Volume 6 1939~1941

Doc No.

No. 196 NAI DFA Secretary's Files A2

Memorandum from Joseph P. Walshe to Eamon de Valera

Dublin, 21 June 1940

Britain's Inevitable Defeat

Britain's defeat has been placed beyond all doubt. France has capitulated. The entire coastline of Europe from the Arctic to the Pyrenees is in the hands of the strongest power in the world which can call upon the industry and resources of all Europe and Asia in an unbroken geographical continuity as far as the Pacific Ocean. Neither time nor gold can beat Germany. It is frankly acknowledged in America that America must look to her own defences. She may be at War with Japan in a few short weeks. Senator Pittman,1 Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, expressed the view yesterday to the Press that nothing that America could do could affect anything more than a delay in the final defeat.

England has the most concentrated industry and system of ports of any great power in the world. Her power of production would be wiped out in a few weeks of intensified bombing and her ports put out of action. Italian and German submarines acting in combination are strong enough to throw her merchant fleet into confusion. The German Air Force is acknowledged to have had an immense superiority in numbers even while France was in the War. Germany is foregoing the use of captured French planes against England. Britain has suffered a colossal military defeat and the bulk of her effective forces have been rendered useless for months to come by the loss of the greater part of her war material. All the smaller States in Europe on which she was relying for incidental support have grown cold and are abandoning her. Rumania is going Axis. Turkey has slipped out of her obligation to take action against Italy. Greece is having friendly talks with the Axis Powers. In Africa, Egypt refused active participation. South Africa is on the verge of Civil War because at least 50% of the population were opposed to participation and their numbers are now being rapidly added to by the clear evidence of England's approaching defeat. General Hertzog's return to power and South Africa's withdrawal from the War appear to be a certainty. In Asia Iraq is hesitating about further co-operation and is having consultations with Turkey and Egypt as well as the other Arab States. Japan is setting up an East Asia Monroe Doctrine and has begun an undeclared War against the British in Hong Kong. She is openly threatening an early move against French Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies.

No wonder the American radio is sending out rumours of pending peace negotiations through the British Ambassador in Madrid.2 It is a fair deduction from the course of events that some members at least of the British Cabinet must be turning their thoughts to Peace.

1 Key Pittman (1872-1940), Senator for Nevada, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1933-40).

2 Sir Samuel Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood (1880-1959), British Home Secretary (1937-9), Lord Privy Seal (1939-40), British Ambassador to Spain (1940-4).