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

2730. For Amman: Together with your UK colleague you should seek urgent meeting with Nuri and jointly deliver to him following [Page 290] personal message from President and Prime Minister2 re financial support for Arab Union.3UK Ambassador receiving similar instructions:

“We have been informed of the Arab Union’s financial difficulties and have considered what can be done to help to meet the immediate situation.

As a result of this discussion, we are able to inform you that, in addition to the substantial support already given by the US and UK to the Jordan Government, the US Government will, subject to Congressional authority, make available to the Arab Union up to $25 million to meet the whole of the Jordanian share of the Union budget for the period July 1, 1958–March 31, 1959 in replacement of budgetary assistance to Jordan. Since Jordan’s share of the Union budget is estimated at $18.75 million, there could be available up to $6.25 million to help meet the deficit on the Iraqi side. For their part, the United Kingdom Government will make a contribution of up to the equivalent of $4 million to the Union budget. These maximum figures are based on the presently available estimates of the Union budget, and on the assumption that the Union will become operative on July 1st.

We hope that this assistance will enable the Union Government to surmount the difficulties of this first period, and give an opportunity which you can use to work out more permanent arrangements.

We hope, too, that you will regard this as a further demonstration of our continuing interest in the Arab Union and our determination to do what we can to ensure its success.

As you know, the UK Government hopes, as regards the larger problem of Kuwait,4 that something satisfactory can be worked out between the Ruler and the Union Government. We would welcome any mutually acceptable arrangements which would serve the interest of the Arab Union and Kuwait.”

You alone should convey same message separately to Rifai and speak to him in amplification along following lines:

Although it is contrary to US practice to indicate to foreign governments specific amounts of assistance which US plans to make available to them in advance of Congressional authorization of the funds which would be required, in view of urgent request from Nuri for information as to amount of assistance AU might expect from US and UK in connection with Union budget for period July 1, 1958–March 31, 1959, and because of our deep interest in supporting Arab Union and aiding it to become established as constructive force [Page 291] in Near East, we have made exception to our practice and made above statement to Nuri. Rifai will note we have made clear to him that our plans are subject to authorization of funds by Congress.

In view fact AU assuming responsibility for military and foreign affairs portions Jordanian budget and since US plans make contribution to cover Jordanian share AU budget, this procedure will replace direct US budgetary support to Jordan. However, untransferred remaining $7.5 million of $15 million already obligated to Jordan remains obligated for use in Jordan in manner to be mutually determined. Above is convincing evidence our support for AU and for Jordan.

As HKJ already informed we intend proceed in future on assumption international agreements will be concluded only with AU Government and that consequently future US economic and military assistance will be channeled through Union Government.

For Baghdad: Jointly with your UK colleague you should convey to King Faisal message addressed to Nuri by President and Prime Minister.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.5–MSP/6–1258. Confidential; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Rockwell and cleared by Rountree, by Smith and Bell in ICA, and in substance by Dulles and Eisenhower. Also sent to Baghdad and repeated to London.
  2. The substance of the message developed from a conversation between Eisenhower and Macmillan at the White House on June 10. A memorandum of this conversation, dealing with the Arab Union budget, is in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, Macmillan–President, 6/58–9/30/58; included in the microfiche supplement. A June 9 memorandum of conversation dealing with the situation in Lebanon is printed as Document 65.
  3. Nuri Said was in Amman at the time.
  4. Reference is to the desire of Iraq and Jordan to see Kuwait join the Arab Union.
  5. In telegram 2153 from Amman, June 13, Chargé Wright reported that he and British Ambassador Johnston had delivered the message from Eisenhower and Macmillan to Nuri Said that morning. A “stormy session” lasting over 3 hours followed, in which Nuri expressed his bitter disappointment over the message which he said failed to live up to previous assurances. He said he planned to submit his resignation to King Faisal. Wright met separately with Hussein and Rafai, who expressed appreciation for U.S.–U.K. generosity but generally supported Nuri’s demands. Wright commented: “It now clear as it has been to Embassy for some time that AU will only become viable if US/UK, mostly US, prepared to foot the bill.” (Department of State, Central Files 786.5–MSP/6–1358) The Department responded, in telegram 2751 to Amman, June 14, that it had consulted informally with the British Embassy, and the reaction was not to accede further to Nuri’s demands. (Ibid.) This decision was confirmed in telegram 2790 to Amman, June 19, in which the Department noted that Nuri had apparently withdrawn his resignation and assumed a more reasonable attitude toward the budget problem. (Ibid., 785.5–MSP/6–1958) These telegrams are included in the microfiche supplement.