Sometimes good news stories fall between the cracks and don't get much attention. For example, consider what happened the night the pro-shah and the anti-shah forces headed home after slugging it out near the White House.

By 10 p.m. that night, most of the reporters who had been recovering the story for us had finished their first edition writing and were checking to see whether any a later developments needed attention. One man picked up word that strange things were happening on the access road to Dulles International, and our later edition carried a brief report on an inside page.

If you'd like a more complete report, overnight editior Joe Bouchard tells me this is what happened: FAA police at Dulles (who are only 51 strong) received a tip from a motel clerk that Iranians headed for the airport were armed with iron pipes, sticks, stones and other weapons. The FAA police immediately asked for help. The Virginia State Police rushed in 57 men, Fairfax County added 30 and Loudoun County 18. Dulles even made policemen of 25 of its 27 firemen.

Roadblocks were set up on the Dulles access road. Vehicles were stopped and scores of weapons were confiscated. Then the Iranians were permitted flights were being readied to take them home.

The exodus continued until 2.30 a.m. As they waited, the disarmed Iranians milled about and exchanged dirty looks, but the police kept the two factions apart and there was no violence and no need for arrests.

If earlier in the day the U.S. Park Police had also been quick to ask for help, the injuries that occurred then might have been avoided.