University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Innsbruck, June 9, 1985

Opposite Views in the Atlantic Alliance

At the conference of NATO foreign ministers in Portugal, seemingly insurmountable differences of opinion within the Atlantic Alliance have openly come to light. While the European members of the Alliance urged that the SALT II Agreement, which until now has not been ratified, should be complied with, they could not decide, especially pressured by France, to participate in President Reaganís SDI project. In this regard, America and Europe appear to go divergent ways in the years ahead.

Sunday, June 16, 1985

A Horrifying Odyssey

In the Eastern Mediterranean a hijacking drama is again taking place. On Friday, a TWA plane on its flight from Athens to Rome was hijacked by Shiite extremists. For three days, the Boeing 727 with 150 passengers on board has been going through a horrifying odyssey, flying erratically back and forth between Algiers and Beirut. While about 100 passengers have been set free, mainly 40 American male passengers are being kept as hostages. The terrorists are using the American hostages as pawns to force the release of Shiite internees from Israeli prisons. One can only guess what these people on board are going through.

June 17, 1985

Allegedly with the help of Shiite supporters, the terrorists have taken the hostages from the plane and are keeping them in a number of hideouts in the slums of Beirut. The situation reminds one of the hostage taking in Tehran six years ago. It is not to be ruled out that this time the Reagan Administration will retaliate and intervene in Beirut. Meanwhile, the hijackers are insisting unyieldingly that 700 Shiite prisoners be released. To find a solution, backstage negotiations by various intermediaries will be needed.

June 30, 1985

The hostage drama has come to a conclusion without bloodshed. This afternoon, a convoy with the hostages under the supervision of the Red Cross was on its way from Beirut to Damascus. In a hectic, secret diplomatic activity during the last few days, the release of the American hostages in Beirut was negotiated. Israel agreed to release 730 Shiite prisoners, and the United States promised not to launch a military retaliation against Lebanon after the hostages are set free. The Syrian President Hafez al-Assad took on the role of intermediary. He agreed to receive the hostages in Damascus and guaranteed their safe flight to Frankfurt. On the late evening news, one could see pictures how the convoy with the hostages arrived in Damascus. In the course of this hijacking gruesome scenes have taken place. Only now one can heave a sigh of relief that this hostage drama is over.

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