784.00/1–1650: Telegram

The Chargé in Jordan (Fritzlan) to the Secretary of State


5. Friday1 night I dined at Shuneh with King who expressed disappointment re recent Israeli firm stand against acceptance his demands basis peace settlement and pessimism re agreement near future though he continues feel early peace highly desirable. Asked me talk with Samir Pasha who had just returned from Tehran re details.

Following day I saw Samir who said he found letter from Shiloah awaiting him on return Amman. He lent me original of letter dated December 29 which stated:

[Here follows the text of the letter, accompanied by a brief paragraph of comment on a detail of the text.]

“Suggestion” re first paragraph is width and point access sea of proposed corridor. Last paragraph presumably refers Sassoon’s departure for Ankara. Letter from Sassoon to King reported to be same as Samir’s [Shiloah’s?] letter.

Samir informed me latest Israeli move means indefinite postponement negotiations. Feels time has come for him withdraw and permit government continue if desires on official basis. Intends take no action reply Shiloah’s letter and strongly holds view next step up to Israelis. He counseling King be patient and avoid rash hasty action.

Samir volunteered information that Prime Minister had categorically told him that while he does not disapprove negotiations and will not criticize, but rather will support, eventual agreement with Israelis provided Jordan obtains substantial advantages he will not be party to such agreement. Tawfiq Pasha recently officially denied rumors Jordan Government negotiating with Israelis and added government will resign after April elections to give King free hand selection suitable government.

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It thus seems most probable that in event basic agreement between Jordan and Israel reached before elections Samir will replace Tawfiq.

Both King and Samir complained bitterly Israelis being “difficult and unreasonable”. They expressed hope US and UK could informally express to Israelis that Jordan position considered reasonable. I reiterated view that US desirous two parties reach agreement without intervention other parties as such agreement more likely to be durable.

Comment: Though Tawfiq’s denial technically correct it left completely false impression and it will be difficult in face of it to prepare state of mind of people for any eventual settlement with Israelis. This seems unfortunate. King doubtless anxious reach agreement before elections after which it would be more difficult problem square matters with Palestinians. Israelis doubtless aware of this. End of comment.

Sent Department 5. Pouched Arab capitals. Department pass London 2, Tel Aviv 2, Jerusalem 3, PCC 1.

  1. January 13.