Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for January 28th!
January 28, 1980 – External Affairs – Canada’s Ambassador to Iran Kenneth Taylor engineers escape of 6 US diplomats.
This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the amazing ‘Canadian Caper”.
In 1979, Canada engineered one of the great adventures of our time in Tehran, Iran.
A mob of Iranians, supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini, climbed over the wall around the United States compound in Tehran and occupied the American Embassy.
They took most of those in the compound hostage, illegally holding them for 14 months, as the world’s superpower looked on, anxious and powerless.
But six Americans escaped capture that day.
The Canadian Ambassador in Iran, Ken Taylor, first heard of the Embassy takeover from a Swedish colleague. Taylor didn’t hesitate. The Americans would be given shelter.
They decided to smuggle the six Americans out of Iran on an international flight using faked Canadian passports.
Canadian History for Kids has learned that early in the morning on Monday, January 28, 1980, the six American diplomats, traveling with real Canadian passports and forged entry documents, made it easily through security at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport. After a short delay because of mechanical difficulties with the jet airliner, the group of six boarded Swissair flight 363 for Zurich, Switzerland.
Upon landing in Zurich, the six diplomats were taken by CIA operatives to a mountain lodge safe house for the night. There, they were told that, for diplomatic purposes, they would not be able to talk to the press, and that they would be kept hidden in a secret location in Florida until the hostage situation ended.
After the six American guests left on Monday, January 28, the Canadian embassy was closed that same day, with Taylor and the remaining staff returning to Canada. The six Americans arrived home on January 30, 1980.
Washington awarded Taylor the Congressional Gold Medal and Canada made him an Officer of the Order of Canada.
The 2012 motion picture, Argo, is a dramatization of the great Canadian Caper. It won best picture of the year.
And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!