WASHINGTON (Jan. 27)
France was sharply condemned yesterday by the Senate for releasing Abu Daoud, the Palestinian terrorist, and the Carter Administration was urged by the Senate to consult promptly with France and other friendly nations to prevent the recurrence of such an episode. The combined action was taken in a sense-of-the-Senate resolution which was supported by 93 Senators, seven short of the chamber’s full membership. The seven members were absent.
The resolution was adopted after a 20-minute discussion during which its co-authors–Sens. Hubert H. Humphrey (D. Minn.), Clifford Case (R. NJ) and Jacob K. Javits (R. NY)–denounced France’s action as encouragement to terrorists. The leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties joined them in supporting the measure which stated in part that the release of Daoud, a “known terrorist who is accused of planning the massacre of Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972 is harmful to efforts of the community of nations to stamp out international terrorism.”
The resolution added that the U.S. “should consult promptly with France and other friendly nations to seek ways to prevent the recurrence of a situation in which a terrorist leader is released from detention without facing pending criminal charges in a court of law.” The request to consult is not binding on the Administration.
The resolution as adopted was a watered-down version of the original resolution which criticized France for not waiting for extradition proceedings before releasing Daoud. That resolution came under fire from French Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet who protested vigorously against what he termed interference in his country’s internal affairs.
In a brief statement prior to the vote, Sen, Howard Metzenbaum (D. Ohio) said he was disturbed that the original resolution had been softened, saying that France deserved to have been censured. He said he was more concerned about the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, which Daoud is said to have engineered than about friendly U.S. relations with France. “For France to have had this man in their possession….then to find some legal technicalities to let him go…is shocking to me,” Metzenbaum said.
AN ISSUE FOR ALL HUMANITY
In his remarks before the vote in the Senate, Humphrey challenged the French government’s position that the U.S. Congress had no right to enter into what it called an internal affair of France, Humphrey said, “It is an issue in which all humanity has a significant stake if we are to be successful in efforts to protect innocent people from the indiscriminate tactics of terrorism. The French action seriously affects international efforts to combat terrorism.”
Case noted that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which unanimously adopted the resolution before it came to the floor, “took into account the sensitivity of the French.” But, he said, the committee also had “a duty to do more…The committee and the Senate also should take into account the families of the numerous victims of international terrorism.”
The Senate also has “a duty to take into account the need to bolster the campaign against international terrorism,” Case remarked, adding: “The French government’s action is bound to be taken as another sign that France will not take a meaningful stand against a terrorist who has the support of the oil producing nations.”
While the Senate voted, a similar resolution in the House faced delay. The measure, authored by Reps. Robert Edgar (D. Pa) and Paul E. Tsongas (D. Mass). is co-sponsored by 100 other members of Congress. It is presently in the House International Relations Committee chaired by Rep. Clement Zablocki (D. Wisc). Committee sources said no action was possible until the committee organizes this week. Thus, the resolution probably will not be considered by the committee until next week.
OTHERS ISSUE CONDEMNATIONS
In related actions, American labor leaders condemned France’s action. Separate statements expressing shock and revulsion were issued by George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO; Thomas Gleason, International Longshoremen’s Association president; Alvin E. Heaps, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union president; Albert Shanker, American. Federation of Teachers president; and Bayard Rustin, director of Black Americans to Support Israel Committee.
In Beverly Hills, Calif., more than 1,000 members of the Synagogue for the Performing Arts poured 500 bottles of French wine down the sewer outside the French tourist office in what marked the beginning of a boycott of French products and goods. In New York, Rabbi Benjamin Kreitman, executive vice-president of the United Synagogue of America, reported that the organization had cancelled all of its tours to France, “as a matter of Jewish honor.”
In Mexico City, French socialist leader Francois Mitterand told a press conference that the French government’s decision to release Daoud was illogical and wrong. The situation might have been different if Daoud had not been arrested, he said. But once he was arrested the release made no sense.