The United States of America and Northern Ireland


Jimmy Carter's August 1977 Statement on Northern Ireland

November 29, 2012

Andrew Sanders


During the election campaign of 1976, Jimmy Carter, the former Governor of Georgia, had become somewhat involved in the ongoing issue of Northern Ireland.  Secret British documents from the time portray British concern that the potential election of the first Democratic President since the onset of the Northern Ireland troubles would see the United States take a more active role, under the direction of the influential Irish-American lobby.  Indeed reports emerged that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan had pressed for the inclusion of a section on Northern Ireland in the Democratic Party Platform, although this never materialised.

Carter was seen during the St Patrick's Day parade in New York wearing a badge which read "England get out of Ireland", although his campaign officers claimed this has been placed on him by a rogue Noraid figure.

On 30 August 1977 Jimmy Carter became the first President to speak on the issue of Northern Ireland.  The statement, while very careful, was far more significant because of its existence rather than what it said.

Full text available at the excellent UCSB Presidency Project: