Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor & the Canadian Caper ~ 30 years ago

January 27, 1980
Thirty years ago, Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor
got the six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy out of Iran
Americans were shocked that some of the Embassy personnel had escaped,
and extremely grateful to Canada.
For a period of time, the Maple Leaf was a common symbol in the US.

The Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, briefs reporters on the situation in the mist of the Iran's Revolution in Tehran, a week before leaving the country with six Americans on January 27, 1980. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Bregg

Canadian Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor, gave sanctuary to the six Americans who were not in the US Embassy on the day of the takeover by the Iranian students on November 4, 1979. By November 10, three of the diplomats and two of their wives had made their way to the Canadian Embassy. A few weeks later, they were joined by another who had been sleeping on the floor of the Swedish Embassy.

Faced with the daunting task of hiding the Americans, the boldness continued when they decided to smuggle them out of Iran on Canadian passports. Canada's Parliament convened it's first secret session since World War II to give permission to issue Canadian passports for the six Americans. The CIA prepared a set of forged Iranian Visas to go with the passports. Disguises and cover stories were invented for a series of scenarios. They eventually used the Hollywood advance crew who were scouting locations for a movie.

On January 27, 1980, the American diplomats, now travelling on Canadian passports, boarded a flight for Zurich, Switzerland, leaving from Tehran. The Canadian embassy staff also left and closed the Embassy.

The six rescued Americans were:

  • Robert Anders, 34 - Consular Officer
  • Mark J. Lijek, 29 - Consular Officer
  • Cora A. Lijek, 25 - Consular Assistant
  • Henry L. Schatz, 31 - Agriculture Attaché
  • Joseph D. Stafford, 29 - Consular Officer
  • Kathleen F. Stafford, 28 - Consular Assistant

Ambassador Kenneth D Taylor was awarded
the Congressional Gold Medal
Approved on March 6, 1980


brat said...

Thank YOU for acknowledging this brave Canadian!

Flag Gazer said...

The entire Embassy was brave and heroic! I will ever be grateful!

Buck said...

No kidding. Thanks for this, Cynthia!

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