55 Cranborne to Curtin

Cablegram D277 LONDON, 23 February 1944, 3.20 p.m.

MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following for the Prime Minister.

The United States Ambassador in London recently consulted us regarding a proposal that the United States Government should approach the Government of Eire with a request for the removal of Axis diplomatic representatives in Dublin. He said that the United States Government contemplated addressing a formal note to the Fire Government referring to the declared policy of that Government to be 'a friendly neutral' to the United States, and pointing out that owing to the geographical position of Eire, the presence there of German and Japanese diplomatic and consular representatives afforded facilities for Axis espionage against Allied military operations of vital importance. The United States Ambassador also raised with us the question whether if we agreed with this proposal, the United Kingdom Government would associate themselves with the proposed United States approach.

We carefully considered the matter and came to the conclusion that while we could not feel confident that the request would be acceded to, it would be desirable to support the United States initiative. obviously if the request were met the result would be very advantageous, while even if it were refused, no damage to our interests should, in our view, result from such an approach. We feel that the best course would be that the United States Government should make their approach first, and that we should follow it a day or two later with a communication from ourselves to the Eire Government indicating that we welcome this United States initiative and supported their request.

Accordingly, the United States Minister in Dublin [1] on Monday last presented to the Eire Government a note in the above sense.

Mr. de Valera [2], we understand, indicated to him orally that the reply of the Eire Government would be in the negative.

The United Kingdom representative in Dublin [3] presented our supporting note yesterday. He reports that Mr. de Valera, in conversation, took strong exception to the presentation of a note and suggested that it was part of the Allied policy of putting a squeeze on neutrals.

It is understood that the Eire Government are now considering the terms of a formal reply to the United States note (and presumably to our note) and when this is received, the position (including the question whether there should be any publication) will be further considered.

1 David Gray.

2 Irish Prime Minister.

3 Sir John Maffey.

[AA:A989, 44/450/5/1]