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        The TROUBLES in NORTHERN IRELAND 3 My purpose in this book is not to attempt to explain in detail the events in Northern Ireland during the thirty-some years following . Many accounts of those tragic and complicated decades are available. Even a discussion of the United States’ role in many of those events can be dealt with only very briefly. In fact, several books focus on the American dimension of this subject, by writers such as Sean Cronin (), Jack Holland ( and ), Andrew J. Wilson (), and Joseph E. Thompson (). However, inescapably the events in Northern Ireland in  and  shocked, touched, and preoccupied many Americans and enlisted the sympathies of many more. In a country where at least  million people claim some Irish origins, it was impossible for many of them not to identify with the struggle and to get caught up in this newly prominent trouble spot. Inevitably, the American consulate general became caught up in these events, at the very least as observer and commentator. The concern of many American citizens and the determination of some to get involved in the troubles in Northern Ireland was a source of anxiety for the consulate general and the U.S. government. By late  money was raised by IrishAmerican groups to provide relief aid to those who had been driven from their homes, or had their homes destroyed, in the rioting during August. The Committee for Justice in Northern Ireland sent nine thousand dollars, and the American Congress for Irish Freedom began bringing spokespersons  from the Catholic communities over to the United States to raise awareness among Americans about the situation in Northern Ireland .1 Gerry Fitt and Austin Currie were among the first to tour the country, speaking in major centers such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. One of the most sensational of these early visitors was Bernadette Devlin, the newly elected member of Parliament , whose maiden speech at Westminster had been an electrifying attack on the Stormont government. On one level she was a great success in the United States, being given the keys to New York City by Mayor John Lindsay, meeting United Nations secretary general U Thant, and being seen by millions on television programs such as Meet the Press and The Johnny Carson Show. However, on another level her outspoken socialist views and her hostility toward Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago alienated many conservative, middle-class Irish-Americans. Reverend Ian Paisley also had a tour of the United States in September , a month after Devlin. He too was on television shows, such as The Johnny Carson Show and NBC Today, giving the loyalist arguments, and he traveled across the country from Bob Jones University in North Carolina to Los Angeles and San Francisco.2 While the old-time Irish-American politicians, typical of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century machine politics, could hardly be said to exist in the s and s, there certainly were many American politicians with some Irish ancestry. By late , one hundred members of Congress, led by the most Irish of their number, Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, sent President Richard Nixon a letter asking him to do something about The TROUBLES in NORTHERN IRELAND ⁄  . See James G. Heaney (President, American Congress for Irish Freedom) to Neil C. McManus, July , , RG , Belfast Consulate General, UD -D, Central Subject Files, –, Box , NA. The consul general carried on an extensive correspondence with Heaney, largely about the question of possible discrimination in hiring policies by U.S. firms operating in Northern Ireland. . Ralph H. Cadeaux to Irving W. Cheslaw, September , , RG , Belfast Consulate General, UD -D, Central Subject Files, –, Box , NA; and Andrew J. Wilson, Irish America and the Ulster Conflict, – (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, ), pp. –. the sectarian clashes in Northern Ireland. The White House asked that its staff be given the reports from the consul general in Belfast on what was happening. By the early s consul general Neil McManus ’s health was deteriorating, and much of his work was being done by Michael Steruber, the vice consul, appointed in . Steruber , who had earlier worked in Vietnam, wrote what Joseph E. Thompson considered very accurate assessments of the political situation in Northern Ireland. However, both McManus and his sometime replacement Ralph H. Cadeaux also maintained a personal correspondence with Irving W. Cheslaw at the United Kingdom desk at the Department of State.3 The thought of American government intervention in Northern Ireland raised two questions...


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