No. 205 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P4

Confidential report from John J. Hearne to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Ottawa, 27 June 1940

More and more, interest is manifested in the Irish situation. More and more people ask me what the future will bring. Will Germany invade Ireland, North and South? Can the Irish armed forces deal with the invasion, if it takes place? Would the Irish Government invite the British to help them? How great is the likelihood of considerable Irish assistance to German invaders? What is the strength of the I.R.A.? Would the Irish people passively resist, or would they simply accept a German occupation of the country? Would the situation be a repetition of (1) 'Denmark'? or (2) 'Norway'?

No one asks whether we anticipate an attempted rush in by British forces to forestall a German attempt at invasion. But the Montreal 'Gazette' has a bad article (from our point of view) on that. It is with the cuttings in this bag.

The newspapers are fuller than usual of Irish news, including the statements of the Reverend Mr. Little M.P.1

I confine myself in conversation to the careful texts of the speeches of the Taoiseach and Ministers. I have also quoted the broadcast speech of Dr. O'Higgins T.D.2 (which was given great prominence in B.B.C. shortwave broadcasts to North America) and the speech of the Bishop of Galway at Gort.3

If you think it advisable to add to the clear and balanced statements of Ministers (in so difficult a situation) I would be very grateful for your official or personal views as to the possibilities and probabilities and certainties of the near future, for my own information, or for such use as you consider I might make of it in any contingency you would specify. But I understand that course may not commend itself to you in all the circumstances.

[signed] John J. Hearne

1 Reverend James Little (1869-1946), Unionist MP for Down at Westminster (1939-46).

2 In a radio broadcast on 16 June 1940 Dr T.F. O'Higgins TD said that the people of Ireland could put aside civil war differences and 'face an invader with confidence in their army and trust in themselves' and called on men to join the Defence Forces or the Local Security Force (Irish Times, 17 June 1940).

3 Michael Browne (1895-1980), Bishop of Galway (1937-76), told a congregation at St Colman's Church, Gort, that 'to invade a peaceful country like Ireland was not lawful war, but murder, and those who assisted it in any way were guilty of the crime of murder before God. Not even the pretext of solving partition or securing unity would justify the crime of any Irishman in assisting any foreign power to invade his own land.'

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