740A.5 MSP/7–3052: Airgram

No. 714
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Ireland1


A–12. Very informally, and possibly without instruction, Irish Embassy representatives have explored with the Department and MSA the question of Irish eligibility for military assistance under Section 7(i) of the Mutual Security Act of 1952.2 Neither agency has given the Embassy any encouragement.

Under present tentative planning this Section would be employed administratively to meet two different situations:

To recommend extension of aid in an emergency to countries unable or unwilling to negotiate bilateral agreements because of the threat posed by their geographical proximity to the Soviet bloc or their extreme vulnerability to internal communist subversion.
To cover special or isolated types of assistance too small in scope or otherwise of too little importance to require the negotiation of a bilateral agreement. In this second category, as an example, would fall the financing of the training at U.S. military establishments of students of a country not otherwise a recipient of U.S. military assistance.

The tentative legal opinion of the concerned agencies is that Ireland could not receive aid under (A) above without a determination by the President, which would probably have to be based on a recommendation by the JCS or NSC, that such exceptional treatment was important to U.S. national security. Such a determination would seem unlikely in Ireland’s case in the absence of the criteria outlined in (A) above. Further, there has been no change in stated policy (reference NSC 83/1)3 that the U.S. should avoid discussion of bilateral arrangements for a military assistance program to Ireland outside NATO.

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Aid under the interpretation suggested in (B) obviously would not be applicable to Irish arms requirements which, if requested in any significant quantity, presumably would require negotiation of a bilateral agreement of the type which they rejected earlier this year.

The Embassy’s attention is called to Page 73 of the report of the Committee of Foreign Affairs on the Mutual Security Act of 1952, a copy of which is enclosed. Section 7(i) originated in this Committee, on the Committee’s own initiative. Page 104 of the same report is also relevant. (The section was 7(h) in the House bill.4)

At the Embassy’s discretion as much of Paragraphs (A) and (B) above as seems desirable or necessary may be conveyed to the Department of External Affairs if Irish officials make inquiries similar to those directed to the Department and to MSA.

  1. Drafted by Hamilton and cleared by Beale (BNA), Martin (S/MSA), and in substance by the Mutual Security Agency and the Department of Defense.
  2. This Act (66 Stat. 141), approved June 20, 1952, amended the Mutual Security Act of 1951. The applicable part of Section 7(i), concerning the special use of funds, reads as follows: “(b) Not more than $100,000,000 of the funds made available under the Mutual Security Act of 1952, of which not more than $20,000,000 may be allocated to any one country, may be used or supplied without regard to any conditions as to eligibility contained in this Act, or any other Act for which funds are authorized by this Act, when the President determines that such use is important to the security of the United States.” (66 Stat. 145)
  3. For text of NSC 83/1, “The Position of the United States Regarding Irish Membership in NATO and Military Assistance to Ireland Under a Bilateral Arrangement,” Oct. 17, 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, p. 1477.
  4. Section 7(h) reads, in part, “the Director [for Mutual Security], in administering this Act, shall insure that, where necessary to the mutual security effort, no country shall receive any assistance hereunder unless it takes decisive action to marshal its resources collectively, or individually where more suitable, with integration and unification plans in the appropriate area, and participate in programs which promote collective security in that area.” (66 Stat. 145)