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John F. Kennedy Administration: Telegram from Israeli Foreign Minister Meir Explaining Israeli Attitude Toward Refugees

(November 1, 1961)

Foreign Minister Meir relates Israel's attitude toward the upcoming Palestinian Conciliation Commission report and Israel's desire to solve the refugee problem.

Tel Aviv, November 1, 1961, noon.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-161. Confidential. Repeated to USUN.

307. In conversation with Assistant Secretary Talbot and myself, Foreign Minister Meir expressed doubt as to usefulness of forthcoming PCC report but indicated Israel's readiness to cooperate with this approach if "others" saw promise of progress./2/ She went on, however, to stress that one thing Israel could never accept was inclusion of "free choice" in whatever recommendations might be made. Realized US would not deliberately support any program clearly inimical to Israel's security, but "good intentions not always enough".

/2/Also on November 1 in New York, Israeli Minister Gazit delivered a more detailed presentation of Israeli concerns about the Johnson mission during a meeting with Joseph Sisco (IO/UNP). Gazit emphasized Israeli concern over "methods of procedure" in the PCC report, insisting that these be kept general and that Israel be allowed to review the report before it was made public. (Ibid.)

I stated assumption that even if phrase "free choice" omitted report could be expected at least to contain more generalized reference to pertinent UN resolutions and expressed hope such reference would not evoke negative Israeli reaction. Without giving clear-cut answer, Mrs. Meir stressed objection to sifting out and concentrating on individual passages in resolutions. Assistant Secretary Talbot observed that in formulating US position on refugee issue, we would be mindful of Kennedy-Ben-Gurion conversation in New York, with which she agreed.


Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.