841D.01/224: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Ireland (Gray)42

139. Personal for the Minister. We have delayed replying to your 165, December 13, in the hope of hearing from Ambassador Winant with reference to the proposal which we submitted to the British Government last September. We have now received Ambassador Winant’s telegrams numbers 8893 and 8903, December 22, transmitting a written reply from Mr. Eden on this subject. The British Government takes the view that de Valera would almost certainly avoid a direct negative reply to our proposed approach and would seek to cloud the issue by reiterating his grievances in regard to partition. Thus they believe that our approach “would be likely to give rise to acute difficulties” and they suggest that “it would be wise for the United States Government to postpone for the present the approach to Mr. de Valera which they have had in mind”. We have requested Ambassador Winant to repeat to you his telegrams 8893 and 8903.

We have carefully considered your draft note submitted in your telegram 165, December 13 and believe that this approach might have certain advantages over the earlier proposal. The matter reported in your telegrams 172 and 173 of December 21 and 2243 would of course help to make your suggested approach particularly opportune. This approach, however, would likewise have to be submitted to the British Government in as much as they are more directly concerned than we in any subversive activities in Ireland, the security of the whole British Isles being involved. We are not aware that the British Government has made any efforts to obtain the removal of Axis representatives in Ireland. Unless, and until the British are prepared to go along with us, any representations from us would be open to strong and bitter rebuttal from the Irish.

Nevertheless it is possible, for the reasons which you suggest, that this approach may be more acceptable to the British than the previous proposal. We believe it possible, however, that the British may wish to treat the subject of your 172 as an incident to be handled by itself and not to be used as the basis for a broader approach.

On December 20, we submitted a paraphrase of your 165 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking whether they perceive any objections from a military point of view to this proposed approach if it should [Page 171] be deemed desirable on grounds of general policy. They have now replied that they do not perceive any objections from a military point of view if the approach should be deemed desirable on grounds of general policy.

Please repeat your telegrams 165, 172 and 173 to Ambassador Winant in order that he may give the Department his views.

This telegram is being repeated to London.

  1. Repeated to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom as telegram No. 8240 with instructions to repeat to the Minister in Ireland his telegrams Nos. 8893, December 22 (p. 167), and 8903 of the same date (not printed).
  2. Neither telegram printed; they reported that the British Government had requested the Irish Government to effect removal from the German Legation in Ireland of the wireless set known to be there (841D.01/225, 227).