176. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Irish Prime Minister’s Reaction to Secretary Rogers’ Call on Landing Rights

At the White House’s request, Secretary Rogers put in a call to Prime Minister Lynch on Thursday, August 10, to inform him of the President’s decision not to take action on Irish landing rights in New York before the end of the year and to continue efforts to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution in the meantime. Rogers was unable to get through to Lynch because of telephone circuit problems and finally delivered this message to Finance Minister Colley, the senior Cabinet officer present in Dublin.

Reports from Embassy Dublin indicate that the delayed telephone call which had the Prime Minister cooling his heels for some time before he turned the matter over to Colley was initially viewed as a discourtesy to the Prime Minister. Ambassador Moore explained the circuit problem and seems to have straightened out this matter.2

More important, Prime Minister Lynch informed Ambassador Moore that he had not wanted to discuss the merits of the landing [Page 617]rights controversy with the President but rather to inform him of the negative local political implications of the United States’ lack of give on its insistence on onward rights from Dublin. Further, the Prime Minister said he was disturbed by Colley’s report of Secretary Rogers’ message in that it appeared to indicate only a willingness to delay eviction of Aer Lingus from New York not a willingness to continue negotiations that might lead to some US concession in return for Ireland’s granting onward rights from Dublin. It would appear, he said, that the United States intends to squash Ireland in the proposed negotiations.

State has advised Embassy Dublin (telegram at Tab A)3 that Secretary Rogers emphasized our desire to settle the landing rights problem by negotiation not confrontation, that we want to bring the bilateral air agreement—which has long favored Ireland—into better balance, and that it is necessary for Ireland to agree to broadened US access to achieve this balance. It is our hope that Ireland will agree to this in negotiations during the balance of this year.

Comment: State’s position is in accordance with the President’s decision on this issue. It is our understanding that upon receipt of the telegram, Ambassador Moore called Secretary Rogers and asked him to request the President to call Prime Minister Lynch. The Secretary reportedly was abrupt with Moore, told him he would do no such thing, that the US position is both sound and fair. Once this message has been absorbed, I am sure we can expect to hear some more from the Irish.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 694, Country Files—Europe, Ireland. Confidential; Sensitive. Sent for information. Initialed by Kissinger.
  2. The Ambassador reported on the mishaps in telegram 935 from Dublin, August 15. (Ibid.) A memorandum of the August 17 conversation between Moore and McCann is ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, AV 14 IRE.
  3. Telegram 148158 to Dublin, August 15, not printed.