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June 26, 1959

Letter from Frederick H. Boland to Con Cremin (Dublin)

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26 June, 1959.


File: 0/11


Cornelius C. Cremin, Esq.,


Department of External Affairs,



Dear Con,

The first reactions to our nuclear restriction proposal are quite encouraging.

I gather from Dr. Protich of the U.N. Secretariat, with whom I am on good person al terms, that the feeling within the feeling within the Secretariat is that the proposal is a good one and that there are considerable advantages to be gained from having the whole question thrashed out in a debate in the First Committee and, possibly, in the Disarmament Commission (or whatever body is set up to replace the present Disarmament Commission) later. The positive reaction of the Secretariat is not unimportant. They can be very useful.

I have made no approach myself to any member of the Eastern European bloc, but the Romanian Ambassador , who paid me e a farewell visit last week, told me that our proposal had been discussed in his group and the general feeling was that it was a “constructive" initiative.

On the 23rd June, I called on Barco of the U.S. delegation to discuss the matter. I deliberately decided to talk to him rather Cabot Lodge, first, because the Minister had discussions on the subject with Barco last year and secondly, because I wanted to refer to Cabot Lodge’s statements to the Congressional Subcommittee and I thought I could more conveniently do that in talking with Barco than in talking to Lodge himself. Barco’s attitude was not at all discouraging. He agreed the problem existed and he said nothing to challenge the proposal that the problem was one which the U.N. should examine. He made the comments, firstly, that Britain and France were both rather “jumpy” on the question of nuclear restriction at the moment, although for different reasons, and that the main obstacle any proposal such as ours had to encounter was the old one of control and inspection.

I told Barco that the Minister recognised the importance of the problem of control and inspection but that we could not admit that either that or any other difficulty connected with nuclear restrictions should be regarded as insurmountable before the problem had been even examined. The examination of that and other aspects of the question seemed to use be preeminently a matter for the U.N. That was really the purpose of the Minister’s proposal. What the Minster was aiming at was a clear acceptance of the general idea that the further dissemination of nuclear weapons should be checked and a decision by the U.N. Assembly to take up the question of the best means of giving effect to this idea without delay. We had not put down any resolution and would like to hear the views of other governments, particularly governments already possessing nuclear weapons, before doing so. We would be particularly glad to know the attitude of the Government of the United States. I was sure that the Minister would be anxious to take account of the views of the U.S. so far as was consistent with the purpose of his proposal in the hope that, even if the U.S. were not able to vote for his eventual resolution, at least they would not feel obliged to vote against.

Barco said that the: would be very hap y indeed to cooperate with us and would be very glad to tell us frankly what their views were if they knew precisely what we had in mind. I said that I understood that the Minister would be speaking to Scot McLeod and would possibly give him an idea of the kind of draft resolution he had in mind. Barco said he did not want to suggest this should not be done but he thought that, if it were, it would be useful if the same information were given to the U.S. delegation here because they were more directly in touch with the sections of the State Department which dealt with U.N. affairs. If I were able to give him any idea of the kind of draft resolution we thought of putting down, he would be glad to consult Washington and let us have their comments and perhaps, also, suggestions for our consideration. I said I would mention this to Dublin and would possibly be communicating with him again.

I have since received your cable No. 43, and I hope to contact Barco again next week.

In the meantime, I have an appointment with the French Ambassador for the afternoon of the 29th June and am having lunch with the Canadian Ambassador on the 30th June. I will let you know their attitudes in due course. Several other delegations, including those of India, Indonesia, etc., have spoken to us appreciatively about the proposal. Mr. Mitra of the Indian delegation said he thought they would be interested in co-sponsoring the proposal. I hope to see the Indian Ambassador also next week, when I will ask him about this.

Mr. Kennedy had a conversation with Mr. Lash of the “Daily News” about the proposal the other day. He is sending you the text of the article which Mr. Lash wrote following the interview.

Yours sincerely,


[Frederick H. Boland]

Boland gauged opinion at the UN and assisted in preparing the ground for Aiken’s campaign in the XIVth Session in the fall of 1959. Ireland cultivated the UN Secretariat, notably Dr. Protitch, who evaluated the Irish proposal as helpful. Likewise, intimations from the Eastern bloc were positive. The Irish Permanent Representative consolidated links with the second-in-command of the U.S. mission to the UN, James W. Barco, to enable a constructive dialogue with the Americans to fashion a resolution they could tolerate

Document Information


National Archives of Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs/5/313/36B, Confidential Report Series, Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 1959. Contributed by Mervyn O'Driscoll.


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