China and the IRA in the 1960s January 4, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in The Left.
This report in today’s Irish Times is intriguing. There’s been mention before of how the IRA in the 1960s made approaches made to the PRC. But this notes:
The fascinating tale came in a blog posting by China scholar Chris Connolly, who uncovered the information six years ago while researching in the archives of the Chinese foreign ministry (see iti.ms/19FfGAW).
On September 16th, 1964, Seamus Costello of the Irish Republican Army stood outside the door of the newly opened Chinese embassy in Paris, bearing a letter from the paramilitary organisation’s chief of staff, Cathal Goulding.
This letter was a remarkable document. It requested Chinese assistance in the “Irish struggle against British imperialist rule and to establish a democratic people’s republic”.
And the nature of that assistance? “Military aid, help with training for guerilla warfare, coaching for IRA members in the use of printing presses for distribution of propaganda”.
Connolly’s research and analysis can be found here.
Perhaps what this underlines is the ideological heterodoxity of the IRA at that point in time – albeit that it was clearly shifting leftwards at a rapid rate of knots, and its willingness to gain assistance from a wide range of formations and nations without over due regard to their political orientation as long as it was perceived as anti-imperialist. It also perhaps suggests that future identification with Moscow was perhaps not as pre-ordained and as inevitable as later seemed to be the case. Connolly has some interesting and persuasive conclusions as to why the Chinese might have been resistant to the appeals of Costello and Goulding. Well worth reading.