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U.S. Threatens Israel Over Actions Following 1948 War

(December 1948?)

This undated draft of a telegram to be sent from President Truman to David Ben-Gurion reflects the frustration of the State Department with what it viewed as Israel’s lack of cooperation on reaching an agreement on territory and a resolution to the Palestinian refugee issue. The administration acknowledged the “final settlement of the refugee problem must await a definitive peace settlement,” however, Israel was being urged to accept “the principle of substantial repatriation.” The Arab states were also being asked to resettle a “substantial portion of the Palestine refugees.” They Arabs adamantly refused to resettle any refugees while Israel offered to take in a limited number in as part of a peace settlement.

Israel was also warned not to seize any territory “beyond the boundaries set forth” in the partition resolution and to offer “territorial compensation for territory which it expecs to acquire beyond the boundaries” of that resolution.

After recapping the favorable policy toward Israel, the telegram ends with an ominous threat: “If the Govt of Israel continues to reject the basic principles set forth by the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11, 1948 and the friendly advice offered by the US government for the sole purpose of facilitating a genuine peace in Palestine, the US government will regretfully be forced to the conclusion that a revision of its attitude toward Israel has become unavoidable.”

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