Subject: Action Against International Terrorism
The Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism has been able to register further progress, beyond that described to you in our initial report of November 7.
Domestic Measures. Consistent with its
coordinating function, the Committee’s major success has been in
bringing into focus the wide range of problems with which
international terrorism confronts us and in assuring maximum overall
effectiveness as governmental agencies execute their respective
responsibilities. Noteworthy achievements include:
- Justice-DOD Agreement. An agreement, dated November 22, delineates how the Defense Department will make assistance available to the FBI in the event of a terrorist emergency. Other preparations: (a) draft Presidential Proclamation and Executive Order should troops be needed; (b) FBI equipment checks at Aberdeen and elsewhere; and (c) alerting of military commanders.
- PL 92–539 Guidelines. In implementing the law providing federal “protection” for some 137,000 foreign officials, the FBI has been assigned the federal investigative jurisdiction concurrent with that already held by local law enforcement authorities. The latter have been so notified and 150 of them will confer at the FBI Academy in mid-January. State Department procedures for designating “official guests” have been published in the Federal Register.
- FBI Contingency Plans. In the event of a terrorist strike, FBI agents are ready. A report on November 24 of a possible “Lod-type massacre” at Chicago [Page 2]airports proved false, but it was for FBI a useful dress rehearsal, e.g. command post set up in 15 minutes, and 160 agents in place in 40 minutes.
- Protection at UN . In accordance with Ambassador Bush’s request, the Executive Protective Service, despite budgetary and manpower stringencies, continue its coverage in New York until the end of the General Assembly. No significant incidents occurred.
- Security for Diplomats. Talks continue with the Israeli, German, Indian and other diplomatic missions which might be vulnerable to terrorist attack. The Yugoslavs were satisfied with steps taken by the FBI to deter anti-Titoist demonstrations November 29.
- Visa Vigilance. The suspension of the transit-without-visa practice has been extended until July 1, 1973. To date, 15,690 visa applications have undergone special screening. One Arab activist evaded the screening, but was promptly apprehended and persuaded to depart the country.
- Letter Bombs. A valuable in-depth study of the letter bomb menace was produced by CIA. Special arrangements for alerting the Jewish community have been made. There have been no recent letter bomb incidents in the United States, but a batch of 72 letter bombs, many of them with American addressees, was intercepted by authorities in India.
- DOT’s Anti-Sky-Jacking. Given public and Congressional clamor following the Southern Airways episode, DOT’s stiffened anti-hijacking program was announced December 5 and highly welcomed. It envisages 100 percent screening of passengers and hand luggage as of January 5. Meanwhile, State Department procedures for handling international sky-jacking activities have been updated.
- Distilled Intelligence. A valuable weekly report summarizing and evaluating the voluminous influx of intelligence regarding international terrorism has [Page 3]been developed by CIA. FBI is contributing a weekly input from its nationwide organization.
International Measures. Most governments
deplore international terrorism, but translating that abhorrence
into a legal international consensus has been disheartening.
Extraneous political factors came into rather reprehensible play
when, despite the strenuous exertions of Ambassador Bush and his associates, the United
Nations on December 12 voted 74 to 36 for a resolution to study
terrorism’s “underlying causes.” As one European diplomat states,
“We lost this battle, but the campaign must go on.”—both in the
United Nations and outside. Encouraging developments include:
- NATO Consultations. In response to our suggestion, more than 50 experts from the United States and other NATO nations consulted regarding terrorism at Brussels December 13–14. Expanded cooperation is planned, e.g. intelligence machinery, information on visa rejections, anti-terrorist special units, and exploitation of scientific technology.
- Focus on ICAO . We shall press for a meaningful aviation security enforcement convention at the January 9–30 meeting of the ICAO Legal Committee at Montreal. The French and others are reluctant to endorse sanctions, suggesting instead that states not accepting the obligations of the Hague Convention be expelled from ICAO. Worldwide revulsion against skyjacking, punctuated by strong feelings of pilots everywhere, offers hope that ICAO will be more productive than the UN.
- Deterrence in Cuba. Of significant value is Cuba’s increased antipathy toward American hijackers; U.S.-Cuban negotiations are in themselves having a deterrent effect.
- Canadian Cooperation. Canadian comradeship in the crusade against terrorism has been impressive—at Brussels, at UNGA, at Montreal, and in bi-lateral [Page 4]plans for discussing on January 8 trans-border anti- sky-jacking procedures. The Canadians registered appreciation for communications facilities which we made available during the Air Canada hijacking incident at Frankfurt.
- Latin Cooperation. South American interest in cooperation against international terrorism has been reflected a UNGA, during discussions with the Inter-American Defense Board, and in the prospect of discussions with an ad hoc Committee of the Organization of American States.
Our judgment is that we are making progress against the recent upsurge of international terrorism. However, there are many goals still to be reached and we must continue our best team efforts. All of the agencies represented on the Cabinet Committee have participated wholeheartedly, and continue to do so. Your kind words following our last report have provided encouragement.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 310, Subject Files, Cabinet Committee on Terrorism, September 72–July 73, 1 of 1. Confidential.↩
- In this memorandum, Rogers noted that the United States was making progress against the recent upsurge of international terrorism and that all agencies on the Cabinet Committee were cooperating appropriately.↩