25. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2
- TWA Hijacking
Attached is a cable from American Embassy Tel Aviv which provides an excellent assessment of continuing Israeli concern about the TWA hijacking. In summary, the following points are made:
- -There is little discernible forward motion towards obtaining release of the two Israeli passengers still held by Syria.
- -A violent Israeli public reaction with dangerous repercussions for TWA and the US could occur if the TWA pilot departed from Damascus.
- -It will become increasingly difficult to convince Israel that relying on the US is the best way to gain release of the two prisoners.
- -Israel may attack a prominent target like the Damascus airport if it concludes that the two Israelis will never be released.
The Ambassador warns, and I concur, that we must intensify efforts to gain the release of the two prisoners, preferably prior to the visit of Prime Minister Meir next Thursday. He recommends specifically that we:
- -prevent the election of Syria to the Security Council.
- -warn other governments (especially the Soviets) and international organizations that we are losing patience and are seriously considering strong diplomatic sanctions against Syria.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 331, Hijackings II. Secret. Nixon wrote “I agree” in the margin next to the last two recommendations and instructed Kissinger to “follow through.”↩
- Kissinger summarized Embassy Tel Aviv’s assessment of the TWA Flight 840 hijacking in telegram 35088 and attached to the memorandum a retyped copy of the telegram.↩