The Schleyer Communiqués

September 5th to October 13th 1977

monday, september 5, 1977

The federal government must take steps to ensure that all aspects of the manhunt cease—or we will immediately shoot Schleyer without even engaging in negotiations for his freedom.

tuesday, september 6, 1977

On Monday September 5, 1977, the Siegfried Hausner Commando took Hanns Martin Schleyer, the President of the Federal Association of German Industries and the President of the Employers Association, captive. Regarding the conditions for his release, we will repeat our first communiqué to the federal government, which we have learnt has been suppressed since yesterday by the security staff. That is, all aspects of the search for us must be immediately discontinued or Schleyer will be shot immediately. As soon as the manhunt stops, Schleyer will be released under the following conditions:

raf prisoners: Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe, Verena Becker, Werner Hoppe, Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Hanna Krabbe, Bernd Rössner, Ingrid Schubert, and Irmgard Möller must be released in exchange for Schleyer, and must be free to travel to a country of their choosing. Günter Sonnenberg, who is unfit for imprisonment due to a gunshot injury he suffered during his arrest, must be immediately released. The warrant for his arrest must be lifted. Günter will leave with the 10 other prisoners, with whom he must immediately be placed so they can talk. The prisoners must be assembled at 8:00 am on Wednesday at the Frankfurt Airport. Between then and their departure at 12:00 noon, they must be allowed to talk freely and unimpeded amongst themselves. At 10:00 am, one of the prisoners will enter into direct communication with the commando via German television to inform us that their departure is unfolding according to plan.

For purposes of public oversight and to safeguard the prisoners’ lives between takeoff and landing, we propose that the prisoners be accompanied by Payot, the General Secretary of the United Nations’ International Federation of Human Rights, and Pastor Niemöller. We request that they accept this role to ensure that the prisoners arrive at their chosen destination alive. Naturally, we would agree to any alternative proposal from the prisoners.

Each prisoner will be given 100,000dm. This communiqué, which can be authenticated by Schleyer’s photo and his letter, must be broadcast unedited and unaltered on the Tagesschau this evening at 8:00 pm. We will establish the concrete details for freeing Schleyer as soon as we receive confirmation that the prisoners have been freed, that they won’t be extradited, and when the federal government releases a statement guaranteeing that it won’t pursue extradition. We are assuming that Schmidt, who demonstrated in Stockholm how quickly he can make decisions, will be equally quick this time given his personal connection to this greasy magnate of the cream of the national business world.

wednesday, september 7, 1977

We presume that the decision not to broadcast our demands and ultimatum on yesterday’s 8:00 pm Tagesschau, as we had stipulated, is the result of a decision taken behind closed doors by the Crisis Management Team and reflects a decision by the federal government to resolve the situation militarily. The bka’s ploy, demanding proof that Schleyer is alive, even though they received Schleyer’s handwritten letter yesterday and are also in possession of a photo of him taken yesterday, has the same function of buying time. We will only respond to the questions the bka published today, when it is clear that the federal government is holding up its end of the deal—and we are running out of patience repeating this:

The manhunt must be stopped immediately. The prisoners must be gathered together in one place. The confirmation that this has been done will be delivered by one of the prisoners on German television today. As a clear gesture, we demand that the video recording, in which Schleyer reads his letter attached here, be broadcast on every television news show that airs at 6:00 pm tonight.

thursday, september 8, 1977

There will be no further communiqués from us until the prisoners are flown out. The federal government has enough proof to assure them that Schleyer is alive: his letter and the videotape, as well as the recording with his answer to both questions. Go-betweens are unnecessary, as are all other stalling tactics. A resolution which includes Schleyer’s release depends on the departure of the prisoners: otherwise it is not happening. For the last time, we demand:

That the federal government publicly announce its decision by 8:00 pm this evening. By Friday at 10:00 am, proof that preparations have been made for the prisoners’ departure. By 12:00 noon, the prisoners’ departure on a fully fueled Lufthansa long haul aircraft must be broadcast live on television. The remaining demands are known to you from the previous communiqués.

monday, september 12, 1977

We will wait until 12:00 am for a decision from the federal government as to whether they want to make the exchange or not, and that decision should come in the form of obvious preparations for assembling the prisoners. The way in which this should occur has already been established. One of the prisoners must confirm that preparations are underway. The prisoners themselves will inform the federal government of possible destinations. The federal government will receive no further response from us to bka messages transmitted via Payot. Should the federal government decide to once again allow our ultimatum to pass in silence, they will be responsible for the consequences.

tuesday, september 13, 1977

We have nothing to add to our statement of September12, 1977. We request that Monsieur Payot play the role that the federal government assigned him, that role and that role only, and that he stop participating in the delays and postponements, which reflect a decision in favor of creating space to maneuver for a military solution.

The tactic of the so-called secret negotiations is absurd given the action’s goal: freeing the prisoners. We have responded to the federal government’s contemptible maneuvers for 9 days with multiple extensions of our ultimatum—they face a dilemma in that agreeing to the demands would contradict the institutionalized hate-driven civil war mentality they have whipped up against the raf, and would require resisting the American thumbscrews. On the federal government’s side, during these 9 days there has not been a single concrete development to indicate a willingness to exchange Schleyer. The bka’s claim that the manhunt was called off is a joke. Every newspaper carries photos of highway checkpoints and reports of homes raided. We are giving the federal government one last extension until 12:00 am tonight to fulfil our demands.

monday, september 26, 1977

If the federal government still wants to save Schleyer’s life, they must immediately call off the manhunt in Germany, as well as arranging a halt to those that have begun in France, Holland and Switzerland. Our demand that all aspects of the search cease remains unchanged.

We are also warning the federal government not to tap our telephone conversations with Payot or attempt to use them in any other way in the search. We will only conduct further negotiations with the federal government through the lawyer Payot if they discontinue their tactic of attempting to prolong telephone calls with senseless conversation, and if it is made clear that measures are being taken to prepare the release of the 11 prisoners specified.

Further signs of life from Schleyer will only be forthcoming if there is concrete evidence that the exchange is being prepared.

Also, if the federal government continues to withhold information from us about the results of Wischnewski’s negotiations, all we have to say is that we know for certain that there are countries willing to take the 11 prisoners.

thursday, october 13, 1977

We have given Helmut Schmidt enough time to choose between the American strategy for the extermination of liberation movements in Western Europe and the Third World, and the interests of the federal government in seeing that the most important industrialist alive today not be sacrificed to this imperialist strategy. The ultimatum of the “Martyr Halimeh” Commando’s Operation Kofr Kaddum and the ultimatum of the raf’s “Siegfried Hausner” Commando are identical.

The ultimatum expires on Sunday, October16, 1977, at 8:00 amgmt. If, at that time, the eleven prisoners specified have not arrived at their destination, Hanns Martin Schleyer will be shot. After holding Schleyer for forty days, there won’t be another extension of the ultimatum or any further contact. Any delay will mean Schleyer’s death.

To save time, it won’t be necessary for Pastor Niemöller or the lawyer Payot to accompany the prisoners. We will receive confirmation of the prisoners’ arrival even without confirmation from escorts. Hanns Martin Schleyer will be freed within 48 hours of our having received confirmation. Freedom through armed anti-imperialist struggle!