No. 115 NAI DFA 2006/39

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 8) (Secret) (Copy)

London, 27 January 1940

Mr. Eden asked me to see him last evening.

He referred to a conversation which he had with me a few days ago when I told him in reply to his question that I thought my Government were considering the question of sending without further delay a Minister to Berlin. I told him that I thought the position was being explored with a view to finding a procedure for such an appointment which would obviate any matter of Credence. It would, as I understood the matter, be for the time being at any rate an appointment mid-way between that of a fully accredited Minister and that of a Chargé d'Affaires.

Mr. Eden said that neither he nor the Foreign Office were aware of any intermediate grade between that of Minister and Chargé d'Affaires. What the Foreign Office would prefer would be to leave matters exactly as they are. In view of what I had already told him as to the urgent need for some really competent person to look after our interests he saw that this course could not be adopted. At considerable length he begged us to consider making the new appointment for the time being in the rank of Chargé d'Affaires. He was afraid any other course would have very serious consequences for them.

Both he and Mr. Chamberlain had done what they could to keep the relations of the two countries on a good footing. They were most anxious to continue that state of affairs. He thought for example they had been helpful on trade matters.

When they, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, accepted our new Constitution as not being fundamentally incompatible with the principles of the British Commonwealth they did feel that there was still a thread or link of association – however tenuous that might be – between ourselves and the members of the Commonwealth in that the King would still be used as an organ in this particular procedure of appointment of Ministers abroad. From their point of view he could not stress the seriousness of the matter if even this slight thread were broken. Any description containing the word Minister would make a most serious position for them.

The conversation lasted for more than an hour and I think there is no doubt that Mr. Eden was very worried about the matter. He had been in consultation with Lord Halifax and with Mr. Chamberlain and was sending an urgent message to the United Kingdom Representative in Dublin.

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