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See Possible U.S. Vote Against Syria’s UN Council Candidacy over Detention Issue

October 17, 1969
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A possibility emerged that the United States vote seating Syria as a member of the United Nations Security Council might be influenced by whether the Syrians release two Israeli passengers detained since Aug. 29 when a TWA airliner was hijacked to Damascus.

State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey told newsmen that the continued detention of the two may be a factor (affecting the American stand at the UN) but I am not committing the U.S. Government on that point.

Mr. McCloskey deplored Syria’s action involving the release of the two Arab terrorist hijackers while the Israelis were kept in custody. He said that “we hope the Syrian Government will realize that its acts are incompatible with its international obligations and will soon release the two passengers held.” The spokesman asserted that the acts constitute “defiance of world opinion and the opinion of the international aviation community.”

Meanwhile, the Organization of Latin American Trade Unions appealed to UN Secretary General U Thant today to intervene with Syria for the release of the two Israelis. The group, meeting here, denounced “air piracy.” It represents trade unions in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Bolivia, Salvador, Ecuador and Honduras.

The wives of the two prisoners, Mrs. Shlomo Samueloff and Mrs. Sallah Muallem, were received today by Roger Davies, a State Department official who deals with Near Eastern affairs. They were scheduled to be received tomorrow by House Democratic leader John McCormack of Massachusetts, Senate Republican leader Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Maine Republican, and other members of Congress. They have an appointment with Mr. Thant at the UN on Monday after which they will see Miss Angie Brooks of Liberia, president of the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Davies assured the women that the U.S. Government was doing everything it could to obtain the release of their husbands.

The continued imprisonment of the two following the release of the two Arab hijackers was depicted yesterday as a “very grave” development by the wives. Mrs. Samueloff, speaking for herself and Mrs. Muallem, said their hopes for reunion with their husbands were falsely aroused when word came of the release of the Arab commandos earlier this week. She said she waited in vain by her telephone for news of their release. Mrs. Samueloff told the closing banquet of the convention of Pioneer Women that time was passing and “the world seems to forget our problem.”

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