784A.02/1–450: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Israel 1


4. Dept desires Emb Tel Aviv and ConGen Jerusalem be guided by fol in connection with Israeli moves to transfer seat of Govt from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.2

US does not recognize sovereignty of Israel in Jerusalem.3 UN is seized of Jerusalem problem, and US attitude toward status of city will continue be framed in light UN situation.
US continues to support principle internationalization of Jerusalem along lines modified regime such as that proposed by PCC.
Dept does not desire Emb Tel Aviv to conduct official business in Jerusalem with Israeli Central Govt officials who may move there. [Page 668] FonOff in Tel Aviv provides normal means contact Israeli Govt for foreign dipls. If Israeli Govt shld seek persuade Emb reps carry on official business with Central Govt officials in Jerusalem, Emb reps shld state they not authorized do so. From time to time it will of course be necessary for Emb to deal with important Israeli officials whose offices have been transferred to Jerusalem, but Dept believes these officials will spend part of their time in Tel Aviv where official business can be conducted with them. If need arises Emb shld make clear to Israeli Govt that in present circumstances it can only conduct official business with Govt officials outside Jerusalem area.
Dept continues desire that Ambs visits to Jerusalem for unofficial purposes be restricted to absolute minimum.
No objection contact by ConGen Jerusalem with such Israeli ministries as may be in Jerusalem, on routine consular affairs affecting Jerusalem area only. If need arises both Emb and ConGen shld make clear to Israeli officials that Emb continues to be sole US dipl representation near Israeli Govt. Of course no objection to non-official courtesy and social contacts between Reps ConGen and Israeli Central Govt officials stationed in Jerusalem.

UK Reps Tel Aviv and Jerusalem receiving similar instrs. You may inform Reps of other Govts of above position if they inquire re US attitude toward latest developments affecting Jerusalem.4

  1. This telegram was repeated to Jerusalem for action and to London and Amman for information.
  2. Mr. Hare had transmitted a draft of telegram 4 to Dean Rusk, Deputy Under Secretary of State, with his memorandum of December 23, 1949. The memorandum noted the desirability of providing the Embassy at Tel Aviv and the Consulate General at Jerusalem with instructions in case the Israeli Government attempted to persuade American representatives in those cities to conduct official diplomatic business at Jerusalem with Central Government officials. The memorandum also indicated the suggestions made to the Department of State by the British Embassy that American and British representatives at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem coordinate a common policy along the lines of the draft telegram and that the American and British Governments take the initiative in suggesting to other governments represented in Israel that they send similar instructions to their representatives. Mr. Hare recommended coordination with the British but opposed taking the initiative (784A.02/1–450).
  3. Embassy Tel Aviv reported in Joint Weeka 1, January 6, that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had closed the debate on foreign policy in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) on January 4 by stating that “no legislative act was necessary to declare Jlem capital since Jlem was de jure capital from moment State of Israel was proclaimed in May 1947 [1948], and now, with transfer of offices which was delayed because of security conditions, lack of communications and other facilities, Jlem was de facto as well as de jure capital.” (784A.00 (W)/1–650)
  4. Embassy Tel Aviv, on January 24, transmitted the text of the proclamation adopted the previous day by the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, that Jerusalem had resumed its status as the capital of Israel from the moment that the State was created and that the Government was now transferring its institutions to Jerusalem (telegram 53, 784A.02/1–2450).