The story

Collaboration between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter after the 1980 election

Collaboration between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter after the 1980 election

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After Ronald Reagan defeated the incumbent Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election, in the midst of the crisis of a large group of American diplomats being held hostage in Iran, it was obvious that they both tried to make it look as if Reagan would be far tougher on Iranians than Carter would. In obvious ways, that would serve the purposes of both of them. Thus it could have been done without any actual agreement between them to cooperate. On the other hand, they both had incentives to deliberately coordinate their efforts with each other.

Carter made a deal with the Iranians on his last full day in office and the plane carrying the released hostages took off from Iran just at the moment when Reagan was getting sworn in. Then on the day of his inauguration, Reagan appointed Carter to a short-term diplomatic post to go to the American military base in Wiesbaden, Germany to meet the newly released hostages there.

So I have these two questions:

  • Did they communicate to coordinate their efforts between the election and the inauguration?
  • Did Carter need to get confirmed by the Senate before going to Germany? Did they confirm his on that same day? (That does not seem so implausible in view of the fact that he had just served four years as president.)