No. 217 NAI DFA Madrid Embassy SJ 52/2

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Leopold H. Kerney (St Jean de Luz)

Dublin, 9 September 1938

I have your minute of 6th September1, concerning the instructions regarding a special mission which was to be confided to you. Unfortunately, the preliminary steps, which do not depend on our Government, have not yet been completed, and it is still impossible to give you the instructions. It did seem possible, and it is still possible, that this country may be accepted as a mediator between the contending forces in Spain, and, so long as that possibility remains, it is better that you should not leave your post.

Moreover, the Minister feels that, so long as the Frank Ryan case remains unliquidated, there is always danger of a fresh crisis in his regard. Your absence from your post at such a moment would be seriously criticised here.

You have, no doubt, been following as closely as it can be done at St. Jean de Luz the international situation. It is exceedingly grave, and at the moment we are afraid that a general European war is very near. At least, in the general interest of the State, we are taking it for granted that preparations must be made for an immediate war. If our fears are realised, it will be essential for our officers abroad to be at their posts. In your own sphere, the situation is bound to become still more complicated if a major war ensues.

The Minister regrets very much that you should have to dispense with a holiday for the time being, but the facts of the situation impose this decision upon him.

[signed] J.P. WALSHE

1 Not printed.

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