51. Telegram 147018 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1 2

Deliver at opening of business September 9th

For Deputy Assistant Secretary Rein.


  • CIVAIR: RCAA Meeting
Suggest discussion of following at regional Civil Air Attache meeting and report reaction Department.
As a result of hijackings over Labor Day weekend Department is considering whether an attempt should be made again to get international consideration of sanctions issue. Sanctions might involve boycott of air services to a country failing to punish hijackers or failing to observe Article 11 Tokyo Convention. At same time carriers of that country would not be allowed to land elsewhere. To be effective sanctions would have to be applied by all or virtually all major aviation countries at same point in time. This would involve a convention with “triggering mechanism” applicable to all contracting parties, and with convention entry into force only after all major aviation countries become parties.
Sanctions question got no support at December meeting on hijacking in Washington D.C. involving 12 European countries. At Seventeenth Assembly it also was avoided as highly complex political issue, although proposal in general terms (for study of question) was made by Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Ifalpa. Recent events indicate hijacking becoming a much more severe problem than in past, and number of countries adversely affected rapidly expanding. Consequently, we feel sanctions issue may get more sympathetic hearing than in past.
Merits of government action on sanctions issue should be contrasted with unilateral Ifalpa boycott, an increasing possibility if governments do not deal with sanctions issue. In discussion, should be noted some segments U.S. public, new media (New York Times), and Congress are calling for government sanctions.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 330, Hijackings. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Franklin K. Willis (L/E) and approved by David B. Ortman (E/OA/AVP).
  2. The Department instructed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation and Telecommunications Rein to discuss at the Regional Civil Air Attachi meeting the question of international sanctions against nations assisting hijackers.