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

3928. Ref: State 133587.2

1.
We have just been asked by King’s private secretary to send following message from King Hussein to President Johnson:
2.
“Dear Mr. President: In response to your letter which I just received, I wish to point out the following: We are now fighting once again, defending-in the face of a blatant and premeditated Israeli aggression—our land, our homes, the shabby tents of the victims of civilization, and our honor. We are doing so with what has remained in our hands in the way of weapons since June 1967, facing overwhelming odds, unequipped as we are, not even by a finalized agreement between us for resupplying us with defensive equipment by the friendly United States.
3.
“If the battle should go the way it well might do, then Jordan, its head of state, its leaders, its armed forces and its people would all [Page 245] become the victims of American weapons, and their own faith in the United States and its President, as well as the friendship which they valued to the point of refusing to accept any other option to bolster their defence in the face of a history of continued aggression.
4.
“I am not, and shall never hold myself or my government and armed force, responsible for the safety and security of the Israeli forces of occupation in the West Bank of Jordan and the rest of the occupied Arab territories. Nor do I expect to be held responsible for this.
5.
“As for the incident of March 18 to which you, Mr. President, referred, I wish to state, for your information, that after a most thorough investigation, this incident could not be traced in [planning?] or consequence, to Jordan.
6.
“We have tried our best, honestly, faithfully and sincerely to lay the foundation for a just and lasting peace in this area. The blame for failure, if it occurs, must lie squarely on the Israeli side and on those who, knowingly or undeliberately, encourage Israel in her plan for the destruction of the first and last chance to achieve peace.
7.
“With my regard. Sincerely, al-Hussein.”
8.
Comment: As we have reported, President’s message arrived after Israeli attacks had begun (and had been in progress for three hours). In delivering letter it was explained that it had originated prior to this morning’s attacks and that a Presidential message had also been sent to Israeli Prime Minister.
9.
We have been informed that President’s message to Hussein evoked a very negative reaction. King was apparently particularly upset by what he considered imputation we were holding Jordan responsible for bus incident and that he had not been sincere in his efforts to try to control terrorists.
Symmes
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. The reference is in error. The correct reference is telegram 133887, Document 120.