224. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs (Springsteen) and the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Cline) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Porter)1
US Financial Support for the IRA
As directed by your memo of August 30, we have discussed with the FBI, the CIA and the Department of Justice the question of whether or not a justiciable case might be developed against Noraid and similar organizations which raise money in the US for the IRA. Officials at Justice who follow IRA activities believe that indictments might be [Typeset Page 723] handed down for technical violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and there might well be other statutes which would apply. But the evidence is thin and Justice is apparently under considerable pressure from the Hill not to impede these fund-raising activities. There appear to be strong incentives therefore not to move fast.
Officials at Justice plan to convene a meeting September 25 with State, CIA and the FBI to see which approaches appear promising. This meeting may prove helpful, but without a high-level push we doubt that much will happen.
We also believe that as a subsequent step, we should get a closer reading on Hill attitudes; providing, of course, that we have a clear idea of our case at law beforehand. State officials might then meet privately with certain Congressmen and Senators and brief them on where the money collected by Noraid and others actually winds up, and the violence, the dead and the maimed that result. If we have a legal case, so much the better; if not, we should stress the humanitarian aspect.
A later stage might involve public appeals by senior Administration officials similar to the one by Irish President Erskine Childers on American TV. But, for the present, we cannot report much progress.
Summary: Springsteen and Cline discussed whether legal action might be taken to impede the flow of private American financial support to the IRA.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, POL 23–9 UK. Secret; Exdis. INR Deputy Director George C. Denney, Jr. initialed the memorandum on Cline’s behalf. Drafted by Stephen Dawkins of EUR/NE; with concurrences in INR/DDC/OIL, EUR,H, and EUR/NE. In an August 30 memorandum to Stoessel and Cline, Porter noted recent assertions “that American money buys 75% of the guns and explosives used by the IRA Provisionals” and asserted that the U.S. had “to take new measures against this particular brand of terrorism.” Porter asked whether the FBI could investigate the veracity of the financial information contained within the foreign agent registration forms filed by Noraid and INAC and, if it found that funds were being improperly used to buy weapons and explosives, take action. (Ibid.)↩