AP unearths stunning political time capsule

Historic archives of news footage recovered from WWII bunker by AP.
Yasser Arafat at the Arab leaders meeting in Cairo's Sheraton hotel, 1971.
Yasser Arafat at the Arab leaders meeting in Cairo's Sheraton hotel, 1971.


Associated Press has unearthed a stunning treasure trove of historical footage from General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s former World War II headquarters.

The discovery includes a vast archive of material from different parts of the world including the Middle East that dates back to the 1960s and the 1970s.

The “Lost Archive”, as the footage is dubbed, is the legacy of United Press International Television News (UPITN), a major TV news agency from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s that was later acquired by AP.

The footage, which will be made available in high definition by AP, includes colour film reels of key political figures and celebrities from the era including a young Yasser Arafat, Libya’s Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein in Paris.

Click here to see exclusive screen captures of the Lost Archive.


“The Middle East featured prominently in UPITN’s coverage,” commented AP’s director of International Archives, Alwyn Lindsey.

“The UPITN bureau in Cairo followed virtually every step of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El Sadat, while the archive contains superb early film of other Middle Eastern figures including Gaddafi, Arafat, the Shah of Iran, and many others, as well as many key events in the region,” he revealed.

“One of the stories features Saddam Hussein in 1974 when on a visit to France as vice president of Iraq, he was given a tour of a nuclear power station. We’re delighted that this amazing collection will now be available to producers in the Middle East,” he adds.

AP Archive will shortly complete the first phase of the project, which represents half of the collection. Already, 17,000 stories from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s have been restored and digitised with 700 stories being added each week.

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