166. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • The Visit of Prime Minister John Lynch

You will see the Prime Minister three times during his “private and unofficial” visit: at the formal arrival ceremony and private meeting on Tuesday, March 16; at the Irish Evening that night; and at 12:15 on the 17th when he presents you with shamrock.2 This will also be the third time in six months you have seen him, including your visit in Ireland and his attendance at your United Nations dinner.3

Your Purposes:

—to continue the comfortable and warm personal relationship;

—to demonstrate your interest in Irish views and concerns.

The Prime Minister’s Purposes:

—to exchange views on the broad international scene;

—to review the situation in Northern Ireland;

—to discuss the progress of Ireland’s negotiations with the Common Market.


The Prime Minister won a smashing victory at his party’s annual convention in February. His party, the Fianna Fail, emphatically affirmed his moderation policy with respect to the North, and Lynch has now gained clear control of his political base. He is in a much stronger position domestically than he was in six months ago.

On the other hand, Lynch faces continued difficulties over the situation in Northern Ireland, as well as serious inflation stimulated by high wages, and a growing balance of payments deficit.

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Topics for Discussion

Lynch will wish to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland. He has spoken recently of extending an olive branch to the North, of amending Ireland’s laws concerning the Catholic Church’s special position, and of greater economic cooperation. The Prime Minister fully understands that we are unable to become involved in this problem. You may wish to:

—express your appreciation for his policies of moderation and conciliation;

—seek his assessment of the prospects for a resolution of the immediate and longer term problems.

Because of Irish dependence on unfettered trade with the UK, Ireland must enter the Common Market whenever Britain does. The Irish negotiations with the Market are progressing without major snags. You may wish to:4

—reiterate your support for Irish (and UK) entry, noting that the US is prepared to accept the short term economic difficulties this may cause us;

—invite Lynch to comment on the progress and prospects for entry.

In connection with bilateral trade issues, Lynch may express concern over US restraints on agricultural products and textiles, as well as what the Irish feel are constraints on US investment.

You may wish to

—emphasize your commitment to a liberal trade policy and candidly review the problems in agriculture and textiles.

There is one issue which Secretary Rogers recommends that you not raise, but that Lynch conceivably might. This relates to civil aviation landing rights.5 Because of the serious harm to our airlines from Ireland’s long-standing unwillingness to grant us landing rights in Dublin, you decided last January to authorize the suspension of Irish landing rights in New York.6 You expressly decided that the Irish not be formally notified until Congressional consultations were completed, and until Lynch was advised privately in advance.

Since Congressional consultations are not yet completely concluded, it would be premature for you to raise this possibility with Lynch (Ambassador Moore feels quite strongly that you should not discuss this). Secretary Rogers plans to explain to Lynch the pressures [Page 597] on the Administration over the landing rights problem. If the Prime Minister raises the issue, you may wish to

—explain the serious economic situation of our airlines and the pressures put on you to cancel Irish rights;

—note that you hope the landing rights problem could be settled through negotiation.

Additional talking points on the Lynch visit are at Tab A. Biographic sketches are at Tab B. The schedule for the visit and the members of the official party are attached to the inside cover of your briefing book.

There will be a photo opportunity at the beginning of your private meeting.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 920, VIP Visits, Ireland PM Lynch Visit. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation reads: “The President has seen.” The tabs are not printed.
  2. No record of the Nixon-Lynch conversations was found. For text of the President’s welcoming remarks for Lynch and his St. Patrick’s Day statement, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1971, pp. 433–435.
  3. The President visited Ireland October 3–5, 1970, in the course of his European trip. For the text of his and Lynch’s public remarks, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 802–803, 810–818. On July 10, 1970, he hosted a dinner marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations. For the text of his statement, see ibid., pp. 589–592.
  4. The President highlighted this paragraph in the margin.
  5. The President underlined the phrase “relates to civil aviation landing rights.”
  6. See Document 165.