60 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 31[A] LONDON, 29 February 1944, 9 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET & PERSONAL

Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin. Dominions Office telegram D.277 of 23rd February. [1]

The Eire High Commissioner [2] in London came to see me to-day about the United States note with regard to the German Minister [3] and Japanese Consul-General [4] in Dublin. The object of his visit was to tell me that de Valera [5] had definitely decided to return a polite negative to the American request and to ask me for de Valera to ascertain whether the Australian Government would be prepared to intervene with a view to having the American note withdrawn.

Dulanty told me that de Valera has seen the Canadian High Commissioner in Dublin [6] asking him to communicate with the Canadian Government to request them to use their influence to have the American note withdrawn.

I told Dulanty that I would communicate with you and would let him know your reply.

I understand that the reply of the Canadian Government to de Valera through the Canadian High Commissioner in Dublin was on the following lines.

Begins:

'As Mr. de Valera knew Canadian Government had long earnestly hoped that Eire Government would come to share their conviction that the permanent interests of Irish people were identified with United Nations victory.

The Canadian Government had welcomed each indication of Irish sympathy and support and kept alive the hope that Eire would feet able to make some more direct contribution to winning the war.

They would be very glad, therefore, to see the Axis Missions removed from Dublin and were thus in full sympathy with the object of the approach made by the United States and United Kingdom Governments.

The question which Mr. de Valera had raised was not one in which the Canadian Government could intervene. In their view, Mr. de Valera would be well advised to comply with the request made by the United States and United Kingdom Governments.'

Ends.

Suggest that the reply which you authorise me to give to Dulanty should be drawn on similar lines to that of the Canadian reply.

The following points will probably be of interest to you- 1. The request to the Eire Government was made on United States initiative at the instance of their military authorities who were deeply concerned about the security of American and Allied troops in view of events expected in the not distant future.

There are grounds for thinking that the Eire Government were at first inclined to think that the action had not been initiated by the United States Government but by the United Kingdom Government who were using the United States Government in the matter. These suspicions have, I think, now been removed, particularly as a result of a conversation between Stettinius and the Fire Minister [7] in Washington.

3. The Eire Government's first reaction to the American note was that it was an ultimatum which, if not complied with, would be followed by military action.

This impression has now been removed again, mainly by the Stettinius conversation.

3. Some doubts are felt as to whether the sending of a formal written communication was the best method of achieving the object the United States Government had in view and some criticism has been offered of the wording of the communication as savouring too much of an ultimatum.

On the first point I understand the American attitude is that as some tragedy might happen to American forces which would be traceable to the action of enemy agents in Eire, it was necessary to take formal action to prevent this, and also to have on record that they had done so.

On the latter point I cannot express a view as the text of the American communication is not available here.

BRUCE

1 Document 55.

2 J. W. Dulanty.

3 Dr Eduard Hempel.

4 Setsuya Beppu.

5 Irish Prime Minister.

6 John D. Kearney.

7 Robert Brennan.

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