147. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel 1

148769. Ref: Amman 4270,2 Tel Aviv 3296,3 USUN 4539,4 Jerusalem 1163,5 all refs Notal.

Israeli Twentieth Independence Day Parade, to be held in Jerusalem May 2, will originate in Shu’fat in former Jordanian-held sector, skirt Walled City and terminate in Israeli sector. Israeli press has reported foreign diplomats will not be asked to attend but that military attaches will be invited. USG has received no official Israeli communication regarding US attendance.
Department has determined that neither Ambassador nor any other Embassy officer should attend parade in Jerusalem. If it is deemed useful and desirable, a representative of USDAO may unofficially observe parade in civilian clothes.6 At Ambassador’s discretion he and members of his staff may attend other customary Independence Day ceremonies in Israeli sector of Jerusalem consistent with practice in past years.
We plan to inform Israeli Embassy here of our position on parade as follows: US could not authorize its representatives to attend parade in Jerusalem. This is consistent with our well known views on status of Jerusalem. As we have stated publicly and privately we believe future status of Jerusalem must be worked out in consultation with all parties having interest in special character of the city. Satisfactory solution for Jerusalem must take into consideration religious, [Page 286] economic, and political interests at stake including those of Israel and Jordan. This objective can best be achieved by dealing with future of Jerusalem as element in general political settlement. We have strongly and consistently expressed opposition to unilateral Israeli acts which appear to consolidate or symbolize de facto annexation of Jerusalem. We consider Israeli decision to route parade through the occupied, formerly Jordanian-held sector of the city a particularly provocative act which will understandably deepen Arab suspicions re true Israeli will to peace. We think Israelis will find little understanding for their action internationally and in UN. For Embassy Tel Aviv: Should question of Jerusalem Parade be raised by Foreign Ministry, you should make foregoing points in describing US position.
In formulating US position on parade Department has considered suggestions that USG attempt to dissuade GOI from staging parade in occupied East Jerusalem and that US encourage UNSYG to deplore Israeli planning for parade. We share views expressed by Embassy Tel Aviv and ConGen Jerusalem that there is no possibility GOI would make any change in its plans for Jerusalem parade. That parade would be held in Jerusalem has been foregone conclusion since June war, and elaborate preparations involving road work and construction of facilities have been made. GOI decision and actions have been taken in full knowledge US views on Jerusalem. Accordingly, we believe appropriate US response is dignified statement to press and to Israelis that emphatically and clearly sets forth consistent US position on Jerusalem while avoiding showdown over changing venue or route which we cannot win. By seeking involve UNSYG or otherwise forcing showdown, US would only provide additional fuel for Arab resentment.
Press guidance will be transmitted to addressees in subsequent message.
We plan also to inform British and other friendly governments who have expressed interest in our decision. We understand from informal consultations that British and Germans intend take similar decision.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Precht on April 17; cleared in draft by Sisco, Colonel Abba of DOD/Joint Staff, and by Colonel R. H. Jenkins of DOD/ISA; cleared in substance by Country Director for Northern Africa John F. Root and by Neuman, Battle, Atherton, and Houghton; and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Aden, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, USUN, Paris, Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, Rabat, and STRIKECOM.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 140.
  3. In telegram 3296 from Tel Aviv, April 11, Barbour reiterated his objections to pressuring the Israeli Government to cancel or reroute the scheduled parade. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)
  4. Telegram 4539 from USUN, April 11, transmitted Goldberg’s recommendations concerning the scheduled May 2 parade. Goldberg recommended issuing a strong U.S. statement of non-attendance and criticism of the parade venue, and at the same time make a high-level demarche to the Israeli Government asking for a change of venue. (Ibid.)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 140.
  6. The Department subsequently revised this instruction to prohibit any U.S. official from attending the parade. (Telegram 152893 to Tel Aviv, April 25; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)