222. Telegram 139021/Secto 1 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1 2


  • Khartoum 1495

For the Ambassador from Secretary

1. FBIS June 24 carries item quoting GOS official communique announcing that Supreme Court had confirmed earlier life sentences of BSO terrorists and recommended that penalties to be commuted due to special circumstances of case. Communique adds that in view of various circumstances Nimeiri decided to commute the senences to seven years to be calculated as of day of their arrest. It has also been decided, according to communique, to hand over convicted men to the PLO.

2. If facts are as reported above, you should request immediate appointment with Nimeiri and should say that you are doing so under instructions of USG. At that time, you should express dismay and extreme disappointment over this virtual release of these confessed murderers of diplomatic representatives of two governments, including personal representatives of President Nixon. You may remind Nimeiri of his repeated assurances that appropriate justice would be rendered. Commutation of sentences to seven years and release to PLO is not, in our view, adequate punishment for these confessed and heinous crimes. You may add that, as you had earlier indicated, this action is likely to have serious negative impact on American opinion, including public and congressional.

3. FYI: In the meantime, we are telling press that we are awaiting clarification of reported commutation of sentences and transfer of prisoners to PLO jurisdiction. We will undoubtedly be obliged to make further statement tomorrow since numerous inquiries are anticipated. End FYI.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Policy Files, 1974. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Smith, cleared in NEA/ARP, and approved by Coote.
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger instructed Ambassador Brewer to express dismay and extreme disappointment to President Nimeiri regarding his commuting of the sentences of the BSO terrorists convicted for the murders of U.S. and other diplomats and their release to the PLO.