306 Churchill to Curtin

Cablegram D1478 [1] LONDON, 1 October 1944, 4.30 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE PERSONAL PRIVATE AND TOP SECRET

From the Prime Minister to the Prime Minister.

1. The War Cabinet reconsidered yesterday the question of inviting Southern Ireland (Eire) to the Conference at Ottawa about civil aviation, in view of their having been invited without our being consulted by the United States to the later conference in the United States of America. We have also considered carefully the various expressions of opinion from the Dominion Governments. [2] We felt, however, after much heart searching that it would be impossible for us to advocate an Empire conference at which a member state of the British Empire was present who actually at the moment would be maintaining in Dublin German and Japanese diplomatic representatives and Irish representatives at Berlin and Tokyo. The magnitude of the question of the future relations of Ireland with the British Empire and Commonwealth and with the United Kingdom is by no means to be overlooked, but it should not be settled on a side issue of this character, where our hand has been forced by the action of a foreign power. Although Anglo-Irish relations are a matter of concern to the whole Empire, it will I am sure be admitted that the interest of the United Kingdom on account of our very close proximity, is one which must be considered paramount. We, therefore, hope that you will be willing to acquiesce in the line we take. [3]

2. We do not consider that the geographical position of Ireland will be of very great importance in post-war aviation. The new field we are building at Slough for the reception of the enormous aircraft of the future will deprive Foynes of much, if not all, of its present significance.

1 Sent through the U.K. Dominions Secretary.

2See Document 300. The Canadian and South African Govts expressed similar views to those of the Commonwealth Govt. See Canadian Govt's cablegram 181, dispatched 25 September, and memorandum H417, dated 28 September, from Stirling (on file AA:A989, 44/735/832/12/1).

3In cablegram 258, dispatched 4 October (on the file cited in note 2), the Commonwealth Govt replied: 'Without discussing general questions of status and relationship mentioned in D1478 we are prepared to acquiesce in the reconsidered view of War Cabinet that Eire should not be invited to present Empire aviation conference'.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/12/1]