THE CANADIAN CAPER by Jean & Claude Adams Pelletier


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A cliffhanger it isn't--not with all the journalistic doodling (on the Shah, on Khomeini, etc.) that bulks out the story of the daring Canadian rescue of six American-embassy escapees from Tehran. And most of that story--Ambassador Ken Taylor's instantaneous decision to take in the six, their twelve restless weeks as housebound ""houseguests,"" the bold (and prudent) Canadian-passport ploy that got them out-has been told by ""peripatetic hero"" Taylor on the personal-appearance circuit (and also seen on TV). But Canadian newsmen Pelletier and Adams do have some fresh angles-partly from Pelletier's involvement, partly from their foothold in Canadian affairs. The first is a mixed blessing. We hear how ""thirty-one-year-old reporter"" Jean Pelletier, Washington correspondent for the Montreal daily La Presse, was ""earning kudos back home"" (and ""an annual salary in excess of $30,000"") before we hear how his suspicions about the slippery hostage-figures led him, via some investigative ruses, to the certainty that the Canadians were hiding some unaccounted-for Americans--and much is made, then, of his fights with his superiors to hold the story until the Americans got out. We're even given to think that it was Pelletier's impending scoop, communicated to Ottawa, that precipitated the Americans' ""exfiltration."" On the other hand, we're also treated to some strong-flavored close-up of the key Canadians, especially Minister of External Affairs Flora MacDonald--formidable in debate, a duffer at covert operations. (""If anyone should ask me point blank at a press conference about the houseguests, I'll have to lie,"" MacDonald agonized. ""But I won't get away with it."") And there is one sizable disclosure: at the behest of an American CIA agent, Taylor scouted the terrain for the upcoming US helicopter-rescue attempt. The big thing here, however, is the all-out Canadian commitment to the fugitives; though they are barely personalized, one cheers--for their rescuers, about to exit too-as their Frankfurt-bound plane lifts off the ground.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow