Downing St Declaration, 1969

JOINT DECLARATION OF
AUGUST 1969
(Down St Declaration)

“(1) The United Kingdom Government re-affirm that nothing which has happened in recent weeks in Northern Ireland derogates from the clear pledges made by successive United Kingdom Governments that Northern Ireland should not cease to be a part of the United Kingdom without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland or from the provision in Section 1 of the Ireland Act 1949 that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. The Border is not an issue.

(2) The United Kingdom Government again affirm that responsibility for affairs in Northern Ireland is entirely a matter of jurisdiction. The United Kingdom Government will take full responsibility for asserting this principle in all international relationships.

(3) The United Kingdom Government have ultimate responsibility for the protection of those who live in Northern Ireland when, as in the past week, a breakdown of law and order has occurred. In this spirit, the United Kingdom Government responded to the requests of the Northern Ireland Government for military assistance in Londonderry and Belfast in order to restore law and order. They emphasise again that troops will be withdrawn when law and order has been restored.

(4) The Northern Ireland Government have been informed that troops have been provided on a temporary basis in accordance with the United Kingdom’s ultimate responsibility. In the context of the commitment of these troops, the

Northern Ireland Government have their intention to take into the fullest account at all times the views of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, especially in relation to matters affecting the status of citizens of that part of the United Kingdom and their equal rights and protection under the law.

(5) The United Kingdom Government have welcomed the decisions of the Northern Ireland Government in relation to Local Government franchise, the revision of Local Government areas, the allocation of houses, the creation of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration in Northern Ireland and machinery to consider citizen’s grievances against other public authorities which the Prime Minister reported to the House of Commons at Westminster following his meeting with Northern Ireland Ministers on May 21 as demonstrating the determination of the Northern Ireland Government that there shall be full equality of treatment for all citizens. Both Governments have agreed that it is vital that the momentum of internal reforms should be maintained.

(6) The two Governments at their meeting at 10 Downing Street today have re-affirmed that in all legislation and executive decisions of Government every citizen of Northern Ireland is entitled to the same equality of treatment and freedom from discrimination as obtains in the rest of the United Kingdom irrespective of political views or religion. In their further meetings the two Governments will be guided by these mutually accepted principles.

(7) Finally, both Governments are determined to take all possible steps to restore normality to the Northern Ireland community so that economic development can proceed at the faster rate which is vital for social stability.”

Source: Persée