180. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1
122. Pass Defense. Called upon Prime Minister Rifai his request this morning. He appeared much more rested, quite chipper. I conveyed reaffirmation USG previous pledge protect Jordan independence/integrity (see Deptel 100),2 same time pointing out need insure Iraqi Army officers now in Jordan being kept under surveillance, not permitted return Baghdad.3
RIFAI said Hussein, General Habis Majali very pleased with internal security situation. All intelligence/CID sources report landing US Marines received very calmly by public. Majority seem relieved that uncertainty which prevailed during last two months as result Lebanese situation now removed. Christian groups particularly well pleased although more thoughtful people concerned that US intervention might touch off World War III.
[1 paragraph (11 lines of source text) not declassified]
In order insure legality Rifai’s action as AU official Hussein in capacity AU chief of state issuing presidential orders this afternoon vesting in person Rifai all rights, authority, responsibility, offices AU Prime Minister/Foreign Minister/Defense Minister. Rifai taking paper from his desk drawer said in view confused state of affairs Iraq with prospect condition would continue indefinitely wherein Iraqi sector AU unable comply provisions AU constitution, Jordan must assume responsibility/conduct AU affairs particularly Defense/Foreign Relations. He therefore proposed in his combined AU capacity as Prime Minister/Foreign Minister call upon US/UK honor their pledge $25 million, $4 million respectively defray costs AU Government. He requested that half this amount be made available during period July-November with initial installment payable prior July 25 when $5.6 million needed meet army/civilian requirements mostly payrolls. In addition cost maintenance diplomatic missions abroad must be met. He said Iraqi Minister would be made AU Chargé d’Affaires London [Page 312]with Ambassador Haikal taking over Washington post temporarily. Since loyalty some Iraqi diplomats questionable majority acting chiefs of mission/chargés likely be Iraqis.
He said foregoing would be confirmed by formal note to British and ourselves on July 17 but in view present situation advisable we transmit request Washington/London soonest.
Re Turkish aircraft which arrived yesterday, Rifai said it had only colonel on board with message for Hussein substance of which had already been overtaken by events. [3½ lines of source text not declassified]
Comment: Hussein/RIFAI reaction British proposal guarantee maintenance internal security Jordan while Jordanian army engaged suppression Iraqi revolt most interesting since this is exactly role they envisioned for US troops. Re request US/UK honor financial commitment AU, no doubt money required meet payrolls, other urgent expenditures if Hussein/pro-western government be kept in power. I strongly recommend despite unorthodox nature request and/or technical obstacles encountered we leave no doubt HKJ can count on our support during this crucial period. To do otherwise would make US position Jordan/Middle East untenable.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/7–1658. Secret; Niact. Repeated to Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Dhahran, Jerusalem, London, and Paris. Received at 2:32 p.m.↩
- Document 176.↩
- In telegram 105 to Amman, July 15, the Embassy was instructed to inform Hussein orally as soon as possible of U.S. concern over the possibility of UAR attempts to subvert the Iraqi forces in Jordan, and to urge that every effort be made to maintain close and discreet surveillance of senior Iraqi officers. (Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/7–1558; included in the microfiche supplement)↩