No. 60 NAI DFA 219/4

Confidential report from William Warnock to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 26 October 1939

With reference to your minute of the 10th October,1 I beg to state that I did not hear the broadcast from Hamburg mentioned in a recent debate in Dáil Éireann. News bulletins are given at all times of the day, and it is impossible to listen to them all. The first I heard of the alleged 'Hamburg broadcast' was a reference to it in the report of a Dáil debate given one evening from Athlone.

Ever since then I have endeavoured to listen to as many of the German bulletins as possible, and have so far heard no mention of Ireland which could be described as unfriendly. On the 22 inst. reference was made to the economic troubles caused to us by the war, and particularly to the lack of the raw materials needed by our industries. Quotations were given from Dáil debates. Listeners were given to understand that the disturbance of our commercial life has been brought about by British war methods.

On the 23rd inst. it was reported in the press and over the wireless that an explosion had taken place in Mountjoy Prison. It was suggested that an attempt had been made to rescue I.R.A. prisoners.2

It was stated on the 25th inst. that the British Government were taking repressive measures against numerous Irish citizens in England.

I know one of the journalists who are at present editing the English news bulletins given from the wireless stations. He tells me that in the last few weeks no unfavourable reference has been made to us. According to him, they have no wish to offend us, but rather the opposite. I asked him if he knew anything about the 'Hamburg' broadcast. Unfortunately he could give me no information in the matter, as he was not, at that time, employed on this work.

As I stated in previous minutes, the general attitude to us is very friendly. I must confess, however, that interest in us springs from the fact that we are traditional opponents of Great Britain. There is always the hope that we will take up arms again, and worry the British in the rear. The less-thinking section of the population cannot understand why we have not done so already. The I.R.A. activities since January have been given great publicity, and many people have mentioned them sympathetically to me in ordinary conversation.

The following experience of one member of our colony is rather typical. He had called to see me, and after having left the Legation, was looking around for a taxi – not an easy task during a 'black-out'. A short distance away he came across two policemen, and asked their assistance. They noticed from his accent that he was a foreigner, and enquired as to his nationality. When he told them that he was Irish, they clapped him on the back in a most friendly way, exclaimed 'Bomb-throwers!' and went off in opposite directions to look for a taxi. In a minute or so both returned, each with a taxi!

At the present moment everything anti-English is grist to the propaganda mill; consequently I shall be very surprised indeed if anything is said or done which might annoy us. The public is continually told of the unscrupulous ways and means of the British Secret Service, and in this connection a few articles have appeared regarding the efforts made during the war by Mr. Findlay,3 the British Minister to Norway, to secure the betrayal of Sir Roger Casement. I understand that the Propaganda Ministry is keen on having Dr. Maloney's book on the forged Casement diaries translated and published.

Some recent press cuttings are attached.4

The question of news bulletins reminds me that I often receive the transmission from the new experimental short-wave station at Athlone. I should be very grateful indeed if you would be good enough to ascertain for me the evenings on which this station works, and whether more than one wavelength is used. At present the wireless is my only hope of obtaining up-to-date Irish news, as the newspapers are usually at least a fortnight late.

[signed] W. Warnock

1 See No. 51.

2 On 22 October 1939, using an improvised explosive device smuggled into the prison, some prisoners blew open a door but were promptly detained while still within the complex.

3 Sir Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay (1861-1932), British Minister to Norway (1910-23).

4 Not printed.

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