97. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon1 2


ICAO Conference — I addressed a legal conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at the Department of State this noon, expressing United States Government shock and sympathy with respect to the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. I urged the Conference to work hard to produce a draft convention which would help put an end to aerial piracy and terrorism. There is reason to hope that the Munich events, added to the publicity surrounding the conference and my appearance, may have the effect of galvanizing the conference into success-fully drafting such a convention. For example, the UK, which heretofore has opposed a convention, today put forth a positive proposal.

Munich tragedy stimulates legislative action — We are taking steps to insure that the legislative implications of Munich are thoroughly understood on the Hill. I called Senator Eastland to suggest that we should move without delay on the House version of the Administration’s legislation for the protection of foreign officials in the United States which passed the House this session. David Abshire and Marshall Wright called on Senator Hruska this afternoon for the same purpose. As a result, Eastland and Hruska have now agreed to call a special meeting of the Judiciary Committee tomorrow afternoon at which time the House bill will be approved with the intention of reporting it to the floor for passage on Friday.

We also discussed with Senator Hruska the need to move without delay on his air piracy bill (S. 2567) and on the implementing legislation for the Hague Convention on Hijacking, both of which are languishing in the Commerce Committee. Senator Hruska is totally cooperative, and we will be moving vigorously in the next few days to try to stimulate action in both the Senate and House Committees.


Congressional Reaction to the Munich Tragedy — The Senate today passed by a vote of 83-0 S.Res. 358 which expressed the sense of the Senate on the tragic killings of the Israeli Olympic team members at the 20th Olympiad at Munich. The resolution expressed sorrow and alarm at the episode, condemned terrorism anywhere in the world and called for the U.S. to join with the world in combatting the menace by all available means. Senators Scott and Mansfield took the leadership introducing the resolution and were joined by numerous other Senators.

The House passed an identical resolution, introduced by Congressman Cellar, by a vote of 346-0.

No public criticism of Chancellor Brandt or the German Government has been expressed by members of Congress.

Consultations with Ambassadors on Measures to avoid Terrorism -We called in Ambassadors and Charges from all over the world e.g. UK, France, Germany, USSR, Canada, Latin American countries, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Iran, Kuwait and Jordan to convey U.S. views on the Munich tragedy and to urge them to devote renewed attention to combatting acts of terrorism. We called attention to your sending the Montreal Sabotage Convention to the Senate today and to our appeal to Congress for prompt legislation to strengthen U.S. laws against hijacking and improving protection of foreign officials. We asked for collective effort and any suggestions for a program to develop an effective counter program. Apart from deploring the Munich tragedy most Ambassadors listened intently and promised to query their governments for views and ideas. The Saudi, Lebanese and Kuwaiti Ambassadors cautiously threaded a line between not condoning the violence but not condemning the fedayeen movement outright.
William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, President’s Evening Reading: Lot 74 D 164. No classification marking.
  2. Rogers informed the President of the anti-terrorism initiatives he planned to take after the Municfh Olympics massacre.