No. 169  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A34

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe for Eamon de Valera (Dublin) 'The Görtz Affair: German Assurances'

DUBLIN, 5 January 1942

Dr. Hempel called to see me today at midday. He referred immediately to the Görtz affair, and said he had now been authorised by his Government to say to us officially

  1. Nobody has ever been sent to Ireland with political instructions. If Görtz was active in a political way, it could only be because he had acted on his own responsibility or through personal anxiety and a disturbed state of mind.
  2. The German Government reaffirms that no action of theirs of any kind had been directed against Ireland.
  3. The German Government regret that more importance has been attached to this affair than it deserved.
  4. Germany's attitude towards Irish neutrality has been in no way changed by the new developments (especially America's entry into the war). The attitude of the German Government was as it had been described to the Taoiseach immediately before the beginning of the war.

I told Dr. Hempel that my Minister would be glad to receive these assurances from the German Government, but he must understand, as I had told him already, that it was exclusively a matter for the Irish Government to decide whether the Görtz or similar activities, however directed, affected the interests of the Irish State. The he German Government's assurances implied an intention to put an end to all similar activities for the future.

Dr. Hempel answered that that was his understanding of his instructions.

I then went on to warn Dr. Hempel of the danger of members of the German colony involving themselves in political activities here. He must know that such conduct would only bring the colony and the Legation itself under suspicion and increase the difficulties of maintaining German-Irish relations on a basis likely to serve the interests of both countries.

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