170. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ireland1

215954. Subject: Landing Rights.

Embassy should deliver following message from President to Prime Minister on landing rights:

Quote Dear Mr. Prime Minister: You have my thanks for your letter of November 19 concerning the positions of our two governments on the question of landing rights at Dublin and New York.2 I am especially grateful that you were so forthright in outlining your concerns in this matter, and you may be sure that we have given close consideration to the points you have made regarding the effects of the landing rights situation upon Ireland.

The United States has no intention of imperiling the financial position of the Irish airline or injuring the economy of Ireland. Irish Airlines has competed successfully against our airlines in the past and we do not believe that entry of our airlines into Dublin would prejudice the decided competitive advantage of the Irish airline. In regard to Shannon, I have very seriously considered the fears and hopes of the people of that area described in your letter. In order to reassure you that we have no intention of harming Shannon, I am instructing the US delegation to the consultations in this matter to agree that U.S. airlines enroute to Dublin would stop at Shannon provided that other transatlantic airlines do so as well. Inauguration of service to Dublin by three U.S. airlines in this manner would therefore help, rather than hurt, the Irish economy, as these services would clearly create new jobs and new demands for other goods and services in Dublin.

My principal concern in this matter is to rectify an imbalance which is very much to the disadvantage of the U.S. airlines, thus achieving greater equity for all concerned. I cannot disregard the fact that Irish airlines’ revenues in the U.S.-Ireland market are more than three times larger than the combined revenues of the U.S. airlines involved. Moreover, U.S. airlines are facing very serious financial problems. They have, for instance, in the past year, furloughed several [Page 603] thousand employees in the United States; such unemployment is a fact of national concern, and one which is much on my mind.

Please do not feel that I have been insensitive to the interests and needs of your government. As you know from Ambassador Moore’s many conversations with you and officials of your government, we have tried for a long time to persuade your government to take some action to bring our aviation agreement into balance, and we have from time to time discussed the possibility of certain concessions on our side, but unfortunately we have had no success. It became apparent that if agreement in balance were ever to be reached, action would have to be taken by our side. Having taken such action and thus having brought the agreement closer toward balance by our partial termination notice, we hope that it will now be possible, starting from a de novo basis, to find mutually acceptable solutions in the consultations now in process.

The solution we seek is, in my view, fair and reasonable for both sides. I hope you will join me in seeking to prevent this problem from impairing in any way the friendship between our countries on which I personally, and the American people in general, place great value. In closing let me say again that I am grateful to you for writing to me directly. Sincerely. End quote.

White House does not plan to release letter but has no objection if Irish wish to make it public.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 694, Country Files—Europe, Ireland. Limited Official Use; Flash. Drafted by Robert DuBose (EUR/BMI) and Ross C. Parr (E/OA/AN); cleared by Bertram Rein (E) in substance; cleared by Haig, Springsteen, Scott George (EUR/BMI), and Miller (S/S); and approved by Robert H. Miller (S/S).
  2. In his letter of November 19, Lynch claimed that concessions on landing rights would result in damage to Irish development and to its “small national airline.” (Ibid., Box 756, Presidential Correspondence, Ireland P.M. Lynch)