No. 6  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P2

Letter from Robert Brennan to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

WASHINGTON, 11 February 1941

I called on Lord Halifax1 on Friday last. He asked me about Irish opinion in the United States and I told him that generally speaking the Irish here were favourable to the aid to Britain policy of the Administration, but that they were very anxious that Ireland should preserve her neutrality. He asked if there were any solution to the question of the Irish ports, and I pointed out the usual objections, the main ones being that any cession of the ports would immediately invite a blitzkrieg, and that such occupation would jeopardize Irish independence. I told him that very few people here who were interested in the question believed that if Mr. Churchill were to take the ports he would voluntarily hand them back again. He asked if Ireland were provided with defences would that have any effect, and I said that it would not. He then wondered whether any arrangement could be come to whereby a solution of the partition problem could be bargained against occupation, and I gave a reply similar to that given by Mr. de Valera on a previous occasion that we could not barter one right for another.

He then asked me what I thought would be the fate of Ireland if England went down, and Germany was triumphant. I said that would be an academic question for the Irish people if previously they had been annihilated, and that they would be in a better position to meet such aggression, if any, if they emerged from the war comparatively strong and healthy.

He is not as easy to talk to as his predecessor2 was.


1 Edward Frederick Lindley Wood (1881-1959), 3rd Viscount Halifax. Created 1st Earl of Halifax in 1944, British Ambassador to the United States of America (1941-6).

2 Philip Henry Kerr (1882-1940), 11th Marquess of Lothian, British Ambassador to the United States of America (1939-40).

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