784A.02/8–3150: Telegram

The Chargé in Israel (Ford) to the Secretary of State


123. Commissioner Education McGrath arrived Israel August 29 and was met by Embassy officer. McGrath informed Embassy that during his discussions with Department, including Israel desk officers, no mention was made of what should be his attitude toward paying official visit Israel Government in Jerusalem. In view of Embassy’s instruction from Department (Deptel 4, January 4, 1950), Embassy informed McGrath that in Embassy’s opinion he might consider visiting Jerusalem on informal basis only, and only after he had made formal call upon Israel Government here in Tel Aviv.

When Embassy requested Foreign Office make appointment for Embassy to present McGrath to Ministry of Education in Tel Aviv not in Jerusalem, Foreign Office spokesman retorted McGrath guest Israel Government and did not understand why he could not pay official call Ministry of Education in Jerusalem. Embassy politely reminded Foreign Office that McGrath an official US Government and [Page 991] as such he preferred make official call on Israel Government in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. Foreign Office spokesman then argued that “even Ambassador Palmer was making official call on Sharett in Jerusalem August 30.” Today’s press confirms this.

An appointment was made for McGrath pay formal call August 30 in Tel Aviv on Director General of Education Ministry who happened to be visiting Tel Aviv.

Department can readily see that time has come for concise clarification of instructions to Embassy as to Jerusalem deportment of official Americans. Embassy has informed Department several times of increasing difficulty efficiently carrying out routine business with Israel Government agencies already moved to Jerusalem. Adding to this difficulty is fact that either different or incomplete instructions given US and UN officials such as McGrath and Palmer are making Embassy’s position of strict non-intercourse increasingly ludicrous in eyes of Israel Government. Furthermore, fact that certain American officials appear have permission treat Jerusalem as seat of Israel Government while State Department does not, lends additional credence to feeling in Israel that State Department as part US Government most unrealistic re facts of Jerusalem.

Embassy respectfully requests Department to restate its instructions to Embassy as to pattern Department desires Embassy to follow with respect to Israel Government in Jerusalem.