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State Department Asks Truman To Stop Israeli “Aggression”

(August 16, 1948)

During the 1948 War, started when the surrounding Arab states invaded Israel, the State Department, which had opposed the establishment of Israel, repeatedly criticized Israeli “aggression.” Israel, fighting for its existence, took advantage of every opportunity, including truces, to strengthen its strategic position. The Department wanted President Truman to coerce Israel to stop its military activities. Officials were particularly concerned with the possibility that Israel might attack Transjordan and trigger British intervention (which the UK threatened). This memo to the president outlines the Department’s concerns.