Volume 6 1939~1941

Doc No.

No. 234 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P2

Code telegram from Joseph Walshe to Robert Brennan (Washington)
(No. 97) (Personal) (Most Secret) (Copy)

Dublin, 21 July 1940

Footnote to your reply in 'Chicago News' shows that something further must be done to prevent papers of such standing publishing lying reports against us. Kirkpatrick1 and Cowles2 reported to be in this country again. Could you ask friends in New York, Chicago and San Francisco to form small strong committees to watch Press and Radio which are apparently so bad that Ministry of Information officials London are advising their Government that America is ready to accept British reoccupation of Ireland. They feel fortified by statements on radio of Major Elliott and Lynton Wells of C.B.S., as well as John Steele and Vincent Sheehan.3 (Foregoing information is, of course, strictly confidential). Could you inspire all Irish papers to launch campaign against pro-British American journalists who are misleading American public about Ireland and preparing opinion for a British invasion of Ireland. Suggest as feature comparison of 'London Times' article my telegram 94,4 with recent despatches of Cowles, Kirkpatrick and company.

You should try to get our neutrality explained in Irish and friendly American Press as follows.

'Neutrality is of the very essence of Irish independence. It is based on the fundamental and universal will of our people, so much so that no Government could depart from it without at once being overthrown. It was not adopted as a bargaining factor but as the fullest expression of our independence in time of war. We are determined to defend it against all invaders to the bitter end. The hostile attitude of certain Americans to Ireland is completely opposed to American statements about small nations and self determination. Ireland is fully alive to her real position in the Europe of today. The Government is in a better position than any Americans to decide the policy which is most likely to save the independence of the nation and the lives of the people from destruction. By her seven hundred years of resistance to the invasion of a Great Power, she has done more than any other nation to keep alive in the world the principles of liberty and justice on which the American Republic was founded. Her neutrality is a manifestation of her continued resolution to save the remnant of our race from destruction.'

Please let us know what, if any, defence is being made of our position by Irish Americans.

1 Possibly Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick (1897-1964), British diplomat; Director, Foreign Division, British Ministry of Information (1940-1); later served as Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office (1953-7).

2 Possibly a reference to United States newspaper publisher Gardner Cowles Sr (1861-1946) or, more likely, to his son Gardner 'Mike' Cowles Jr (1903-85), also a newspaper publisher and editor.

3 Vincent Sheehan, war correspondent of the Herald Tribune, made famous through his reporting during the Spanish Civil War and on whose 1935 memoir Personal History Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 film 'Foreign Correspondent' was based.

4 Not printed.