867N.01/5–3049: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Jordan 1

top secret

72. View Sassoon communication Abdullah asserting Lausanne talks have failed and requesting direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel parallel to Lausanne discussions, Dept desires you informally advise King US Govt believes Lausanne talks have by no means [Page 1083] failed and it essential no party take action likely undermine discussions. Accordingly, US Govt in most friendly spirit desires suggest it would not be advisable for Jordan enter reference separate negotiations.2 US Govt approves position taken by King and reported ur 222 May 30.

Dept desires your views urgently on fol.

Bevin has informed Secy Abdullah has asked UK advice whether he should now incorporate Pal territories administered by Jordan. Bevin would like have Jordan do this so that Brit treaty would apply these territories also. UK legal advisers believe they could argue treaty applies now even without incorporation on basis de facto administration. If US does not approve immediate incorporation, Brits desire know whether we object their announcing they consider UK–Jordan treaty applies to administered territory without incorporation. Bevin seeking something raise Abdullah’s morale short of supplying arms and ammunition and would like US reply soonest.3

Dept urgently investigating legal implications.

  1. The Department transmitted the substance of this message to Jerusalem in telegram 263, June 1, 7 p. m., which was repeated to Tel Aviv as No. 330 (501.BB Palestine/6–149).
  2. Mr. Rockwell, on June 16, analyzed the reasoning of the Department in sending telegram 72. His memorandum stated in part:

    “Although no agreement had been reached at Lausanne, largely because of the rigidity of the Israeli position, the Department felt that Sassoon was totally incorrect in stating that the talks were a complete failure. The Department also believed that it was essential to give the strongest support to the Conciliation Commission, which was attempting to reach an equitable agreement between the parties and offered all the necessary facilities to the parties for reaching such an agreement. Under the circumstances, separate talks seemed totally unnecessary, and likely to lead to circumstances similar to those under which Transjordan was forced to give up considerable territory in order to achieve an armistice with Israel. Accordingly, the Department, in the interests of a just settlement, suggested to King Abdullah that he not enter the separate talks with Israel.

    “An additional motive for the Department’s approach to King Abdullah was the possibility that Israel and Transjordan, by negotiating together on the question of Jerusalem without the presence of the Conciliation Commission, might reach an agreement concerning the City which would disregard the international and Christian interests in Jerusalem and in the Holy Places.”

    Mr. Rockwell’s memorandum was transmitted to Acting Secretary Webb in a memorandum of June 16 by Messrs. Rusk and Satterthwaite, which stated that “This matter has been taken up with Mr. Connelly and Mr. Niles at the White House by Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.” (867N.01/6–1649)

  3. Chargé Stabler, in reply on June 3, gave his view that “incorporation Arab Palestine in Transjordan at this stage would have adverse effect on Lausanne talks and on Palestine Arabs and would contribute to additional difficulties between Transjordan and certain Arab states. Moreover, I believe that US and UK, whose advice and support it would soon be known had been sought and obtained, would lay themselves open to criticism for countenancing action of this nature ‘out of court’.” However, to show some form of support to Abdullah, he saw “no reason United States Government should interpose any objection to British announcement that they consider UK–Trans Jordan Treaty applies to administration territory without incorporation,” should the Department be satisfied that the arguments of the British legal advisers were sound (telegram 230, June 3, noon, from Amman, 867N.01/6–349).