No. 117 NAI DFA 205/70

Minute from Frederick H. Boland to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin) with later handwritten comment by Sheila G. Murphy (Dublin)

Dublin, 29 January 1940

When the German Minister was here on Friday, he said that he was afraid that the Vatican Broadcast accusing Germany of atrocities and religious persecution in Poland had done the German cause a great deal of harm in this country. He knew from experience how much anything in the nature of persecution of the Catholic Church was resented in Ireland. Both the Vatican report, and the other reports of German religious persecution in Poland which had appeared in the Press, were false, and had a definitely propagandist object. They had been strongly denied by the German Official News Agency, and the text of this denial had been sent by Dr. Petersen, the Press Attaché, to the newspapers here. He hoped very much that the denial would be published, and he thought this so important that he felt justified in asking the Department to speak to the newspapers or the Censor, with a view to ensuring that the German denial received due publicity. For this purpose, Herr Hempel gave me the text of the denial (copy attached).1

I told Herr Hempel that I had some doubts whether it would be possible to do what he asked. Our censorship was negative rather than positive. It could tell the papers what they must not print but I doubted whether it could tell the papers what to print. Quite apart from the question of legal powers, the Censor might very well feel that an approach to certain newspapers here with a suggestion that they should print a particular piece of news, even if the approach were made on an entirely informal basis, might expose him to the risk of serious criticism. Herr Hempel said that he appreciated these objections. He could very well see that there might be difficulty in the case of the 'Irish Times' and the 'Irish Independent' but he would be satisfied if the denial were printed by the 'Irish Press.'

I told Herr Hempel that I would put the matter before you.

[initialled] F.H.B.


You will see from attached cutting of 27th January that the Irish Press published the German denial in full. They also gave on the 1st February a report of Dr. Seyss-Inquyart's speech. S.[heila] G. M.[urphy] 3/2/40

1 Not printed.

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