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Before the war began, de Valera had held a meeting with career diplomat Dr. Eduard Hempel , the German Minister in Ireland since 1938. The meetings discussed Ireland's close trade links with the United Kingdom and the ease with which Britain could invade her if its interests were threatened. He in turn communicated to Berlin that such was the case that it 'rendered it inevitable for the Irish government to show a certain consideration for Britain' and urged war officials to avoid any action that would legitimise a British invasion of Ireland.  In mid-June 1940, Secretary of External Affairs Joe Walshe expressed his 'great admiration for the German achievements.' Hempel, for his part, wrote to Germany of 'the great and decisive importance even to Ireland of the changed situation in world affairs and of the obvious weakness of the democracies.' Hempel might well have known better of Irish intentions, having earlier described a native custom 'to say agreeable things without meaning everything that is said.'