No. 186 NAI DFA Secretary's Files S77

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 17) (Secret)

London, 21 May 1938

Further to my telephone conversation I saw Brigadier R.B. Pargiter and Captain Jones at this Office yesterday to make arrangements for a preliminary discussion on the subject of the transfer of the ports.

Brigadier Pargiter handed me a typed note setting out the 'Questions which Representatives of the War Office would like to discuss with Military Representatives of Ireland'. This note I sent in the pouch to the Department last evening.

After the British representatives had read the note in question I explained to them that my Government would like, to begin with, to take over the port of Cobh if possible by the 29th June. We thought that we had a certain amount of experienced personnel who could take over this port but we were not sure that we had sufficient personnel for this purpose and it would be desirable if the British could see their way to provide Instructors who could train such further personnel as was necessary.

Brigadier Pargiter said that our ideas and theirs seemed in the main to follow the same line. He felt sure there would be no difficulty in the provision of Instructors. He also expressed the opinion that they would be able to hand over Cobh by the 29th June but for certain personnel difficulties and they would be glad if we could give them a little more time. He referred to paragraph 7 of their note and said that the British would like to see the War Department civilian employees, e.g. District Gunners, the Irish Ratings in the War Department Fleet, civilian employees on the R.A.S.C. &c., fixed up in some other employment. It was, he said, clearly a responsibility of theirs and they would do their best to provide for these people. It appeared from the conversation that apart from this work of getting alternative employment they would be perfectly willing to arrange the transfer as from the 29th June.

It was arranged that the first meeting would be held in this Office at 3 o'clock on the afternoon on Wednesday, the 25th May.

Brigadier Pargiter informed me that the defences in our ports were exactly the same as the defences which the British themselves have in this country.

I formed the impression that Brigadier Pargiter - who is a General Staff Officer, first grade, under the Director of Military Operations and Intelligence, and is in charge at the War Office of Air Defence matters - is anxious to make the transfer as quickly as possible and would be ready to help in any way he can towards that end.

High Commissioner

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