164. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1

2488.1) We believe it to be in US interests and in those of AU that AU, largely through its own efforts, become true union and evolve into meaningful constructive entity responsive in important respects to wishes of its people. Approach by HKJ and GOI to practical problems involved in implementing Union should therefore be positive in terms of establishing sound foundation state which will constitute new constructive influence in area. In our view Union has very little chance of [Page 287] success if sole or most important motivation is to establish counterpoise to UAR and if component parts continue go own separate ways on important problems. In practical terms, foregoing means that any move proposed by Iraq or Jordan in connection with Union should be weighed in terms of whether it contributes in fact as well as in appearance to accomplishment meaningful Union.

2) We are concerned by recent reports from Amman and Baghdad which give impression some members governing group still thinking more in terms preserving national and personal prerogatives than in terms making concessions necessary to effective implementation Union. We recognize important concessions made heretofore, particularly by King Hussein, and realize it natural individuals should not wish surrender perquisites and prestige attached to present positions. Seems evident, however, such feelings must give way to pressing need endow Union government with attributes and authority customary in federal state.

We have also noted tendency count on outside assistance, either from US, UK or Kuwait, to accomplish what must in essence be responsibility of Arab Union Government. There appears to be too much emphasis on what must be done by outsiders to assure success of Union and insufficient emphasis on actions which Iraqis and Jordanians themselves must take. Finally, we sense undesirable inclination evade basic problems such as financial situation which will face AU as well as HKJ and GOI Governments, and problems involved in determining precise international status.

3) Foregoing leads us consider whether we and UK should not take more active role in pressing for immediate consideration important problems facing Union and in providing appropriate guidance in solution these problems. We recognize need avoid giving impression we are sponsoring or directing specific proposals, our association with which might prejudice position HKJ and GOI and invite charge we were endeavoring force Union on reluctant government and people, as well as need avoid being maneuvered into position where major financial assistance requested and expected of us. In any discussions this question we believe it is essential however stress first of all importance for Iraq and Jordan of making Union a going concern and our conviction Union will succeed if GOI and GOJ want it to.

4) Coordinated comments Amman and Baghdad requested on foregoing.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/5–758. Secret; Noforn except British. Drafted in NEA/NE by Waggoner and cleared by Rountree. Also sent to Baghdad and repeated to Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Ankara, Jerusalem, Jidda, Karachi, Tehran, Tel Aviv, and London.
  2. The Embassy in Amman responded, in telegram 1912, May 9, that it agreed with the overall assessment of the circumstances facing the Arab Union, but added that, in many important respects, the United States considered the success of the union to be more important than most Jordanians did. It was necessary, the Embassy felt, to avoid any action which would reveal that disparity, such as attempts at direct guidance, in that such action could lead to demands for material assistance beyond what the United States was prepared to contemplate. The Embassy suggested that the correct approach to the new union would be for the United States and the United Kingdom to treat it in all important respects as a single entity, in order to underwrite the integrity and prospects for success of the union. (Ibid., 786.00/5–958) The Embassy in Baghdad also agreed with the Department’s general analysis of developments affecting prospects for the union between Iraq and Jordan, and echoed the Embassy in Amman’s emphasis on the importance of encouraging a genuine union capable of developing inherent strength. (Telegram 1843 from Baghdad, May 9; ibid.) Both telegrams are included in the microfiche supplement.