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Act. This presented a new angle which had not been discussed with the Irish Government, and it was necessary to get their instructions. This was on August 29th.
On September 3rd, before final instructions had arrived from the Irish Government, the Minister learned that the ships were being requisitioned for a voyage to the Canal Zone. The Minister protested against this procedure, and ultimately the requisitioning was cancelled. The Minister on September 5th saw the Maritime Commission and agreed to purchase under Lease Lend at the figure originally agreed upon, viz., $70 per ton. The Minister signed the necessary documents on the following day. The Maritime Commission on the same day arranged that we should take over the ships at noon on Monday, the 8th of September. Mr. Joseph Brennan travelled to New Orleans and signed on the crews on that date. He also signed a receipt as custodian for the ships pending the execution of the formal agreement. The Irish Government effected insurance on the ships on the same day.
On the 17th of September the Minister was informed by the State Department that the President had refused to sign the necessary directive to the Lend Lease authorities, and had directed the Maritime Commission to charter the ships to an American shipping company for charter to the Irish Government.
This news came as a bitter disappointment to the Irish Government who had come to the conclusion that the deal was at last satisfactorily concluded. In fact the Minister for Industry and Commerce had expressed in the Dail a few days before his appreciation of the action of the Government of the United States in transferring the ships.
Under these circumstances the Minister would be glad if the Secretary of State would intervene so as to have the original plan carried out, and instructions issued for the immediate transfer and release of the ships in accordance with the arrangements previously agreed to.
841D.48/73 Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Robert B. Stewart of the
Division of European Affairs
[WASHINGTON,] September 25, 1941. Participants: Mr. Sean Nunan, Counselor, Irish Legation;
Mr. John D. Hickerson, Eu; 37
Mr. Robert B. Stewart, Eu. Mr. Nunan called at the Department in connection with the Irish Legation's note of September 22 concerning the proposed purchase by the Irish Government of two ships from the Maritime Commission.
38 Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31. 87 Division of European Affairs.
Mr. Nunan was informed that the questions raised in the Legation's note had been referred to the authorities of this Government who had been dealing with the matter and that we would pass on to him any further information of interest which might be received by the Department.
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. E. S. Maney of the
Division of European Affairs
[WASHINGTON,] September 26, 1941. Mr. Cates 38 telephoned that the agreement has been signed with the Irish. He said that the agreement was substantially in accordance with the Irish Vice Consul's letter to the Maritime Commission of September 23 except that the question of $20,000 expended on each vessel at the instance of the Irish authorities would be settled Monday next.3 Mr. Cates said they had assured the Irish that they would allow the Irish to offset this sum against charter payments, reimburse the Irish for the amounts expended, or assume responsibility for the accounts. I asked Mr. Cates if he would send Mr. Stewart a copy of the charter party and he said that he would as soon as he had some copies made.
8411.48/68a : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Ireland (Gray)
WASHINGTON, September 27, 1941–7 p. m. 54. Department's 53, September 24.40 Department has not yet received any further reaction from the White House on the matter of sale of vessels. Meanwhile negotiations have been proceeding between the Irish Legation and the Maritime Commission for charter of vessels. Arrangements now completed and signed for sub-charter of these ships to Irish Shipping Limited through United States Lines for 6 months, with provision for renewal of sub-charter for such time as parties may agree. Ships will be under Irish registry and carry Irish flag. This charter arrangement would not prevent outright sale at later date if this should appear feasible though we are unable at present to express any opinion on this possibility.
740.0011 Pacific War/757 : Telegram
The Minister in Ireland (Gray) to the Secretary of State
DUBLIN, December 8, 1941–4 p. m.
[Received 6:02 p. m.] 132. Indications are that Irish majority sympathies are strongly with us against Japan. I called on External Affairs and had a very friendly reception as regards our war participation. I advanced the suggestion that Irish extremist elements in America opposed to American defense and support for Britain would henceforth exert little influence and that we might look forward to a more sympathetic understanding between our two Governments; that without any instructions from you I would be glad on my own responsibility to explore again the question of arms for Eire in the hope that some common ground might be found for proposals that I could forward to you. I [apparent omission] however the probabilities that the difficulty of supplying armament was likely to be much enhanced by our entry into war.
During the last month there have been indications of a growing realization of the realities on the part of both Irish Government and people and a definite improvement of attitude toward America. I I believe this should be followed up always of [on?] the basis that Ireland needs us more than we need Ireland.
