299. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • Hijacking of Commercial Aircraft


  • Mr. Julian Gazdik, General Counsel and Secretary of the Legal Committee, IATA
  • Mr. Frank E. Loy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Economic Affairs

Mr. Gazdik called me from his vacation home in Vermont in response to my request made to his office earlier in the day. I referred to my earlier conversation with Mr. Hammarskjold and Mr. Gazdik on April 28, 19682 in which I expressed our concern over the increasing number of hijacking incidents. I told Mr. Gazdik that we had had several incidents since that conversation (most involving IATA member [Page 526] carriers), the latest one today.3 We believed that the situation had become so serious that, in distinction to our last conversation, we were now asking IATA to take up with the Cuban Government, through such channels as IATA deems appropriate, the problems of enlisting the cooperation of the Cuban Government in deterring future hijacking. Specifically, we think there would be a deterrent effect if Cuba could return hijackers to stand trial in the US, or other country where the hijacking occurred. I indicated that if the Cubans asked whether this would be a reciprocal arrangement, we could make it such so long as it dealt with like incidents, i.e. incidents involving large commercial carriers, or IATA carriers, or however the matter might be defined.

Mr. Gadzik said he appreciated our concern and he recognized that matters had gotten a little more serious since our April meeting. He noted one immediate caveat, which is that it wasn’t clear to him whether Cuba would be willing to return Cuban citizens. I indicated that I thought that hijacking was still a crime in the US regardless of nationality, but I also noted that most of the hijackers had been US citizens. Mr. Gazdik said he could not act without consultations with Mr. Hammarskjold, but he would try to get hold of Mr. Hammarskjold immediately. (Mr. Hammarskjold is on vacation and out of reach.) Either Mr. Hammarskjold or Mr. Gazdik would call us back on Friday, the 19th.

In response to a question, I told Mr. Gadzik that we would not plan to make public at all this approach to IATA.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, AV 12 US. Limited Official Use. Loy was in Washington; Gazdik in Vermont. Drafted by Loy.
  2. Loy appears to be referring to the meeting on April 25; see Document 297.
  3. Five of six attempted hijackings had been successful since the April meeting. Most recently, on July 17 a DC–8 from Los Angeles to Miami was forced to refuel in New Orleans before continuing on to Havana.