140. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

3252. Israeli independence day parade. Ref: Amman’s 4270.2

While I am aware that the content and the route of the Israeli independence day parade will very likely arouse negative reactions among Arabs, I question whether the proposals set forth in reftel are best designed to protect our own interests in the matter. A USG public critical position is very likely, I believe, to contribute only to blow the whole matter up still further without positive return for us or anyone else. The fact is of course, as ConGen Jerusalem has been reporting for weeks, that Israeli plans and preparations are very far advanced indeed, and that any intervention on our part would stand no chance of effecting a major change in the spectacle.3 I urge that we make no public statements on the parade and that if there are queries we limit ourselves to a reiteration of our position on Jerusalem. I wonder in any case on what grounds we could object to a military parade being held in occupied territory by the occupying forces.
I have not received an invitation to the parade yet and it is possible that the GOI, knowing well our views, will not tender one. Naturally, if I am invited, I do not intend to participate.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Secret;Limdis. Repeated to Amman, Jerusalem, London, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 4270 from Amman, April 9, reported Jordanian Government concerns that a proposed Israeli independence day parade scheduled for May 2 through Jerusalem would lead to serious repercussions in the Arab world if it went as planned through east Jerusalem. The Embassy suggested that an effort be made to persuade the Israelis to cancel or reroute the parade. To that end the Embassy proposed that UN Secretary-General U Thant be encouraged to issue a statement deploring the proposed parade as likely to increase tensions in the area and complicate the efforts being made to promote peace. The Embassy further suggested that the Department issue a statement expressing a similar position. (Ibid.)
  3. The Consulate General in Jerusalem confirmed this judgment in telegram 1163 from Jerusalem, April 11. The Consulate General felt, however, that it was important for the United States to express its opposition to a parade it judged was inappropriate and unwise. (Ibid.)