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Senator Releases Videotape Plea to Lebanese Television

July 5, 1986

CHICAGO (AP) _ Sen. Alan J. Dixon hopes his videotaped plea on Lebanese television Independence Day may help gain the freedom of five kidnapped Americans being held hostage in the Middle East.

The Illinois Democrat said Friday that he had no assurances his message would be heeded but added he was ″prayerfully hopeful that the plea will be considered.″

″Most of us just believe that continued talks, continued conversations will be helpful in these matters,″ Dixon said. ″It’s been demonstrated in the past that these efforts ultimately do pay off.″

In the video, which was made in cooperation with the State Department, Dixon characterized the five kidnapped Americans as ″innocent victims in a larger struggle.″

The 1 1/2 -minute message was aired several times Friday on television in Beirut, Dixon said.

″The Fourth of July is ... a day on which Americans give special thanks for the freedoms they enjoy. I implore you: Let your American hostages go,″ Dixon says on the videotape.

″These people have done nothing to harm you, your people or your political cause,″ he adds. ″We may disagree on many things, but how can we possibly disagree on that?″

Dixon led 4,000 delegates and alternates at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Chicago in a moment of silence for the hostages Friday.

Dixon, co-chairman of the Senate anti-terrorism caucus, has spoken out repeatedly on behalf of the hostages, including the Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco of Joliet, held captive since January 1985.

In addition to Jenco, who was head of Catholic Relief Services in Beirut, the other hostages are Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press; David Jacobsen, administrator at the American Univeristy Hospital in Beirut; Thomas Sutherland, dean of agriculture at the American University; and William Buckley, political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

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