Volume 7 1941~1945

Doc No.

No. 160  NAI DFA 305/392

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Frederick H. Boland (Dublin)
(Most Secret)

HOLY SEE, 4 May 1950

My dear Secretary,
I really can add very little to your letter to the Department of the Taoiseach (17 April 1950).1

When Maffey rang me up I demurred at the idea of ringing up Mr. de Valera, at such an unseemly hour, unless the message was of the very first order of importance. M. replied that he had been instructed to deliver it immediately, so there was no way out of 'phoning' Mr. de V. immediately. The latter suspected, as I did, that it was an ultimatum of some kind, and on his instructions, I telephoned the Chief of Staff to take all necessary precautions against an advance across the border. It was a night of great alarms in the country, as you will remember, and the orders were not, I think, countermanded when the message was delivered. I think Mr. de V. phoned me the gist of the message after he had seen M. and I think I told the C. of Staff what it was, in order to reassure him.

Our opinion was that Churchill had been imbibing heavily that night, after the news of Pearl Harbour had come over on the American Radio between 7.0 and 8.0 o'clock, and that his effusion flowed into the message.

Cranborne, whom I accompanied to Airport, went away disheartened, and I am quite certain that the burden of Mr. de V.'s reply was that any participation in the war was a matter exclusively for a United Ireland Parliament. I am afraid no note exists of the conversation since Mr. de V. never seemed to dictate interviews of a secret character. At any rate I never saw any note of the conversation.

I regret that my memory of the occasion is not clearer.

Yours Sincerely,

[signed] J. P. WALSHE