142. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

4296. Subject: Jarring Mission.

King Hussein summoned me last night to meet with him urgently in the PriMin’s office. He had with him Crown Prince Hassan, PriMin Talhouni, Abd al-Moneim al Rifai and Zayd al-Rifai. Abd al-Moneim had not long before returned from Cairo and they had been discussing his talks with Mahmoud Riad and Jarring.
The King with interjections from Abd al-Moneim explained a new snag that had developed in the Jarring exercise as a result of the talks in Cairo on the 8th. As a result of the talks Abd al-Moneim had with Riad and Jarring, Jordan was now requesting the USG to state to the GOI in writing that it is the USG understanding that Israel, in saying that it accepts the Nov 22, 1967 and Jarring’s March 10 proposal, means that it also accepts the implementation of the resolution. If this could be done, then Jordanian and Egyptian representatives would be in New York in a matter of few days ready to talk under Jarring’s auspices. After the talks started, Jordan would be ready “to move very far, very fast” regardless of what the UAR might do. But Jordan had to have the UAR with it in order to get started in talks. With the requested written assurance from the US, Jordan could get the UAR to talks in New York. The US statement would be considered as an assurance, not as a commitment, the King said.
I responded that we had already been assured Jarring had been informed officially by Israel that it accepted his March 10 proposal. Why should anything else be needed and why, in particular, should it be required of us? I did not see how Jarring’s proposal could be modified without raising further questions and suspicions in everyone’s mind. To us Jarring’s proposal, like the Nov 22 resolution, meant what it said, nothing more and nothing less. Israel had provided us with the wording of its written telegram to Jarring reiterating acceptance of his proposal.
Abd al-Moneim then explained the genesis of the Jordanian request as follows: After a lot of jockeying around on the 8th about what would be said to Jarring and whether Jordan and the UAR would meet him separately or together, it was decided Riad would see him first alone. Riad was to say that Jordan had accepted his March 10 proposal [Page 278] and was ready to meet with him. Jarring had responded to Riad and later to Rifai “That’s fine, but Israel has not accepted the implementation of the resolution.”
I expressed incredulity that Jarring had said this. In the course of further discussion, however, it came out that both Riad and Rifai had been told by Jarring that he did not consider that Israeli acceptance of his March 10 proposal or the Israeli telegram meant that they will implement the resolution.
I of course went over all of the old ground making especially the following points: (1) the resolution is not self-implementing (2) to accept the resolution is to accept the idea of its fulfillment (3) the resolution is a package (4) talks between the parties, but not necessarily direct talks, are understood to be required (5) some kind of secure and permanent arrangements, but not necessarily a formal peace treaty, are foreseen in implementing the resolution (6) the only true test of the intentions of the other side is to sit down and start trying “to devise arrangements for the implementation.” I said it was Jarring’s job to get acceptance of different words if he and the parties felt that other words were necessary. I personally thought a great deal of time had already been wasted in debating the meaning of words about “acceptance.” If now we told Israel we were assuming the Arabs and Israel had agreed to implement the resolution, Israel would have every right to ask us what the Arabs meant by moving away from Jarring’s March 10 proposal. We had heard enough about these forms of words to know each side seemed to find some special magic in them. If the Jordanian-UAR idea is to play legal or semantic tricks on Israel I saw no hope for a peaceful settlement. I did not see in any case why my govt should have to speak for Israel in this way. We very much wanted a peaceful settlement but we could not lend ourselves to deceiving either side. If we said “Israel agrees to implement the resolution” it would mean no more and no less than what the Jarring March 10 proposal says.
We went over and over this ground. The King emphasized there was no intention of misleading anyone. Jordan simply has to have the UAR with it to begin talks. The requested assurance (not a commitment, he stressed several times), from us would enable Jordan to get the UAR to New York. From then on there would be clear sailing. There would be no need for a report or statement or anything else from Jarring.
I pressed Abd al-Moneim on why Jarring’s proposal was not sufficient. He reiterated that Jarring had said he cannot guarantee that Israel will implement the resolution and that he, Jarring, does not believe they will. Jarring had said this to Riad. When Jarring said the same thing to Rifai, the latter had said the U.S. Embassy assures us Israel accepts your proposal and will proceed to agree on its implementation. [Page 279] Jarring had said in effect: “I don’t believe it. Get it from that Embassy in writing.” It was largely for this reason that Jordan now needed a statement from the USG in writing-a statement it could show to Riad.
Several variations of a possible USG written statement were put forward, but I did not get a clear statement of what would satisfy the Jordanians or the UAR.
Hussein assured me several times that Jordan is eager to meet in New York and to reach agreement. If this umbrella can be provided to get UAR to NYC, Jordan will move ahead rapidly.
Comment: Foregoing is preliminary report. I am seeing Rifai again in a few minutes and may ask to see Hussein later. Will make recommendations following these meetings.
Only explanation for this bizarre performance that occurs to us is that Jarring must have believed that Israel’s retraction of its acceptance as reported in State 143647 and 1436192 had again pulled the rug from under him.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files, 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Tel Aviv, USUN and Cairo.
  2. Telegram 143647 to Tel Aviv, April 9, repeated telegram 4494 from USUN, April 8, which was the basis of the information sent to Tel Aviv on April 8 in telegram 143619. Telegram 143619 to Tel Aviv, April 8, indicated that Ambassador Goldberg received a report from Jarring that the Israeli Ambassador in Nicosia had passed a message from Eban to the effect that Jarring should do nothing further to deliver the message to Hussein indicating Israeli acceptance of the March 10 formula. (Both ibid.)
  3. The Department informed the Embassy in Amman on April 12 that, for all of the reasons advanced by Ambassador Symmes, the United States could not provide the written statement Jordan had requested. (Telegram 145661; ibid.)