Telegram 1633 from Tel Aviv, April 22, had asked Department of State guidance on several points, the most important of which was whether the Secretary of State should make any calls in Jerusalem. The Embassy had planned to concentrate most of his activities in Tel Aviv, but suggested the Israeli Prime Minister might feel he could not attend dinner or dicussions in Tel Aviv if it appeared the Secretary was deliberately avoiding any meeting in Jerusalem. The Department of State’s answer, in telegram 950, April 25, was that “arrangements for call or other contacts Prime Minister should be made without reference Jerusalem issue as we reserve our position in this instance.” Telegram 964 to Tel Aviv, April 29, advised the Embassy that the Secretary had been invited to have lunch with the Prime Minister in Jerusalem, and stated the Embassy could accept that and other appropriate Jerusalem engagements.
A tentative itinerary prepared by the Embassy for the Secretary’s visit listed several events in Tel Aviv on the day of his arrival, May 13. The following day’s itinerary called for an 8:30 a.m. departure for Jerusalem, where the Secretary was to meet with the Prime Minister in the morning, and have lunch with him at noon. In the afternoon, following a call on the President of Israel, the Secretary was to make a departing statement from the President’s home and cross the Mandelbaum Gate for a visit to Jordanian Jerusalem. (Telegram 1694 from Tel Aviv, May 3)
Telegram 1987 from Beirut, May 9, advised the Department of State the Prime Minister of Lebanon had warned the Ambassador that if the Secretary lunched with the Prime Minister of Israel in Jerusalem it would cause consternation in the Arab world, “which would regard it as American recognition that Jerusalem is capital of Israel in defiance of UN resolution.” The Ambassador in Lebanon [Page 36] felt “constrained in view seriousness this situation (if true) express strong agreement with Salaam’s estimate. Arab world, lifted up and encouraged by what they regard as ‘new look’ in American NE policy, would be so hurt and emotionally upset by such a move that great opportunity which we now possess would be prejudiced and Secretary placed on defensive during his visit.” Telegram 689 from Damascus, May 12, advised the Department that several high-ranking Syrian officials insisted Israel would use Dulles’ visit to buttress their claim that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.
Telegram 954 from Amman, May 11, advised the Department that the Secretary’s plans to attend a luncheon in Israeli-held Jerusalem as a guest of Ben Gurion would be viewed as American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Telegram 2415 from Cairo, May 12, reported the Secretary was concerned over the effect his meetings in Jerusalem were having on the Arabs. He considered it too late to shift the meetings to Tel Aviv but asked the Embassy in Tel Aviv to advance the time of the events scheduled in Jerusalem so that he could cross the Mandelbaum Gate at about 3 p.m. and spend at least an hour in Arab Jerusalem. Documentation is in Department of State file 110.11 DU.