No. 172  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P12/14/1

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 3) (Secret)

LONDON, 23 January 1942

I saw Mr. Brendan Bracken late last evening when I made much the same representations as I had made the day before to Lord Cranborne see my Secret Minute No. 2.1

Mr. Bracken said that when he saw the article in the Sunday Express of the 11th January headed 'Éire's Folly' he immediately telephoned to the Editor, Mr. John Gordon and said that the line the latter was taking was about as unhelpful to the British as it could be. 'Here we have a friendly neutral' he said, 'and what you are doing is calculated to make them very unfriendly'.

Mr. John Gordon replied that they were perfectly free to criticise Éire or any other country and it was not his fault if that criticism was not altogether palatable to the Government criticised. The views they had been expressing in the Sunday Express represent the feeling of a very large part of the British people. He thought that what they had been saying about Éire was mild in comparison to opinions expressed in America. Mr. Bracken urged Mr. Gordon to let extreme moderation be the limit of any such criticism and he understood that Mr. Gordon would probably refrain from anything quite so violent as had appeared in the Sunday Express.

Mr. Bracken said that everything he could do would be done to avoid irritation to us, but we must realise that leading articles, comments, etc., were never submitted to the Ministry of Information.

I left Mr. Bracken with the impression that he was sincere in his wish to avoid anything likely to irritate us or to reduce the friendliness of our present disposition.

Turning to other matters he told me that one of the things which had swayed Mr. Churchill's mind at the last moment on the question of conscription for Northern Ireland was the Manchester Guardian leading article.

He told me that there was nothing at all in the recent attempt in the Six Counties to revive the question of conscription there. When I referred to the question of arms, saying it was inconceivable how, in their own interests, Great Britain or America could stand by and not enable us to make effective defence arrangements, Mr. Bracken said that there was still a very considerable shortage. One of the difficulties for example at the present moment was the Home Guard an essential part of home defence. Quite a number of them had no weapons at all and many of them were holding only weapons of an archaic character. There were, however, grounds for thinking that the arms position here would improve and he would be glad to do his best with his colleagues in the Cabinet to let us have whatever they could safely spare.

He told me that Mr. Harry Hopkins, who had for some time been very worried about America's war production, is now quite content with the arrangements which are being made in the U.S.A.

The reason that Mr. Churchill's presence in America was revealed before it was officially announced was due to the fact that Mr. Roosevelt, who normally orders a rather ordinary inexpensive cigar, placed an order for a large quantity of an expensive brand. The tobacconist and the newspaper men drew their own conclusions as to the reason for this unusual order from the White House.

[signed] J. W. DULANTY


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