No. 312 NAI DFA 2006/39

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to John W. Dulanty (London)

Dublin, 17 October 1940

You will remember that arrangements were made in September, 1939, for the supply of certain meteorological reports by the British Meteorological Office. There has, of course, been a considerable reduction in the number of broadcast reports since the war began, and, in order to enable our Meteorological Service to prepare even sketchy charts upon which to base the forecasts supplied to the Defence Forces, it is essential that we should now receive additional reports from the material available to the British Office.

A statement setting out our present requirements is enclosed.1 This question of securing additional information arose when the trans-Atlantic flights were resumed this year. The British Meteorological representatives showed, in discussion, the greatest reluctance to give us any further information, but eventually agreed to supply it. Since the flights started, therefore, we have received the information set out in the enclosed statement, or as much of it as was available at any particular time.

The Department of Industry and Commerce were under the impression that, once the principle had been accepted, the supply of this more extensive set of data would be continued irrespective of whether trans-Atlantic flights were in progress or not, but they now understand, semi-officially, that the British Meteorological Office regard the arrangement for the supply of these reports as terminating automatically with the cessation of trans-Atlantic flights.

As these data are of the utmost importance in forecasting for the Defence Forces, we should be glad if you would approach the Dominions Office urgently with a request that the information in the enclosed statement be supplied to us as a regular routine.

In the discussions in London on 26th April, 1939, regarding the supply of meteorological information in war, the British undertook to make available to us all the material they had, on the basis of reciprocity. In the Memorandum dated 25th August, 1939, informing the British Government of the Irish Government's decision to continue, in the event of war, the supply to them of reports from Irish observing stations, the reciprocity aspect was again referred to.2

We have kept our part of this bargain very thoroughly. Our routine observations have gone to them regularly, and, when telegraphic communications have been bad, the Meteorological authorities have gone to the trouble of repeating the reports by telephone direct to the British Meteorological Office in order to ensure that they got through; furthermore, we have sent them any other information available to us whenever they required it. In addition, although the point was not specifically referred to in the agreement, the authorities here have taken very special precautions to ensure that the British material should not, in any circumstances, fall into the hands of unauthorised persons. We feel entitled, therefore, to expect the British Meteorological authorities to adhere without demur to the arrangement for the exchange of information.

[signed] J.P. Walshe

1 Not printed.

2 Not printed.

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