No. 188  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A2

Memorandum from Joseph P. Walshe to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 24 February 1942

Sir John Maffey called this morning at my request. I told him that it was proposed to restore parole to the British internees as from tomorrow. 1 I gave him the new form of parole which he scrutinised very carefully, but he did not raise any objection. When I showed him a copy of the old form, he laughed and said that, of course, it did not exclude contacts with British military people for the purpose of effecting escape.

He expressed himself as very satisfied that the whole thing was over, and he wished to thank you for all the interest you personally had taken in the matter. He was very confident that we could maintain a good situation in the future by close co-operation between the Department and his Office.

He agrees completely with the decision to withhold parole for a further period from the Polish officer,2 whom he himself had admonished a few days ago before his colleagues. He added that this officer was unpopular amongst the internees.

Wing Commander Begg3 had now received direct instructions from the Air Ministry to report once a fortnight on the situation in the camp, and on the relations of the internees with the Irish military authorities. Sir John Maffey had frequently asked for specific instructions of this character for the former Air Attaché,4but the Air Ministry had until now maintained this attitude of refusing to recognise an 'internee situation' in relation to this country. He could now rely on Wing Commander Begg to keep both himself and the Air Ministry fully informed of the attitude of the internees. Wing Commander Begg, with his new authority, could also secure an improvement in the men's attitude.

I suggested to Sir John Maffey that some day, when the whole affair had blown over, he should have a quiet talk with Colonel McNally5 in regard to a certain lack of discipline and good manners on the part of the internees. I had heard a rumour, for instance, (I was merely saying this for his guidance in his talk with Colonel McNally) that they did not salute the Colonel when they met him and did not stand up when he went into their rooms. He was furious to hear about this latter point, and he expressed himself strongly as to what they deserved if it were true. With regard to saluting, he said some difficulty was caused by the fact that they did not wear any headgear. He would take my advice, however, and talk to Colonel McNally on the matter.

Finally, Sir John Maffey earnestly requested that Colonel McNally should be allowed to make a personal enquiry into the grievances of the internees in relation to the attempted escape. All he asked was that the individuals or their representatives should be allowed to put their case before him. He felt this concession would be a great help to him personally.

1 On the evening of 9 February 1942 the interned RAF officers and airmen at the Curragh Camp made an abortive attempt to escape.

2 Captain Baranowski.

3 Wing Commander Malcolm G. Begg, British Air Attaché, Dublin (1942-5).

4 Wing Commander Ralph W. C. Lywood, British Air Attaché, Dublin (1940-41).

5 Colonel Thomas J. McNally (died 1958), Commandant of the Curragh internment camp.

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