212. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

214. Pass Defense. Reference Embassy’s telegram 211 to Department.2 Received call Prime Minister Rifai 1900 hours that King Hussein wished see me immediately. On arrival Palace found British Ambassador Johnston who had received similar summons. He asked if I knew what King had in mind. Replied negative but suspected renewed demand troops.

We were taken King’s office where Rifai awaited, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] over combination bad news concerning additional reported deaths Jordanian officials caught Baghdad together Nasser’s stepped-up propaganda campaign urging Jordanians emulate Iraq rebellion against Hashemite Monarchy, which has already resulted in numerous bombings Amman. More than anything else King disappointed his request additional United States-British troops has not been given favorable consideration. [4½ lines of source text not declassified]

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I told Rifai I could not accept as valid any inference that my government had not fulfilled its commitments, giving as examples the seven and a half million dollars turned over to HKJ during last two days, five and a half million of which will be used to meet army payroll July 25. Plus additional five million dollars to finance emergency POL import and wheat and fodder shipments totaling 20, 000 tons. Rifai agreed this true but unfortunately Hussein had asked for United States troops and he had not received them. I again asked Rifai to justify the need for United States troops when British had already provided them. His reply which was concurred in by Ambassador Johnston was to the effect psychologically it would be much better to have American as well as British troops Jordan.

At this point Hussein came in and after usual exchange of pleasantries, proceeded to repeat Rifai’s arguments but without any great display of emotion. Nevertheless he left no doubt he wanted not only United States ground troops but in addition some United States air power in Jordan plus balance British Brigade now in Cyprus bring total foreign troops approximately 7, 000.

I asked Hussein if this meant Jordan army to be used outside country. He replied negative. Exclusively for internal security. I remarked I had met Pakistani Foreign Office representative earlier today and wondered if any proposal had been advanced by the Moslem members of the Baghdad Pact re Iraq.

[1 paragraph (6½ lines of source text) not declassified]

[6½ lines of source text not declassified] Abundantly clear both Hussein and British anxious participation United States troops. Hussein because he announced publicly he had requested them therefore he concerned loss of face if they don’t arrive. British because resentment return their “mandate army” rapidly increasing with open threats murder one or two soldiers as warning they should get out. USARMA has been assured by Jordanian army it capable dealing internal security problem [1 line of source text not declassified], I have come conclusion in light Hussein/RIFAI complete reversal policy toward military intervention Iraq that new plan involving joint attack by Turkey, Iran, Pakistan with some assistance Jordan is in the making. This would explain supposed need 7, 000 foreign troops who would have no choice but perform security duty if Hussein ordered his army join operation against Iraq. My opinion every argument advanced by Hussein and British for United States troops is good reason we should stay out.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/7–2258. Secret; Niact. Repeated to Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, Karachi, London, Paris, Tehran, Tel Aviv, and Damascus. Received at 12:55 a.m. and passed to the Department of Defense.
  2. Supra.
  3. On July 23, the Department responded, in telegram 273 to Amman, as follows:

    “If you deem it desirable make further response to Hussein’s second request for US troops, in addition helpful reply you have already given, you authorized state we believe well-known and substantial evidence of US participation with UK in providing assistance to help HKJ defend its independence should provide desired psychological effect referred to in paragraph 3 of reftel. Through this combination of effort US and UK have demonstrated their full support for Jordan in its courageous attitude. We will keep situation under close review to determine whether further measures are necessary but do not plan to alter present pattern of assistance.” (Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/7–2258; included in the microfiche supplement)