515. Memorandum for the Files1


  • Meeting Between President Johnson, King Hussein and Secretary Rusk on Wednesday, November 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Following the meeting between the President and the King, Secretary Rusk gave me some of the highlights of the discussion.

The meeting was cordial and a few minutes were spent in pleasantries, including the presentation of a cigarette lighter to His Majesty by President Johnson.

Discussions centered on the U.S. resolution currently before the Security Council. The President pressed the King to support the U.S. resolution. He pointed out that the resolution is to be a compromise resolution. The Government of Israel is not happy with the text; the Arabs are not happy with the text. It is difficult to draft a resolution that makes both sides happy, but it is imperative that both sides accept the resolution if it is to be implemented.

King Hussein tried his best to get precision on the clause with respect to withdrawal of Israeli forces. The President replied that it was difficult to be precise in one part and not on the others. There were imprecise statements in the resolution in several respects. The King then said that if it was impossible to be precise as to when or where withdrawal should take place, he hoped that it would be possible to be precise with regard to the question of who was to withdraw. The phraseology of the resolution calling for withdrawal from occupied territories could be interpreted to mean that the Egyptians should withdraw from Gaza and the Jordanians should withdraw from the West Bank. This possibility was evident from the speech by Prime Minister Eshkol in which the Prime Minister had referred to both Gaza and the West Bank as “occupied territory”.

The President agreed to talk with Ambassador Goldberg in New York and he and Secretary Rusk told the King that we would be back in touch with him by noon the following day with respect to his suggestion for inclusion of the word “Israeli” before the word withdrawal in the resolution.

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The President urged strongly that the Jordanians support the U.S. resolution, and expressed the hope that Jordan would try to get the UAR on board also. The U.S. will use its leverage to bring about a settlement. We have to move one step at a time, however, and the King must understand that we too have problems.

After the King left the President’s office he had a brief exchange with Secretary Rusk concerning the provision of arms to Jordan.2 I heard him say that he hoped for an answer before he departed from the U.S. The Secretary later told me that he had predicated this hope on there being progress made in New York.

Lucius D. Battle
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Jordan, Vol. IV. Secret. Drafted on November 11. An attached note of November 22 from Saunders to Walt Rostow’s secretary, Lois Nivens, instructed her to put a copy in her files, since it was the only record of the President’s meeting with King Hussein that would be available in the White House. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. The time and place of the meeting are from the President’s Daily Diary. (Ibid.)
  2. The King raised the question of arms with Secretary McNamara at dinner on November 8. According to a memorandum of the conversation, McNamara’s reply was “along the lines we want to be as helpful as possible, have some problems at the moment, but would do what we could at a later date.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 JORDAN)