The Beirut 7

CONGRESSMEN Robert Dornan of California and George O'Brien of Illinois reminded all of us this week that seven Americans are still held hostage in Lebanon -- one of them for nearly 500 days. The captives ``seem to be slipping from public view again,'' Mr. O'Brien said. Mr. Dornan wants two congressmen to bring up the subject of the seven hostages each day on the House floor.

During the Iranian hostage crisis, which lasted 444 days, some newspapers and other news media published daily reminders. The benefit of such a routine may be hard to measure, but few Americans would argue about the need to keep those seven hostages and their eventual freedom in constant thought.

In the aftermath of the release of the hostages taken in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, it was hoped that Syrian President Assad would use his influence -- paramount in that situation -- to obtain release of the seven. This has not yet happened, and the Reagan administration should continue its quiet efforts toward that goal.

Perhaps when all the Shiite prisoners held by Israel are finally let go, some movement will occur in regard to the seven Americans. In case anyone has forgotten, they are William Buckley, a US embassy political officer, kidnapped March 16, 1984; the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a Presbyterian minister, held since May 8, 1984; Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press; the Rev. Lawrence Jenco of the Catholic Relief Services; and three Americans associated with the American Universit y in Beirut -- Peter Kilburn, David Jacobsen, and Thomas Sutherland.

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