No. 107 NAI DFA 217/38

Memorandum from Frederick H. Boland to Joseph P. Walshe

Dublin, 3 January 1940


I have had a discussion with Mr. Seán Moynihan on the financial considerations involved in the suggestion that Mr. Kerney, the Minister in Spain, should also be accredited to Portugal. So far as the Department of Finance is concerned, there is no difficulty.

2. The Legation at Madrid is kept fairly busy, but it could certainly take on the extra work of representing us in Portugal without additional staff. A separate Legation in Lisbon would be difficult to justify. The prospects of trade development between the two countries are slight, and the Consular work of a Legation in Lisbon would not be considerable. On the other hand, there are probably many people who would like to see closer relations established between this country and Portugal. Portuguese development in the sphere of social policy and organisation has aroused a great deal of interest in this country; Portugal is, I believe, part of the Irish province of at least one religious order (the Dominican), and Portugal, as a neutral state on the Atlantic seaboard, is confronted by many of the problems in relation to the war which we are facing ourselves. If therefore we could, at little expense, utilise our existing Legation in Spain to establish direct contact with the Portuguese Government, it would be worth while doing so.

3. The expense involved would hardly exceed £250 per annum, covering the payment to the Minister of a separate representation allowance of £150 per annum in respect of Portugal and provision for, say, four visits to Lisbon during the year, each of about one week's duration. The Department of Finance are prepared to agree to the inclusion of a provision on these lines in the Estimates for 1940-41. The allowance of £150 may be somewhat on the low side, but I have no doubt that the Department of Finance will be prepared to reconsider it if experience shows that it is inadequate.

4. If the Minister is disposed to proceed at once with Mr. Kerney's accredition to Portugal, the next steps would be (a) to move the Department of Finance for formal sanction for the inclusion of the necessary provision in next year's Estimates, and (b) at the same time, to seek the Portuguese Government's consent to the arrangement and their 'agrément' to Mr. Kerney. When we were establishing diplomatic relations with Belgium by accrediting the Minister in Paris to Brussels, the matter was submitted formally to the Government. I assume that the precedent will be followed in this case.

5. Probably the best procedure for raising the matter with the Portuguese Government would be to ask the High Commissioner to approach the Portuguese Ambassador in London. No doubt, the first question which will occur to both the Ambassador and the Portuguese Government is whether, and if so in what manner, Portugal would be expected to reciprocate Mr. Kerney's appointment by sending somebody here. The joint accredition of the Portuguese diplomatic representative in London would not, of course, be acceptable to us, and that makes it difficult to us to press for the early appointment of a Portuguese Minister in Dublin. We would probably have to be content therefore with expressing the hope that the Portuguese Government may find it possible at some not too distant date to send a diplomatic representative to Éire, making it clear at the same time that the joint accredition of the representative in London would not be acceptable, but that, on the other hand, we would raise no strong objection if the Portuguese Government felt unable to make any appointment for the present. I attach a draft minute to the High Commissioner on these lines.1

[initialled] F.H.B.

1 See No. 108.

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