Letter from Senator Gorton concerning location of US embassy in Israel

March 20, 1984

M. Said, M.D., Ph.D.
Post Office Box 1176
Ephrata, Washington 98823

Dear Dr. Said:

Thank you for sharing with me your views on the location of the U.S. embassy in Israel.

As you know, the United States has chosen to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv ever since Israel was founded, on the grounds that the final status of Jerusalem must be resolved among the parties concerned as part of a comprehensive Mideast peace settlement. Jerusalem elicits powerful feelings among adherents of three major faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The discussion of whether the United States should move its embassy to Jerusalem is deeply intertwined with these emotional and religious attachments.

In general, I believe that every country has the right to designate its own administrative capital. The location of the U.S. embassy in Israel is a politically—charged question, however. Moving our embassy to Jerusalem would be viewed as an unfriendly act by all Arab nations and indeed by the entire Muslim world.

Senator Moynihan has introduced S. 2031, a bill to require that the U.S. embassy and ambassador’s residence be moved to Jerusalem. Hearings have been held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on this legislation. The Administration opposes it as an ill-timed and possibly unconstitutional change in a long-standing U.S. policy, which would give the erroneous impression that the U.S. had altered its position on the future of Jerusalem.

Since I am not a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I will not have an opportunity to vote on this legislation unless it comes before the full Senate. If it does, I will give it my closest attention, keeping your views in mind.


Slade Gorton

United States Senator