3. Telegram 8296 From the Department of State to the Consulate in Montreal1 2


  • ICAO Meeting on ME Aviation Incidents


  • State 6001 (NOTAL)


[Page 2]
Info received to date re Jan 2 Lebanese complaint to ICAO Council about Dec 28 raid on Beirut Airport indicates Lebanese rep at Jan 20 Council meeting will call for application of following sanctions against Israel: (a) expulsion of GOI from ICAO membership through amendment Chicago Convention at extraordinary ICAO Assembly; (b) Council request that member states refuse air navigation services to Israeli aircraft under their bilateral air transport agreements.
Israeli counter-complaint submitted to ICAO Council Jan 14 accuses Lebanon of violating international obligations under Chicago Convention qte by harboring in its territory terrorist organization that has accepted responsibility for committing acts of violence and for other threats against Israel civil passenger aircraft, thereby constituting grave danger to international civil aviation unqte. GOI requests Council consider and take prompt measures to protect international civil aviation from such incidents as July 23 El Al hijacking and Dec 26 attack [Page 3] on El Al aircraft in Athens, and to insure GOL and other govts concerned fully discharge their responsibilities in this regard. Israeli Embassy informs us GOI thinking tentatively of seeking to have Council President work out consensus condemning any illegal interference with international civil aviation.
We believe ICAO Council should avoid political debate and concern itself with technical aviation aspects of general subject raised by Lebanese and Israeli complaints, i.e., question of ensuring that international civil aircraft, their passengers and crews, and facilities required for their operation be safe-guarded against all illegal interference. Preliminary soundings with Canadians, Australians, British, Dutch, Germans and Italians here and in Montreal show them generally in favor of this approach. We hope you will be able attract additional support for it among other Council members in days to come.
Following points comprising US position on this matter are provided for your use. Info addressees, located in countries represented on ICAO Council, may draw on them in [Page 4] answering inquiries or discussing subject with host Govt officials. (a) UN Security Council is proper body to consider political aspects of subjects raised by GOL and GOI. SC has already done so, having adopted RES 262 unanimously on Dec 31. USG position was expressed very clearly at that time. (b) Bearing in mind ICAO’s specialized technical character, we believe ICAO Council should engage in effort to safeguard international civil aviation from all illegal interference and not allow itself be drawn into discussion of political matters already dealt with in proper international forum. (c) ICAO now looking into legal aspects of hijacking problem and US seeking bring into force International (qte Tokyo unqte) Convention on Crimes Aboard Aircraft and proposing additional protocol on hijacking. Problem now before Council, however, involves number issues not covered in these efforts and which should be considered in their entirety. (d) Most Council REPS have not been available in Montreal for informal discussion and consultation prior to Jan 20 meeting. [Page 5] It therefore desirable allow sufficient time for such consultation to take place after hearing statements of complainants and preliminary views of member states at initial meeting(s). We hope by time Council meets again on this subject agreement would develop in favor of defining problem in broad, non-political terms and referring it to Special Committee or Working Group. (e) US not prepared support sanctions or exclude or suspend any member state.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Limited Official Use. Repeated to 25 posts and the U.S. representative to ICAO. Drafted by Thomas J. Carolan, Jr. (IO/UNP) on January 19; cleared in NEA/IAI, E/OA/AL, NEA/ARN, L/UNA, IO/UNP, and L/SCA; and approved by Popper (IO).
  2. The Department informed posts that at the ICAO meeting Lebanon would seek sanctions against Israel for the Beirut airport raid and gave details of Israel’s counter-complaint on the Athens El Al hijacking. The Department stressed its position that the ICAO should avoid political debate and concern itself with the technical aspects of aviation security.