No. 228 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P2

Code telegram from the Department of External Affairs
to Robert Brennan (Washington)
(No. 92) (Personal) (Most Secret) (Copy)

Dublin, 16 July 1940

Your telegram 124.1 For your information and background. There is no pact. For a long time, as you will have seen from the Taoiseach's statements in the Dáil, it has been understood that, if we were attacked in overwhelming force by an enemy of Britain we would, if necessary, accept her aid. In recent months talks have taken place between officials about this possibility. We adopted the attitude that, if there was a Germany invasion, we would defend our neutrality, and any entry of British troops without an express invitation would be regarded as a counter invasion. British gave explicit assurance that they would not come unless and until invited. That was the comprehensive position until the recent offer to establish a committee of representatives of our Government and that of Northern Ireland to consider with Britain the future constitution of a United Ireland.2

In return for this promise, we were at once to go into the war with Britain. Taoiseach's answer was that we wanted the whole of Ireland as an independent neutral united country whose Parliament could come to any decisions it liked about the defence of the country. Since the refusal, British propaganda in Britain up to last Wednesday, and still apparently in America has been directed to forcing us to accept the presence of British military now.

The Government believe that the only safeguard of our ultimate independence is to keep our neutrality, even if a German invasion were certain. A British invasion is still a possibility. John Steele is closely in touch with Ministry for Information and his statement was almost certainly inspired.

You must, therefore, continue your efforts with Senators. Further friendly pressure on British is essential. Friendly pressure on German Embassy also essential.

Saturday's 'London Times' leader goes back on former affirmations about our danger and says our geographical situation altogether different from that of other neutral countries invaded and British aid was immediately available. It expresses disappointment at our attitude.

1 Not printed

2 See No. 208.

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