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

124. Ref Amman 106.2

In noon audience with King Hussein I raised subject armor on West Bank. Said had hoped raise subject informally in course future discussions other matters but had thought best bring subject his attention now in view his current plan for extended absence Jordan (Embtel 116),3 his expressed desire I discuss such matters only with him, and our concern that no indiscreet use be made of tanks during his absence.
Recalled King’s discussions with Ambassador Barnes in March 1965 (Embtel 536, March 12)4 and understanding then reached that, while he could make no commitment re internal disposition of armed forces, it was his intent under normal conditions keep armor off West [Page 618]Bank. Said we had been aware for some time presence small number of tanks south of Jenin; had assumed they moved there following Israeli raids night April 29–30, but had not mentioned them in expectation would be withdrawn as situation calmed down.
King responded that above was correct description his intentions, that in fact two tank battalions had been withdrawn into hills on East Bank and that few, if any, tanks remained on West Bank. He avoided flat statement none there, and I did not pretend to any exact knowledge as to number and whereabouts of any remaining. Rather, I expressed satisfaction tanks in fact were being withdrawn, at same time stressing U.S. concern avoid any confrontation American tanks across Jordan-Israeli frontier, alluding specifically to Congressional concern this spectacle in Pak-Indian confrontation.
Expressing his understanding, Hussein went on refer to recent incidents between Syria and Israel,5 asserting this further demonstration Israeli intent keep pot boiling. I countered to extent only of saying fortified nature Syrian side made it highly unlikely incursions into Israel made without knowledge Syrian military.
Comment: I avoided any allusion to report JAA plan station two tank battalions on West Bank but hope that if such is plan, my reference to indiscreet use of tanks during King’s absence will bring delay or reconsideration. In any case, Hussein certainly again aware our continuing concern.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 6–8 JORDAN. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Passed to the White House and USIA.
  2. Dated July 14. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated July 15. (Ibid., POL 7 JORDAN)
  4. Document 188.
  5. Terrorist incidents on July 13 and 14 in Israel near the Syrian border were followed by an Israeli airstrike against Syrian territory on July 14. Following complaints by both Israel and Syria to the UN Security Council, the Council discussed the incidents between July 25 and August 3. On July 29, Jordan and Mali submitted a draft resolution condemning Israel’s July 14 attack, calling on the Israeli and Syrian Governments to cooperate with the UNTSO Chief of Staff and urging reactivation of the Mixed Armistice Commission (UN document S/7437). On August 3, the Security Council voted on the draft resolution, which failed of adoption by 6 votes to 0, with 9 abstentions, including the United States.