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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 01, 1985

CABLE NO. 1347, CHARGE D'AFFAIRS TANABE TO THE FOREIGN MINISTER, 'PROBLEM OF THE RELEASE OF THE AMERICAN HOSTAGES (SENDING OF A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO FOREIGN MINISTER VELAYATI AND DISPATCH OF PRIME MINISTER’S SPECIAL ENVOY)'

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    A telegram from Charge d’Affaires Tanabe to the Foreign Minister in Japan regarding the American hostages in Lebanon and Special Envoy Nakayama’s visit to Iran.
    "Cable No. 1347, Charge d'Affairs Tanabe to the Foreign Minister, 'Problem of the Release of the American Hostages (Sending of a Special Message to Foreign Minister Velayati and Dispatch of Prime Minister’s Special Envoy)'," August 01, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0630. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/270622
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Number: R105011

Primary: Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General

Sent: Iran, August 01, 1985, 14:05

Received: MOFA, August 01, 1985, 20:02

To: The Foreign Minister      

From: Charge d’Affaires Tanabe

Problem of the Release of the American Hostages (Sending of a Special Message to Foreign Minister Velayati and Dispatch of Prime Minister’s Special Envoy)

No. 1347 Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

Re: Your Telegram, Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General’s Telegram No. 610 and Your Telegram, Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General’s Joint Telegram No. 11021

On the 1st, I visited Second Political Bureau Director Ahani and, following your initial telegram, requested that he deliver the message in question and explained to him regarding the dispatch of Special Envoy Nakayama. The other side spoke as follows (Yoshihara accompanied me).

1. International Terrorism

(1) I will deliver Foreign Minister Abe’s message immediately to Foreign Minister Velayati.

(2) Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani expressed Iran’s clear position on international terrorism when he spoke with those involved on the occasion of his visit to Japan. Iran holds that, together with terrorism, we should denounce its roots.

Also, we should denounce terrorism not only in Lebanon, but wherever it occurs. Touching on the support of France and the United States for such terrorists as Rajavi, Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani called on Japan to denounce such terrorism.

(3) Regarding the matter of the seven American hostages, we deny any involvement in it. On the other hand, we would like to point out how much the Lebanese people hate the United States.

Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani, as he said in Japan, did exert some effort for the resolution of the TWA hijacking, but the promise to free 700 persons held in Israel within four days after the release of the TWA passengers has not been kept.

Even the 300 persons temporarily released were taken back at the border to Israel. How does the United States explain breaking this promise?

Of course, the Lebanese people do not react favorably to the breaking of this promise.

(4) In regard to Minister Abe’s message, and other than the above, we will convey to the Japanese side any comment from Foreign Minister Velayati.

2. Special Envoy Nakayama

(1)  Regarding the visit to Iran, I have a positive outlook and would like to report it to the top officials.

In addition, if he is bringing only the personal letter [from Prime Minister Nakasone] for Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani, arranging an audience with Prime Minister Mousavi may be difficult. We will convey your wishes to those involved.

(2) We have no objection to keeping the Special Envoy’s visit secret from the outside. Rather, based on previous experience, we are concerned with the Japanese side leaking it to the press.

In the unlikely event that this visit were to be reported, particularly in relation to the hostage problem or the Iran-Iraq conflict, we would have no choice but to categorically reject the visit.

I wish to emphasize this point.

(3) We think that it is good to think of this visit as a follow-up to Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani’s visit to Japan.

Special Envoy Nakayama may raise any issue, but it would be undesirable for him to emphasize international terrorism alone.

Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani has already made clear Iran’s position regarding this and will have nothing to say about it beyond what he said in Japan.

Passed to United States. (End)

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