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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 13, 1985

CABLE NO. 469, FOREIGN MINISTER TO THE AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA KATO, 'PROBLEM OF THE RELEASE OF THE AMERICAN HOSTAGES (SPECIAL ENVOY NAKAYAMA’S VISIT TO SYRIA)'

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    In this telegram the Foreign Minister of Japan instructs Ambassador to Syria Kato to prepare for a second visit regarding the American hostages held in Lebanon from Special Envoy Nakayama.
    "Cable No. 469, Foreign Minister to the Ambassador to Syria Kato, 'Problem of the Release of the American Hostages (Special Envoy Nakayama’s Visit to Syria)' ," September 13, 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/280693
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/280693

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Number: 078179-002

Draft Telegram

Drafted:  September 13, 1985

Primary: Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General

To: Ambassador to Syria Kato     

From: Foreign Minister

Problem of the Release of the American Hostages (Special Envoy Nakayama’s Visit to Syria)

No. 469 Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

Re: Your Telegram No. 706

1. When Special Envoy Nakayama met with President Assad on August 11, President Assad said that if the Lebanese prisoners held by Israel were released, it may give some kind of chance for the release of the seven American hostages. The President also said that, immediately after the release of the prisoners, he would like to try taking action. At that very time, the prisoners were all freed on the 10th. In light of this, it is possible to think that the environment for the release of the American hostages is taking a turn for the better. (Incidentally,  according to some media,  two French hostages are to be released soon.)

2. In light of the above, we have decided to send Nakayama to Syria as deputy director of the Japan-Syria Friendship and Goodwill Mission in advance of the group’s visit there, with the change in schedule below, and to have him sound out as appropriate such issues as the progress, following the above, in the problem of the release of the hostages.

Schedule

August 14 Arrives in Syria AF 142

August 18 Departs Syria TU 614

3. In this connection, together with arranging his lodgings, I would like you to obtain for him appointments with President Assad and Foreign Minister Shara and reply by urgent telegram with the results.

4. In addition, I would like you, in obtaining these appointments, to explain to the other side that Mission Deputy Director Nakayama is coming in advance of the mission for such reasons as confirming the state of preparations related to Japan Week and that he hopes also to touch on matters of common concern to both countries when he meets Syria’s leaders.

Passed to United States.

(End)

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