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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 29, 1985

PROBLEM OF THE AMERICAN HOSTAGES IN LEBANON (PRIME MINISTER NAKASONE’S INSTRUCTIONS TO VICE-MINISTER YANAGIYA)

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    A report detailing Prime Minister Nakasone’s instructions to Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yanagiya regarding Japan assisting in the release of the American hostages in Lebanon.
    "Problem of the American Hostages in Lebanon (Prime Minister Nakasone’s Instructions to Vice-Minister Yanagiya)," July 29, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0631. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/270629
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/270629

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Secret

Report – Presentation

Draft: July 29, 1985

Drafter: Tamagawa

Problem of the American Hostages in Lebanon (Prime Minister Nakasone’s Instructions to Vice-Minister Yanagiya

Problem of the American Hostages in Lebanon

On July 29, there were instructions on this matter from Prime Minister Nakasone to Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yanagiya. They were as follows:

1. On the 28th, there was a telephone call from President Reagan. He first inquired about my health, then the main topic of discussion was the problem of the release of the seven American hostages in Lebanon. President Reagan said that the American hostages were such good American citizens as a university professor, a priest, and a newspaper reporter, which made the matter all the more painful for the American people. That is why, he said, that he wished to have the Government of Japan’s cooperation for the release of the hostages.

In response, I (the Prime Minister) said that I would do my utmost. President Reagan then said that he would like to have President’s Assistant McFarlane explain the matter in detail to Ambassador Matsunaga.

2. In regard to this matter, even if we did not succeed, making positive efforts would be meaningful for our country in dealing with Reagan. Therefore, in consultation with Minister Abe, I would like to take positive measures. In particular, the hostage problem is one of particular concern to the American people, so Japan’s cooperation on this problem is extremely important for the entire Japan-US relationship, including trade friction. In addition, it would be desirable if the fact of Japan’s cooperating on this problem spread through Congressional circles. Therefore, we need to respond immediately on this matter.

3. Concretely, I believe that we need to make strong appeals to Iran and Syria. Together with that, it may also be necessary to propose that the members of Hizballah (Party of God) held in Kuwait not be executed. Also, if Iran really does have influence over Hizballah, I think that we should strongly appeal to Iran for Hizballah not to engage in any future terrorist acts.

4. In any case, we need to pursue talks with Iran and Syria and enter into negotiations on terms and conditions. Also, at that time, [TN: section blacked out]. I am ready to restrain domestic opposition to that. In addition, I would like you to consider dispatching in secret as my special envoy the person I will appoint. (End)

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