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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, January 29, 1981-Page,5
Ambassador hopes letter
won't make Irish angry
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From UPI and AP
DUBLIN, Ireland-U.S. Ambassador William Shannon
said yesterday he hopes the famous Irish sense of hunor will
prevent a fury over an American diplomat's undiplomatic
description of Ireland as a dull, dreary country that was
"small potatoes" in world affairs.
Robin Berrington, the U.S. Embassy's cultural affairs and
press officer, made the critical statements in a private letter
to a friend. But the letter ended up in the hands of The Irish
Times because it was put in a packet of press releases about
President Reagan instead of being mailed.
"IRELAND HAS food and climate well matched for each
other-dull," he wrote. "The one bright spot is the people, but
after two and a half years, they remain unpredictable and
enigmatic despite their easy approachability and charm."
The letter also described Ireland as "pretty small potatoes
compared to the other countries of Europe." No great issues
burn up the wires between Dublin and Washington-"the hot-
test item now seems to be the question whether or not Ronald
Reagan's ancestors really do come from County Tipperary."
The letter also mentions "the high society Anglo-Irish set
who speak as though they had marbles in their mouths" and
"wild-eyed" Irish nationalists "who can see no wrong in
Ireland and no right in the United Kingdom or us."
Berrington said "the high cost of goods, their
unavailability, the dreary landscapes, the constant strikes;
and the long, dark and damp winters combine to gnaw away
at one's enthusiasm for being here."
A GOVERNMENT source described Irish Prime Minister'
Charles Haughey as "disappointed and concerned." A
headline in one evening newspaper read " 'Dull Irish' Starts
Diplomatic Row." And the National Tourism Council and the;
Irish Hotels Federation issued statements critical of the let
Berrington, of Cleveland, is wrapping up a 21/2-year tour
here and heading for a post in Japan. He confirmed he wrote
the letter but would not comment on it other than say its
release was "a mistake-it should never have got out.'
Ambassador Shannon said, " "I like everything about
Ireland, especially including the weather, but I cannot
guarartee the opinions and emotions of all my colleagues." r.
"The Irish are famous for their sense of humor and I think I
shall have to rely upon it in this instance," Shannon said.
The newspaper published the letter yesterday, three days.
after Ireland hosted the returning American hostages during
a refuelling stop.
Winter finally arrived at South Lake Tahoe yesterday and so did dead batteries, stalled and stuck autos, and "fender ben-
lers." Eighteen inches to four feet of heavy, wet snow was dumped on the Tahoe Basin with predictions of more on the way.
$1.6 million awarded
in suit against Ford
Back by popular-demand: short favoritesand classic cartoons from the past to
the present. POPEYE MEETS ALIBABA & THE 40 THIEVES, PAX DE DEUX by
Norman McLaren, Susan Pitt's ASPARAGUS, an Otto Fischinger dancing
cigarette commercial, plus RUBBER CEMENT by Robert Breer, Frank Morris'
FRANK FILM: BEAT ME DADDY, and BIRTHDAY by Mary Cybulski and John
Tintori and many, many more.
7:00 & 9:05 at LORCH
Friday: Pier Paolo Paso]ini's DECAMERON (7:00 & 9:00)
Saturday: THE' EXORCIST at the Michigan, and
SAINT JACK at Lorch Hall
From AP and UPI
The freed U.S. hostages started
returning to their hometowns yester-
day; to the friendliness of small-town
America and to the people they grew up
with. There were miles of yellow rib-
bons, hundreds of "Welcome" signs
and even some,.apple pie from neigh-
"If it helped anyone at all to realize
what freedom means, I think it was
worth it," former hostage Michael
Metrinko, 34, of Olyphant, Pa., told a
cheering crowd in front of the
Lackawanna County Court House.
THE PICTURE of life for the' 52
Americans during 14112 months in Iran
became clearer, meanwhile, as some of
them gave details of their treat-
ment-treatment that apparently
varied widely and included beatings for
Metrinko was greeted at the Scranton
airport by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov.
William Scranton III who said: "A
native sorb has returned home to us, to
the people who love himA most." A high
school band played "God Bless
America" s Metrinko stepped from
the plane onto a 15-foot-long red carpet.
Frederick Lee Kupke, 34, of Fran-
cesville, Ind., got a key to the city when
he landed in Indianapolis. Deputy
Mayor Tom Henry said Kupke has long
had "the key to our hearts." Kupke also
was made a Sagamore of the
Wabash-Indiana's equivalent to a
"THANK YOU very much, from the
bottom of my heart," he said.
Detroit held an airport reception for
returning Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Subic
Jr., 24, and the city transportation
department offered discount fares-$1
round trip-to the airport for anyone
wanting to greet the formerhostage.
