124. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

135561. 1. Ambassador Rabin delivered to Assistant Secretary Battle March 22 Prime Minister Eshkol’s reply to March 21 letter from President.2 Summary main points follows (full text by pouch);

2. Noting President’s message received three hours after IDF commenced action against terrorists, Eshkol reviewed terrorist incidents since Hussein’s February 16 statement, stressing “gruesome attack” on children March 18.

3. Fatah had developed from clandestine to “open, blatant, organized, and virtually legalized operations under King Hussein’s eyes.” Awareness of Fatah’s spring and summer plans made action imperative.

4. Leaders of Jordan tolerating and sometimes encouraging “second army” which violating GOI security, having no cease fire or international obligations, threatening Jordan’s independence, and bringing Jordan and Israel into conflict.

5. Blow against Fatah should cause no regret to Israel, GOJ, or US, whose common interests advanced by Israeli action. It would be “destructive” if UN were to evade strong criticism of Fatah operations from Jordan.

6. IDF was ordered not harm civilians, and this restriction cost Israel heavy price. Hussein should understand JAA was not IDF target, even though JAA had sometimes surrendered to Fatah pressure.

7. King now better able consolidate cease-fire and move toward negotiated peace. Continuation Jarring mission necessary. Eban has told Jarring GOI still accepts his proposal for peace conference with Arab states at Nicosia and will work with him patiently despite “Nasser’s irresponsible rejection this proposal.” Jarring has accepted GOI proposal come Jerusalem today to “contribute to relief immediate tensions between Israel and Jordan.”

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Bahti; cleared by Atherton, Day, and Saunders in the White House; and approved by Battle. Repeated to Amman and USUN.
  2. See Document 119.