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  • Ireland, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Civil Aviation: A Study in Applied Neutrality
  • Joseph P. O’Grady
Joseph P. O’Grady
La Salle University


1. Five conferences with participants from all sides were held under the leadership of James G. Blight beginning in March, 1987 and ending in January, 1992. These generated three books: James G. Blight and David A. Welsh, On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989); Bruce J. Allyn, James G. Blight and David A. Welsh, Back to the Brink: The Moscow Conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: The Wall Street Journal, 1989), and James G. Blight, Bruce J. Allyn and David A. Welsh with David Lewis, Cuba on the Brink: Fidel Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Collapse of Communism (New York: Panthem Books, 1993). For an example of new documents see Lawrence Chang and Peter Kornbluk, editors, The Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: The New Press, 1992). For an example of the new studies see Dino A. Brugioni, Eyeball to Eyeball (New York: Random House, 1990).

2. William FitzGerald, Irish Unification and NATO (Dublin: Dublin University Press, 1982); Patrick Keatinge, A Singular Stance: Irish Neutrality in the 1980s (Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 1984); Bill McSweeney, Ireland and the Threat of Nuclear War (Dublin: Dominion Publications, 1985); Trevor Salmon, Unneutral Ireland: An Ambivalent and Unique Security Policy (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1989). The latter claims that Ireland had never had a real tradition of neutrality. He supported that claim by first establishing his definition of neutrality and then measuring the Irish experience against that definition. In so doing he took Irish decisions out of their context. The object in this study is to put the decisions in this crisis into the context that supported them.

3. Keatinge, A Singular Stance, pp. 10–17; Salmon, Unneutral Ireland, pp. 82–119; Great Britain, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), House of Commons, Official Record, 5th Series, Volume 159 (27 November 1922), Columns 321–774; Irish Free State, Parliamentary Debates, Dáil Éireann (Dublin: The Stationary Office, 1922), Volume 1 (5 October 1922), Columns 1222–1235. From the beginning the Irish definition of neutrality involved the avoidance of war as the above debates reflect. Salmon agreed that that was what the Irish wanted and that they succeeded to do that in World War II, but he also claimed that the mere avoidance of war was not neutrality. See Salmon, Unneutral Ireland, p. 215.

4. The story can be found in among others, Joseph T. Carroll, Ireland in the War Years, 1939–45 (New York: Crane, Russak and Company, 1975); T. Ryle Dwyer. Irish Neutrality and the U.S.A., 1939–47 (Dublin; Gill and Macmillan, Ltd., 1977), and Robert Fisk, In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality, 1930–45 (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).

5. Ian McCabe, A Diplomatic History of Ireland, 1948–49: The Republic, The Commonwealth and NATO (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1991), pp. 105–112; Joseph P. O’Grady, “Ireland and the Defense of the North Atlantic, 1948–1951: The American View,” ÉIRE-IRELAND, XXV: 1 (March 1990), 58–78.

6. Bernard Shore, The Flight of the Iolar (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1984), pp. 50–52; Liam Bryne, History of Aviation in Ireland (Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1980), pp. 99–101: Aviation on the Shannon (Dublin: Irish Air Letter, 1985), pp. 24–44. The scope of the operations through Shannon can also be found in the files of the American Legation in Dublin, in particular Boxes 13, 14, General; 6, 7, 8, Classified; Post Records, Dublin, Department of State, Record Group 84, National Archives, Suitland, Maryland. Hereafter referred to as PRD, DS, RG 84, NA(S). Salmon does not mention civil aviation in his analysis of the Irish and World War II. See Unneutral Ireland, pp. 120–154.

7. Rineanna Airport, Protection if used by BOAC, A/43, Secretary Office, Department of External Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Archives, Dublin. Hereafter referred to as DFA, NA(D).

8. Joseph P. O’Grady, “A Troubled Triangle (Great Britain, Ireland, the United States) and Civil Aviation, 1944–1945,” The Journal of Transport...


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