220. Message From the U.S. Government to Iranian President Bani-Sadr1

Please deliver the following message from the U.S. Government to President Bani-Sadr:

Quote: Over the past four months, we have followed with great interest your statements to the Iranian people and in particular your principled position on the fundamental wrong involved in the holding of hostages. We noted your private personal assurance on March 10 that the hostages would be transferred to the control of the Iranian Government within fifteen days.2 We hope that the transfer can be accomplished within the next few days. It is essential to give a tangible sign to their families and to the American people of the improvement of the condition of the hostages and that there is real movement towards a prompt resolution of the crisis.

In order to avoid misunderstanding, we want you to know now that, in the absence of such transfer by Monday,3 we shall be taking additional non-belligerent measures that we have withheld until now.

Our quarrel is not with the Iranian people, but some will unavoidably suffer hardship if your Government is not able to take the requisite steps to release the hostages.

We remain ready to discuss a resolution of the crisis through any channel you choose. We must have tangible evidence, however, that Iran is prepared to move towards a resolution of the problem in order [Page 590]for us to explain to the American people why we are not taking additional measures. Unquote.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 31, Iran 12/1/79–12/7/79. No classification marking. Typed instructions at the top of the letter directed delivery of the message as soon as possible via the French lawyers or the Swiss Embassy. At the top of the letter, Carter wrote: “ok. J.”
  2. See Document 203.
  3. March 31.