No. 220  NAI DFA 215/211

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 24) (Secret)

LONDON, 27 August 1942

As I mentioned on the telephone to Miss Murphy I gave lunch a few days ago to Lord Perry1 and his Co-Director on the Board of Fords, Mr. H. S. Cooper.

Lord Perry said that he had been told by Mr. O'Neill, of their Cork factory, that the latter had received an inquiry from the United States War Department asking whether the Cork factory could undertake the assembling of military lorries. The various parts of the lorries would arrive in what is known as a 'knock-down' condition and would be re-assembled and made ready for the road. The orders would be on a big scale, something like one hundred lorries a day being thus built up and delivered to the American Army. Approximately 12-1500 hands would be employed.

I told Lord Perry that I felt sure our Government could not, as a neutral power, allow such direct war work to be carried out in their territory. I think Lord Perry expected such an answer. He spoke of his and Mr. Ford's desire to use the Cork factory to the fullest extent. I told him of the arrangements I had already made with certain Irish Engineering firms under which we received raw materials from Britain and returned them 75 per cent of the manufactured article, retaining 25 per cent for our own use this of course being chiefly agricultural implements or other equipment of a purely civilian kind. Lord Perry suggested that a potato digger was as much a war weapon as a gun, since the potato digger was essential to food and food was essential to the prosecution of the war. He was afraid that the layout of their plant at Cork did not permit of the manufacture of anything but motor vehicles. I asked whether Cork could not be used for reconditioning engines. He said that it could but that the same objection would apply because the engines would be for military use. Further, there was the difficulty of shipping them to and from Cork.

I then spoke about the serious and urgent need for tractors. Lord Perry and Mr. Cooper were emphatic that until they could wipe out the arrears on the British Government orders for tractors they could do nothing for us. They were being pressed every day by the British to increase their output but they were working their big factory at Dagenham to its fullest capacity and still were unable to cope with the orders they had from the British Government. If he could double the size of Dagenham Lord Perry said he might be able to meet our needs as well as those of the British but such doubling was at present impossible.

[signed] J. W. DULANTY

1 Percival Lea Dewhurst Perry, Lord Perry of Stock Harvard (1878-1956), formed the Ford Motor Company (England) Limited and established the Ford manufacturing facility at Dagenham, Essex.

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