No. 214  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P60

Extract from dearg code1 telegram from Joseph P. Walshe to
Robert Brennan (Washington)
(No. 203)

DUBLIN, 14 August 1942

[matter omitted]
Reply Scott your 275.2 'Feel everything possible should be done. Executions would be a further tragic consequence of Partition.'3

You should see Secretary of State and referring to the messages you have received ask that American Government should endeavour to prevent executions. You will yourself know points to make but you might emphasise the following. The acts for which these men are condemned have their roots in Partition. Their execution can only further embitter the situation that problem creates. Talk about the course of justice loses its meaning in face of the fundamental injustice of Partition and the situation it brings about. The execution of Irishmen on Irish soil by an authority set up contrary to the wishes of the Irish people would recall the unhappy past. It would disturb the relations between the two Islands at a critical time and would thus be a major political blunder. All this is irrespective of the merits of the case which in themselves would warrant reprieve.

Representations have been made in the same sense to the British but for obvious reasons we are not making public the fact that representations are being made either in Washington or London. For your information the power of reprieve is constitutionally in the hands of the Six County Governor.

1 'Dearg', the Irish for 'red', was the designation given to the highest cypher level of diplomatic telegram.

2 Not printed.

3 On 5 April 1942 a group of IRA men fired on a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol car on Kashmir Road in Belfast. A gun battle developed as the RUC men pursued the attackers into nearby houses. An RUC man was killed and the leader of the IRA unit, Tom Williams, was seriously wounded. Six of the IRA men involved were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The appeal hearing into the sentences was to be held on 19-20 August 1942.

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