884.02/1–1450: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation to the Trusteeship Council, at Geneva1


75. For Amb Francis Sayre.2 Dept has recd a number of unfavorable comments, largely from Arab sources, on fol Herald Tribune account of statement allegedly made by you upon departure from Idlewild airport Jan 5.

“The US opposed the resolution3 for the internationalization of Jerusalem and that position remains unchanged today. We will, however, cooperate in seeking a solution of the problem, but we want a practical solution, and it would not be a practical solution if US troops are required to enforce the resolution”.

Dept believes this is probably garbled or incomplete account of your statements. However, sources mentioned above are interpreting remarks as indicating US attempting “sabotage” majority UN decision. In discussions in TC and outside re Jerusalem you shld be guided by principle approved by Pres4 that US as member of UN and of TC shld not give impression it is obstructing TC’s work in carrying forward a GA resolution adopted by a majority of UN, and shld make bona fide effort in TC’s work, of drafting a statute for Jerusalem.

Dept spokesman will make the fol statement to press Jan 16:

“The United Nations Trusteeship Council is scheduled to convene in Geneva on Jan 19 to consider the Jerusalem question in the framework of the instrs to the Council contained in the Dec 9, 1949, resolution of the General Assembly. Although it opposed this resolution in the Assembly, the US, consistent in its policy of respect for decisions taken in the United Nations by a majority of the members, abides by the decision and is prepared as a member of the Trusteeship Council to participate constructively when the Council undertakes the task concerning Jerusalem given it by the Assembly”.5

  1. This telegram was repeated for information to the United States Mission at the United Nations, at New York.
  2. Francis B. Sayre, United States Representative at the Sixth Session of the United Nations Trusteeship Council.
  3. For the text of the resolution of December 9, 1949, by the General Assembly, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1530.
  4. See Secretary Acheson’s memorandum of December 20, 1949, to President Truman, ibid., p. 1551.
  5. The statement was made on January 16 by Michael J. McDermott, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Press Relations, at an informal meeting with the press (memorandum of conversation by Harlan B. Clark, Officer in Charge of Lebanon-Syria-Iraq Affairs, 350/1–2350).

    Mr. Clark’s memorandum recorded that Faiz el-Khouri, the Syrian Minister, caned at the Department of State on January 23 on instructions from his Government to express concern over published reports that the United States would not support the resolution of December 9, 1949. Assistant Secretary McGhee replied that United States policy had been stated officially by Mr. McDermott and that reports to the contrary were untrue. He repeated to the Minister key points made by Mr. McDermott. He also advised him of a report from Ambassador Sayre that he had been misunderstood by the correspondents and misquoted by the press.

    Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs George C. McGhee transmitted copies of Mr. McDermott’s statement of January 16 to the Iraqi Chargé on February 6 and to the Lebanese Minister on February 15, after conversations with the two diplomats on the position of the United States respecting the internationalization of Jerusalem (350/2–650, 357.AC/2–550).