No. 187 NAI DFA Paris Embassy 19/34A

Extract from a confidential report from Seán Murphy to Joseph P.Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 3 June 1940

The military correspondents of the Paris press insist on the splendid conduct of the troops both British and French who have been fighting their way to Dunkirk. Last night's official French communiqué, which is one of the longest issued since the beginning of the war stated that this retreat 'carried out by troops pressed from all sides, deprived of all rest for 20 days and suddenly left open on their left by the capitulation of King Leopold, will remain as an example of heroic tenacity in the French and British armies'. It added 'France can be proud of the leaders and the soldiers of the heroic army of the North'. The communiqué also declared that as a result of the valour and energy displayed by the British and French troops, the territorial successes which the enemy has obtained have been bought at the cost of immense losses in human lives and material. A number of correspondents (e.g. Duval, the Temps correspondent, Fabry in the Matin) hold that the French material has been proved to be superior to the German and that the French troops have now learned how to deal with German armoured attacks. The same correspondents and others (e.g. in the Paris-Soir and in the Jour) contend that the German armament has been so much used up on the last three weeks that it is probable that there will be a respite in the fighting before Germany launches her next attack so as to give time for repairs to be effected and reinforcements to be carried out. Duval in support of this contention asserts that such a respite was necessary after the war in Poland which only lasted about the same length of time. As regards what the next German objective will be, practically none of the correspondents is definite. They all suggest that the Germans may either decide to attack the French troops in mass or to concentrate on England. An exception is the military correspondent of yesterday's Intransigeant who holds that the German threat of invading England is intended only to create confusion and to postpone the landing of British troops in France. He believes that the immediate German objective will be to get to Le Havre and Rouen so as to cut off petrol supplies and to cut off France from England.

[matter omitted]

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