This article is the first methodical analysis of the West German reception of the Irish application for EEC membership. It suggests that Ireland misread the signals of the West German foreign minister in mid-1961 and, contrary to Irish expectations, that it was the Economics Ministry in Bonn rather than the Foreign Office that quickly transformed into a supporter of the Irish application. The economic arguments against Irish full membership of the EEC were never strong. Senior officers of the West German Foreign Office maintained troubling reservations about the Irish application on `political grounds', even though the FRG played a key role, in concert with the Netherlands, in convincing the other more sceptical members of the EEC in October 1962 that Ireland should be permitted to commence full membership negotiations. Irish non-membership of NATO remained a potentially complicating factor thereafter. Dublin's diplomatic efforts to assuage German and European anxieties during 1961 and 1962 about Ireland's non-membership of NATO were not misdirected, notwithstanding that the Irish application for EEC membership was contingent upon the outcome of the British application.