No. 171  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P12/14/1

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 2) (Secret)

LONDON, 21 January 1942

Today I made a strong protest to Lord Cranborne against the abusive articles on our position in relation to the war which had appeared recently in the Sunday Express, the Daily Sketch, the Daily Dispatch and other British papers.

In his effort, unbroken despite discouragement from this side, to maintain friendly relations between England and Ireland, An Taoiseach had not allowed these attacks, scurrilous in tone and devoid of reason as they so often were, on our policy, to be reproduced in Irish newspapers. But if these English newspapers continued in their folly his hand would be forced and he would be compelled to let our people know of the anti-Irish attitude which certain journals in England were adopting. These papers with their big circulations were obviously a potent factor in the formation and direction of British opinion. If we were to reveal through our papers the line that certain British newspapers were taking, the effect on our people would be of serious consequence since it would be bound to turn their minds from their present not unfriendly disposition to the British to one of resentment and possibly hostility.

When one realised the ill consequence involved in these newspaper articles and some cartoons whose vulgarity it was hardly possible to characterise, the pusillanimous attitude of the British Authorities was difficult to understand, and I doubted whether anyone could persuade our people at home that if the British Government had the will to stop, in their own interest, this campaign of misrepresentation, they could do so overnight.

Lord Cranborne said I was not being fair. These newspaper articles were nearly as annoying to the British Government as they must be to our Government. He thought I had not given them credit for getting the people in Fleet Street to take a more rational view of the situation. They had, after all, kept a good deal of matter out of the newspapers in the past two years. He would see Mr. Brendan Bracken and induce him to do what he could within his limited powers to prevent a recurrence of the articles of which I had complained.

I pointed out to Lord Cranborne that his statement today was much the same as on previous occasions but that these attacks still continued.

He repeated that they had not the powers over the newspapers which we had, and if it were left to him he would not take such powers. After all, what the newspapers had said about us was nothing to what they had said about the British Government. I said there was no analogy; that was criticism 'within the family', but they did not get articles of this kind about other Governments. His rejoinder was that until America came in a number of British newspapers had caused considerable difficulty by criticising the lack of pace in war help at Washington.

I said that if he saw no objection I would like to talk to the Minister of Information1 myself in the matter. This he urged me to do.

When I asked whether he had seen Mr. Churchill since he returned to London Lord Cranborne said that he had not yet had any opportunity of talking to the Prime Minister alone, and presumably he had not as yet reported the result of my recent visit. It seemed to me not without significance that several days had gone by without the Prime Minister finding out from Lord Cranborne what had happened.

[signed] J. W. DULANTY

1 Brendan Bracken (1901-58), Minister of Information (1941-5).

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