Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the Reagan administration Sunday...

MIAMI -- Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the Reagan administration Sunday for not 'making any effort' to recover four American businessmen kidnapped by a Middle East terrorist organization nine months ago.

During a 20-minute press conference at the Port of Miami following a family cruise on the ocean liner Song of America, Carter said the government has ignored the businessmen, who have been held hostage in West Beirut.


'Our government is not making any effort to seek the return of the hostages,' Carter said. 'It is not a very publicized fact.'

The former president said President Reagan does not want the public to know the group kidnapped the men and sent pictures of them back to the United States. He said the terrorists' demands are unclear.

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater confirmed that four American businessmen are being held in West Beirut. He said the government is working on their release, but would not comment further.

'I'm sure we are pursuing it diligently and the State Department also monitors these situations,' he said in a telephone interview.

Carter spent eight days sailing to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with 13 family members.

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