740A.5 MSP/1–3052: Telegram

No. 711
The Chargé in Ireland (Huston) to the Department of State


123. Re Embtel 110, Jan 10.1

  • Part A. Note signed by FonMin Aiken2 received late yesterday evening as follows:
    “I have honor refer your note 151, Jan 10, 19523 in which you informed me govt of USA considers it has no alternative but suspend assistance being received by Govt of Ireland under Econ Coop Agrmt between Ireland and US signed Dublin 28 June 1948.
    “Irish Govt regret this decision but they recognize it is matter finally for US Govt and as already indicated are sensible of value of assistance given this country by govt and people of US under Econ Coop Agrmt.
    “With regard phrase ‘failure Irish Govt to accept purposes and principles of legislation under which assistance is furnished’ Irish Govt wish make clear they adhered and still adhere to principles and purposes of act under which agrmt was made and assistance heretofore granted, namely Econ Coop Act 1948.
    “As regards MSA 1951 it was stated in para 5 of Irish Govt’s note 24 Dec 19514 that: ‘Govt and people of Ireland conceive it to be their duty to make maximum contribution in their power to promotion international understanding and goodwill, to maintenance of world peace and elimination causes international tension. It is because they seek these objectives without qualification or reserve Irish Govt wish obtain peaceful and early ending of unjust partition of Ireland which not only adversely affects internal development Irish nation but dominates its approach all questions external policy.
    “Aware of many factors in situation Irish Govt are convinced outline of relations indicated their note 24 Dec 1951 would serve best interests of two countries in present circumstances and would urge full consideration that note by Govt of US”.
  • Part B. Aiken explained to Lockling who took delivery of note that he wanted deliver note immediately yesterday in view likelihood of parliamentary questions in opening session of Dail today, in which [event] he would be able to say Irish Govt had replied to Emb note of Jan 10. Referring indication US willingness “reopen question of continuing this assistance should Irish Govt have further suggestions”, he said Irish Govt had no suggestions this regard but urged US Govt consider again conditions and circumstances outlined in Irish note of Dec 24 (Embtel 95, Dec 25). Irish Govt could not, he said, enter undertaking designed insure other countries independence and freedom denied Ireland itself by partition. If US Govt would accept frequently expressed attitude of Irish Govt as premise and would consider developing program on that basis he believed two govts could readily reach agrmt regarding military and other assistance.

    Mentioning Irish friendliness for US Aiken reiterated Irish Govt wld not permit Irish territory be used as base for attack against either US or Britain. Pointing out consequent advantages of having Ireland well armed he expressed hope US wld consider favorably its request for arms assistance contained in note of Dec 24, adding local Irish facilities capable manufacturing various types of arms if given patterns and technical assistance. In reply to suggestion Irish Govt provide list of arms requirements Aiken stated Ireland wld adjust its requests more or less to availabilities and hence needed to know first that its wishes wld be considered. He emphasized Irish intention pay for arms received.

  • Part C. Emb convinced Irish Govt determined avoid any kind affiliation MSA in pursuit its policy of neutrality which is designed as instrument of pressure on Brit to end partition. While willing sacrifice remainder aid program to avoid any weakening this policy it wld welcome continuation aid under old ECA agrmt or other arrangement clearly outside MSA. Present note which in effect merely reiterates content of Dec 24 note is mainly tactical move in anticipation questions and possible violent opposition attack in Dail. Irish Govt wld consider it great political victory as well as practical boon to defense effort if it should succeed in obtaining arms assistance without involvement collective defense or other prejudice its neutrality policy.
  • Part D. Unless Dept wishes make new proposals to Irish Govt or has in mind other line of approach I wld suggest Emb be authorized reply to Irish note along following lines:
    Emb upon instruction acknowledges receipt communication and notes with pleasure expression of Irish appreciation for assistance given Ireland under ECA, as well as declaration of continued [Page 1554] adherence of Irish Govt to principles and purposes of Econ Coop Act 1948.
    Note is also taken of references to Irish Govt’s note Dec 24 and request this note receive full consideration by US Govt.
    As regards effect of “partition” on Irish Govt’s attitude with respect to continuance of Econ assistance under provisions of MSA 1951, it is recalled that Irish FonOff was informed Jan [December] 31 (enclosure 4 to desp 434, Jan 10)5 that introduction of question of partition or other political matter into proposed agrmt represented unacceptable and unnecessary qualification of assurances required under MSA and that US position that US cannot usefully or properly intervene in problem of partition is well known to Irish Govt. At the same time FonOff was informed US prepared give such consideration as is possible to Irish arms needs consistent with priorities absorbing present capacity for US Forces NATO UN Forces Korea etc. But believes this question should be raised in separate communication giving details regarding estimated Irish requirements.6
  1. This telegram reported delivery to the Irish Foreign Office of Embassy note No. 151 of Jan. 10, not printed. See Document 708.
  2. The original note, dated Jan. 29, is in Dublin Embassy files, lot 62 F 81, “500–ECAMSA Ireland”. A copy was transmitted to Washington in Despatch 475 from Dublin, Jan. 31. (740A.5 MSP/1–3052)
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 1 above.
  4. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iv, Part 1, p. 538, as transmitted in telegram 95 from Dublin, Dec. 25, 1951.
  5. Enclosure 4 was a memorandum by Huston, Dec. 31, 1951, printed in Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iv, Part 1, p. 541.
  6. Matthews returned to Dublin and resumed charge of the Embassy on Feb. 6. Two days later he addressed a note to the Foreign Minister which substantially followed the wording suggested above. A copy of the note was transmitted to Washington in despatch 487 from Dublin, Feb. 15. (740A.5 MSP/2–1552)