97. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

123872. Ref: State’s 114277;2 USUN 3926.3 From Secretary for Ambassador.

I fully concur in Ambassador Goldberg’s recommendations concerning Jerusalem. Please call on FonMin Eban and reiterate to him the conviction I expressed in my recent letter (State reftel) that great restraint is required in Israel’s policies respecting Jerusalem. This conviction has been reinforced both by the somewhat improved prospects for meaningful negotiations under Jarring’s aegis and by the increasing sense of frustration over Jerusalem on the part of the Arabs which continues to jeopardize this hopeful trend. According to our information, Israel has continued with expropriations of land and with the related new construction projects in the eastern part of Jerusalem. It is precisely these activities, however, which understandingly give rise to concerns that the character of this part of Jerusalem is being irrevocably changed and that the possibilities of negotiating about its future are being foreclosed. I believe, therefore, that a suspension of the expropriation proceedings and of the related construction is essential to preserve a situation in which negotiation about the Middle East problem as a whole can take place. I strongly urge that the Government of Israel take this important step, in addition to refraining from any new measures which prejudice the future of Jerusalem.
You should inform Eban that I have just received his reply4 to my letter and will of course study it carefully. On first reading, however, although I welcome his indication that concerning Jerusalem Israel does not “foreclose hopes of a meaningful accommodation to any legitimate interests,” I continue to believe that without the steps we are [Page 200] asking Israel to take, chances for the settlement Israel is working to achieve will be seriously jeopardized.5
In addition foregoing presentation, you should make points suggested by Ambassador Goldberg in para 2 USUN 3936. You may also wish to use legal analysis of Israel’s action contained para 3 Deptel 116833.6
Amman authorized to inform GOJ of this demarche. British Ambassador raised question of Jerusalem with me February 26 and we are also informing him.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Day and Precht; cleared by Sisco, Leonard C. Meeker, Davies, Houghton, Atherton, and Bovis; and approved by Secretary Rusk. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, and USUN.
  2. Document 79.
  3. The reference is in error. The correct reference is telegram 3936 from USUN, February 28. With an eye to facilitating the success of the Jarring Mission and preventing an appeal by Jordan to the UN Security Council on the issue of Jerusalem, Goldberg recommended that the United States should “weigh in decisively and at a high level” with Israel to suspend all expropriation and construction activities in occupied Jerusalem. Goldberg suggested that the United States point out to Israel that these were unilateral acts that were undermining the Jarring Mission. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
  4. See Document 96.
  5. In telegram 123937 to Tel Aviv for the Ambassador from the Secretary, Rusk put forward another argument, instructing Barbour to remind Eban of U.S. cooperation with Israel in seeking an equitable solution to Middle Eastern problems. It would, Rusk felt, be difficult to continue to do so if the United States continued to be subjected to surprise announcements concerning Jerusalem that adversely affected the hopes for peace. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
  6. Not found.