No. 108 NAI DFA 217/38

Draft letter from Joseph P. Walshe to John W. Dulanty (London)

Dublin, 3 January 1940

I should be glad if you would be good enough to arrange to see the Portuguese Ambassador as soon as possible and tell him that, with a view to the establishment of closer relations between Ireland and Portugal, whose progress under Dr. Salazar1 has aroused great interest and admiration in this country, the Government are anxious that the Irish Minister in Spain should also be accredited to Portugal. The Government hope that this step would serve to promote closer trade, cultural and other relations between Ireland and Portugal which, as two great Catholic countries very similarly circumstanced in relation to the present conflict, have much in common.

Please ask the Ambassador to ascertain as soon as he conveniently can whether this arrangement would be agreeable to the Portuguese Government, and if so, whether Mr. Kerney would be persona grata. A brief curriculum vitae of Mr. Kerney is enclosed.2 You should tell the Ambassador that Mr. Kerney would continue to reside in Madrid and that, for the present at least, it would not be the intention to maintain a separate chancellery in Lisbon. Mr. Kerney would maintain contact with the Portuguese Government by means of personal visits.

We understand that the proposed arrangement would not be unprecedented so far as Portugal is concerned and that, for example, Turkey is represented by the same Minister in Madrid and Lisbon.

In considering the suggested arrangement, the Portuguese Government will no doubt be anxious to know whether they would be expected to reciprocate at once by sending a Portuguese Minister to Dublin. On this point, you might say to Señor Monteiro3 that we appreciate that it would not be practicable for the Portuguese Government to reciprocate our action by action on precisely similar lines. Even if there were not the difficulty arising from the fact that the Portuguese representative in London has the status of an Ambassador, there would still be the point that, as we have always been opposed to the accredition to Ireland of representatives who are also accredited to Britain, the Government could not consistently fall in with such an arrangement in the case of Portugal. The Government would gladly welcome a Portuguese Minister in Dublin, and they hope that the Portuguese would be able in due course to make such an appointment; but, in the special circumstances, the Government would understand if the Portuguese Government felt unable to make such an appointment at once.

1 António de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970), Portuguese Prime Minister (1932-68).

2 Not printed.

3 Armindo Monteiro, Portuguese Ambassador to Britain (1937-43).

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