Islamic revolutionaries this morning released 10 more American hostages, who flew to Paris, ending their 16-day ordeal at the beseiged U.S. Embassy here.
Last night, the same hostages had been put on show by their captors at a special news conference.
The surprisingly composed group of four white women and six black men made clear in the evening news conference that they expect their Iranian captors to free none of the remaining hostages until the United States extradites deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who is undergoing cancer treatment in New York.
Earlier yesterday, one white woman and two black Marine sergeants were released in keeping with the decision of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's religious ruler, that all women and blacks not suspected of spying should be released as an example of Iran's humanitarian concern for women and "oppressed minorities."
The three flew to Copenhagen and then to West Germany, where they were taken to a U.S. Air Force hospital in Wiesbaden for rest and debriefing. They were declared in good physical and mental condition.
Three hostages who had been expected to be freed in the second batch will not be and while there was no explanation, there was speculation that the Iranians considered them espionage suspects. The three were Katherine Koob, director of the Iran-American Society, political officer Elizabeth Ann Swift and Charles Jones, a black communications officer.
The women to be released were secretaries Lillian Johnson, 32, Elizabeth Montagne, 41, Terry Tedford, 24, and Joan Walsh, 33. The Blacks were Marines David Walker, 25, and Westley Williams, 22, contracting officer Lloyd Rollins, 40, and three Air Force administrators, James Hughes, 30, Terry Robinson, 27 and Joseph Vincent, 41.
Despite a series of questions planted by their captors at yesterday's press conference, the only major revelation involved a confused story of several million dollars worth of counterfeit dollars, German marks and Iranian rials, taken to the embassy about six months ago by an unidentified Iranian.
Johnson denied suggestions the embassy had attempted to distribute the money inside Iran and said some of it had been sent to the Paris embassy where the Secret Service, a division of the Department of the Treasury, was to determine its source.
The hostages' relief over the end of their 16-day ordeal was obvious when the women were ushered into the outdoor evening news conference at the embassy. They immediately hugged and kissed the blacks who had preceeded them in a reunion scene that indicated they had been kept separate.
Theirs were the now-familiar tales of being tied up, prevented from talking to each other, segregated by sex, held incommunicado and all the time the frustrating din of the crowd outside the embassy compound chanting anti-American slogans day and night.
But Elizabeth Montagne, charge d'affaires Bruce Laingen's secretary, somehow captured the mood most eloquently when she recounted what an average day in the life of a hostage was like.
She said: "We got up at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, with our keepers between us, some of whom have been asking questions here tonight.
"First they untied us, then we went downstairs and did our toilette. We were tied in chairs. They let us read books. For breakfast we had Iranian bread, jelly, cheese, etc.
"We had very substantial meals. A few of us had cigarettes. we had a tea break. After breakfast we would go back to reading books.
"We have a very literary group here.
"At lunch we practically liked the plate clean. We were hungry all the time. Substantial meals. If we wanted to go to the bathroom, do anything, we had to ask permission.
"It got to be light and tragic, and funny and sad, and cheers and laughter, and tantrums, and where are my contact lenses, and I've got to go to the bathroom, and oh, all sorts of problems. It was quite an experience.
"After lunch we would have our cigarettes. Some of us were so desperate to stay untied longer the nonsmokers started to smoke."
Pointing to another woman, Montagne sid, "she coughed and spit at everything. She had never smoked in her life.
"But she smoked for two days and gave it up and decided it wasn't worth it. So she just stayed tied up the rest of the time."
And all the time the crowds were chanting outside.
"Yes, we did hear the chanting all night," Tedford said, "speaking for myself it had a very definite effect . . . I don't think I could have put up with another week, not another day of it. It was very difficult."
Administrator Robinson recounted, "sometimes our hands were tied in front of us, sometimes we were handcuffed, sometimes we were tied to chairs."
Describing his captors, he said, "they were our fathers and our mothers. We had to ask for everything. At night we had to sleep and normally our hands were tied . . . The people who are still there are still going through that."
Hughes said he had been questioned. "The first time I was blindfolded, tied up and sat on a table," he added. "The guy hinted that if we didn't tell him what he wanted to know maybe some of us would be shot. I told him that was the risk of the job."
Parrying an Iranina photographers' complicated question, Hughes said, "From what I've heard here, every problem in the world is the fault of the United States . . . [as if there were] no KGB, no other intelligence service, and it all comes back to the Central Intelligence Agency. Why do you ask me such a loaded question?"
Walsh deftly handled another question about allegedly secret documentss showed her last night by her captors. They purportedly dealt with disturbances in Kurdestan, the oil rich province of Kuzeshtan and former premier Shahpour Bakhtiar.
She said they, "showed me documents [which] were classified secret and they were clearly not normal."
The purported documents dealing with Bakhtiar asked embassy help in providing money and information on travel, political and military matters, and U.S. government support which she said "was denied him."
She said, however, that the documents did indicate that the United States "wanted to open a dialogue" with Bakhtiar who has been trying to make a political comeback from his European exile.
Obviously on the minds of all those about to be released was the fate of the remaining hostages. Williams said "I'm not happy to leave the rest behind." And Robinson added, "We are very concerned about their welfare."
Robinson said Ayatollah Moussavi Khoini, Khomeini's representative at the embassy, had told them "that the Americans remaining here would not be harmed, tried or put through any other process." But a young militant student, a scarf over her head, made it clear that Robinson had not understood Khoini -- or heard of Khomeini's threat to put the remaining hostages on trial.
"If the United States does not deliver the shah and his money the hostages will be tried and sentenced according to Islamic principles," she shouted.