841D.01/208: Telegram

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

124. The feature of the de Valera party Fianna Fail annual convention held on September 28 and 29 were resolutions emphasizing partition as the paramount issue before the country. Reference to my number 122, September 28, 6 p.m.

In his keynote speeches De Valera said: “We have a right to the unity of our country and we have a right to the independent action of our people also.” He explained this last as meaning that they . would not pay for the ending of partition by giving up neutrality. “We had”, he said, “asserted our national right in remaining out of the war. There were people who did not like that attitude. We must look ahead to the time in which efforts might be made to penalize [Page 155] us because we had taken that attitude. We could meet any crisis if we stood together.” He further said: “We will try to do everything we can in order that the wrongs of this partition of our country would be brought to the notice of all those who would have any power to remedy it.”

Later he asked authorization to send greetings to friends of Ireland abroad mentioning in particular Archbishop Mannix28 and the organizations that supported the nationalist movement in the United States. I am informed by a reporter present that other speakers advocated terrorist methods to compel attention to the wrongs. These were not printed in the newspapers.

The foregoing confirms the reports and forecasts that we have been transmitting to you. It would be unwise to assume that de Valera does not mean what he says and is not preparing for action against Britain both by stirring up anti-British feeling in America and by agitation here and in Northern Ireland. The possibility of an uprising similar to that of Easter week 1916 must not be ruled out. That succeeded by compelling the British to execute the ring leaders thus making martyrs out of them. In this way American sympathy and support was won. Obtaining political ends by the shedding of sacrificial blood may readily be tried again. The difficulty now is that Britain can not yield on partition and throw over Northern Ireland which has given her facilities nor can we counsel coercion since we too-have obtained facilities.

Whatever means de Valera chooses to take, a serious impasse is inevitable. Wise preventative action could probably forestall de Valera’s strategy if taken in time, but I can find no evidence of British anxiety over the situation. It must be recalled that the 1916 uprising took the British Government by surprise.

  1. Most Rev. Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne (Australia).