7. Telegram 146454 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon1 2

Dept has been advised by Israeli Embassy, on basis telecon from Foreign Office in Jerusalem (Bitan), that TWA Flight 840 on route Rome to Tel Aviv has been hijacked, reportedly by PLFP, and is presumably en route to Beirut. GOI requests we make urgent approach to Lebanese authorities requesting that passengers be handled and released as single group without distinction as to religion or nationality.
Embassy should immediately approach GOL at highest available level to make following points:
If info we have received is correct that hijacked TWA plane will land Beirut, we request GOL to facilitate earliest release of plane, crew and all passengers.
We most specifically request that all RPT all passengers be processed and released as group and that there be no [Page 2] separate treatment of Jewish passengers, whether Israeli or non-Israeli.
Experience shows that rapid processing and release of plane, crew and passengers essential in order avoid inevitable political complications and difficulties which could mount rapidly if release is delayed.
Should aircraft land at Cairo or Amman, post there should make above approach to host Government.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AV 12 US. Confidential; Flash. Repeated Flash to Tel Aviv, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Amman, Montreal, and USUN. Drafted by Atherton; cleared in NEA/ARN, IO/UNP, and E/AV; and approved by Davies.
  2. The Israeli Embassy reported that TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv had been hijacked and was presumed en route to Lebanon. Instructions to Embassy Beirut stressed U.S. insistence that all passengers be treated as a single group.