388. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1
1556. Joint Embassy–USOM message. Re Deptel 1359.2 Conveyed appropriate portions reference telegram in form aide-mémoire3 Prime Minister Rifai today. His first reaction was program unacceptable. [Page 674] However I responded in very frank terms pointing out USG aid program most generous, suggested in our mutual interest he take realistic approach. Following are Prime Minister’s preliminary observations which at my request he will confirm in writing on more elaborate scale next few days.
- HKJ will dip into reserves cover third quarter JFY 1959 expenses, leaving untouched POL counterpart funds which they had previously planned begin drawing against as of December 20.
- Rifai believes HKJ can get through fourth quarter JFY 1959 which ends March 31 with $7.5 million previously committed by USG plus approximately $1.7 million POL counterpart funds and $4.4 million additional budgetary support.
- Rifai most emphatic HKJ cannot possibly manage on $40.5 million budgetary support JFY 1960. He set as very minimum budgetary support $50 million pointing out Jordan Army budget cannot be reduced from current level JD 16.5 million without requiring reduction troop strength which politically impossible if present pro-western government to continue in power. He emphasized next year defense requirements will be greater not less than this year due expansion Jordan Air Force by delivery twelve Hawker-Hunter aircraft together necessary ground support maintain them.
Rifai said King Hussein will be bitterly disappointed, undoubtedly will feel USG has made major policy decision hold Jordan in leash which contrary his (Hussein) expectation that US intended make Jordan freedom fortress. I replied so long US willing put over $40 million in budgetary support plus economic development funds into Jordan I sincerely felt no grounds existed for thinking USG letting Jordan down.
Comment: Rifai again demonstrated he realist who operates on theory one never loses taking profits. I agree King may think he sees in this latest US Government decision pattern which indicates change in trend US policy toward Jordan but King has little choice but go along with Rifai agreement if for no other reason that there is no one else prepared make this size investment keep Jordan afloat. I would suggest that possibility British might come in make up difference between what US willing provide and what HKJ feels they require maintain present level Jordan defense establishment should not be overlooked.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.5–MSP/12–2058. Secret; Priority.↩
- In telegram 1359 to Amman, December 19, the Department authorized the Embassy to approach the Jordanian Government with a proposal relating to the Jordanian request for budget support essentially along the lines outlined in telegram 1510 from Amman (supra). Specifically, Wright was instructed to inform Rifai that provision of an additional $10 million in budget support was “out of the question”. Assuming that Jordan was prepared to use $5.6 million in reserves, the United States would be prepared to provide the additional $4.4 million when it became necessary to do so. (Department of State, Central Files, 785.5–MSP/12–1958; included in the microfiche supplement)↩
- The text of this aide-mémoire, dated December 20, was transmitted to the Department on December 29 as enclosure 1 to despatch 122 from Amman. (Department of State, Central Files, 785.5–MSP/12–2958; included in the microfiche supplement)↩