Edward Heath –
Photo – US DoD – public domain

On 7 August 1972, Prime Minister Edward Heath instructed his principal private secretary, Robert Armstrong, to inform the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) that they must do far more to win the propaganda war against the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political wing Sinn Fein.  The ‘counterattack should not,’ Armstrong informed the NIO, ‘be limited to the refutation of IRA allegations, but should also seek thoroughly to discredit both wings of the IRA,’ and it required ‘an immediate, sustained and continuing effort every day.’ In particular, Armstrong stressed the importance of ‘using money freely’ to influence key individuals and opinion.1  Exactly how these prime ministerial bribes were used is not known.


  1. Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac, The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers, William Collins, London, 2018, p. 292.

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