390. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1

12561. For the Ambassador. Ref: State’s 11347,2 11928,3 and 11929.4

We are repeating to you an exchange of cables with London which we trust will resolve any misunderstandings which may have existed between Washington and London about the nature of your instructions to convey the Israeli reply to Hussein’s inquiry about their willingness to negotiate and their terms for a settlement.5

You should now proceed to carry out instructions in reftels, substituting following text for Para D(3) of reftel 11347.

“We have not yet been able to develop a detailed or firm assessment of the prospects of successfully negotiating a settlement with Israel. From what we now know we are inclined to believe that there are influential elements in Israeli Cabinet who attach importance to the presence of a moderate and peaceful neighbor on Israel’s eastern flank. This would argue in favor of Israel’s being reasonable on many of the problems of interest to Jordan, including basic economic issues. However, as the King is undoubtedly aware, the problem of Jerusalem will be very difficult for all concerned. The King knows of the attitude of the United States about Jerusalem over the past twenty years and our [Page 719] differences both with Israel and Jordan on that subject. There seems to be some readiness in Israel to accept protection of the Holy Places by the respective religious authorities. We would not be candid with the King, however, if we led him to believe that we see any easy solution for Jerusalem as between Israel and Jordan.”6

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR/SANDSTORM. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Sandstorm. Drafted by Eugene Rostow on July 24; cleared by Katzenbach, Kohler, Battle, and Bundy; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to London.
  2. Document 386.
  3. Telegram 11928 to Amman, July 24, states the British Charge had confirmed that the British and U.S. positions were basically the same; both wished to stress that the King had to make his own decision on the question of direct talks with the Israelis. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR/SANDSTORM)
  4. Telegram 11929 to Amman, July 24, provided instructions concerning King Hussein’s request for resumption of U.S. arms shipments. It states that the U.S. Government hoped to resume an arms supply relationship with Jordan, and a Defense Department representative had been sent to London to discuss the subject with General Khammash, but the situation in Congress on the general question of military assistance precluded immediate action. On the subject of economic aid, Burns was authorized to tell the King that the $6 million budget support payment which would fall due during the summer would be released on time and that the other aid projects discussed between the two governments before the outbreak of hostilities were under active review. (Ibid.)
  5. Telegrams 12559 and 12560 to London, July 25, which transmitted messages from Rusk to Foreign Secretary Brown and Ambassador Bruce, were repeated to Amman. Both messages stated that the proposed reply to King Hussein was an interim reply, to be supplemented as more information about the Israeli position became available. (Ibid.)
  6. Burns reported in telegram 502 from Amman, July 25, that he had seen King Hussein that evening and carried out the instructions in telegrams 12561, 11928, 11929, and 11347. The King’s reaction was one of deep disappointment. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR/SANDSTORM)