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Lyndon Johnson Administration: Telegram Permitting Ambassador to Attend Knesset Inauguration

(August 22, 1966)

This telegram permits the U.S. Ambassador to Israel to accept an invitation to the opening of the new Knesset (Israeli parliament) building in the western-section Jerusalem . The U.S. Government requests that this invitation not be spotlighted and reiterates its policy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel and it should be an internationalized city.

Circular Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, August 22, 1966, 10:53 p.m.

33056. Ref: Depcirtel 2464, June 15./2/

1. Dept authorizes Ambassador Barbour to accept anticipated formal Israeli Government invitation to attend inauguration ceremonies new Knesset building Jerusalem August 29-31.

2. We consider this inauguration one-time affair that is not to be regarded as precedent or pattern for future nor as representing any change in USG policy on status of Jerusalem. USG continues to support 1948 UN General Assembly resolution that provided for international status Jerusalem under UN administration, and does not recognize Jerusalem as de jure capital of Israel. We trust attendance of official Americans at Knesset opening will not be spotlighted. These points being made to Israeli Embassy here and should be reiterated by Embassy to GOI at appropriate time.

3. Department is informing British, Canadian, German, Belgian and Italian Embassies here since they previously queried us on US position. Embassy Paris may draw on above at its discretion in speaking to GOF.


/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-2 ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Wolle on August 17; cleared by Symmes and Hare and in substance by UK Country Director J. Harold Shullaw, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Spanish Sahara, and Tunisia Country Director John F. Root, Edward W. Schaefer of AFNE, and Kinsolving; and approved and initialed by Rusk. Repeated to Algiers, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Bonn, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, Ottawa, Paris, Rabat, Rome, Tripoli, and Tunis and pouched to Taiz.

/2/Circular telegram 2464, June 15, summarizes a conversation that day between Lebanese Ambassador El Ahdab and Davies, in which El Ahdab expressed concern over the possible attendance by Ambassador Barbour at the ceremonial opening of the new Knesset in Jerusalem. (Ibid.)

Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 20, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1967-1968. DC: GPO, 2001.