No. 89 NAI DFA Letter Books Berlin 1936-1937

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Charles Bewley (Berlin)

Dublin, 23 September 1937

Your report No. 31/29 of the 16th September2 concerning the leading article in the 'Irish Press' of September 10th, 'The Origin of a Libel', simply illustrates the difficulty created for other countries by Germany's attitude towards aspects of life and beliefs which profoundly affect them all. Your remarks about the semi-educated character of the person who wrote the article are quite irrelevant, and they deprive your report of the objective detachment without which no report is of any value. The 'Irish Press', in condemning this particular pictorial representation of Ireland's attitude towards Communism, was reflecting the views of the vast majority of the people of this country. It would be unfortunate if a paper which is known to have affiliations with the political party in power could give expression to no views about foreign countries which might be unpalatable to their rulers. Foreign countries like Germany which offend against the good feelings of other nations by their persecution of Christians and Jews and generally ignore the sentiments of nations other than their own cannot expect the world Press, even when it does happen to represent the views of Governments, to ignore its fundamental duty of formulating the view of the average man in the country concerned.

As has already been suggested to you, the actions or views of newspapers or of the Government in this country should not be regarded as ipso facto wrong because they happen to be in conformity with opinion in the neighbouring country, and the Minister is still at a loss to understand how this frequent community of view in international matters between this country and Great Britain can in any way prevent our Ministers abroad from pursuing their task of obtaining the fullest recognition for Irish nationality. In this matter the Minister would be glad to have some constructive suggestions from you as to what really should be your work in Germany in order to promote our interests in other than purely commercial circles. If official Germany continues to insult actively the most sacred beliefs of the people of this and the other Christian countries of the world, there may easily be a movement here in favour of closing down our Mission in Berlin. No doubt, in conjunction with other Representatives in Berlin, you have from time to time informed the Foreign Minister how impossible it is to secure a better tone towards Germany in the Press or in public opinion so long as the German Government openly vilifies the tenets which are common to us all.

When Herr von Kuhlmann3 was here, I had a frank conversation with him on this whole issue, and after he had made some complaints similar to yours about the attitude of our Press, I explained to him the growing dismay in this country and amongst our people the world over at the attitude of Germany towards the Christian religion. If official Germany chooses to brand Ireland as a country which is indifferent to the growth of Communism, she must expect some retort of the kind you complain of at least so long as her zeal to keep Communism out of Europe is accompanied by a teaching which retains the very worst element in that creed.

[copy letter unsigned]

1 File 105/45 'Articles in the Irish Press uncomplimentary to Germany' was renumbered 214/8 and was later confidentially destroyed on an unknown date.

2 Not located, file destroyed.

3 Dr Wilhelm von Kuhlmann, German Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to Ireland (1934-6).

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