April 20, 1964

Dear Mr. Berger:

    We have carefully studied your letter of March 14, 1964, drawing the Department of State’s attention to the “sui generis character of ‘the Jewish people’ concept,” and urging clarification of the Department’s views with respect to the “‘Jewish people’ claim”. You state : “The central point is that Zionist-Israel sovereignty uses ‘the Jewish people’ concept as the basic juridical claim directed against the Jews in states other that Israel who insist upon maintaining their single nationality status.” “Its principal function,” you state, “is to change the legal status of Jews from that of individual nationals of Jewish religious faith to members of juridicslly recognized trans-national nationality group with additional ‘rights’ and obligations to the Zionist-Israel sovereignty. The core of ‘the Jewish people’ concept is its nationality characteristics…”

    The Department of State recognizes the State of Israel as a sovereign State and citizenship of the State of Israel. It recognizes no other sovereignty of citizenship in connection therewith. It does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon the religious identification of American citizens. It does not in any way discriminate among American citizens upon the basis of their religion.

    Accordingly, it should be clear that the Department of State does not regard the “Jewish people” concept as a concept of international law.

    I remain doubtful that a formal meeting of the type you describe would lead to useful results. As in the past, however, appropriate officers of the Department will be willing to discuss any problem that may arise and the Department will always be happy to continue the dialogue whenever occasion warrants.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sincerely yours,

                                                                                                                                                                    Phillips Talbot
                                                                                                                                                                   Assistant Secretary

Mr. Elmer Berger,
Executive Vice President
American Council for Judaism
201 East 57th Street
New York, New York

Source: Appendix B to the article published by W.T. Mallison, Jr. entitled "The Zionist-Israel Juridical claims to Constitute 'The Jewish People' Nationality Entity and to Confer Membership in It: Appraisal in Public International Law" in The George Washington Law Review, 32 (1964) pp.983-1075.