Report 19880714A


July 14, 1988


Ronald Reagan (Second Term)


Persian Gulf

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

Yes, described in/inferred from report

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

No, as described in/inferred from report

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

No, as described in/inferred from report

Joint/Coalition Mission


Article 51 Report to UN



Respond to threat

Details: Respond to threat by Iranian "small boats" after U.S. helicopters were fired upon while responding to distress call by a Panamanian tanker.

Domestic Legal Authority

Constitution (Art. II)

Details: "The actions of U.S. forces... were taken... pursuant to my constitutional authority with respect to the conduct of foreign relations and as Commander in Chief. "

Claimed International Legal Basis


Details: "The actions of U.S. forces in response to being attacked by the Iranian small boats were taken in accordance with our inherent right of self-defense, as recognized in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter..."

Estimated Scope/Duration

Scope/duration specified

Details: Activity occurred July 12, 1988; "we regard this incident as closed."

Type of Enemy or Mission


Details: Iran

Military Activity

Air operations

Details: "five U.S. helicopters" responding to a tanker's distress call dispatched were fired on by "small boats;" "the helicopters returned fire, firing rockets and machine gun rounds at the small boats"

US Casualties Reported


Details: "no casualties or damage to U.S. forces"

Non-US Casualties Reported


Details: "it is believed that one of the boats may have been hit with a rocket. The extent of damage to the boat is unknown"