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Cremin, Cornelius Christopher ("Con") 1908- 1987

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June 26, 1959

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

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

December 5, 1961

Report from Seán Ronan to Con Cremin (Dublin), ‘Irish Resolution on Preventing the Spread of Nuclear Weapons’ (Confidential), New York [Excerpt]

Aiken drafted in additional personnel to the Irish Mission to the UN in the run-in to the XVIth UN Session. Seán Ronan, the head of the political and information divisions at headquarters in Dublin, was sent as a delegate to the First Committee of the UN, involving him intensely in Aiken’s non-dissemination efforts. His insider account reveals some of the dynamics and calculations at play in the building, as Ireland managed a balancing act of engineering consensus between East and West. In large part, the Irish Mission crafted the resolution’s language to skirt the issue of alliance nuclear sharing in a bid to manufacture unanimity. The Irish had pondered co-sponsoring a Swedish draft resolution but anticipated that it would face resistance from NATO comparable to earlier iterations of the Irish resolution. Similarly, Ireland neglected to mention a proposed new disarmament committee in the draft resolution – there was no guarantee that it would form and report expeditiously. Finally, by drawing on the instrument of acclamation, the Irish sidestepped French objections and gained universal approval for Resolution 1665 (1961), wrapping the resolution in universal legitimacy. 

November 20, 1958

Letter from Frederick H. Boland to Con Cremin (Dublin) (Private and Confidential), New York

The report of Ireland’s permanent representative to the United Nations to his superior, the secretary of the Department of External Affairs, delivers his account of Aiken’s first (failed) attempt to generate support for a resolution in the Thirteenth UN Session. Recognizing the breadth and depth of opposition, he withdrew his draft resolution and instead requested a simple roll call vote in favor of the second paragraph on 31 October – a modest statement acknowledging that an expansion in the number of nuclear weapons states would be harmful to peace and increase obstacles to disarmament. The measure passed with 37 votes and no opposition, although 44 abstentions were recorded. The Soviet bloc supported the maneuver, while Western-aligned countries abstained.  

December 12, 1957

Confidential Report from Thomas J. Kieran (Ottawa) to Con Cremin (Dublin), ‘Poland and our Policy at U.N.O.’

There was value in Aiken’s advocacy for Ireland to take an independent position in constructing broad-based international support for change. Aiken acted as a potent bridgebuilder between the Western and Eastern camps and also between the Cold War blocs and nonaligned countries. Ireland’s democratic heritage, neutrality and anti-colonial history appealed to many constituencies, not least in Africa and Asia. Even its anti-Communist ideological orientation failed to deter admirers in the Eastern bloc, as they recognized that Aiken was sincere in seeking to propose fresh solutions and reduce international tension. An example of the positive feedback and encouragement that Aiken received is displayed in the attached Irish record of the Polish response.

December 2, 1958

Letter from Con Cremi to Frederick H. Boland (New York) (Personal and Confidential) (Copy), Dublin [Excerpt]

Aiken’s advocacy of consecutive “non-dissemination” resolutions on an annual basis was inspired by his affinity for the “art of the possible,” namely a belief that small, concrete steps would ameliorate international tensions.