Just before Israel emerged as a state in May 1948, key United States officials hesitated and backtracked. Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett told Moshe Sharett of the Jewish Agency for Palestine that the US had expected a peaceful transition to dual states in Palestine. Now, war between Jews and Arabs and a broader regional conflict loomed. Apart from the Cold War repercussions, another mass slaughter of Jews would roil the US in a presidential election year.
James G. McDonald arrived in Israel soon after its birth, serving as US special representative and later as its first ambassador. McDonald continued his longstanding practice of dictating a diary, which remained for many decades in private hands. Here his letters, private papers, and exchanges with the US State Department and the White House are interspersed chronologically with his diary entries. Envoy to the Promised Land is a major new source for the history of US-Israeli relations.
Brilliantly describing the tense climate in Israel almost day by day, McDonald offers an in-depth portrait of key Israeli politicians and analyzes the early stages of issues that still haunt the country today: the disputed boundaries of the new state, the status of Jerusalem, questions of peace with Arab states and Israel's security, Israel's relationship with the United Nations, and the problem of Palestinian refugees.
These papers and diaries from 1948 to 1951 follow the widely praised Advocate for the Doomed (IUP), Refugees and Rescue (IUP), and To the Gates of Jerusalem (IUP). Together these four volumes significantly revise the ways we view the Holocaust, its aftermath, and the early history of Israel.