Volume 5 1936~1939

Doc No.

No. 104 NAUK DO 35/891/4

Despatch from Eamon de Valera to Malcolm MacDonald (London)
(No. 126) (Secret)

Dublin, 24 November 1937

Sir, I have the honour to refer to two documents recently received by the High Commissioner from your Government, one an Aide-Mémoire in relation to censorship in time of war, and the other a note suggesting discussions on the control of food imports and exports in time of war1.

2. For some time past the Government of Saorstát Éireann have been considering how best to protect the people of this country from the dangers to which they will be exposed in the event of the outbreak of another European war.

3. The measures that will in that event be necessary must depend fundamentally on the relations that will exist between our two countries at the time, and the steps to be taken in preparation now ought consequently to be guided by a just appreciation of what these relations are likely to be.

4. If the Irish Government has to envisage a continuance of the present strained relations between the two countries, their plans should obviously be very different from those appropriate to a situation in which there would exist between the two peoples a feeling of mutual trust and a disposition to co-operate in matters regarded by both as of common concern.

5. This being the case, the Government of Saorstát Éireann are satisfied that piecemeal discussion between civil servants on the economic and other aspects of the situation that would arise in the case of a major war can achieve no useful purpose until some prior understanding in principle has been reached between the two Governments.

6. My Government consider it essential, therefore, that members of the two Governments should meet as soon as possible to consider all the important matters involved, and would be glad to have an early intimation of the views of your Government on this proposal.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient,
humble servant,
[signed] Eamon De Valera
Minister for External Affairs

1 Not printed.