No. 254  NAI DFA Secretary's Files A26

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to David Gray (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 11 December 1942

Dear Minister,
In the course of our conversation on Monday, November 30th, you told me that the State Department were not inclined to accept without discussion the internment by neutral countries of American aircraft or their crews. You suggested that your Government might see fit to claim that there was an analogy between the case of the aircraft and that of the surface vessel and to insist that the former, like the latter, was entitled to twenty-four hours' delay before internment. The State Department, you thought, would at least make a reservation with regard to this point and hold themselves free to raise it after the war.

We could not, of course, object to the State Department reserving the issue for discussion after the war, but, as I explained to you, the principle, if enforced now, would give rise to the most embarrassing situations for both Governments. In practice, our attitude of friendly neutrality towards the United Nations results normally insofar as aircraft and their crews are concerned in the internment of only such crews as are on an operational flight. After full consideration of the matter, I am inclined to think that the existing relatively satisfactory situation should be left as it is. New and formal regulations or agreements are more likely to create difficulties than to lessen them, and, having told us that the State Department reserve their right to raise the issue after the war, I hope you will advise them that the status quo, whatever its defects, is, in the circumstances, the best for all concerned.

Yours sincerely,
[initialled] J. P. W.

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