No. 209  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P12/1

Extract from a letter from Seán Murphy to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

VICHY, 22 June 1942

[matter omitted]
My general impressions of Paris were sad. There is very little motor traffic except those of the occupying authority. One sees an enormous number of bicycles and cycle taxis but the general impression one has from the point of life is a deserted city. We had the chance to see the Champs Elysées about eight o'clock in the evening without a vehicle of any sort or kind from the Concorde to the Étoile.

There seems to be no mixing between the French and the Germans. One thing amongst the French which is very remarkable, they talk much less to one another in the streets than they did and even in cafés conversation is very subdued.

One hears on every side that the hatred of the Paris population for the occupying authority is beyond belief. It is of course impossible to confirm if that is the true position. One sees notices such as 'Forbidden to French cars', 'Reserved for German Army', 'Passage forbidden' fairly frequently which gives even a foreigner a funny impression and which must be very galling to a Frenchman though obviously such things are inevitable under an occupation. I met very few people because I did not want to give the impression that I was any more than a casual visitor and in no sense in an official capacity. The few I did meet were however all of the view that the war would end before the end of the winter. They could offer no reason for this view but all said they felt quite convinced it would be so.

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