237. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Posts1

149947. Subj: Hijacking Situation.

We are relieved that thus far all passengers and crew on 3 hijacked aircraft have left Jordan, with exception of some 50 to 60 still being held. Before proceeding further, we need answers to number of questions:
Precise identity of all hostages still held, which we should be able to derive here in Washington by process of elimination after following full examination manifest and lists of those who have departed Jordan.
Precise location of hostages. We have had varying reports on this, including report that they are split up and incarcerated in several houses.
In whose custody they are. We assume remaining hostages are being held by PFLP but it possible that PLO security force and/or Jordanian security forces are also involved.
Which organizations are authorized to negotiate authoritively for release of passengers. There seems to be divergence of view between PLOFatah and PFLP on this score, as well as perhaps divergence of views within PFLP itself.
Precise nature of fedayeen demands. In this connection, list of names of persons held by Israel whose release is being demanded by the fedayeen still awaited.
In summary, we cannot make further decisions until we have more facts. Thus far, we are fortunate in having done reasonably well. Overwhelming proportion of passengers have been released with no conditions and deadline has been lifted.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, AV 12 US. Secret; Immediate. Drafted and approved by Seelye, and cleared by Davies and Beaudry (EUR/AIS). It was sent to Amman, Beirut, Bern, Bonn, London, and Tel Aviv, and repeated to Geneva.