Volume 7 1941~1945

Doc No.

No. 246  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P2

Letter from Robert Brennan to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

WASHINGTON, 25 November 1942

Enclosed is a statement which I read for Mr. Welles to-day.1 I had intended to have it merely as notes in my conversation with Mr. Welles, but when I read it he asked whose it was, and I replied it was mine, and that it was based on recent communications I had received from the Department.2

He asked me for a copy which I gave him. He was astonished about the story of the Japanese, and stated he had heard nothing of it until that moment.3 He said he was surprised that Mr. Hickerson had thought it necessary to pass on to us such an absurd and fantastic query. I told him we understood the query came from the Office of Strategic Services (which is headed by Colonel Donovan). He said he was not surprised at any report coming from that quarter.

He is distressed that there should be a feeling of irritation in Ireland, but he still defends Mr. Gray. He said the latter 's attitude quite frankly was that Ireland's policy was against the best interests of Ireland and those of the United States, but that in none of his reports had there been the slightest suggestion that there was any truth in those stories of Axis espionage.

I told him that when I was in Dublin personal friends of Mr. Gray had shown indignation when repeating Mr. Gray's threat that the Americans might be expected to cross the border any day, and I particularly mentioned Mr. Childers4 in this connection. He said he would look into this.

I told him that there was a strong suspicion in our Government Publicity Department that the American Minister did nothing to disabuse the minds of American correspondents of their ideas about Axis espionage, but he replied that this was a case of giving a dog a bad name.

He again repeated that he regretted exceedingly that we had been annoyed by these latest reports.

I reminded him that he was to arrange for me to see the military on the question of the allegations in the brochure instructions to soldiers in Northern Ireland. He said he had asked Major Allen to call on me, and that he would remind him of this request.

You will see that there is a mis-quotation which is not material, in the statement: 'Your country has done us no wrong.' This should have been, of course:
'Your parliament has done us no wrong.'

[signed] ROBT. BRENNAN

1 Not printed.

2 See Nos 235 and 242.

3 See No. 242.

4 Erskine H. Childers (1905-74), Fianna Fáil politician and TD (1938-73), served in a wide variety of ministerial posts from 1951 to 1973; President of Ireland (1973-4).