No. 308  NAI DFA Berlin Embassy 17/1

Extract from a confidential report from William Warnock to
Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

BERLIN, 12 August 1943

[matter omitted]

As you know, I have not been at home for nearly five years, and, at the time of my last visit, the world was at peace. The Irish newspapers arrive too late to be of interest, and devote so much of the small space at their disposal to the war and other foreign news, that anyone abroad seeking home news is left rather short. Nor does the Department supply me with much information, save that which is incidental to particular cases. Reception of the Athlone transmission is uncertain. In other words, I have only got a vague idea of what life is like in Ireland, and of what Irish people think. When Foreign Office officials ask me the attitude of the Irish people or of the Irish Government to this or that, I must improvise or draw on my imagination. On the whole I escape remarkably well, but there have been some awkward incidents, such as when the new Secretary of State (head official) of the Foreign Office1 asked me how I thought our elections would result; I told him that I thought that the Government might lose a seat or two but that it would retain an absolute majority (!).

Two things have always puzzled the Foreign Office (1) that despite the great importance of Berlin and the added interest attached to Ireland since the war, the staff of our Legation consists of only one diplomatic officer and one typist, and (2) why, in view of the bad state of communications between Ireland and Germany, I have not once been in Ireland during the past four years to report personally, particularly as we have not got even a courier service. Occasionally they refer to us as 'Die billige Gesandtschaft'.2

1 Baron Adolf Steengracht of Moyland (1902-69), Secretary of State, German Foreign Office (1943-5).

2 'The cheap Legation'.

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