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

1999. Goldberg met with King Hussein again this afternoon (Nov. 5) at King’s request. Also present were Abdul Monem Rifai, Said Rifai, Sharaf, and Sisco, Buffum and Pedersen.

King initiated conversation. Said his position was as follows. Jordan was interested in substance not words. This was why he had encouraged US to seize opportunity that might be last one for all of us. Jordan’s interest was laying foundation for just and lasting peace. We should not waste more time on details and on words.

Problem was in US hands. He realized US objectives were to exercise its rights in attempting to solve problem which affected all of us. A [Page 1000] just and peaceful settlement was US and his purpose as well. Without US help he could not get very far.

He had been in touch with many other SC members. Right now issue was in US hands and that of SC. He wished US success for best results. We knew in light of his frank exposition to us of his policy and his discussions in Cairo how far he would be able to go. He did not wish to comment on text we had given him (USUN’s 1988)2 but he wished US all success. He hoped that before he went, US efforts would meet with success.

King concluded by saying he looked forward to his visit in Washington.

Goldberg replied that King had correctly summarized situation. He had also been correct in understanding US had not offered res in bargaining context but as best and most appropriate step we could make to facilitate settlement within umbrella of UN. We hoped we could get on with job of restoring peaceful situation in area and being of assistance to Jordan.

Goldberg noted he had in previous conversation made reservations about our policy position on key words (occupied territory). He had since discussed them at appropriate levels and could say they had US approval.

King had appropriately said issue was now in our hands and that of SC. On this he had some important observations. Time was not working in favor of peace.

Before fighting had commenced in June US had put proposal forward in SC that might have prevented the war. This had been rejected by USSR and by Arabs. Rejection of this proposal, which involved only freedom of transit through Gulf, had been a great mistake.

After fighting broke out in early days US in SC had offered [proposal] including withdrawal and opening of Straits of Tiran in discussion with Sovs. They had said we should show it to Arabs. This also had been turned down. Then in GA we had supported proposal (LA text) which we thought had been appropriate to that time. This also had been turned down. Then we had worked out new texts with USSR. These too were turned down. ]

Goldberg said let us not make same mistake again. What is available today often is not available in future. Events often take over for themselves. Three months from now may not offer same opportunities for progress as today. We knew he was reflective on that himself.

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Goldberg then referred to request by Kuznetsov to see him and said he would shortly be talking to him.3 He did not want to break confidences with King and his inquiry was accentuated by his remark that issue was in hands of SC. He wondered what King’s attitude would be towards what he should say to Kuznetsov.

King replied that “Prior to my reaching my very clear understanding with Nasser as to how far we could go” he had gone to Moscow. In Moscow he had encouraged Sovs to carry on conversations with US. He believed this should continue and we should feel no compunction about what we discussed with them.

Goldberg expressed appreciation and meeting adjourned.

Comment: While in light of Riad’s statement yesterday that he intended to go to SC with Indian text,4 conversation could have been interpreted as a disengagement by King, our assessment after careful consideration was that it was to be taken exactly as King expressed it, i.e., that he was encouraging us to go ahead with this text but wished to leave himself in situation where it could not be said be had agreed to it (possibly because of complications with other Arabs).

This assessment later confirmed by information conveyed to Caradon by Said Rifai in which he reported that subsequent to this conversation King had talked to Riad and given him very favorable reaction to US text.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Amman Priority. Received at 0806Z.
  2. Document 504.
  3. Telegram 2001 from USUN, November 6, reported that Goldberg spent an unproductive 2 hours with Kuznetsov on the evening of November 5. The Soviets strongly urged acceptance of the 6-power draft resolution as a basis for negotiations. Goldberg refused. He gave the text in Document 504 to Kuznetsov, but the latter refused to accept it as a basis for discussion. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)
  4. Telegram 1987 from USUN, November 5, reported that Foreign Minister Riad had told Goldberg on November 4 that he had decided to go ahead with the “India/Argentine, etc.” He requested U.S. support and cooperation. Goldberg told him he could not expect U.S. support of such an effort as a fait accompli. He noted that the United States still had not been officially consulted or given a copy of the text of which Riad spoke, which had been developed in consultation with India, the UAR, and the Soviets. (Ibid.) Telegram 1990 from USUN, November 5, reported on the conversation in more detail. It stated that the meeting was disappointing, and that Riad had backed away from his willingness the previous day to negotiate on the resolution language and in effect insisted on U.S. acceptance of the 6-power resolution without change. (Ibid.)