WASHINGTON (Mar. 12)
The State Department refused to comment today on a report that Secretary of State George Shultz has warned Congress that if it approves legislation moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it could lead to anti-American violence in the Islamic world.
State Department spokesman John Hughes said that Lawrence Eagleburger, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, had made the Reagan Administration’s position “plain” when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 23 against the bill introduced by Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D. N.Y.) which would require the move.
Eagleburger said that moving the Embassy to Jerusalem “would serve only to undermine our ability to play an effective role in the Middle East peace process.”
Moynihan argued, however, that the move would contribute to peace since it would end “any doubt in the minds of the enemies of Israel as to the commitment of the U.S. to the permanence of the State of Israel.”
HOUSE PANEL TO HOLD HEARINGS SOON
A House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee is expected to hold hearings soon on a similar bill, introduced by Reps. Tom Lantos (D. Calif.) and Benjamin Gilman (R. N.Y.).
At the Senate Committee hearing, Sen. Charles Percy (R. III.), the Committee chairman, read a letter from Shultz in which he said the legislation would interfere with the President’s constitutional right to conduct foreign policy. A Senate source confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Shultz has sent a second letter to Percy in which he mentioned the possibility of violence.
State Department officials have been claiming for years that moving the Embassy could result in acts of violence against Americans in the Middle East.