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

14287. 1. In the forthcoming Foreign Ministers’ Conference on August 1,2 the moderate states should be a majority of the Arab states attending. We would hope that they would take a strong stand in favor of a constructive and moderate position towards a resolution of the Middle East crisis. To this end, you should deliver as soon as possible the following message from the Secretary to the Foreign Minister of your country (in case of SAG, to Deputy Foreign Minister).

[Page 735]

2. Excellency:

“Now that the Special Session of the UN General Assembly is behind us, I thought I should share with you some of my thoughts regarding the future. I am particularly anxious to discuss these thoughts with you on the eve of the Arab Foreign Ministers’ Conference which should have an important influence on the evolution of Arab policy and the course of our relations in the days and weeks ahead, as well as on the future well-being of the entire Near East. I shall be frank and hope you will receive my frankness as coming from one who wants peace and who is sincerely and deeply interested in the welfare of (host country) and of the Arab world as a whole.

3. “In these critical days the Arabs should have a constructive position if it is to elicit world support and meet their diverse problems. I think that you would agree that the meetings at the United Nations over the past weeks confirm the validity of this point. If the coming meeting, in which moderate representatives will be more numerous, can reach realistic common ground, the position of the Arab world will be much improved.

4. “Arab self-interest would at the moment seem to require that all the Arab states devote their energies to the development of both their physical and human resources in order to realize the full potential of a great heritage. It seems to me such a development can only occur under conditions of peace. To have such an atmosphere I believe two steps are indicated:3 First, the Arabs need to find a way to stop the interference of some Arab states in the affairs of other Arab states. We on our side have committed ourselves to the territorial integrity of all states of the Near East. Might not the Arab states make the same commitment to each other and thus avoid wasteful, divisive activities?

5. “Secondly, if the Arabs are to devote their energies to badly needed development, some arrangements for peace throughout the area4 are essential. I am fully aware of the deep-rooted impediments5 to such arrangements, but to me their achievement is the only realistic way. The Arabs need time and the return of territory. The Israelis need security and acceptance6 of their state’s existence in the area, as it has already been recognized by the United Nations and the bulk of its members, including the US and the USSR. The objectives of both sides received wide acceptance in the United Nations by both the Western and the Soviet world. [Page 736] The concept of a return to the overall situation existing before June 5, 1967 does not enjoy wide international support. I believe it in the Arab self-interest to take a moderate and constructive approach to this difficult problem. If the Arabs do so, they can count on the full support of the United States, whose interest lies in correction of the present unnatural situation through withdrawal by Israel from the positions it occupied during the conflict. This brings me to my last point.

6. “I am naturally concerned with the state of US-Arab relations and am most appreciative of the mature and rational stance your country has taken on this problem. My concern is not only for US interests, but is for Arab interests as well. If our Arab friends are weak, we ourselves are also weakened. Boycott on trade and the sale of oil, for example, will hurt the Arabs both economically and politically and will provide further opportunities for the Communists to exploit. The United States can do a great deal to bring about an equitable settlement and to further Arab area development. My country is willing to help, but it is difficult7 as long as the Arabs take measures against us. I hope at the Foreign Ministers’ Conference the positive advantages of good relations with the United States can be very carefully studied.

7. “The US values its relations and long friendship with (host country). This friendship requires that we make together an earnest search for understanding. This is essential if we are to overcome the problems that confront us.

8. “Excellency, I hope this frank exposition of my views may be helpful in your own further consideration of these issues. I realize naturally that we do not look at all problems in the same light. I am sure, however, that you and your colleagues, in your deliberations of these difficult and complicated problems, will make sure that the course you take is truly in the long-term self-interests of the Arab world. In your endeavors you have my sincerest best wishes. With warm regards, Sincerely,”

9. We would hope that the Foreign Minister would consider the message as confidential. You should also confidentially inform the Minister that the Secretary has written in similar vein to the Foreign Ministers of those Arab States which have maintained relations with us.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 SUDAN. Confidential. Drafted by Houghton on July 28; cleared in draft by former Ambassador to Iraq Robert C. Strong, Ambassador to Libya David D. Newsom, and Country Director for North Africa John F. Root, and by Eugene Rostow and Battle; and approved by Rusk. Also sent to Beirut, Jidda, Kuwait, Tripoli, Tunis, and Rabat. The handwritten revisions on the telegram noted below appear to be Rusk’s.
  2. A meeting of foreign ministers of Arab States was held in Khartoum August 1–5 in preparation for an Arab summit conference.
  3. The original text “required” was changed to “indicated”.
  4. The original text “peaceful coexistence with Israel” was changed to “peace throughout the area”.
  5. The original text “historical and emotional impediments” was changed to “deep-rooted impediments”.
  6. The original text “recognition” was changed to “acceptance”.
  7. The original text “cannot” was changed to “it is difficult”.