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Moscow and Israel Announce Resumption of Diplomatic Relations

The immediate resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Soviet Union was announced simultaneously here and in Moscow this evening. Relations were broken off by Moscow last February after the explosion of a bomb in the garden of the Soviet Legation in Tel Aviv.

The communique announcing resumption of relations–which contained an exchange of letters between Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and Soviet Foreign Minister V. Molotov–revealed that contacts leading to an agreement to renew relations took place in the capital of one of the East European countries. Preliminary talks took place in April and May, when an Israel representative informed the Russians of his government’s desire for resumption of relations.

The talks continued and on July 6, Mr. Sharett wrote to Mr. Molotov; “The Israel Government has, of late, been aware of a noticeable improvement in the atmosphere surrounding international affairs and of a renewed and widespread desire to arrive at peaceful and constructive solutions of major international issues still pending.

“In pursuance of its consistent policy of seeking friendship with all peace loving nations and to contribute to the measure of its ability to the establishment of normal harmonious relations with all peoples, the Israel Government wishes at this juncture to raise the question of resumption of relations with Israel which were broken off after the explosion in the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv of a bomb placed by unknown criminals, causing damage to persons and property.

“The Israel Government recalls that in its note of February 10, 1953 to the USSR Legation in Tel Aviv it expressed its profound regret over the crime committed against the Legation and offered its apologies as well as full compensation for injuries and material losses which the legation and its personnel sustained.”

Mr. Molotov’s letter, dated July 15, 1953, declared that in view of the assurances given by Israel that it would make every effort to apprehend and punish those responsible for the bombing and the fact that it had apologized for the incident, the Soviet Union was prepared to restore relations. He made special note of the fact that Mr. Sharett, in his letter, said Israel will not be party to any aggression against the USSR.

Mr. Sharett this evening informed the Israel Parliament’s Foreign. Affairs Committee of the resumption of relations. At the same time, the Israel Government expressed its satisfaction with the new state of affairs, asserting that this development “will serve the cause of world peace.” It also expressed its “deep gratitude” to the Netherlands Government for protecting its interests in Russia during the period when relations between Moscow and Tel Aviv were ruptured.

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