No. 134  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A2

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe of an interview with Sir John Maffey

DUBLIN, 20 October 1941

Sir John Maffey called to see me this morning at 11 o'clock by appointment. He had been in London for a few days and he wanted to come and give me a general view of the situation in relation to us as he found it.

Night Bombing. The Taoiseach had spoken to him about the possibility of intervention on the question of night bombing. He spoke to the Ministers concerned in London and found, as he had expected, an attitude of complete opposition. They were very grateful to the Taoiseach for his suggestion, but night bombing was one of their chief weapons an essential one in their view in the prosecution of the war.

Arms. The Russian situation was, of course, very critical, and a real effort was being made to send all possible weapons to the Russian Armies. But he did find a 'not unfavourable' attitude even in the Prime Minister. Churchill said that he would give us arms when they could be spared. Maffey thought that this was a considerable triumph for him, as it was the first time that Churchill had departed from his negative attitude.

He found Cranborne thinking a good deal of the situation here and very open-minded with regard to future developments. We must remember, he said, how slowly people changed over there in regard to systems which had lasted for hundreds of years. But he found the British Government thinking on new lines about a lot of things. They appeared to have realised that sea power is no longer the instrument it was, and they are beginning to make the necessary adjustments in their minds for the new order. The British Government were hopeful that the Russians would be able to establish a line somewhere which would occupy a great many Germans for the winter.

There was no feeling of certainty yet about America's entry into the war, indeed the situation with regard to America seemed to be more confused than ever, and Japan's reaction to German successes in Russia was not helpful.

He was anxious particularly to assure us that there was an improving atmosphere so far as our demands were concerned. He made it, if anything, clearer than before that Churchill had been the chief obstacle.

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