26. Memorandum From the Director of the Office for Combating Terrorism (Isham) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1


  • JAL Hijacking

Summary of Developments

1:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m., October 1

With dawn in Dacca barely three hours off, prisoner/hostage exchanges on the sixth and final tranche have halted, for reasons which we deduce are connected with Mahmood/GOJ tactics to renew the substitute hostage proposal in more specific and weighty terms. The hijackers have protested the delay in delivering the sixth prisoner and are becoming testy. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Vice President Sattar has appeared at the tower.

GOJ efforts to arrange sanctuary for the hijacked aircraft are in the final stages, with overflight permission obtained from India, Pakistan (along with fueling rights), Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Egypt, however, has thus far refused the overflight permission, and the GOJ has asked us to help in securing their agreement. We have instructed Embassy Cairo to do so. The ultimate destination—described by the GOJ only as a “North African country”—is almost certainly Algeria—a point from which the liberated passengers could make relatively easy onward connections.

Four Americans have been released by now (Mrs. Carol Karabian, Mr. and Mrs. John Gabriel, Mr. Kurt Krueger), and six remain on board (Mr. Jenable F. Caldwell, Mr. Joel Chance, Mr. Walter Karabian, Mr. William D. McLean, Mr. Thomas P. Phalen (the US communicator) and Mr. Eric Weiss.

We have been keeping the families and interested Congressmen informed.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Office of the Deputy Secretary, Warren Christopher, Entry P–14, Lot 81D113, Box 7, Memos to WC from Offices/Bureaus. Confidential.