WASHINGTON (Apr. 12)
President Carter congratulated visiting President Nicolae Ceausescu of Rumania today for having been “instrumental” in arranging the visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat “to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem,” last November. It was the first time that an American President has referred publicly to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The U.S. has never officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and keeps its Embassy in Tel Aviv. American officials who visit East Jerusalem always make a point of doing so in a private capacity. The Democratic Party Platform in the 1976 Presidential campaign called for the transfer of the Embassy to Jerusalem but the Carter Administration has not done so to date. There was no comment from the White House today on Carter’s reference.
Ceausescu, here on a two-day official visit, was greeted by Carter at the airport. He said, with respect to the Middle East that Israel must withdraw from occupied Arab territories and a settlement of the Palestinian question must be reached, including the creation of a Palestinian state. The Rumanian leader was said to be bringing a message to Carter from Sadat containing new ideas for a Mideast settle ment. Rumania is the only Communist bloc country that maintains diplomatic relations with Israel as well as with the Arab states.
Referring to Ceausescu’s role in Sadat’s peace initiative of last November, Carter said one recent “notable achievement” of the Rumanian leader “was to be instrumental in arranging the historic visit of President Sadat to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.”