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U.S. Says Its Decision on Embassy Will Not Be Influenced by Threats

May 3, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department maintained today that its decision on the location of the U.S. Embassy in Israel will not be influenced by threats from Arab countries.

“We determine our own policy based on our assessment of our interests,” Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said. He added that President Reagan has recently stressed U.S. opposition to Congressional efforts to move the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Romberg’s remarks came after he refused to comment on a reported statement by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt that Egypt would break diplomatic relations with any country that moved its Embassy to Jerusalem.

Mubarak, in a May Day speech in Cairo, said Egypt broke diplomatic relations with El Salvador and Costa Rica after those countries moved their embassies to Jerusalem, “not because we like the idea of severing relations but because we are keen on upholding international legitimacy and the rule of law and preserving the legal and historic rights of more than 100 million Arabs, 800 million Moslems and one billion Christians.”


While not mentioning the U.S. specifically, Mubarak said “this decision represents a firm line in our policy that will be applied to all countries without exception.”

Secretery of State George Shultz and other State Department officials, in arguing against moving the Embassy, maintained that it would harm U.S. efforts to be an “honest broker” in Middle East negotiations. Supporters of the move argue that it will end Arab delusions that Israel can be destroyed and would thus hasten negotiations.

At the same time, members of Congress have been angered by the Administration’s private warnings that moving the Embassy could endanger American lives and property in the Middle East. They have seen such threats as giving in to terrorism and blackmail.

This point was frequently cited yesterday at the joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittees on Europe and the Middle East and International Operations which considered the bill requiring the Embassy to be moved.


In New York today, Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, sent a cable to Mubarak urging him to “reconsider this dangerous and ill-advised affront to the American people. Your statement is a rude interference in the American political process.”

Berman added, “To me and I believe millions of other Americans, your statement signals an ignoble surrender to those forces in the Arab world that cursed President (Anwar) Sadat when he made his historic journey to Jerusalem — the very city you now seek to make off-limits to the rest of the world — and that rejoiced when he was assassinated.” Berman met with Mubarak in Washington last October and again in February in Cairo at the Egyptian President’s invitation.

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