Report 19800426A


April 26, 1980


Jimmy Carter



Was 4(a)(1) Triggered? (Hostilities/Imminent Hostilities)

No, as described in/inferred from report

Was 4(a)(2) Triggered? (Combat- Equipped Introduction)

Yes, stated or used terms in statute

Was 4(a)(3) Triggered? (Substantial Enlargement)

No, as described in/inferred from report

Joint/Coalition Mission


Article 51 Report to UN


Details: S/13908


Rescue/Hostage recovery

Details: Position rescue team for "effort to withdraw the American hostages... held captive in Iran since November 4, 1979" (mission "was aborted"); "a humanitarian mission"

Domestic Legal Authority

Constitution (Art. II)

Details: "This operation was ordered and conducted pursuant to the President's powers under the Constitution as Chief Executive and as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, expressly recognized in Section 8(d)(1) of the War Powers Resolution."

Claimed International Legal Basis


Details: "the United States was acting wholly within its right, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to protect and rescue its citizens where the government of the territory in which they are located is unable or unwilling to protect them."

Estimated Scope/Duration

Scope/duration specified

Details: Activity occurred Apr. 24, 1980

Type of Enemy or Mission


Details: Attempted rescue of US Embassy hostages in Tehran "was not directed against Iran. It was not directed against the people of Iran."

Military Activity

Air operations Use of ground forces

Details: "[S]ix U.S. C-130 transport aircraft and eight RH-53 helicopters entered Iran airspace"; "Some of the C-130 aircraft carried a force of approximately 90 members of the rescue team equipped for combat, plus various support personnel"; "six transports and six of the eight helicopters landed at a remote desert site in Iran" where they "commenced refueling operations"; operating difficulties and a collision caused the mission to be aborted.

US Casualties Reported


Details: During withdrawal, "one of the helicopters accidentally collided with one of the C-130 aircraft, which was preparing to take off, resulting in the death of eight personnel and the injury of several others."

Non-US Casualties Reported


Details: "It caused no Iranian casualties."