U.S. Hails Entebbe Rescue As Combination of Guts and Brains

The United States vigorously defended and hailed last night the Israeli rescue operation in Uganda and described it as “one of the most remarkable rescue missions in history, a combination of guts and brains that has seldom if ever been surpassed.”

As the U.S. was praising the Israeli operation Mexico, in a letter to the president of the Security Council, condemned terrorism but said it rejected “the use of armed force by any state as a means of trying to solve conflicts.” (See separate story)

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, William W. Scranton, told me Security Council that the Israeli rescue operation “electrified millions everywhere, and I confess I was one of them.” He said that the Israeli raid was justified “because innocent people have a right to live and be rescued from terrorists who recognize no law and are ready to kill if their demands are not met.”

FIRST RESPONSIBILITY OF ISRAEL

Conceding, however, that there was a temporary breach of the territorial sovereignty of Uganda,” Scranton said that under the circumstances the first responsibility of the Israeli government was “to protect her citizens, hostages threatened with their very lives, in mortal danger in a far away place.” He detailed the agony of the hostages held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, a country “whose head of state had rejoiced at the slaying of Israeli athletes at Munich called for the extinction of Israel, and praised that madman, Hitler.”

The American envoy called on the Security Council to adopt strong measures against international terrorism and hijacking. He said he believed the Council can do “a great deal” to present terrorism which endangers “peace and security in the world today.”

The rescue of more than 100 hostages held at gun-point at Entebbe also was defended by West Germany. Ambassador Rudiger von Wechmar said his government was greatly relieved when the hostages were freed. He added, however. “We deeply regret the loss of life that occurred” as a result of the rescue operation. Terming the hijacking of the Air France air bus nothing “but a criminal act,” Wechmar called for action in the upcoming General Assembly against international terrorism.

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