52. Message From the U.S. Government to the Iranian Government1

We request that the following message from the highest levels of the US Government be transmitted by the most secure and discreet channels possible to Acting Foreign Minister Bani Sadr for the highest authorities in Iran:

1. As the President has said, our preference remains a peaceful solution, which we are pursuing through the channels that are available to us.

2. Any public trial or governmental trial of US personnel in Iran would result in interruption of Iranian commerce.

3. Any harm to any hostage would result in direct retaliatory action.

4. This message is being conveyed totally privately by the most secure channel available. We do not intend to give any publicity to the message, but we do not want there to be any misunderstanding about the seriousness of our message.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box 106. Top Secret; Sensitive. Transmitted through the Swiss Embassy. According to a June 4, 1980, Memorandum for the File by Precht, the message was transmitted to Bern at 1800 EST on November 23, reached Tehran the next morning, and was given to Bani-Sadr by Lang at 0705 EST, November 24. Precht wrote that “Bani-Sadr read the message and said he would transmit its contents at once to the Revolutionary Council.” (Department of State, Records of David D. Newsom, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Subject Files, 1978–1981, Lot81D154, Swiss Channel) Sick recalled that the United States received assurance within 48 hours that the message had been received and understood. (Sick, All Fall Down, p. 276) In telegram 304399 to Paris, November 23, the Department transmitted instructions that Giscard receive the content of this message through oral communication only for his sole information and that any tapes of the message should be destroyed after delivery. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 23, France 1/79–12/79)