Nixon Appoints Irish Ambassador
by Gerry Shannon
In 1968 President-elect Richard Milhous Nixon appoints his immediate successor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (pictured), as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.
It is an appointment that barely surprises anyone, Kennedy was long rumoured to be keen for the role following his visit to his ancestral home in 1963 during his first term.
In a statement to the press, Kennedy said: Though Ireland is not country I was born in, it is the one I hold dearest in my heart. It will be both a tremendous honor and privilege to to serve both countries in the utmost capacity, I am deeply grateful for President-elect Nixon for this opportunity.
The irony of his praise for Nixon is noted by many in the press, given their close election battle in 1960 - and Kennedy's gratefulness was later seen during his support for Nixon during the Watergate crisis.
In his memoir The Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics, Hubert Humphrey, the defeated Democratic candidate of 1968, would say he had it on good authority Kennedy believed Nixon would win the election, and as such, Nixon promised him the post if Kennedy made barely any campaign appearances on behalf of Humphrey. (It was then-rumoured Kennedy was bitter Humphrey defeated his brother, Robert, in the hard-fought Democratic primaries).
Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline bring tremendous glamour to Irish public life, residing in the American embassy in Dublin but his unprecedented nine-year tenure is best remembered for Kennedy bringing his brilliant diplomatic skills to the table during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
His willingness to engage politicians and representatives of parliamilitaries on both sides draws praise from all quarters, and only heightens the worldwide perception of Kennedy as a peace-maker.
When Northern Ireland was united with the Republic in 1985 with the passing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement, many rightfully feel it is Kennedy's achievements during that turbulent era that inspired - and ultimately led to - lasting peace and the permanent ceasefire of terrorist activities that remains in place today.
In this scenario, a real-life desire of JFK during his Presidency comes true. Though no doubt it took some unprecedented lobbying of a certain Presidential successor for the post.
Gerry Shannon - Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
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