90. Memorandum from Samuel M. Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Munich Situation as of 5:30 EDT

The latest unconfirmed news report is that the terrorists and the hostages have been taken to the Munich airport. No further details are yet available. The terrorists reportedly continue to stand firm on maintaining that the remaining Israeli hostages will be killed unless Israel agrees to release some 200 Arabs currently under detention for political offenses. Meanwhile, all Olympic competitive events have been suspended pending the outcome of the negotiations and final decisions on the continuation of the games reportedly will be made tomorrow.

Our embassy in Tel Aviv reports that the Israeli public appears stunned. They expect that if more Israeli lives are lost the reaction in Israel will be extremely bitter and could transcend the fedayeen issue and bring on a souring of public attitudes toward any efforts to reach peace with the Arabs. The West Germans, at all times a sensitive subject in Israel, also could be expected to come in for their share of Israeli bitterness. Nor does the embassy think that the Israelis are very likely to forgive their own security forces for allowing an attack on the team, given reported prior warnings of the German security services.

State is at a loss over how to apply effective leverage on the terrorists. The best they could come up with today was a cable to the major European capitals plus Jidda and Kuwait (the big financial contributers to the fedayeen) calling on them to use whatever influence they may have in Arab capitals or elsewhere to bring pressure to bear on the terrorists. Secretary Rogers and Department spokesmen have also made the appropriate remarks of outrage in public. We have offered our assistance to the Israelis, but so far they have not asked.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 368, 1976 Olympics. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Hoskinson reported on the Israeli hostage situation in Munich and commented that the Department of State was at a loss over how to apply pressure on the terrorists.