501. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

1973. Amb Goldberg, accompanied by Sisco and Pedersen, called on King Hussein Nov 3. Rifai and Sharaf also present on Jordanian side. Principal development as result of mtg was that King agreed, despite determined effort by Rifai to try to get us to negotiate on basis Indian [Page 982] text, to receive our specific views on a new draft res. We will meet with King Hussein again on Saturday2 at 4:30 in order to discuss a specific text. Before doing so, however, we will be meeting with Eban Saturday AM on specific language of a new text we will develop. Also apparent from discussion is that Jordanians here, in good rug dealing fashion, have been pressing beyond the principles expressed to us by King Hussein this evening.

Goldberg opened conversation by explaining our position within broad policy framework previously communicated to Rifai (USUN 1507 of Oct 17).3 Goldberg read portions of this telegram to King in which he stressed UN rep’s function would be to achieve peace which would include agreement on Israeli withdrawal as well as peace arrangements. Other points included: US prepared use its influence to help achieve reasonable settlement; fact that we did not visualize a Jordan limited only to East Bank; our desire to have a Jordan protected in permanent boundaries; the need for some territorial adjustment; and our desire to help even on Jerusalem where we do not have the same views. Goldberg also stressed that “Our purpose is to create context of peace in which Israeli withdrawal will take place and Jordanian territorial integrity and political independence will be protected.” While we could not guarantee that everything would be returned to Jordan, and that some territorial adjustment will be required, we would be prepared to use our influence to help Jordan get best deal possible.

This set the stage for Goldberg’s subsequent comments re where we go from here at UN. Recalled that we, Riad and Rifai had agreed to give non-perms opportunity and these efforts have now been exhausted. Goldberg affirmed we are ready resume dialogue and wish take advantage of King’s presence to carry on dialogue. Informed King that Nasser had indicated to Anderson a willingness to accept SC res based on five points and that he envisaged UN rep who would produce a declaration, based on consultations with both sides, for subsequent ratification by SC. Goldberg indicated that this was only a brief provisional report on this discussion and if this is approach UAR had in mind this offered some hope. It should not be difficult to find right form of words for res in such circumstances, Goldberg said.

Goldberg continued time is running out, time has come for peace. We are ready to help, we do not wish to go back to fragile Armistice Agreements. We are committed to principle of political independence [Page 983] and territorial integrity and we are ready to reaffirm it bilaterally and publicly in SC res. US believes in territorial integrity, withdrawal, and recognition of secure boundaries. Principle of territorial integrity has two important sub-principles, there must be a withdrawal to recognized and secure frontiers for all countries, not the old armistice lines, and there must be mutuality in adjustments. If Jordan makes an adjustment along the Latrun salient there ought to be some compensatory adjustment for it. We wish to work to this end so that equitable agreement can be achieved. We believe, Goldberg said, that “He who seeks equity must do equity.” As to Jerusalem this is a tough one in light of our historical position with which His Majesty is familiar. But even here we are prepared to be helpful. We are willing to use our influence to see what arrangements can be worked out for an appropriate Jordanian role in Jerusalem, and do not accept Israel’s contention that Jerusalem is not negotiable. We are anxious to use our influence if given a chance, but we are not able to do so as long as protracted haggling continues on res. We recognize there are genuine security problems and West Bank part of Jordan, for example, should be settled as security matter with compensating adjustments. We attach great importance to principle of freedom of waterways. In our judgment this was the prime cause of 6-Day War. We want to see refugee problem solved and we have been surprised that its solution has been linked to opening of Canal. We stand firm in support of 1951 SC res which linked opening of Canal with ending of belligerency, not with solution of refugee problem. Must be real efforts to settle refugee problem. We also want to see something done on arms limitation since this is a principal source of tension in area.

Goldberg said with some disdain that what has been going on at UN is exercise in rhetoric not in solving basic problems. US wants to engage UN in peace making process at a pragmatic level and we wish to participate in this in important way. While non-perm members have disagreed on specific language they did agree on three important points: appointment of special rep; and SC res should be within framework of Chap 6 and not Chap 7; and that UN rep should have specific mandate. We have some thoughts regarding specific language in SC res. We believe UN should send out a rep to seek “political solutions,” to “work with parties” and seek to solve the problems of “withdrawal, boundaries, waterways and refugees” and report back to SC. The notion of instant peace which is embraced in Indian res is nonsense. Time is running out, and there is need to get UN rep out promptly. The objective should be for him to get at fundamental problems and nobody’s position should be prejudiced by any SC res adopted in the meantime. We are ready to carry on dialogue with King. He is the chief of state and has the authority to do business. With all due respect to Riad, he is not [Page 984] in same position. We would have no hesitancy to put some of these ideas down on paper if His Majesty wished.

