State Dept, Won’t Say if U.S. Discussed Embassy Move with Canada

The State Department has refused to say whether it has been engaged in any discussions with the Canadian government over Prime Minister Joe Clark’s election campaign promise to move Canada’s Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The question was raised by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at yesterday’s briefing in light of reports the Clark government was under pressure from Washington, the Arab states and the Canadian business community against the transfer.

Asked by the JTA if the U.S. was in communication with the Clark government on the matter, the Department’s chief spokesman Hodding Carter replied, “I won’t be able to go into such matters. The Canadian government is very aware of our position.” When it was suggested that he gave the impression that the Carter Administration was engaged in such communications since he did not deny the reports, the spokesman said all he was implying was that “I don’t want to go into our diplomatic conversations.” Reminded that the 1976 Democratic Party platform called for the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Carter replied that there are other planks in the platform that have not been carried out.

Earlier this week, Canada’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Flora MacDonald, said in a formal statement that while the government intends to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it will take into consideration the views of the U.S. and the Arab states.

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