No. 49  UCDA P150/2589

Memorandum by Eamon de Valera of a meeting with David Gray

DUBLIN, Midday, 28 April 1941

Saw Mr. Gray, who read for me two memoranda, which he said he had been asked to bring to me. I said I regarded the first document as a piece of impertinence.1 I said my statement had not been questioned when it was made and now only appears to be a rehash of the attacks which were made in the Dáil and Senate on it. What I had said was intended to indicate as vividly as I could the position in which Ireland was finding herself. After Mr. Churchill's statement about the Ports a new policy seemed to be adopted by the British Government.2 There was cumulative evidence of it. Officials who had been strongly pro-British in their attitude had reported it to me. Nobody suggested that Britain was sinking our ships. The action which Britain was taking was preventing us from getting ships. We had refrained from going into competition with Britain at the beginning at her request, and now we were left without any, etc.

I of course denied that I had any intention of trying to influence the American public against the American executive. When he was leaving he said that he would just report that I had said that my statement did not have any such meaning as was attributed to it.

With regard to the second document, he said that the offer was made to me, as Mr. Aiken was regarded as being altogether anti-British. I said that that was a completely mistaken view; that he naturally resented the partitioning of his country and the cutting off of the people of the territory in which he was born from the main territory of the Irish nation.3 Mr. Gray made it clear, however, that the offer was being made to me and that they would not do business with Aiken. Gray spoke of his being linked up with the section of the Irish people who were with the Germans. I pointed out that a certain section had been opposed to me and that they did not represent the vast majority of the Irish people.

1 Not printed. See Nos 50, 60 and 63.

2 See Winston Churchill's speech to the House of Commons relating to the Irish ports on 5 November 1940.

3 Frank Aiken was born near Camlough, Co. Armagh, in Northern Ireland.

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