March 26, 1998
50th Anniversary of the State of Israel
Washington D.C....On Monday, May 14th, 1998, the National Archives will display the letter from Eliahu Epstein, head of the Jewish Agencyís Political Office, to Secretary of State George C. Marshall declaring Israel as an independent state.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Most Jewish organizations accepted the plan, and on May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, Israelís future Prime Minister, proclaimed the independence of a Jewish national homeland, to be called the State of Israel. Eliahu Epstein, Head of the Jewish Agencyís Political Office in Washington, D.C., officially informed the United States of this action. Mr. Epstein prepared two original letters announcing the act of independence and sent one to Secretary of State George C. Marshall and one to President Harry S. Truman. The letters stated that independence will occur at 6:01 p.m. Washington time, one minute after the expiration of the British Mandate. Ten minutes later, at 6:11 p.m., President Truman announced that the United States recognized the Provisional Government of Israel as the de facto authority of the new country.
Mr. Epsteinís letter to President Truman is on display at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. In honor of the 50th anniversary, Mr. Epsteinís letter to Secretary Marshall will be on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives through May 28, 1998.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.