December 26, 1979 Editor in Chief The Washington Post Washington, D.C. Dear Sir: I am one of approximately 65 United States citizen members of the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran who have been held as hostages by Iranian revolutionary students since November 4, 1979 -- so far a period of 53 days. I am a retired career foreign service officer. Although I retired on September 30, 1975 at the age of 60 and with more than 34 years of service, I was asked to take a temporary assignment of 45 days to assist in the consular section of the embassy because of my many years of experience as a consular officer. I arrived in Iran on October 3, 1979 and should returned to the United States about November 15.
I am a property owner in Fairfax County, Virginia, a taxpayer; my wife and I are registered voters and we have subscribed to your paper for several years. Since our captors do not permit us to receive news of any kind, either by radio, TV, newspaper or recent magazines, we have no idea of what is being done by the president, the secretary of state, by members of the Congress, or any other officials of the U.S. government to protect our basic human rights or our welfare as United States citizens. Our diplomatic immunity has consistently been ignored by our captors. I can only ask that with your power of the press that you do everything possible to bring pressure on the responsible leaders in our government to take prompt action to free us from this terrible situation. We are concerned not only for our own welfare but also that of our families in the United States. We are being kept in semi-darkened rooms; our hands are tied day and night, bright lights are kept burning all night and because of the constant noise it is almost impossible to sleep. In 53 days I have been given only three brief exercise periods in the fresh air and only four tasteless and unripe organges; two hard boiled eggs, one small bottle of fresh milk and a few pressed dates to supplement an otherwise monotonous and too starchy diet. I believe mail is being withheld from us and we have had no visits from representatives of the U.S. government to ascertain how we are being treated. We received absolutely no news and are not even permitted to converse with our fellow U.S. citizen hostages in the same room. Anything you can do help us will be greatly appreciated. Sincerly, Robert C. Ode (Hostage) American Embassy Tehran, Iran