103. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1 2

SUBJECT:

  • Measures to Combat Terrorism

In my report to you on September 18, I advised of the initiatives taken or placed in train with foreign governments, our posts abroad, and with intelligence enforcement agencies of the Executive Branch.

High level consultations were undertaken with foreign government representatives here and abroad and with the Secretary General of the United Nations. Discussions were held here with Ambassadors and Charges of nearly 50 countries on ways to tackle the problem of political terrorism; abroad we have approached some 42 governments urging them to get across to Arab governments that the latter cannot evade responsibility for acts of fedayeen terrorists; and I have sent personal letters through our Chiefs of Mission to over one hundred Foreign Ministers, stressing the need for more effective international action and urging widest support for international conventions relating to hijacking. In my opening address to the UNCA, I will emphasize the need for early international action to come to grips with the problem of terrorism. I have urged foreign ministers and other. heads of delegations to focus on this subject in their speeches and a large number have indicated that they will do so.

We have proposed an initiative at the INTERPOL General Assembly now meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, to urge the Assembly to focus on terrorism as an international police problem. Present indications are that the Assembly will agree to a resolution on committing INTERPOL resources.

[Page 2]

On the domestic side, we have taken coordinative action with the intelligence and enforcement agencies of the Executive Branch. Meeting regularly with these agencies (FBI, CIA, INS, NSA, Customs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Secret Service and Treasury), we have reviewed the flow of intelligence from overseas to the domestic agencies, and to local police jurisdictions, and the existing mechanisms for prompt and efficient exchange and follow-up of all possible leads. All these organizations are giving the highest priority to the problem before us. The next meeting of this group is scheduled for 10 a.m., September 26,1972.

Our posts abroad have been instructed to intensify the examination of all Arab visa applicants, and a system has been initiated under which the names of all such applicants will be screened against the records of CIA, FBI, INS, and the U.S. Secret Service prior to the issuance of the visa. The INS is furnishing the FBI with the names and locations of all Arab students currently in the United States.

As a result of past terrorist actions against our personnel overseas, detailed defensive plans against kidnapping and terrorism had been developed. All overseas posts have been alerted to activate these plans. These posts have also been alerted to the threat that explosive letters might be mailed to U.S. installations worldwide and were instructed to implement screening procedures. Descriptions of known types of explosive letters and packages are being furnished all posts.

As I reported earlier, the Executive Protective Service and the local police jurisdictions are providing increased protection to Israeli, Arab, German and Soviet diplomatic establishments throughout the United States. The Secret Service has assumed responsibility for the personal protection of certain distinguished foreign [Page 3] visitors (such as Israeli Foreign Minister Eban, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko, Jordanian Foreign Minister Zayd, Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan, Yemen Prime Minister Al-Aini, Israeli Finance Minister Sapir) coming to the UNGA, as well as to the International Monetary Fund meeting to be held in Washington, September 25-29.

All enforcement agencies, Federal and local, have been advised of the several foreign performing arts groups currently touring the United States, and local jurisdictions have been requested to provide police protection.

I will keep you advised of further developments.

Wllliam P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-8. Confidential. Drafted by Donelan on September 20.
  2. Rogers informed the President of international measures taken to combat terrorism.