No. 199  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P48A

Memorandum by Joseph P. Walshe of a conversation with David Gray

DUBLIN, 17 April 1942

Mr. David Gray, the American Minister, came to see me this afternoon for a general talk. His chief interest at the moment is in the renewal of air traffic between Foynes and the U.S.A. In the course of the conversation, the following points emerged:-

  1. The American Minister had asked Washington not to allow the Pan American flying boats to come to Foynes from Lisbon. He gave his reasons for his action quite frankly. Undesirable traffic between Ireland and the Continent might be facilitated. The activities of German agents in Ireland might be encouraged. He had told his Government that it was better to begin the service direct between Foynes and Botwood,1 and that, during the summer, the Govt. officials and the companies could work out some plan which could be adapted to the Foynes-Continental Line when it was established next winter.

    I suggested to Mr. Gray that he had a very exaggerated idea about German agents and activities in Ireland, and that, furthermore, it would not be more difficult for the American Lines to operate to the Continent on a satisfactory basis than it had been for the British Lines. If he had accepted my earlier suggestion for conversations between our security officers and their opposite numbers in the United States, with particular reference to the Foynes traffic, anxieties to the extent to which they were well-founded at all would be allayed.

  2. He did not like the idea of our seeing the passenger lists and he was opposed to American passengers having to obtain Irish visas.
  3. He was sending us a proposal according to which all meteorological information would in future be sent from us through the British to the Americans and from the Americans through the British to us.
  4. He felt very irritated by the British provision that the arrangement with American Export Lines was for the duration of the war only. He considered that it was most ungenerous of the British to impose petty conditions on a country from which they were getting such enormous favours.

1 Botwood, Newfoundland, used by both Pan-American and BOAC as a terminal for their transatlantic seaplane service to Foynes, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

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