No. 256 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P3

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Most Secret)

Dublin, 9 August 1940

Have We a Guarantee against Invasion from the German Government?

The position is as follows:-

The German Minister informed the Minister for External Affairs on 17th June1 that the exclusive object of Germany's attack was Great Britain. He thought, in the pursuit of that object, there might be a possibility of Ireland's interests being affected. The German Minister could not give any details about the manner in which our interests were to be affected.

On 6th July, the German Minister, on instructions from his Government, informed me2

  1. That the British Press reports quoting German papers as having warned Ireland of her dangerous position were pure inventions. No such statements had appeared in the German Press.
    (We have independent confirmation of this statement.)
  2. That the Irish Government should have no doubt about Germany's attitude with regard to Ireland.
  3. That Germany had only one aim with regard to Ireland in the present war, namely, that she should maintain her neutrality. Germany did not intend to attack Irish neutrality.

The German Minister called on Thursday, 18th July,3 for the purpose of reaffirming Germany's intention not to violate our neutrality, and, above all, not to invade Ireland. He said that he wished to give these assurances without any reservations whatsoever. His instructions had the full authority of the German Minister for Foreign Affairs. His Government desired to eliminate any suspicions with regard to Germany's intentions which the Irish Government might have entertained.

The German Government's anxiety to give us assurances against an invasion by the German Army was dictated not merely by the questions put to the German Minister by the Department, but also by the reiterated statements in British and American Press and radio about Germany's intentions with regard to this country.

Owing to the imminence of the blitzkrieg, I expressed the hope to the German Minister yesterday morning (8th August) that the assurances his Government had given to us would be fulfilled to the letter. He replied that he had no doubt whatever that this would be the case.

1 See No. 191.

2 See No. 216.

3 See No. 230.

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