Press Release Announcing U.S. Recognition of Israel

(1948)

On May 14, 1948, just eleven minutes after David Ben-Gurion began reading Israel's Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv, President Harry S. Truman signed a brief, tersely worded Press Release Announcing U.S. Recognition of Israel, acknowledging Ben-Gurion's “provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.” The United States thus became the first country in the world to recognize the newly founded state of Israel. Eight months later, on January 31, 1949, following the election of a permanent government in Israel and his own reelection and inauguration, Truman extended “de jure recognition to the Government of Israel,” meaning now that the recognition was in law as well as in fact.

Truman's intense personal involvement in the recognition of Israel, the immediacy of his action, and his bifurcation of the recognition process were all expressions of the intense debate over the U.S. role in the Middle East and beyond. This debate over the...

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The Press Release Announcing U.S. Recognition of Israel (National Archives and Records Administration)

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