290. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State 1

597. Re USUN 7 sent Department Secto 11, Embtel 596.2 According pre-arranged plan went Palace tonight meeting King Hussein, found Prime Minister Rifai who had already conveyed King substance reference telegram.

Hussein opened conversation by expressing appreciation USG generous support during past two years, said he wished explain why both he/RIFAI felt vague generalities reference telegram could not be considered firm enough basis on which present pro-Western HKJ Government able continue in office, proceeded make following points:

While GA resolution had accomplished indication Jordan case before UN by means of implied condemnation UAR interference internal affairs other states it was at same time Nasser victory since it in effect brought Jordan/Lebanon case back to Arab League on whose policies Nasser will undoubtedly exercise great influence due recent revolt Iraq, neutralist role Saudi Arabia, presence “imperialist occupation forces” Jordan/Lebanon.
Hussein believes good possibility Nasser will seek develop idea put forward during GA meeting that Arab states “one family,” should resolve own differences. Under UN compulsion temporary restraint over subversive activities within other states Nasser will take position neither Jordan nor Lebanon in danger external aggression/subversion, therefore US/UK troops should be immediately withdrawn. Should either Jordan or Lebanon protest they will be left open charge they “imperialist satellite.” Hussein opinion this very probably be raised by UAR representative at September 6 meeting Political Committee, Arab League, which may develop into full League meeting. Furthermore, if troops have not left before opening regular session GA next month Soviets already on record place withdrawal issue on GA agenda. Hussein takes position in light foregoing British troops must be out Jordan not later than October 1. American forces due number involved may be able “stall along for month or so” but size British contingent Amman cannot justify similar procedure.
Hussein convinced Nasser “handmaiden” Russia, believes it not unlikely at September meeting Arab League he will make appeal rid Arab world dependence “Western aid”, will make counter-offer (with Soviet money and due apology for past failure fulfill commitments) replace US aid Jordan with financial support from the sister [Page 517] Arab States.” Hussein points up refusal any such offer regardless whether or not real source money, true motive behind scheme known would be most embarrassing Jordan, make it target Nasser charge being “imperialist satellite.” This is reason why Jordan insists on some kind formal and public arrangement with USG which will provide complete package military/economic/budgetary aid for sufficiently long period permit HKJ refuse any Nasser/Arab aid on grounds it bound under prior international commitment US which obliged honor.
Rifai interrupted, pointed out unless HKJ had good grounds turn down any Arab aid public opinion within country would create very difficult internal security problem, leave government exposed charge it “tool imperialist.” Hussein concluded with statement because foregoing reasons he convinced unless USG willing comply his request re mutual defense treaty, expansion armed forces, sufficient financial support alleviate budgetary difficulties he would have no alternative but accept Prime Minister Rifai’s resignation with its obvious anti-West consequences. [4 lines of source text not declassified] I thanked him for his very detailed informative explanation, expressed my conviction if Hussein/RIFAI realistic their approach problem amount/nature US assistance no reason present pro-Western government should resign, suggested we get down to hard facts.

I asked on assumption British troops withdrawn October 1 (obvious Jordanian security forces could not be expanded within next few weeks) whether Hussein/RIFAI believed HKJ could exercise effective control internal security. Hussein replied “Yes” providing:

Nasser continued abide UAR commitment contained GA Resolution, refrain from interference internal affairs other states.
HKJ could announce either simultaneously with or shortly before British withdrawal friendship treaty with US which would have tremendous psychological effect Jordanian people, reassure them they were not alone on free world side. This must include specific tangible evidence US support. For example:
Immediate dispatch US military mission Jordan with appropriate publicity which would be charged with evaluation condition Jordan defense establishment, make specific recommendations designed improve its equipment/efficiency.
Pledge sufficient funds provide budgetary support cover normal governmental expenditures exclusive expansion armed forces through fiscal year ending March 31, 1959.
Economic program designed provide reasonable level employment together development Jordan’s limited resources including rehabilitation Amman/Ma’an railway, Aqaba port development, some assistance completion desert road. Hussein said he wished make clear he would not entertain any proposal which would make it appear to Jordanian people and/or other Arab States he had entered into defense agreement with British. He emphasized that when British paratroopers left he wanted “former Glubb Pasha crowd now in Jordan go [Page 518] with them.” I cautioned Hussein/RIFAI on viewing everything British did with suspicion pointing out from personal observation many ex-Arab Legion officers had deep affection Jordan as well their old comrades in arms which should not be regarded as part some sinister plot. Furthermore, US/UK policies many areas world quite parallel. British sources military supplies/equipment often used under OSP which affords considerable benefit not only UK but all free countries by keeping needed industrial military plant capacity available non-Communist world. I pointed out for reasons contained reference telegram any US/HKJ military defense treaty out of question this time. As matter of fact, USG already doing in large measure what they requested particularly in economic/financial support field with military assistance in form planes, tanks, artillery, vehicles already delivered or on order running into millions of dollars. Furthermore, as near as could be determined no one including Hussein/RIFAI knew precisely whether Jordan Army needed or could usefully employ additional two brigades contained original proposals.

In light foregoing it seems to me hard-core Hussein request was for some kind public announcement by USG its support Jordan at same time spelling in economic/military/financial terms size/nature assistance. I said if Hussein/RIFAI agreeable I would forward this suggestion my government with understanding no action Rifai resignation and/or notification British withdrawal their troops should be made meantime. Hussein/RIFAI agreed with stipulation USG response must be received prior UNSYG departure from Jordan for reasons outlined reference telegram. Further, all dates re resignation/troop withdrawal cited reference telegram should be considered firm unless favorable reply received. On this note our meeting lasting over three hours terminated.

[1 paragraph (14½ lines of source text) not declassified]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/8–2358. Top Secret; Niact.
  2. Supra .