740.0011 European War 1939/17852
The Irish Minister (Brennan) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, December 16, 1941. SIR: I have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency the following extracts from the speech delivered by Mr. de Valera, Chief of the Government of Ireland, at Cork on December 14th, 1941:
“Since this terrible war began our sympathies have gone out to all the suffering peoples who have been dragged into it. Further hundreds of millions have become involved since I spoke at Limerick a fortnight ago. Its extension to the United States of America brings a source of anxiety and sorrow to every part of this land. There is scarcely a family here which has not a member or near relative in that country. In addition to the ties of blood there has been between our two nations a long association of friendship and regard, continuing uninterruptedly from America's own struggle for independence down to our own. The part that American friendship played in helping us to win the freedom that we enjoy in this part of Ireland has been gratefully recognized and acknowledged by our people. It would be unnatural then if we did not sympathize in a special manner with the people of the United States and if we did not feel with them in all the anxieties and trials which this war must bring upon them. For this reason strangers who do not understand our conditions have begun to ask how America's entry into the war will affect our state policy here. We answered that question in advance: The policy of the State remains unchanged. We can only be a friendly neutral. From the moment this war began there was for this State only one policy possible, neutrality. Our circumstances of History, the incompleteness of our national freedom through the partition of our country made any other policy impracticable. Any other policy would have divided our people, and for a divided nation to fling itself into this war would be to commit suicide. Of necessity we adopted the policy of neutrality but we have been under no illusions about it. We have been fully alive to the difficulties and dangers which it brought: We are fully aware that in a world at war each set of belligerents are ever ready to regard those who are not with them as against them, but the course we have followed is a just course. God has been pleased to save us during the years of war that have already passed. We pray that He may be pleased to save us to the end but we must do our part.” Please accept [etc.]
740.0011 European War 1939/17853
The Secretary of State to the Irish Minister (Brennan)
WASHINGTON, December 22, 1941. SIR: I have received your communication dated December 16, 1941 transmitting extracts from a speech delivered by Prime Minister de Valera at Cork on December 14. Your communication was immediately forwarded to the White House where it has been considered by the President. The President now requests that the following message, with which I also desire to associate myself, be cabled, as a personal message, to Mr. de Valera:
"I have received, through Mr. Brennan, the Irish Minister in Washington, certain extracts from your speech delivered at Cork on December 14.
"I note with particular interest your reference to the long association of friendship and regard between our two countries, your expressions of sympathy with the people of the United States in the present conflict and your declaration of friendly neutrality on the part of the Irish Government.
"I fully understand the strong desire of Ireland, and the desire of every nation not at war, to avoid active participation in the present struggle. Unfortunately, as the experience of so many nations, including our own, has so clearly demonstrated, the desire to avoid the wave of conquest provides little guarantee of national safety. On the contrary it merely gives to the aggressor the opportunity to choose the moment and manner of attack, sometimes carried out most treacherously.
"I cannot let this opportunity pass without repeating what has now become the obvious, namely, that Axis aggression is now being waged on a world-wide scale, that until this aggression has been stopped by force of arms there is no security for any nation, great or small.
“These are stern facts which the Irish people may well ponder today, and I feel that the American Government would be failing in its duty of deep friendship if it did not, with the wisdom of its recent experience, underline their vital significance to the Irish Government.
We do not minimize the task before us but I need scarcely tell you of the absolute confidence of the American Government and the American people in the final triumph of the cause for which we are now fighting and our determination to carry the fight through to complete victory. Happily the vast majority of mankind and the preponderance of resources are on our side. The assistance which any nation or any people may give in this struggle merely speeds the day of victory and peace and security for all nations.
"Your expressions of gratitude for the long interest of the United States in Irish freedom are appreciated. The policy of the American Government now as in the past contemplates the hope that all the free institutions, liberties and independence which the Irish people now enjoy may be preserved for the full enjoyment of the future. If freedom and liberty are to be preserved, they must now be defended by the human and material resources of all free nations. Your freedom too is at stake. No longer can it be doubted that the policy of Hitler and his Axis associates is the conquest of the entire world and the enslavement of all mankind.
"I have every confidence that the Irish Government and the Irish people, who love liberty and freedom as dearly as we, will know how to meet their responsibilities in the present situation.” Accept [etc.]
740.0011 European War 1939/17823: Telegram
The Minister in Ireland (Gray) to the Secretary of State
DUBLIN, December 23, 1941–4 p.
[Received 5:19 p. m.] 145. Reference my letter to Welles dated December 17.41 Since our entry into the war and the disbanding of the Friends of Irish Neutrality the attitude of the Irish Government has become notably more friendly although there is no suggestion of recession from neutrality. They are anxious to acquire even token amounts of armament by purchase in order to maintain the morale of their defense forces. I believe danger of action by anti-British elements in the event of a German invasion now to be negligible. I suggest, therefore, as the most profitable course, token allotments of material attended with the greatest possible publicity stressing the need to defend Ireland against Germany. Special legislation similar to that pending now in the