107. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

3932. Ref. Amman’s 3929.2

During meeting with Ambassador reported reftel, King said with great earnestness that he wished to propose to the President that he authorize issuance of public statement by a White House spokesman clarifying US policy towards the current crisis which would include the following points:
The USG seeks to be neutral between the parties to this dispute.
The main objective of the USG is to preserve peace and it is willing to use its good offices to this end.
The USG will not be responsible for hostilities in Middle East and will not be party to them.
USG will oppose any party who starts a war.
King said that he was making this suggestion as an old friend of the US. He felt such a statement would be a contribution to peace and consistent with what the Arabs knew were the moral principles of US.
Without such clarification, and however the crisis turned out, said the King, he was concerned that the US could suffer irretrievable loss among the Arabs.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Rostow sent a typed copy of the telegram to the President on June 1, with an attached note that reads: “Mr. President: Herewith King Hussein asks for your neutrality. Our Arab friends really find it difficult to remember what President Eisenhower had to do to get the Israeli troops out of Sinai. Walt.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. III)
  2. Telegram 3929 from Amman, May 31, reported a meeting between Burns and King Hussein. The King told Burns that after his trip to Cairo, he was convinced Nasser would not back down on the Strait of Tiran issue. He said Nasser believed the United States had the power to prevent Israel from going to war. Burns replied that if Israel concluded its survival was at stake, no amount of U.S. pressure would help. Hussein said Nasser and all the Arabs fervently hoped that in the event of hostilities, the United States would take no action against the Arabs. Nasser also told the King that in case of U.S. intervention against the UAR, he was prepared to ask for Soviet assistance. King Hussein said Nasser seemed confident that if the U.S. Government took “aggressive action” against the UAR the Soviets would give him “the required support.” (Ibid.)