FOREIGN RELATIONS: Dealing with Kidnapers

The State Department resembled a police missing persons' bureau last week, as U.S. diplomats from Santiago de Cuba to Berlin to Moscow grappled with a new outcrop of organized diplomatic crime. The problem: organized kidnaping of U.S. citizens overseas—47 in Cuba, nine in Russia, nine in East Germany—to be held until the U.S. pays ransom in the form of diplomatic concession.

The U.S. lines of approach to the problem: 1) the U.S. will not pay "blackmail" to get the Americans out, and although 2) the U.S. does not intend to use force to get them out, 3) the U.S. hopes...