No. 317 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P22

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Maurice Moynihan (Dublin)

Dublin, 25 October 1940

I am directed by the Minister for External Affairs to refer to your minutes (S.12096) of the 19th and 30th September,1 relating to the measures which would have to be taken by the Government in the event of either belligerent making an attack on this country. The first task of this Department, on the occurrence of such an emergency, would be to make a protest to the Government of the country concerned and to inform the Governments of neutral countries, especially that of the United States, that our neutrality had been violated. The Government of the other belligerent Power would also be informed, and, if our Government so decides, would be requested for aid against the invader. This first essential step recalls the necessity of maintaining our communications with the outside world. This is especially true of the radio station at Ballygirreen through which all our official communications to America are now routed, but it might be well to consider whether special statements should be broadcast over the Athlone medium and short waves in order to secure as wide a publicity as possible for our protest against the invader. I understand that a provisional decision has been reached to render the Athlone station useless immediately the arrival of an invader has been signalled. It would, I think, be well worth while considering some modification of this decision. I think we should run the risk of an enemy eventually seizing Athlone in order that we may retain it for a sufficiently long time to launch our protest to the world and to give to our own people whatever instructions the Government desires to give them. Its value to the enemy would be trivial, while to us – for those first hours at any rate – it would be a vital necessity. Moreover, we must assume that the station will be required by our civil authorities on the cessation of hostilities. The two likely invaders are in a position to provide themselves with a powerful station at any time after a successful invasion of this country. Whatever we destroy we have to re-make ourselves, and I understand that, if Athlone is destroyed, it would take us years to restore it.

No matter what decision is ultimately taken about the transfer of the central Government, the principal staff of this Department should remain in the capital in order to provide a channel for dealing with the invader when he arrives there and to do everything possible to lessen the harshness of the measures which he may wish to impose on the people. In any case, the Department must remain with the Representatives of foreign Governments, and no purpose would be served by allowing these latter to leave the capital.

[stamped] (Signed) J.P. Walshe

1 Neither document printed.

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO