NATIONAL HOSTAGE AWARENESS DAY (House of Representatives - September 28, 1989)

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Mr. SAWYER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service be discharged from further consideration of the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 400) designating October 27, 1989, as `National Hostage Awareness Day,' and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Ohio?

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Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, I yield to the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Henry], who is the chief sponsor of House Joint Resolution 400, designating October 27, 1989, as `National Hostage Awareness Day.'

Mr. HENRY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Mr. Sawyer, chairman of the Subcommittee on Census and Population, and Mr. Gilman, the gentleman from New York, for their efforts in bringing this resolution to the floor. While it is legislation for which I wish there would be no cause, I am truly honored to have the opportunity to bring it before the House of Representatives.

In the early months of 1985, while working as the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, Terry Anderson was taken captive in Beirut, Lebanon. At the time, he was 37. Next month, on October 27, he will turn 42--marking his fifth birthday in captivity. This resolution (H.J. Res. 400) seeks to commemorate this day by designating it as `National Hostage Awareness Day.' It is my hope that through appropriate observances on the 27th, we will continue to keep the plight of the hostages in our thoughts and our prayers.

It should also be noted that during that week we will also see the passage of the 1,000th day of captivity for three American professors seized at Beirut University College in West Beirut: Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, and Robert Polhill. In addition, Thomas Sutherland, dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, Frank Reed, headmaster of the Lebanese International School, Joseph Cicippio, deputy comptroller at AUB, and Edward Tracy, an illustrator continue to be held hostage by various other extremist Islamic groups.

Two additional Americans, William Buckley and Col. William Higgins, may no longer be among those who are held hostage, as they are presumed to no longer be alive.

To honor these hostages, this resolution calls for the ringing of bells at noon on the 27th and other appropriate observances--the display of yellow ribbons, and the lighting of porch lights, to name a few of the ways that Americans can demonstrate their solidarity.

I am sure that I speak for all of us when I extend to the hostages and their families our sincerest hopes for the captives' speedy release. In the meantime, we will all keep them in our thoughts and our prayers--especially on this day that this resolution will set aside in their honor.

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, I yield to the gentlewoman from Ohio [Ms. Oakar].

Ms. OAKAR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the major sponsor for this legislation. We should never forget the hostages, and we ought to be hopefully fostering diplomatic activities to release the hostages.

Terry Anderson happens to be, among others, from northeast Ohio, and I can tell the Members that the people in our region every day grieve for him and pray for him along with the other hostages.

I want to congratulate the gentleman. I think it is very important that we keep this issue on the front burner.

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for her supporting comments.

Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, I yield to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Sawyer].

Mr. SAWYER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to bring before my colleagues House Joint Resolution 400, designating October 27, 1989, as `National Hostage Awareness Day.'

At the outset, let me acknowledge the assistance of the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Fascell, in bringing this resolution to the floor today. House Joint Resolution 400 was referred jointly to Chairman Fascell's committee and I would like to submit for the Record, at this point, the chairman's letter waiving jurisdiction without prejudice, to allow the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service to facilitate action on the resolution in a timely manner.

Mr. Speaker, October 27 will be the 42d birthday of Terry Anderson, who served as the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press until his kidnaping on March 16, 1985. Since that day, nine other Americans in Lebanon have been seized as hostages; one has been killed and another is presumed dead.

Adoption of a resolution to intensify our Nation's continuing awareness of the terrible plight of American and other foreign hostages in the Middle East is enormously important. As we set aside 1 day to remember Terry Anderson in his fifth year of captivity, we must increase our efforts every day to secure the release of all innocent people held hostage in Lebanon.

The turmoil in the Middle East, both among and within nations, is historically deep and culturally complex. Too many forces with epic dimensions--religious, political, and military--have divided the region for too long, but the quest for peaceful coexistence and stability goes on.

But the seizure of innocent people as hostages will do nothing to further the cause of those who seek recognition in the Middle East. To the contrary, the United States and its allies can do little to promote genuine peace and understanding in the region in an environment where innocent people are held as pawns at the balance point in a frightful game of international coersion.

As we set aside 1 day to remember and pray for those who have become innocent victims of the unrest in the Middle East, let us renew our efforts at the national and international levels to win the release of our hostages and bring them home safely.

The letter follows:

Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Washington, DC, September 21, 1989.

Hon. William D. Ford,
Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to inform you that the Committee on Foreign Affairs will forego action on H.J. Res. 400, designating October 27, 1989 as `National Hostage Awareness Day', without prejudice to the Committee's jurisdiction.

It is my understanding that due to the timeliness of this resolution, the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service would like to bring this matter before the House under suspension of the rules as soon as possible. Therefore, I have no objection to the consideration of this measure and would request that you make our correspondence on this issue a part of the record during Floor consideration.

With best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Dante B. Fascell,

[TIME: 1600]

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, I rise to express my strong support for House Joint Resolution 400, designating October 27, 1989, as `National Hostage Awareness Day' and I commend the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Henry] for sponsoring this resolution.

Our Nation has had enough, Mr. Speaker. Eighteen American citizens have been kidnaped in Lebanon since 1982. Seven have escaped or been released, Peter Kilburn was found dead in April 1986, and 10 remain in captivity or are presumed dead.

Terry Anderson, Thomas Sutherland, Frank Reed, Joseph Cicippio, Edward Tracy, Jessee Turner, Alann Steen, and Robert Polhill will not be forgotten. The scourge of state-sponsored terrorism must end. Iran has a moral obligation to call upon Hezballah to release these innocent individuals.

Efforts by national and international organizations have failed to win the hostage's release. Lt. Col. William Higgins and William Buckley have been brutally murdered. This resolution will help make the American people think about the plight of their brethren in Lebanon and I strongly urge its adoption.

Mr. Speaker, along with a number of my colleagues, we recently returned from the 33d exchange between Members of Congress, and members of the European Parliament. At that meeting, I presented a paper on international terrorism which I request be entered at this point in the Record.

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Terrorism: A More Proactive Stance


Chairman Hoon, Chairman Lantos, and my colleagues, once again we take up an issue of profound concern to all of us and yet none of our nations have been able to propose any sort of reasonable solution. The West has been at loose ends. We were all appalled at Hezballah's apparent execution of Lieutenant Colonel Higgins, as well as by the notorious activities of the Abu Nidal organization. Yet, during our last few meetings the subject of international terrorism has been relegated to the miscellaneous category because we cannot mutually agree that it is an important enough issue to give it greater prominence on our main agenda.

When we last met, I implored our delegation to put pressure on state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Iraq, Syria, South Yemen, and Libya to cease their support for international terrorist organizations. We all know who the culprits are, and we know how to punish them. Combatting terrorism must include a broad spectrum of responses. It is obvious that diplomacy alone is not enough, but it is certainly a place to start. We must consider the possibility of denying visas to citizens and representatives of any country that uses or supports terrorist tactics. We must consider canceling landing rights and port access of state sponsors of terrorism, within the limits of international agreements and regulations. These measures have been employed before, and on some occasions have been quite successful.

Permit me to share with you a quotation from a New York Times
editorial dated August 2, 1989. The editorial deals with the Salman Rushdie Affair:

`In February, Iran offered $1 million dollars for the murder of Salman Rushdie, author of Satanic Verses, a book that offended many Muslims. In protest, Western nations withdrew their ambassadors from Teheran; most have drifted back, quietly.

`Terrorists and states sponsoring terrorism, like Iran, Syria and Libya, can only be emboldened by such irresolution.'

It is essential for nations to follow through on such initiatives. Ministries of State, and diplomats, however, panick at the thought of complicating bilateral relations through such measures and often opt to do nothing.

In 1978, the United States joined with West Germany, Canada, Britain, France, Italy and Japan in declaring a willingness to suspend commercial airline service between those countries, and any country harboring hijackers. This is an example of a proactive measure that has a reasonably good chance for success.

Economic sanctions are another important weapon at our disposal, but we must bear in mind that economic sanctions require the cooperation of several countries to make them effective. The United States and the European Community must come together to place restrictions on trade; technology transfer; foreign assistance; export credits; foreign exchange; capitol transactions and economic access to any and all state sponsors of terrorism.

Let me briefly address another related issue which deeply troubles me. International terrorist incidents provide a staged drama for worldwide media coverage with the specific objective of embarrassing the victim nations. The media role in such cases is a matter of judgement and balance between the public's right to be informed, and the media's responsibility not to provide the terrorists with important benefits and advantages.

Legislative bodies are limited in their direct role in these matters, but some individuals in the United States have suggested passing legislation that would encourage voluntary media contraints. The following are some examples of voluntary standards adopted by the Chicago Sun Times and daily news:

(1) Paraphrasing terrorist demands in order to avoid unbridled propaganda; (2) Banning the participation of reporters in negotiations with terrorists; (3) Coordinating coverage through sponsoring editors who are in contact with the police; (4) Providing restrained coverage of events through supervising editors who are in contact with the police; and (5) Providing thoughtful and restrained coverage of stories.

The media is a critical link in the terroris problem. Terrorism is a form of communication, and terrorists thrive on grief, fear and their ability to coerce others. We all must work together to reduce the role of the media in exacerbating the international terrorist problem.

Let me conclude by reiterating a theme I dwelled upon last January. We must all work together to eliminate safe havens for international terrorists. Virtually every operational terrorist group is linked to at least one government. This connection helps these groups access better weapons and intelligence information. We must continue to work together to combat international terrorism on all fronts and we must be ready and willing to adopt a more proactive stance. Let us not await the next mindless, wanton act of terrorism.

(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Evans). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Ohio?

There was no objection.

The Clerk read the joint resolution, as follows:

S.J. Res. 400

Whereas 10 innocent citizens of the United States have been held hostage in Lebanon;

Whereas it is reported that 1 of the hostages, Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins, taken February 17, 1988, was killed by his captors;

Whereas another hostage, William Buckley, political officer at the United States Embassy in Beirut, seized March 18, 1984, is presumed dead;

Whereas the remaining hostages from the United States are: Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, seized March 16, 1985; Thomas P. Sutherland, dean of agriculture, American University of Beirut, taken June 9, 1985; Frank Herbert Reed, headmaster of the Lebanese International School, seized September 9, 1986; Joseph James Cicippio, deputy comptroller of the American University of Beirut, seized September 12, 1986; Edward Austin Tracy, illustrator, seized October 21, 1986; Jessee Jonathan Turner, computer and mathematics professor, Beirut University College, seized January 24, 1987; Alann Bradford Steen, professor of journalism at Beirut University College, seized January 24, 1987; and Robert Bruce Polhill, business professor at Beirut University College, seized January 24, 1987;

Whereas efforts by national and international organizations have failed to end the terrible plight of the hostages in Lebanon;

Whereas the fate of other hostages seized in Lebanon of British, West German, Irish, and Italian nationalities is uncertain; and

Whereas Terry Anderson has been held for the longest period of time of all foreign hostages in Lebanon: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That--

(1) October 27, 1989, is designated as `National Hostage Awareness Day' in recognition of the 42d birthday of Terry Anderson, his 5th in captivity;

(2) efforts should be made to have October 27 declared International Hostage Day by the United Nations;

(3) all Federal agencies and international agencies should increase efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages;

(4) adherents of all faiths in the United States should pray for the release of all United States and foreign hostages in Lebanon on such day; and

(5) bells be rung beginning at noon on October 27, 1989, for one minute to honor the hostages in Lebanon.


Ms. OAKAR. Mr. Speaker, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Ms. Oakar: Page 3, strike lines 10 through 12 and insert the following:

(3) all nations and international agencies should work to secure the prompt, safe, and unconditional release of the hostages by exerting influence, either directly on the hostage-takers, or indirectly on other involved nations;

Page 3, line 16, strike `bells' and insert `in addition to appropriate observances throughout the day, bells should'.

Ms. OAKAR (during the reading). Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Ohio?

There was no objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Ohio [Ms. Oakar].

The amendment was agreed to.

The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, was read the third time, and passed, and the motion to reconsider was laid on the table.