King, very solemnly and systematically and with a good deal of feeling, recounted difficulties facing his country. He opened by saying this is matter which concerns Jordan and US, probably greatest power in world. The problems in area are of interest to world community and of interest to US since finding solutions would help lessen tensions. He wished to speak as frankly as did Amb Goldberg. He has been in close contact with Cairo throughout. Jordanian policy has never been one of extremism and despite 6-Day War it continues its policy of moderation. He intends to continue this policy so long as there is distinction between moderation and giving away the rights of his people. We appreciate friendship of US. There are today many stresses and strains in Arab family due in part by outside pressures. Principal difficulties arise in the failure to solve Palestine problem. This has been at the root of the trouble. Jordan has tried to help refugees, to give them dignity, and its main resource has been its people and their determination. Now Jordan is in ruins again, and 15 years of his own efforts have been involved. His sole interest is Jordan, its people and the Arab world; any attempt to differentiate among these is not in Jordan’s or anybody else’s interest. The King said he felt deeply that Arabs must communicate with rest of world and present their case as reasonable, the more reasonable the stronger its case would be. He feels that there is now a chance to do something, the opportunity is right, and it is essential there be a just and peaceful solution of the Palestine problem. He sought to counsel his Arab colleagues to meet and tackle their responsibilities. He characterized Khartoum as a “turning point” and believes Arab position has become reasonable. He said we haven’t much time, pressures are building up inside and out, and there are still a number in the Arab world who believe that attempt at political solution will not succeed. He saw the self-criticism at Khartoum as a positive factor. He believes Arab people do not understand the Western world since they feel they have been wronged. Regardless of fact that some believe political solution is not possible, the King said we must try very hard to find a just solution. He went on to describe in some detail the human misery of 200 thousand refugees to document his belief that there is not much time left to find a political solution. He maintained that his armed forces are under control, that he has given strict orders, though he admitted that when armed forces are close together there are bound to be incidents.

He described withdrawal as serious problem and key to any solution. Question was where to. To Israel as it was now or where. Jordan could not accept results of war but was not adverse to fair territorial adjustments on both sides. As to Jerusalem, Jordan had been custodian of Holy Places for last 20 years, it is not Jordanian or Arab but a Moslem [Page 985] and a world problem. Jordan is not against rights of any religious group to visit Holy Places. As to arms, King said he would be discussing this matter in Washington. The question of old arms balance has become un-realistic. Had the 6-Day War not occurred balance might have been achieved about “a year and 2 months from the date of the 6-Day.” However war has altered this situation and no balance exists or will exist for a long time. Israel has acquired a substantial amount of arms from UAR, from Jordan, and is secure. Soviets have supplied Jordan with some definite “requirements”. Unless he meets military needs of his own troops better, Jordan will have to continue keep Arab troops on its territory. His Majesty said he cannot get the Arabs out from his territory unless he can stand on his own two feet. He realized he received US arms on conditions they would not be used against Israel. As member of Arab League he could not back away from this fact when the war came. He had no other way than to face up to situation. While he is not asking for arms, as long as there is not a political solution he will have to find arms and equipment wherever he can, particularly if pressures continue. He wanted the US to understand this.

As to SC, basic difficulty has been what mandate should be given to UN rep, question was what principles was UN rep to discuss. Arabs do not wish to return to GA since this would cause difficulties among them. GA was only a platform. In his discussions with US and Sovs in Moscow he has found misinterpretations on both sides.

Then King described succinctly agreement which he and Nasser reached on October 17 in Cairo. (In view of fact that Jordanians have been pressing very hard in connection with SC res in favor of Indian draft, this description seemed to make both Rifai and Sharaf nervous.)

King said that he had proposed to Nasser that:

Arabs would all declare end of state of belligerency;
Recognize right of every state in area to live in peace and security;
Waterways would be open to vessels of all nations, including Israel.