MICHIGAN'S other. ex-hostage,
Charles Jones Jr. of Detroit, was not
expected to return yesterday. The city
of Detroit planned to fete both Jones
and Subic with a reception sometime
next week at Ford Auditorium.
Both Jones and Subic were among the.,
23 ex-hostages who have said they will
participate in New York City's ticker
tape parade on Friday.
GRAND RAPIDS (UPI)-A federal
jury yesterday awarded $1.6 million in
damages to an Indiana man who
charged a faulty rear axle in his 1971
Ford Maverick spurred an accident,
that caused him permanent leg and
Kevin Spurgeon, 23, the man injured
in the crash, had sought $20 million in
damages from the Ford Motor Co. The
jury awarded a total of ,$2 million in
damages; but the award was reduced
by $400,000 through Michigan's com-
parative negligence law.
The jury found Ford 80 percent
negligent in the accident and Spu'rgeon
was found 20 percent negligent. An at-
torney representing Ford, Donald
Souter, declined comment on the ver-
dict and said he did not know if the
automaker plans to appeal.
Spurgeon, of Angola, Ind., was
paralyzed from the waist down and con-
fined to a wheelchair after the 1978 ac-
cident which occurred on I-69 near
Coldwater. Another Angola, Ind., man,
Jeffery Gurzynski, was killed in the ac-
Peru attacks Ecuador,
seeks to regain territory
LIMA, Peru (AP)--A border conflict
erupted yesterday between Peru and
Ecuador, with .Ecuador claiming
Peruvian aircraft attacked one of its
frontier outposts and Peru announcing
it was conducting a military operation
in the area.
'he Peruvian announcement came
from F'oreign Minister Javier Arias
Stella after each country accused the
other of armed aggression in the region
of the Cordillera of the Condor, on the
western edge of the Amazon jungle.
IN QUITO, the Ecuadorean gover,-
nment charged that four Peruvian
helicopter gunships supported by two
airplanes attacked an Ecuadorean out-
post yesterday morning and warned it
would defend its territory.
The Peruvian announcement, issued
last night, said Peru was only seeking
to regain Peruvian territory occupied
by Ecuador on Jan. 22.
On that date, Ecuador claimed an
Ecuadorean pilot stationed in Paquislha
was critically wounded by 50-caliber
bullets fired from a Peruvian helicopter
that had "invaded" Ecuador's
*Technicality may cut
ties to hostage treaty
WASHINGTON (AP)-A legal
technicality may free President
Reagan of any obligation under the
hostage agreement to release U.S.
military equipment Iran has paid for, a
State Department official suggested
Acting Assistant Secretary Peter
Constable said the Reagan ad-
ministration may take a position on the
military gear in the next few days.
"THERE IS no obligation stated in
the agreement at any place to return
any specific military equipment," Con-
stable told reporters.
He said the United States is required
to-unfreeze Iranian assets, but said the
military goods still are subject to U.S.
-law that requires federal licenses for
their shipment to Iran.
"The question of the manner of un-
freezing those assets and satisfying the
commitment to return those assets to
Iran is under very active review, par-
ticularly as .it relates to military
spares," Constable said.
HE SAID THE agreement specifies
that release of the assets is subject to
U.S. laws, including one that requires
federal licenses for all military exports.
"This question is under very active
review and there perhaps will be a
definitive position on this in the next
few days," Constable said.
He made the comments after giving
the Senate Foreign Relations Commit-
tee a closed-door briefing on the
agreement that freed 52 Americans last
week after 14 months of Iranian cap-
IN A NEWS conference yesterday af-
ternoon, Secretary of State Alexander
Haig said that because the military
equipment was not specifically
discussed in the agreement, Iran could
be compensated in cash for the U.S.
weapons it has already paid for.
Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), a member
of the committee, said all licenses Iran
had for shipments of U.S. military
equipment have now expired, so they
would have to be renewed.
Glenn said there is "a technical dif-
ference" over whether the military
equipment must be considered assets
the United States agreed to release
automatically or can "be held up under
our other licensing procedures."
SEN. S.I. HAYAKAWA (R-Calif.),
told reporters they should be prepared
for "a big surprise" when Reagan an-
nounces whether he will honor the
But Hayakawa said he has no inside
information on what Reagan will an-
"All I know is that the basic tem-
perament of people like Ronald Reagan
and (Secretary of State) Alexander
Haig is to find some parts of the
agreement, well, unacceptable to them.
"I mean that's the kind of people they
are," Hayakawa said. "In other words
I'm saying that they are likely to see
this whole thing as rewarding Iran for
its defiance of international law."
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