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

749. Reference: Embtel 686.2 At our meeting today Prime Minister Rifai again raised question two additional brigades Jordan Army, went great length explain must be properly equipped armor/artillery/supporting units if they expected fulfill important role maintenance internal security.

He asked if I had received reply whether USG had indicated to UNSYG its willingness early withdrawal US troops Lebanon which SYG tentatively hopes might take place on/about September 30 (see Embtel 686). I replied negative. He requested I again raise this question my government pointing out essential he know US intention re this problem prior SYG return Amman in order he (RIFAI) avoid being led by SYG put pressure USG withdraw its troops. Rifai emphasized he extremely anxious that HKJ take no action re withdrawal British troops which might create difficulty USG re situation Lebanon. However he had already told SYG as far Jordan concerned September 30 date acceptable providing Nasser agrees abide GA resolution. If this date unacceptable USG he must know in order prepare retreat his earlier position as stated to UNSYG.3

I asked Rifai if he thought Nasser would accept stationing UN “ministers” Cairo/Damascus observe/report violations GA resolution. If answer negative what would HKJ reaction be. Rifai replied in strictest confidence while he would argue point with SYG he willing accept “personal representative” SYG in Amman even though other Arab states refuse. He reasons this would create good impression UN same time point up UAR unwillingness abide spirit letter GA resolution.

He expressed extreme pessimism situation Lebanon, feels Chehab will try be all things all people, pointed out opposition flaunted authority in use partial strike technique, unwillingness/inability Lebanese security forces put stop sniping/bombing/other outward expression opposition’s contempt Chehab authority. He feels Lebanon definitely lost to west, sees no end instability which indirectly affects all ME, Jordan in particular.

[Page 548]

Re cabinet action appointment his brother Monem Rifai new post director broadcasting, press, tourism I inquired if decision yet made re HKJ Ambassador Washington. Rifai replied Khulusy Khairy, former Minister Economy was no longer being considered ostensibly because poor health, however Rifai said he wished to tell me in confidence “we have reason believe he (Khulusy Khairy) may have been unduly influenced by Iraqi officials during his detention. We plan to keep an eye on him”. Since elimination Khulusy Khairy makes release Anastas Hamania from Jordan DB impossible Rifai intends send Midhat Juma as Ambassador Washington, hopes discuss appointment with King shortly. Anxious Juma be on hand regular GA meeting since he likely head HKJ UN delegation in addition duties Ambassador.

RIFAI once again inquired re $6 million budgetary support needed meet September army/civil payroll, pointed out recapture POL counterpart funds not expected exceed $1/1.5 million, emphasized he had ordered all government departments reduce expenditures very minimum including army, hopes that way keep budget manageable proportions.4

RIFAI brought up question delivery Hawker–Hunter aircraft, said he had stormy session with British Ambassador Johnston who gave him impression USG had not completed transaction thereby causing delay delivery. I told Prime Minister I understood US had long since concluded necessary arrangements but question delivery in light absence any qualified Jordanian pilots might very well be one consideration, furthermore present isolation Jordan made “fly-in” aircraft practically impossible. He said it psychologically important Hawker–Hunter be delivered Jordan soonest, even if they not flown until pilots finish training UK, added “I want aircraft to be put in show where most people and particularly army can see our friends have not forgotten us.”

Comment: Rifai’s anxiety know USG position re withdrawal our troops Lebanon understandable in light his partial commitment UNSYG permit British troops leave Jordan by September 30. Re $6 million budgetary support country team in agreement this urgently required. If additional funds not available suggest HKJ be authorized draw against dollars million allocated third quarter. Rifai attitude toward Khulusy Khairy significant, reinforces to certain extent an idea currently being [Page 549] talked about to the effect Iraq might assist group within Jordan unseat present regime with understanding when new government took over it would orientate Jordan foreign policies parallel those Iraq, in this way begin set stage confederation Syria/Iraq/Jordan which might act as counterbalance Nasser’s UAR within Arab world.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 315/9–458. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and USUN.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 306.
  3. In telegram 739 to Amman, September 5, Wright was instructed to inform Rifai that the United States had no definite timetable for withdrawal from Lebanon, since that decision was dependent upon a number of factors, but the intention was to withdraw as soon as the continued presence of U.S. forces was no longer required. (Department of State, Central Files, 315/8–3058; included in the microfiche supplement)
  4. Telegram 735 to Amman, September 5, addressed the question of U.S. budget support for Jordan. It noted that the Jordanian Government “continues inflated expenditure level for which it has offered no convincing rationale.” The Department concluded that the time had come to “face HKJ with fixed US budget support level with which it will have to live.” Concerning the Jordanian request for $6 million to meet budgetary requirements during September, the Department was prepared to transfer $5 million on the understanding that the use of this amount in one month would seriously reduce the amount of U.S. budgetary support available for the remainder of the fiscal year. (Department of State, Central Files, 885.01/8–2158; included in the microfiche supplement)