Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Press Interview of Three American Hostages of Bolivian Miners

December 20, 1963

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are delighted to have the guests with us that we have today. First, Mr. Thomas Martin. While a captive, Mr. Martin wrote his wife that he looked forward to spending the evening in a Lima, Peru, night club.

I hope my invitation hasn't interfered with you, Mr. Martin, and I hope you enjoy an evening in Washington or New York. Will you stand up and meet the press.

Next, Mr. Michael Kristula and Bernard Rifkin. They have contributed to the program designed to help the Bolivian miners and the people of Bolivia in general. Mr. Kristula is returning to continue his work and Mr. Rifkin is resigning.

We are very pleased that these men have been spared and we are glad that they are with us today. I know that they will enjoy the entertainment that the press always gives their subjects.

Note: The President spoke in the Fish Room at the White House prior to the press interview of three of the four captive Americans, Thomas Martin, USIA Assistant Labor Information Officer, Bernard Rifkin, AID Labor Information Adviser, and Michael A. Kristula, USIS AID Information Officer. Eugene Victor, who took part in the negotiations for the release of the hostages, also participated in the interview.

The seizure at Catavi-Siglo Viente, Bolivia, of the three officials of the U.S. Embassy at La Paz and a Peace Corps volunteer, Robert Fergerstrom, was reported by the White House in a statement released December 8. They were seized along with mine officials, the White House stated, by local miners enraged by the Bolivian Government's arrest of three of their leaders on criminal charges.

See also Item 52.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Press Interview of Three American Hostages of Bolivian Miners Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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