No. 174  NAI DFA Lisbon Embassy A7/42

Aide mémoire concerning Irish interests in the Far East with covering letter
from Joseph P. Walshe to Colman O'Donovan (Lisbon)

DUBLIN, 27 January 1942

In view of the recent developments in the Far East, it has been decided to ask Portugal to take over the protection of Irish interests in that area.

We desire that you should approach the Portuguese authorities with a view to ascertaining whether they would be prepared to accept responsibility in the matter, and I am accordingly sending you herewith an Aide-mémoire on the subject, which I should be glad if you would take an early opportunity of presenting to the Portuguese Foreign Office.

[Signed] J. P. WALSHE


In areas, such as the Far East, in which Ireland has no diplomatic or consular representatives, the protection of Irish interests has hitherto been undertaken by the British Government.

2. Owing to the recent developments in the Far East, the protection of Irish interests by British diplomatic and consular representatives is no longer practicable in certain areas there, and the Irish Government accordingly desire to ascertain whether the Portuguese Government could see their way to take over the protection of Irish interests in those areas.

3. The services that it would be necessary to provide for Irish citizens resident in the areas referred to would be limited to the following:-

  1. the issue and renewal of passports;
  2. the making and transmission of inquiries regarding whereabouts and welfare;
  3. intervention with the Japanese authorities in any cases of wrongful internment; and
  4. in exceptional cases, the transmission of funds required in cases of destitution.

While information regarding the number of Irish citizens concerned is not available, it is improbable that the number would exceed a few hundred.

4. Should the Portuguese Government be prepared, in principle, to assume the limited responsibility indicated above, details of the necessary administrative arrangements might form the subject of subsequent negotiations.

1 Handwritten marginal annotation: 'Original aide mémoire handed to Dr Salazar 26.2.42'.

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