naval bases and would seek to cloud the issue by reiterating his grievances in regard to partition. Mr. Eden believes therefore that our proposed approach “would be likely to give rise to acute difficulties” and suggests that “it would be wiser for the United States Government to postpone for the present the approach to Mr. de Valera which they have had in mind”.

In view of the attitude of the British Government, I shall let the matter rest unless you wish to discuss it further with Prime Minister Churchill. I note Mr. Eden’s statement that Mr. Churchill spoke to you about this matter on December 7.

  1. Telegrams No. 8893, p. 167, and No. 8903, not printed.