No. 198  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A43

Blue code telegram from the Department of External Affairs to Robert Brennan
(Washington) enclosing a message from Eamon de Valera to Franklin D.
Roosevelt (Washington)
(No. 104) (Copy)

DUBLIN, 16 April 1942

Dear Mr. President,
I wish to thank you for your personal message sent through the Acting Secretary of State and duly conveyed to me by our Minister, Mr. Brennan.1 Your assurance that there was not, and is not now, the slightest thought or intention of invading Irish territory or threatening Irish security has relieved an anxiety which was unfortunately in danger of developing into tension. I thank you sincerely for that assurance which is so much in accord with traditional American principles and indeed your own enunciation of them.

As you are aware, the partition of Ireland by Britain has for the past twenty years been the outstanding cause of difference between the two countries, and is now the one obstacle to that final reconciliation which well-wishers of both countries have so much desired and for which we ourselves have so long and earnestly striven. Britain's exercise of sovereignty over our six north-eastern counties is repugnant to national sentiment here, and is deeply resented by the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. The American Government's seemingly unreserved recognition of that sovereignty by sending its soldiers to the disputed territory without any reference to the Irish Government appeared to be a taking of sides and a worsening of Ireland's position vis--vis Britain which the Irish Government could not but deplore. In the interest of the good relations between Ireland and America which have been so uniformly cordial and happy, the Irish Government would have advised against the sending of the troops had they had an opportunity of expressing their views. Fears that the movement of American troops into the six counties might be a prelude to an attack upon our position in this part of Ireland are happily dispelled by your explicit assurance to the contrary.

One matter, however, continues to give us concern. The young men of Ireland will defend their country's liberty to the end if it be attacked. But modern equipment is required to preserve the high degree of confidence in their ability to do so effectively which it is desirable to maintain. Since this war began, and even before that, as you know, we have endeavoured to secure this equipment from the United States, as well as from Britain. Unfortunately, except for the inadequate quantities recently received, our efforts have remained without success. As neither Britain nor the United States intend to attack us, it seems folly to leave in any way insecure so important a position as ours when there are on the spot a quarter of a million men of the best fighting quality ready and able to make it secure if the proper weapons are put into their hands. I have repeatedly explained to your Minister here, and to the British Representative, my views in this regard, and I trust that you may be able to reconsider your decision and make the necessary equipment available for purchase without delay. The effect upon the spirit of our people would be incalculable, as would be the resulting improvement of feeling towards Great Britain.

May I express to you, Mr. President, my most sincere good wishes and my sympathy with you in the anxieties and burdens which you are called upon to bear.

1 Not printed.

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