WASHINGTON (Sep. 5)
The White House and Congressional leaders issued statements today denouncing the kidnapping and killings of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games by Arab terrorists. Many also urged suspension of the games. Secretary of State William P. Rogers and White House spokesmen, in telephone conversations with Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin and Avner Idan, Minister at the Israel Embassy here, offered what ever help they could.
Ronald Ziegler, the White House press secretary, told newsmen that President Nixon had expressed a “deep sense of outrage” over the terrorist act. Ziegler said “We deplore this development. We cannot see how the games can continue until this matter is resolved.”
Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential nominee, said he was “sickened by this outrage.” The Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee, Sargent Shriver, cabled Avery Brundage, the outgoing Olympic chairman, urging suspension of the games. George Bush, the US ambassador to the United Nations, also condemned the attack in Munich.
Following Rogers’ statement of condolence to the families of the Israeli victims, State Department spokesman Charles Bray said the terrorists should be “seen as they are–brigands, murderers and outlaws.” He called the attack “an intolerable affront to human society” and said any assistance to the Arab terrorists “should be dried up.”
VILE AND BARBARIC
Asked whether the State Department planned to intercede with the Arab governments. Bray said that the department would take any initiative that would be “useful and appropriate” but that he would not reach a conclusion at the present time on suggestions to the Arab governments.
Democratic Senate leader Mike Mansfield and Senate Republican minority leader Hugh Scott urged cancellation of the remainder of the Olympic games. Mansfield said the games should be cancelled “in memory of those killed.” Scott, describing the Munich attack as “vile and barbaric,” suggested that the United Nations “summon enough courage to join in the condemnation of this inhumanity.”
Sen. Jacob Javits (R. N.Y.) expressed the hope that “the world will hold strictly to account any nation, Arab or otherwise, which gives sanctuary or approval to these murderers.” Sen. Charles Percy (R. Ill.), said that the attack was “an outrage against humanity.” He urged Arab leaders to halt “these senseless attacks.”
At the Israel Embassy, Idan said that the Israel government had directed its envoys abroad to contact national Olympic committees and to urge them to stop the games. Idan said it would be “unrealistic and unbelievable” for ten people to be in danger of losing their lives, presumably a reference to the hostages, “while 500 feet away games are taking place.”
Idan added that Rogers and other State Department officials had “full understanding for our request” and noted that within an hour after discussions with the US officials, the Olympic committee in Munich suspended the games for 24 hours, Idan said he could not say that the suspension was because of the US initiative but the fact was that the games were suspended after the US pledge to Israel of support for such suspension.
LATE NEWS BULLETIN
West German police sharpshooters killed or captured the five Arab terrorists freed their hostages during a shoot-out late this afternoon between the police and terrorists at a NATO air base near Munich.