No. 239 NAI DFA 2006/39

Draft of a confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe(Dublin)1

London, 23 July 1940

You will recall that when I was in Dublin last month I reported that on the 21st June Lord Caldecote had told me that there was no intention on the part of the British Government to land troops in Éire without an invitation from the Irish Government.

Subsequently to that conversation a widespread campaign had been sustained in the London and Provincial newspapers, articles had appeared in a section of the American press and talks had been broadcast from the United Kingdom to America – all directed against the policy of the Irish Government and suggesting or implying that the time had come for the British Government to take steps to occupy our territory.

When at my request Lord Caldecote saw me today I referred again to the above-mentioned campaign and said an inevitable consequence had been a deterioration in the general attitude of the Irish people. Clearly these doubts and misgivings were not calculated to promote the understanding between the two countries which my Government desired.

Lord Caldecote said he had no hesitation in giving an assurance that there was no intention in the mind of the British Government to take any military or naval action in our territory unless and until they were formally asked to do so by the Irish Government. Mr. de Valera would, however, understand that in a War future such as that which confronted them, so full of uncertainties and wholly incalculable factors, it would not be possible for the British Government to give today a guarantee that in no circumstances would they refrain from entering Éire uninvitedly.

But it was a statement of solid fact, he continued, to say as he had said before that it was absolutely no part of their policy to go into Éire unless the Irish Government invited them.

1 It is not clear that this document was sent to Dublin. It has been included here because it provides a succinct summary of some of the key points in British-Irish relations over the previous months. For the origins and purpose of this document see No. 243.

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