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August 1, 1985

First Middle East Division, 'Briefing Material for Ambassador Nakayama: Problem of the Release of the American Hostages in Lebanon'



Briefing Material for Ambassador Nakayama


Problem of the Release of the American Hostages in Lebanon


August 1, 1985


First Middle East Division


1. The Situation So Far


(1) In January this year, the US side requested – via a visit from the US Embassy’s Counselor Clark to Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Deputy Assistant Minister Kume – that Japan appeal to Iran for the release of the hostages. Deputy Assistant Minister Kume then spoke to Iranian Ambassador to Japan Gavahi, saying that it would be welcome if the Iranian Government were able to exercise its influence in some form for the release of the hostages. Ambassador Gavahi said that he would convey the request to his country.


(2) In April this year, Bureau Director-General Miyake requested the cooperation of the Iranian Government in regard to the matter on the occasion of his visit to Iran.


(3) The Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General strongly appealed to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ardebili, who had come to Japan in advance of the June visit to Japan of Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani. Also, on July 23, Ambassador to Iran Nomura made a request of Second Political Bureau Director Ahani.


(4) On July 17 this year, on the occasion of Minister Abe’s visit to Syria, the Minister made an appeal to Foreign Minister Shara for Syria to work towards the release of the hostages. Foreign Minister Shara replied that there were also President Assad’s instructions and that the Syrian Government was doing its utmost. (We have informed Secretary Shultz of this point via our Ambassador in Washington.)


2. Present Request from President Reagan and Our Response


(1) On the 28th, President Reagan contacted Prime Minister Nakasone by telephone and requested his cooperation in the release of the seven American hostages. In response, the Prime Minister replied that he would do his utmost.  (Later, President’s Assistant McFarlane made a similar request of Ambassador Matsunaga.)


(2) On the 29th, we instructed Ambassador Matsunaga to inform the US side: “Our country intends to make from this point onward the utmost effort in regard to this matter. Minister Abe plans to send immediately a special message to the foreign ministers of Iran and Syria.”


(3) Our side’s response to this matter is as follows:


(a) Minister Abe has sent a special message to the foreign ministers of Iran and Syria.


(b) Dispatch of Prime Minister’s Special Envoy.



A summary from the First Middle East Division of the Japanese government about the American hostages held in Lebanon. This document discusses the correspondence between the United States and Japan regarding the hostages and what steps Japan had taken as of August 1, 1985.

Document Information


Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0631. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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