No. 79 NAI DFA 241/113

Report from William Warnock to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 30 November 1939

I beg to refer to your telegram No. 82 of the 3rd November1 regarding passenger traffic between Ireland and Great Britain, and to state that I brought our Government's view to the attention of the Foreign Office at once.

I was assured that the German Government is very friendly disposed towards us, and would give full consideration to our interests. The warning against the use of British and French passenger boats had been addressed to all neutral countries, and therefore must be regarded in general terms. In time of war, however, conditions are liable to change rapidly, and at this early stage the German Government is anxious not to appear to bind itself to any attitude which might in altered circumstances work out unpleasantly or disadvantageously.

I pointed out that leaving the question of the right to sink enemy vessels out of consideration altogether, it would raise great indignation in Ireland if any of the regular passenger ships were sunk as a result of German action, and that German prestige in Ireland would suffer irreparably; in short, that it would be very much against their own interests.

I had a long conversation concerning this and kindred matters yesterday afternoon with Dr. Lohmann of the Legal Section, who is the official dealing with the legal questions (including contraband) arising out of the war. He insisted once more on Germany's good will towards us, and said that the delay in letting us have a reply was due to drafting difficulties. They are obviously reluctant to give anything which might be construed as a written guarantee concerning their future conduct of the war. I reminded him that we have now been waiting for four weeks.

I understand that pressing reminders have also been received in the Foreign Office from the German Minister in Dublin.

[signed] W. Warnock

1 Not printed.

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