72. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Mission to NATO1 2


  • CCMS: Aircraft Hijacks


  • (A) USNATO 3292; (B) USNATO 3234
The U.S. will make a major presentation on the problem of aircraft hijacking and sabotage at the CCMS meeting Oct. 19-20. The President is highly desirous that everything possible be done to achieve the most effective level of international cooperation on this important subject and has approved a U.S. effort among our allies to gain their understanding and cooperation in this field.
We intend to brief our allies at the CCMS meeting on U.S. policy and practices with respect to international hijacking and aircraft sabotage. In this smaller grouping we hope it will be possible to achieve a higher level of cooperation and exchange of views than would be possible in the larger ICAO forum. Further, we will brief at the CCMS meeting member countries on specific techniques and methods to foil hijackers including exchange of experience and examine together possible cooperative activities aimed at upgrading the technical capabilities of concerned [Page 2] countries in deterring hijackers and other acts of violence against international aircraft.
It is our intention to gain the support of NATO member countries for U.S. -backed international initiatives, mainly in the ICAO including the drawing up of an international convention aimed at effective prosecution of persons responsible for acts of unlawful seizure of aircraft.
To underline the seriousness of this problem and the importance the President attaches to gaining the cooperation of our allies, Mr. John H. Shaffer, Administrator of the FAA, will personally attend the meeting, assisted by Mr. Charles O. Cary, Assistant Administrator, International Affairs, FAA, along with Department’s Legal Adviser or his Deputy, to conduct the briefing for the CCMS. In keeping with this Presidential initiative and the presence of high-level U.S. officials, we are requesting all of our allies to send to this meeting the highest possible policy-level officials in their countries concerned with this problem to participate in the discussion.
The U.S. will shortly telegraph to USNATO and embassies a short paper outlining our views on hijacking with respect to the topics outlined above. This paper should be circulated by USNATO to our allies with a request that it be given high-level attention and requesting appropriate attendance at the CCMS meeting.
The Ambassador should, at an early date, brief the Permreps on this subject and urge their support for this initiative. The Ambassador should stress that this special briefing and exchange of views is not meant to duplicate the work of ICAO but rather to supplement it and if possible achieve greater cooperation among our allies in this difficult field. The Ambassador should stress that this presentation was requested by the President in keeping with his desire that our allies be fully consulted on major issues affecting the international community. It is our feeling that this topic is appropriate for CCMS treatment since it relates to an area of high technology and is acutely felt among the industrialized [Page 4] countries of the Alliance given their very great dependence on international air travel.
With respect to publicity, we have no objections to it being publicly known that the CCMS will be discussing the hijacking problem, but it is our intention to maintain, in this case, the privacy of the actual discussions which will include descriptions of highly advanced detection techniques. These will be discussed on a confidential basis at the CCMS session.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Confidential. Repeated to all NATO capitals. Drafted by H. C. Blaney; cleared by Moynihan and Stevenson and DOT/FAA, OST, SCI, EUR, E/AV, and Behr in substance; and approved by Springsteen (EUR).
  2. The Department outlined a major presentation on anti-hijacking measures scheduled to be presented at the CCMS meeting in October.