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

58791. 1. Will be known shortly that we are going to proceed in releasing selectively certain items under outstanding arms agreements suspended for over four months, for shipment to Israel and selected Arab states but not including Jordan.2 We are keenly aware difficulties which this action presents for our relations with Jordan and to you in answering queries concerning it. We believe frankness here is in order.

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2. Problem lies in large body Congressional opinion that GOJ attacked Israel in face (a) legal conditions U.S. provided military equipment for defensive purposes only and (b) Israel appeal (which well known here) to Jordan for mutual restraint. Although we think we understand reasons for Hussein’s Moscow visit, it did not help our public or Congressional problem. Our previous discussions with Khammash were based on belief that Congressional situation would improve as AID bill progressed. Unfortunately, opposite has happened and situation has become aggravated as Congressional debate continued. Such is depth of feeling that to proceed at this juncture could seriously endanger Administration’s military assistance program.

3. These are facts of problem but we leave to your discretion which of these you use in approach GOJ and whom you approach. In your approach, you should emphasize that question of resumption of military shipments to Jordan remains open. We are continuing to keep matter under very close review. We expect arms supply question will be discussed during King’s visit here in November.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Houghton; cleared by Macomber, Schwartz (DOD), and Katzenbach; and approved by Battle.
  2. Telegram 58793 to Beirut and other missions, October 24, set forth U.S. military supply policy for the Middle East. (Ibid., DEF 19–8 US–NEAR E)