No. 38  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P35

Telegram from Robert Brennan to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin) concerning a meeting between Frank Aiken and President Franklin D. Roosevelt
(No. 102)

WASHINGTON, 7 April 1941

We saw the President; very cordial. He opened by alleging Frank had said Irish had nothing to fear from German victory. This we vigorously denied.

He said difficulty about supplies was not knowing whether they would be used against Germany if the latter attacked. There had been no explicit undertaking on this point. We replied Chief had given explicit assurance on this many times since 1935.

He said, if British were convinced on this and told him they were satisfied, the stuff would be supplied. Frank asked him to use his own initiative and judgment and save British from their own folly.

On the question of ships and transfer of flag, Frank said State Department held up decision indefinitely. He replied, you must not have convinced State Department that stuff will not be used against British. He alluded to convoys, and implied obligation on our part to aid convoys, suggesting we establish fifty-mile sea air patrol to spot submarines. We turned this down, and Frank said Irish unity and ability to resist would be smashed if we took any step leading towards war.

Frank asked specifically if he could say that President sympathises with our stand against aggression. He replied 'German aggression', and ridiculed suggestion that we should fear British aggression. Frank said they have officially refused to give undertaking. On being pressed, President undertook to put this question up to Churchill immediately. He promised to see that we would get definite yes or no in a few days.

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