No. 370 NAI DFA Secretary's Files A2

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe of meeting with Sir John Maffey (Dublin)

Dublin, 17 December 1940

Sir John Maffey called to see me this morning. He explained that he had been to London recently, but that any rumours to the effect that he had had any discussions with Andrews1 were untrue. On the way back from London, he did in effect meet Mr. Andrews in the train, and they had a general chat. He had never met Andrews before.

He spoke about the Trade Agreement and the inevitable slowness involved in coming to any conclusion when conditions were changing from day to day.

I spoke to him about the present Press campaign about the Irish ports. He said that he had spoken strongly to Duff Cooper and Cranborne, and they assured him that they were doing everything possible to damp it down. We must, on the other hand, remember that their shipping losses were bound to cause a good deal of adverse comment in the Press, and, in the present condition of their censorship, they could not do more than modify the more violent types of publicity.

I reminded him that the campaign was going on in America and was being fed from London by material similar to that published in the British Press.

He did not believe anybody was contemplating the possibility of seizing our ports. He knew Churchill was temperamental, but, of course, Churchill might not continue in power. At the present moment, he was on top of the wave, but, when the war became less critical, changes were likely.

I referred to a conversation I had last evening with Capt. Shaw (Irish Convention, 1917),2 and to Shaw's opinion about the possibility of Bevan3 taking Churchill's place. He said he hoped very much that Shaw was right, because he believed that a Labour man of Bevan's type was more likely to take the long view about Ireland and to avoid any action which might be permanently detrimental to the good relations between the two peoples.

Maffey told me that the agreement about the navicert had been concluded with Ferguson.4

1 John Miller Andrews, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

2 The Irish Convention to which all Irish political parties were invited sat in Dublin from July 1917 to March 1918 in an unsuccessful attempt to agree on a method of introducing domestic self-government for Ireland.

3 Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960), British Labour politician who was one of the main opponents of the wartime British coalition government led by Churchill; later Minister for Health (1945-51).

4 Postscript handwritten by Walshe on 19 December 1940.

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