US Secretary of State doesn’t “see the need for someone fulltime”

Despite the suggestion in the Belfast Telegraph report, the statement by Assistant Secretary of State, J P Crowley, that “She is the Secretary of State, not a special envoy”, is not contradicted by the quotes from US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. From the Belfast Telegraph

Mrs Clinton said that the progress made since the Good Friday Agreement was forged means that the special envoy role has changed dramatically from the days when her husband first appointed George Mitchell to the post. “The problems that the continuing efforts toward finalising the agreements in the Good Friday Accord are really up to the parties themselves, and certainly in consultation with the British Government and, to a lesser extent, the Irish government,” she said. As such, she said that she doesn’t “see the need for someone fulltime”.

The key to understanding the previous mis-briefings is that this represents a climb-down by Hillary Clinton from her previously stated position noted by Brian, and an acceptance of the position as stated by Barack Obama – which caused such outrage at the time amongst certain Irish-American lobbyists.

In particular, the Clinton-supporting Niall O’Dowd.

Irish Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd, who supported Mrs Clinton in the Democratic primaries, said the statement was unclear but warned that any weakening of US input in the North would be “completely unacceptable” to Irish-Americans. “A special envoy continues to be vital and necessary,” he said. “Wholehearted American support and involvement will also be vital in resolving the upcoming issues of policing and devolution.”

Adds Niall Stanage on the exaggarated importance of the Irish-American vote, and that of the influence of the Irish-American lobby.

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    your ‘futuring’* on the issue of Hilary’s visit is looking pretty good at the moment.

    *an activity previously deemed on Slugger to be a despicable practice.

  • Brian Walker

    What on earth does Northern Ireland need a US envoy for these days?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    we ‘need’ one until at least the GFA(STA) have been implemented – it is an international treaty after all so until Police and Justice is transferred from a Nationlaist perspective the Englzes have to be kept honest. With the Labour party that has not been much of an issue up until now, but with the ‘pro-Union’ PoshboyDC waiting in the wings and the potentially right wing (once they get their hands on the levers of power) government-in-waiting then Englezes arses may need to be smacked.

  • Pete Baker


    I’ve told you about misrepresenting what I’ve said before.

    What I actually said, in response to the futuring of others, was that she “may or may not visit”.



    But when you’re campaigning and want to keep onside the Irish-American lobby, such as it is..

  • Oh my God!

    [i]Niall Stanage on the exaggarated importance of the Irish-American vote, and that of the influence of the Irish-American lobby.[/i]

    He talks about that matter for all of 15 seconds. He says it’s a personal opinion and goes on to provide nothing more than anecdotal evidence. That’s not good enough, Pete – where are your facts? Let’s have a link also….

  • Brit

    “then Englezes arses may need to be smacked.”

    Bit racist. How would you react to the “Paddies/Taigs arses need to be smacked”

    Forget about the English. If you want to realise your dream of a UI you need to persuade the Prods that they are Irish.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Fenians, Taigs, Brits , Paddies*, Prods all used quite liberally on Slugger and like my use of the term is meant light-heartedly.

    *e.g. Unionist Paddies – they being the ones you feel need eduaction/persuasion.

  • wild turkey

    ‘What on earth does Northern Ireland need a US envoy for these days’

    C’mon Brian, given your journalistic experience, you must appreciate that some constituencies and individuals have ‘special’ requirements for a platform to satisfy compulsions to grandstand and other forms of political handjobbery.

    ‘He says it’s a personal opinion and goes on to provide nothing more than anecdotal evidence. That’s not good enough, Pete’

    How, reassuring to see that self-reflection in an irony free zone can flourish on Slugger.

    anyway, folks…why should there be a need for a full-time envoy, (special,regular or medium-rare) when there is not exactly a full-time assembly? From what I reckon, for the second 1/2 of 2009 the assembly is open for business approximately 13 weeks.

    See below.

    Halloween, priceless. Off thread I know but..Does anyone know if the empty chamber can be hired out for a halloween party?

