No. 394 NAI DFA Paris Embassy 49/16

Letter from Seán Murphy to Francis T. Cremins (Berne)
(P2/112) (P33/14)

Vichy, 13 January 1941

I have the honour to refer to your minute of the 7th inst. with the enclosure thereto concerning Miss Lucia Joyce and to inform you that I have already had occasion to deal with this case.1

In July last Mr. James JOYCE called to see me here in connection with his daughter whom he was anxious to have removed to Switzerland. As she holds a British passport I informed Mr. JOYCE that I could not officially intervene on her behalf, having no 'locus standi' in the matter. I undertook, however, during a visit which I proposed to make to Paris in August to raise the matter unofficially if a suitable occasion presented itself and in particular to endeavour to ascertain whether there would be any objection to Miss JOYCE'S leaving France in view of the fact that she was seriously ill. She suffers from a mental disease known as 'Hyperthuria' which apparently sometimes reduces her to a serious and dangerous condition. I did in fact visit Paris in August and found an opportunity of mentioning the case to a member of the German Embassy. He gave it as his personal opinion that no difficulty would be put in the way of Miss Joyce's journey on the part of the occupying authority. He asked, however, that a note on the case be submitted so as to elicit a definite reply. This was in fact done. I did not either in my conversation or in the note conceal the fact that Miss Joyce held a British passport although I did explain that she was in a position, if she so desired, to apply for and probably obtain Irish nationality. On my return to Vichy I informed Mr. JOYCE that I gathered from the conversation I had had with a member of the Embassy in Paris that there would be no obstacle put in the way of his daughter's going to Switzerland. In November, however, I received a note from the German authorities to the effect that a journey to Switzerland by Miss Joyce who holds a British passport could not take place. The contents of this note I communicated in due course to Mr. JOYCE. He later asked me whether I thought there was anything further I could do in the matter. I said I did not think there was in view of the contents of the German note. He then enquired whether it would be well to have his daughter obtain an Irish passport. I told him she was perfectly entitled to claim citizenship by registration and that, if she should apply for registration, I would be prepared to issue her a passport valid for one year pending the decision of the Minister for Justice on her application. I added, however, that, in view of the fact that the Germans had already considered her case and, therefore, knew she had a British passport, it was quite possible that her holding an Irish passport, issued subsequently might not weigh with them in securing her permission to leave and that her applying for one at that stage might only be regarded by them as a ruse. I suggested that in all the circumstances the best thing to do might be for him to endeavour to get his daughter out of France through the good offices of the American Foreign Service, encharged with British interests. I understood from Mr. Joyce, before he finally left for Switzerland, that he intended to try this course.

In view of the history of this case I would suggest that you inform Mr. Joyce that if he wants to use the good offices of our service for securing permission for his daughter to leave France, he should continue to address himself to this Legation. I may state that I was surprised to learn that he had approached you independently on that subject, especially as he does not seem to have informed you of what he knew of my efforts in this respect already. I should stress that I have told him repeatedly that I had no official standing for intervening in this case as long as his daughter held a British passport. On the first occasion in which he raised the matter (in July) I clearly implied to him, without actually suggesting that she should do so, that by far the best way to handle the matter in my opinion would be for his daughter to take out an Irish passport. If he had decided on this course in the first instance, I have no doubt that she would have been allowed to undertake the journey to Switzerland long since. He, however, showed no inclination to follow it at the time. I may add that he has never suggested applying for an Irish passport for himself and that his son2 also holds a British passport although at one time, when it looked as if he might be refused a French exit visa for that reason (being of military age), he did enquire about the procedure for getting an Irish one. He did not, however, pursue the matter, presumably because he was able to get an exit visa on his British passport.

If Miss Joyce should apply for citizenship I shall, of course, consider the case of the issue to her of an Irish passport on its merits. I do not think, however, that there is any further action of any nature which can be taken by us on her behalf as long as she holds, a British one.

1 See No. 387.

2 Giorgio Joyce (1905-76).

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