Sunday 15 September 2019

State Papers reveal Britain's fury at Clinton for decision to allow Gerry Adams into America


Speech: Gerry Adams was granted a visit to New York
Speech: Gerry Adams was granted a visit to New York

British Government fury at the decision to allow Gerry Adams into America has been laid bare in secret files.

The Sinn Féin president was controversially granted a headline-grabbing visit to New York to speak at a conference in early 1994.

A blistering note from then prime minister John Major's private secretary Roderic Lyne was sent to US national security adviser Tony Lake. It is part of around 500 Cabinet Office files released by the National Archives in Kew.

It reads: "The movement in which Gerry Adams has long been a leading figure has murdered not only thousands of its own countrymen, but also one member of our Royal Family, one Cabinet Minister's wife, two close advisers to Margaret Thatcher and Members of Parliament, two British ambassadors - and small children in our shopping centres."

Then-US president Bill Clinton took "full responsibility" for the decision, described as a "difficult matter of judgment".

Mr Major wrote to Mr Clinton to say Mr Adams "has been closely associated with terrorism for two decades.

"In the Joint Declaration, he was offered a route into the democratic process, and into negotiations with us and with the Irish Government. He and his movement have not taken it. As you will know the evidence is that the IRA intends to continue its strategy of terrorism, and does not have courage to make peace and compete in the democratic arena."

Mr Clinton was under pressure from influential Irish-American politicians, most notably Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy, named as instrumental in pushing for Mr Adams's admission.

In a letter to the president in January, senators Kennedy, John F Kerry - later Barack Obama's secretary of state - Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Christopher J Dodd, make the case for the visit.

Also attached to the bundle was a missive from Canberra suggesting a potential visit by Mr Adams to Australia may go ahead, in light of the US decision. Mr Lyne has scrawled on the document: "I hope the Aussies realise this would be the end of Anglo/Australian relations!"

Irish Independent

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