    Summer 2009:
    4 July 2009 to 6 September 2009
    (Business Committee – 8 September 2009)
    (First Plenary Sitting – 14 September 2009)

    Halloween 2009:
    24 October 2009 to 1 November 2009
    (Plenary Sitting – 2 November 2009)

    Christmas 2009:
    12 December 2009 to 3 January 2010
    (Business Committee – 5 January 2010)
    (First Plenary Sitting – 11 January 2010)

  • Clay Davis

    What a hoot. If O’Dowd had a source other than himself for this story, it goes to show just how out of the loop he is. More plausibly, if he made up the story in order to see if it could gain some traction within State Department circles (see his completely unfounded story about Kathleen O’Toole becoming head of the PSNI), it just goes to show how little influence he has within the State Department, to say nothing of the White House.

  • Brian Walker

    sammy and others, Yes I do understand that J&P are still to be devolved, but not for want of the Brits trying. What can the Americans do about it? What pressure, what incentive can they offer? What US constituency is rewarded? This all seeems to me to self-important introverted nonsense, old reflexes twitching. The Bel Tel even carried a recent editorial welcming the idea of Mrs Clinton as envoy. Daft on two grounds, why her, why envoy at all? Mrs Clinton is not knowlingly modest about her achievments. I see her or someone trying out the idea of a brief ritual stop-over to crown her single-handed success in completing devolution if or when the time comes. But in the real world, does anybody think the prospect of dangling Mrs Clinton before them would tip the balance with the brothers and sisters st Stormont? No! Hold out for the full Obama! Preferably with (safe)fireworks, Bono, Van the Man, Snow Patrol etc etc…..

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    we now have a Labour government – as far as we can tell the UUP/Tory crypto party dont think that Norn Iron politicans are ‘ready’ to run another department, such as justice, when they cant run education etc.

    This in my view is an arguement of convienence, but like all the best such arguements has some truth in it. It allows Wee Reggie to face in two directions at the same time anti and pro agreement – not a bad way to face when going into a 3 way Unionist election dog fight.

    From PoshBoyDC side of the fence the people who murdered his friends and colleagues will be in an adminstration that ‘runs’ the police and I suspect, although he will never say it publically, he shares some at least of the standard Daily Telegraph line that the Provos should not be indulged further.

    And then there is Jimbo(TUV) reminding Deputy Dodsy of his not in a “political liftime” view of events.

    So there may be trouble ahead even implementing Police and Justice and a yankee with an eye on proceedings is, from a Nationlaist viewpoint, a good/reasonable insurance policy, and particulalry one who is Nationalist friendly.

  • Brian Walker

    Sammy,stop clinging to nurse, you’re a big boy now take it, (though sammy as an precocious teenager is an entertaining thought). The “Yankees” won’t give a damn unless the whole shebang goes belly-up – which it won’t. The US Secretary of State has literaly hundreds of better things to do than monitor what people still call mystifyingly the “peace process.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    that is advice you could has passed to messrs Blair and Brown who seem to need the comfort blanket of the ‘special relationship’ to get them through those difficult times when it seems no one loves them in the big bad nasty world of foreign affairs.

    The reality is, in politics domestic and foreign, anyone with sense utilises whatever and whoever they can to get their way.

    The Democrats, and particularly Bilbo and Hillers have form and we (ie Nationalism) should try to benefit it from it, particulalry with a new right wing government waiting in the wings who seem to be making, occasional and funny Unionist noises.

  • It was kind of Pete to link to my appearance on BBC NI last year but, even if he had not, I would want to praise the perceptiveness of his take here, which puts the Bel Tel to shame.

    Specifically, this par from the Bel Tel story is totally perplexing:

    Ironically, Mrs Clinton’s comments came hours after the Irish-Echo newspaper in New York reported that her second-in-command — Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley — had dismissed the idea of her being the envoy, saying “she is the Secretary of State, not a special envoy”.

    Crowley said she wouldn’t be a special envoy. HRC herself then very clearly indicated she wouldn’t be a special envoy. In what way is this “ironic”?

    More generally, it seems to me that this kind of shoddy reporting is fuelled by the puerile and rather sad mindset that is constantly seeking reassurance that we Irish are still important in mainstream American politics. We’re not.

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks Niall.

    To be fair[?] to the Bel Tel, they were far from the only outlet to follow O’Dowd’s mis-direction.