Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snippets from the UK 30 year paper release

There really was a time when telecommunications could be a problem:

Memo from Number 10 (Clive Whitmore) to the Foreign Office (Brian Fall) 2 July 1981 begins: Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, the new Taoiseach, telephoned the Prime Minister at 1800 yesterday evening. The line over which the conversation took place was particularly bad, and I am afraid that there are periods when Dr. Fitzgerald was inaudible, but I think that have pieced together the essentials of what we had to say.

A United States of Ireland?
Memo from RL Wade-Gery to Sir Robert Armstrong about meetings of the Anglo-Irish Joint Studies Groups 12 March 1981: There were two occasions on which the Irish had to be firmly slapped down, but these were clearly try-ons, and their failure was accepted with good grade and without protest. The first occurred early. The Irish explained frankly that their eventual objective was a Federal Ireland, achieved on the basis of majority consent both in the Republic and in the North.

This was when Charlie Haughey was Taoiseach but the federal idea at the time only existed in a Fine Gael document. As another section of the papers notes, Fianna Fail at the time had no actual policy paper setting out their views on Northern Ireland. Was it widely known at the time that Charlie had told his senior staff that the ultimate goal was federation?

[The relevant papers are here; file size is huge]

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