Defense Files: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State (Grew) to the Secretary of State

top secret

No. 24. For Secretary of State Stettinius from the Acting Secretary of State.

Allstate Horseshoe. Your Argonaut 71–A. During the later part of the Chicago conference1 when it became increasingly doubtful that full agreement would be reached on a multi-lateral basis, we held preliminary discussions looking toward bilateral agreements with representatives of a number of countries. When the Spanish agreement2 was signed Berle stated publicly that we intended to conclude similar agreements with a number of other countries. Ireland was naturally one of these in view of its obvious geographic importance to American air routes. We saw no reason to consult the United Kingdom particularly since the agreement followed the standard form drawn up with British participation at Chicago. We nevertheless authorized our Minister in Dublin to advise his British colleagues of the matter before the agreement was signed. The agreement in no way prejudices the British right to effect similar arrangements.

Signature of agreement with Ireland does not indicate approval by the United States of that country’s war attitude any more than in [Page 960]the case of the Spanish agreement. Our views in regard to Spain are well known and our attitude toward Ireland’s war policy is we think abundantly clear.

Upon receipt from Halifax of copy of Prime Minister’s message of January 27 to the President3 requesting postponement of signature until they could discuss it personally, we advised the President3 that we were postponing signature until February 3 but that British objections might possibly have ulterior motives and that further delay might expose us to Irish charges of bad faith and a domestic storm over British intervention in an Irish-American matter. He replied3 approving postponement until February 3 but sent no later instructions asking further delay.

You can obtain from the President’s Naval Aide the text of the messages exchanged with him but you will wish to consider carefully how much of the substance of this paragraph can be disclosed to Eden.

  1. The International Civil Aviation Conference held at Chicago November 1–December 7, 1944.
  2. For the text of this agreement relating to air-transport service, which was signed at Madrid December 2, 1944, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 432, or 58 Stat. 1473.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.