April 8 2013
The Honorable John F Kerry
Secretary of State
U. S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20521
Dear Mr Secretary,
For over a year I have monitored the government of the United Kingdom’s efforts to subpoena the documents and recordings of the Boston College Oral History Archive on the Troubles in Northern Ireland as the issue was reviewed by our federal courts.
As you know the Good Friday Accords established a precious, but fragile peace, one which endures despite the accumulated pain and resentment of people who experienced thirty years of tragic violence. The Boston College Archive could be a monument to that troubled time and a means for future generations to appreciated their complicated history and achieve mutual understanding. However, the United Kingdom’s request for the material could have the effect of re-opening fresh wounds and threatening the success of the Good Friday Accords.
Mercifully, the terrible times when events in Northern Ireland led the news headlines are past, but they are not so distant that we should neglect our nation’s role as a steward of that fragile peace. To that end, I encourage you to raise the potential political implications of this request with your counterparts in the United Kingdom and under any circumstances the United States should review whatever materials are shared carefully to ensure that their provision does not undermine the United States’ essential interest in the progress achieved by the people of Northern Ireland.
Cc: The Honorable Eric Holder, Attorney General