243. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

129. From Murphy. Amman for Wright. Shortly after arrival Amman evening July 30 Wright and I were received by King Hussein and Prime Minister Rifai. I extended cordial greetings from President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles. These were warmly reciprocated. Hussein was exceptionally complimentary regarding recent US actions in and statements regarding ME.

During course of two hour conversation I conveyed our active interest in welfare and independence of Jordan, our desire to be helpful where possible and our appreciation of the current problems weighing on King and his government.

[Page 414]

In expressing appreciation US attitude and aid rendered Hussein said he understood reasons why US had found it unwise to send forces. He was grateful to British for their immediate response. He stressed point British had come to protect constitutional regime and not just the persons of himself and Rifai.

I said at times there might be reasonable differences of opinion as to methods of achieving goals. We believe US forces in Lebanon plus UK forces in Jordan have had beneficial regional effect. Hussein agreed and said perhaps this adequate for time being. He left no doubt that without arrival of both forces in area his regime would have probably suffered same fate as Iraq. He asked many questions regarding Lebanon and expressed doubts regarding Chehab.

We discussed Jordanian armed forces with our interlocutors emphasizing the touching fidelity to the person of Hussein of the Bedouin officers and men. Hussein urged our support of recent requests for US aid to arm and equip two additional brigades, total of 8000 men. I said I was sure this would receive active study. I was very sympathetic but avoided anything savoring of a commitment.

We discussed ME propaganda. They offered full cooperation and joked about past difficulties in raising Radio Jordan from 50 to 100 kilowatts. I informed them of President Eisenhower’s personal interest in improving our output in area. They agreed it should be improved on an urgent basis. They said Jordan in the heartland of the Arab world. [11/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Wright mentioned rumors re abdication of Hussein. This evoked indignant denial and repeated references to loyalty troops. It also aroused contemptuous references to Nasser as a liar and rogue parading as Arab leader. Egyptians are not Arabs said Rifai. In the end Nasser would not force the issue with Israel but would yield. They said Nasser is a bluffer. As any demagogue he is dependent on momentum and words. In the end Nasser would fail ignominiously.

[1 paragraph (51/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

Reference to question recognition of Iraq aroused emotional objections by both. It would be regarded as reward for Bolshevik brand of brutality. How could civilized nations deal with murderers, et cetera? At time of conversation I had not received word regarding Department’s decision to recognize shortly. Therefore Wright and I were noncommital.

Subsequently Rifai dined alone with Wright and me. On subject Iraq recognition and in reply to Wright’s questioning he blandly said, “well, we meant you should not recognize right away, perhaps in a month or six weeks.” Rifai is a realist I believe and is aware of the trend in several countries including US.

In this conversation Rifai asked me to inform Washington: [Page 415]

Hussein is determined to defend his throne and country and would “never” abdicate.
If US will give Jordan arms and money with which to insure its internal security and protect its borders against external aggression, Jordan does not need aid foreign troops.

My brief contact convinces me that Jordanian situation is fragile and unpredictable. [21/2 lines of source text not declassified] Hussein temporarily depends on the loyalty and devotion of Bedouin army elements. As far as we are concerned his attitude and that of Rifai could not be I think more friendly and well disposed toward US.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.13–MU/7–3158. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Amman. Murphy arrived in Amman on the afternoon of July 30 and departed for Tel Aviv on the evening of July 31.