No. 324 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P2

Telegram from Joseph P. Walshe to Robert Brennan (Washington)
(No. 170) (Personal) (Copy)

Dublin, 7 November 1940

Your 249 and 250 received.1

The British press following Prime Minister's statement on Tuesday 5th2 has started a campaign for the occupation of the ports. No doubt the campaign is organised and will be carried on also in America.

You should see some of our good friends, explain seriousness of position and get them use their influence against it. Government determined to resist to bitter end.

There is of course danger that American administration ignorant of real feeling here may encourage campaign or even join in official pressure here. You should do everything possible to make known to them that the people will defend neutrality to death no matter who violates it because they regard neutrality in this world struggle for power as the fundamental condition of their survival as a nation.

On the British argument any great power should be allowed to use the ports of any small nation which is protected or dominated by its fleet if these ports happen to facilitate her war operations. You should most strongly emphasize that from the British point of view any such campaign seriously pursued would be disastrous. Our relations have greatly improved in recent months and Churchill's speech is regarded here as another bad blunder.

Continue to keep us closely informed.

1 Neither document printed.

2 On 5 November Churchill told the House of Commons that the lack of the Irish ports was 'a most heavy and grievous burden', and continued that it was 'a plain statement of an unpleasant fact designed to serve as a warning that it may not be possible to let matters rest as they are'.

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