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

672. Re Deptel 6662 and Embtel 663.3 Palace protocol officer telephoned 1400 local time requested I come palace immediately. On arrival found Prime Minister Rifai with King to whom I conveyed substance reftel.

King who obviously had been thoroughly briefed by Rifai expressed his deep appreciation US offer, requested I convey President Eisenhower his personal thanks “this timely assurance our good great friend stands firm with Jordan in our common cause.” Rifai again [Page 537] raised question lack funds cover September normal governmental expenditures, requested I invite Washington’s attention this matter which will become urgent as civil service, army payroll due dates approach next few weeks.

Hussein probably as result Rifai coaching said he wished take opportunity assure USG as result its most generous response his request that both he and Rifai would continue wage relentless fight against enemies free world. Rifai responded in flowery terms that so long he is able will continue serve King and country make Jordan freedom fortress Middle East.

I told Hussein/RIFAI their determination continue fight maintain independence/integrity Jordan most welcome, should set at rest press speculative stories re Rifai’s resignation/Hussein’s abdication. I said in light decision present pro-western government continue in office I assumed this meant all reference demand withdrawal UK troops prior October 1 likewise dead issue. Rifai replied this matter being pressed very hard by UNSYG who wished make it first item agenda their talks. I pointed out any withdrawal UK troops should be closely coordinated departure US forces Lebanon, expressed hope HKJ would not make any commitment re withdrawal without prior consultation USG, avoid mutual embarrassment. Both Hussein/RIFAI assured me they would obtain our views before any decision made this problem.

Comment: Hussein like Rifai apparently well pleased USG response but he has not illusions as to future his regime, made point testing time will be period immediately following withdrawal British troops. He hopes UNSYG can secure some kind Middle East truce, provide sufficient time HKJ train/equip additional units Jordan army so that should “Arab honeymoon” be short lived government will have “force in being” willing/able cope any internal security problem which he quite rightly believes looms as greatest challenge his government’s survival.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/8–2858. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution.
  2. Document 301.
  3. In telegram 663 from Amman, August 28, Wright reported that Rifai had provided a progress report on his talks with Hammarskjöld. Rifai indicated that a three-point agenda for the talks had been agreed upon, involving the idea of Arab reconciliation as a first step, followed by arrangements for a limited U.N. presence in Jordan, and finally arrangements to facilitate the withdrawal of U.K. troops from Jordan. Rifai noted that Hammarskjöld had agreed that no U.N. police force should be established in Jordan, and also accepted Jordan’s refusal of the type of U.N. observer teams which were sent to Lebanon. (Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/8–2858; included in the microfiche supplement)