117. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1
Washington, March 20, 1968, 1943Z.
133284. 1. Under Secretary calling in Ambassador Rabin at 1500 local time to make following points:
- USG deeply disturbed at reports from our mission in Jordan2 and other indications that Israel calling up selected reservists and taking related actions which suggest military reprisal imminent.
- We understand sense of outrage in Israel at deplorable incident involving school bus near Eilat. Nevertheless, we cannot emphasize too strongly, as we have repeatedly in the past, that we consider military reprisals self-defeating and seriously prejudicial to hopes for peaceful solution to area problems.
- In particular, further reprisal against Jordan would be major and possibly fatal blow to Jarring mission and to US interests in Jordan and would seriously undermine our ability to influence Arab position in constructive directions which are as much in Israel’s interest as ours.
- Such action would be particularly unfortunate at time when Jordan appears to be taking steps which Israel has been seeking for some time (Amman 3887).3
2. Ambassador should seek immediate appointment with Prime Minister to make parallel approach.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by Atherton and Houghton, cleared by Day and Battle, and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Amman, USUN, and CINCSTRIKE.↩
- The Embassy in Amman reported on March 20 that Prime Minister Talhouni, acting on instructions from King Hussein, had requested the United States to take urgent measures to prevent imminent Israeli military action against Jordan. (Telegram 3914 from Amman; ibid.)↩
- Not found.↩