In turn Israel would be expected to:

Declare an end to state of belligerency;
Recognize the right of every state in area to live in peace and security;
Withdraw its forces “from territories it had occupied”;
“Cooperate toward finding a permanent solution of refugee problem” (which King described as a part result of state of war and an element of state of belligerency).

King said it was “decided” by himself and Nasser that Jordan and Egypt were ready

to “declare” an end of state of belligerence,
“recognize” right of every state in area to live in peace and security and (3) open Suez Canal and other international waterways on condition and understanding

Israel would declare its acceptance of end of state of belligerence, as described above.

King said once this was understood there should not be any trouble with SC res. He then stressed firmly that this was limit as far as Jordan was concerned. There was no question of bargaining, that they had gone a very long way. Time was running out, and they wanted a political solution. He stressed need for a UN umbrella and by this he meant a mandate for a UN rep that could get on with job of implementing a solution.

Amb. Goldberg said he found himself in agreement with much of what His Majesty had said. There have been problems here at UN though they have not been of making of Jordanian reps. The problem has been that activities here at UN are not in keeping with principles the King had just enunciated. The effort here had gone far beyond these principles. Goldberg cited question of Canal for example. We were not hearing here that Canal should be opened to all vessels, including Israeli. He pointed out that His Majesty properly had linked opening of Canal with ending of state of belligerency as in case of 1951 SC res.4 But here the opening of Canal was linked with solution of refugee question. Moreover, in the Indian res there is phraseology which referred to the waterways being opened “in accordance with international law and practice.” Word “practice” had been dropped because that would have meant going back to pre-June 5 situation by which the Straits and Canal were closed on the basis of belligerency. Phrase “international law” is still in Indian draft since this would give UAR continuing opportunity to close the Straits on the basis of “sovereign rights”. US shares King’s impatience and we are prepared to put something down on paper—a fresh approach. Specifically, we believe objective should be: (1) permanent peace; (2) there should be a political solution, not a military one; (3) this political solution should encompass (a) withdrawal of occupying troops, (b) end of belligerency, (c) political independence and territorial integrity, (d) recognition of every state to live in peace and security in area, (e) solution of refugee problem, and (f) freedom of passage through international waterways. UN rep could work out these problems with parties concerned.

His Majesty stressed that world organization must deal with problem since it played such major role in creation of Israel. He did not feel solution had to be dealt with on piece-meal basis. Since Goldberg had [Page 987] read to him the press ticker today coming out of Cairo severely criticizing American policy, King said he appreciated misunderstandings that such things caused, but that we must deal with them patiently, particularly as one takes a look at the press all over the world. His impression is that Nasser wants good relations with US though Nasser feels Washington is trying to humiliate him. He said many Arabs feel that US wants to rub their noses in the dust.

His Majesty let Rifai carry the ball regarding discussions re SC res. Rifai first said that he was much surprised to read in New York Times that Anderson was on official mission. Rifai was present when Anderson spoke to Riad and that the contents of New York Times article had astonished him. He noted that reports mentioned “joint declaration,” and he recalled in this connection that this was idea contained in Brazilian text which Arabs did not consider very seriously. He contended that Indian text used the five principles as starting point (with exception of arms limitation). He stressed that first order was to end the military occupation of the territories; once this achieved one could move on to solution of other matters. He stressed that Jordan has gone as far as it could by accepting changes in 6-power draft. This draft was drawn largely from texts which US had previously supported. If LA text were re-introduced in GA unchanged, the Arabs would go with it. Rifai then made effort to try to get US to focus and negotiate on basis Indian text. In process he stressed what he considers to be one basic essential—withdrawal of Israeli forces and need to be absolutely clear on this point. He argued that respect for territorial integrity should come after withdrawal. Goldberg rebutted this by saying that Charter of UN does not envisage withdrawal in circumstances of state of war.

Conversation concluded by King responding affirmatively to our suggestion that we put down something on paper which takes into account agreement on principles achieved by Nasser and Hussein in Cairo on Oct. 17.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated Priority to Amman. Received at 0709Z.
  2. November 4.
  3. Telegram 1507 from USUN, October 17, reported a conversation that day with Deputy Foreign Minister Rifai and Ambassador Sharaf. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)
  4. Reference is to the UN Security Council Resolution of September 1, 1951 (UN document S/2322); see Department of State Bulletin, September 17, 1951, p. 479.