No. 78 NAI DFA 313/3A

Extract from a letter from John J. Hearne to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Ottawa, 2 February 1946

Conversation with Mr. Robertson1

I have the honour to report the following conversation with Mr. Robertson which took place at his office on the 30th January.

I began the conversation by saying that you had instructed me to express to him your appreciation of the goodwill and understanding shown by his Department towards us during the war, and for their co-operation in our efforts to solve our supplies problem.

Mr. Robertson said that the presence of an Irish representative in Ottawa and of a Canadian representative in Dublin during the war years had been of the greatest value to the Canadian Government. 'We were able' he said 'in our discussions with other Commonwealth countries to put forward more concrete and more helpful views on Ireland than we could otherwise have done'.

I referred to Mr. Mackenzie King's visit to England in October and said that we had all hoped he would have been able to come to Dublin. A visit to Ireland at that particular time could, I said, have done nothing but good. Mr. Robertson said that the Prime Minister had been far from well while in London. He had found it difficult to fulfil many of his engagements in England. Then President Truman had invited him to the atomic bomb conference in Washington and he had to cancel his programme including his proposed visit to the Canadian missions in Europe. 'I never knew him to be so jittery about a programme as he was when we were in England worrying where he should go or not go', Mr. Robertson said.

I said that I had heard so much while in Ireland of the excellent results that had followed the visits of Mr. Menzies,2 Mr. Fraser3 (who had honoured us two or three times in the worst days of the war), Mr. Sullivan,4 and others, that I could not help feeling disappointed, on that additional account, as well as on obvious general grounds, that Mr. Dulanty had been so definite in his advices to Dublin.

I referred in this connection to the frequency of the visits of the Canadian representatives in Ireland to London while Canadian Cabinet Ministers were there during the war. That was understandable, perhaps inevitable, in the special circumstances, so long as the war lasted. Ministers occupied wholly with the war effort would not normally be able to include a visit to Ireland in a brief crowded schedule. Now, however, that the war was over we would like to welcome our distinguished Canadian friends in our own household. I said that I had been careful to inform you of the unfailing kindness of all the members of the Canadian Cabinet since this mission was established and that I knew how happy you would be if, from time to time, members of the Government would look in upon us when they happened to be next door.

[matter omitted]

1 Norman Robertson (1904-68), Canadian Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs (1941-6).

2 Sir Robert Menzies (1894-1978), Prime Minister of Australia (1939-41 and 1949-66).

3 Peter Fraser (1884-1950), Prime Minister of New Zealand (1940-9).

4 D.G. 'Dan' Sullivan (1882-1947), New Zealand Minister for Industries and Commerce (1935-47), Minister of Supply and Munitions (1941-7).

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO