No. 347 NAI DFA 2006/39

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 63) (Secret) (Copy)

London, 26 November 1940

I asked Lord Cranborne yesterday whether the British had any information about the meetings between M. Molotov and Herr Hitler and other German leaders. He said beyond a number of conflicting reports which cancelled each other out they had heard nothing really reliable. The Russians, as everybody knew, were most illusive and deliberately enigmatic. No one could tell from day to day what their objectives, immediate or ultimate, were. His own view was that they would keep out of the conflict as long as possible, though in a world of such unpredictable and critical events they might be compelled to join in the struggle later.

Whether the position in Albania was due to the superiority of Greek strategy or to the extremely poor fighting quality of the Italians he did not know. Certainly the Greeks had done amazingly well and the British were easier in their minds now about both Greece and Egypt. The Germans were of course past masters in the art of developing high tension war nerves but he thought the Yugoslavs would resist domination either from them or the Italians. The Turks would fight if Bulgaria were induced to attack Greece but whether they would fight because of a passage of troops through Yugoslavia he was not sure.

So far, Lord Cranborne gives one the impression of great caution, possibly due to a sense of having to learn his job as a new member of the Cabinet. Certainly he is less communicative than certain of his predecessors. This view is shared by other High Commissioners.

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