No. 48 NAI DFA 219/4
Berlin, 7 October 1939
I attended yesterday to hear the Chancellor's speech at the Reichstag. You will have seen the contents in the press long before you receive this minute, and therefore there is scarcely need for me to refer to the text.
Those of us who had hoped for something really new were, I am afraid, sorely disappointed. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how it could have been otherwise. There was a suggestion that a kind of Polish Protectorate might be set up some time, but in such a way that the resulting state 'should not be a danger to either Russia nor Germany'.
People have now become accustomed to the Russian alliance, but it is becoming increasingly obvious to them what price has to be paid. The Soviet Government has now obtained a right to have air-bases as near as Latvia. This has given everybody to think.1 As I am writing, the result of the Soviet negotiations with Lithuania is not known. I do not know if you listen-in to the Moscow news-bulletins. It appears from them that the Russians have 'Sovietised' right up to the new frontier. They have thrown landlords and shopkeepers into prison, and have set up workers and peasants councils in all districts. This fact is not generally known among the people here. The Chancellor said, of course, in his speech that the new alliance represented a turning-point in German foreign policy, but it will take some time to make everybody accustomed to it. With the excellent propaganda services at their disposal, the Government may succeed. I have heard some grumbling that the Germans had all the trouble of conquering Poland, and the Russians simply had to walk in, and that they are bringing things too far, with their forward drive in the Baltic; nevertheless, the man-in-the-street prepares to wait and see, or at any rate, to hold his tongue. It is not at all clear whether Russia is prepared to give military aid to Germany.
I understand from the Turkish Ambassador2 that his country is very anxious to keep out of the conflict. He said to me that there was scarcely a man among their middle-aged population who had not been through at least two campaigns. All they wanted now was to be able to build up their country in peace.
The Taoiseach's most recent references in the Dáil to our desire to remain neutral were given both in the press and over the wireless.
Among the general public there is a feeling that a general war can be averted, on the grounds that Germany, with Russia, is so powerful that Great Britain and France would not have any reasonable hope of victory. This is, however, a case of the wish being father to the thought, even though the German-Russian combination (assuring Russian military aid) appears on paper to be almost invincible. The feeling in diplomatic circles is extremely pessimistic.
I hear that the Propaganda Ministry is anxious to have Dr. Maloney's book on the forged Casement Diaries translated and published here.3 Madame Maud Gonne MacBride's 'Servant of the Queen' is ready for issue; this was, however, translated as a private venture of the German publisher.4 At first the Ministry withheld its sanction for the translation of 'Servant of the Queen', as the English publishers are Jewish, but once the responsible official had read the book he immediately gave permission.
[signed] W. Warnock
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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