356. Letter From President Nixon to British Prime Minister Heath1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The most recent steps taken by your government to restore law and order in Northern Ireland have been followed here with the closest interest. In this regard, I greatly appreciated your message of July 29, not only for your advance notification of the British Army’s July 31 operations against the terrorists in Londonderry and Belfast but also for your thoughtfulness in laying out in such detail the situation you face.2

This truly complex and tragic situation is, as you know, a matter of deep concern to the American people. As you have noted, there is continuing pressure from various quarters in the United States that would have us in some way intervene in Northern Ireland. You can be sure, however, that I shall continue to resist such pressure.

You have my full support in your determined efforts to bring about the peaceful environment which alone can lead to a satisfactory solution of the problems of Northern Ireland.

With warm regards,3


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 764, Presidential Correspondence, United Kingdom, Prime Minister Edward Heath. Secret.
  2. On July 31, the British Army launched operations against IRA strongholds in Derry, Belfast, and other Northern Ireland towns. The initial operations met with little resistance. Heath outlined the rationale for the operation in his letter, a copy of which is attached.
  3. The President added a handwritten note to the letter. It reads: “You can be sure that despite the pressures of a political campaign I shall not add to your problems on this issue. RN”.