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

145603. Ref: Amman’s 4266.2 Subject: Arab-Israeli Eban Message. Should King Hussein seek our reaction to proposal carried by Hikmat Al-Masri, suggest you reply along following lines:

Notwithstanding strong U.S. desire seek progress toward settlement, because of considerable risk for Hussein we believe we must leave decision to him.
At the same time, we recognize pressures mounting within the status quo may prove a greater danger in the longer term.
While there are elements in Eban message we do not like, it does represent a significant Israeli initiative and a possible opening.
As made clear in November discussions with Hussein in the U.S., we cannot guarantee to deliver Israel on any specific issue but would use our influence to get the best deal possible for Jordan. We adhere to the views expressed then.
FYI. You will recall at that time we made clear we could not envisage a viable Jordan without return of the West Bank. We believe there must be withdrawal of Israeli forces to recognized and secure frontiers but not, necessarily, the old armistice lines. We believe there could be adjustments of these lines based on security and economic considerations but that there must be mutuality in adjustments. As Ambassador Goldberg noted, for example, “If Jordan makes an adjustment along the Latrun salient there ought to be some compensatory adjustment for it.” Jerusalem, we recognize, is probably the most difficult issue involved in any settlement, but even here we are prepared to be helpful. We are willing to use our influence to see what arrangements can be worked out for an appropriate Jordanian role in Jerusalem. End FYI.
If King should not raise this matter with you in next few days, we may wish to reassess the situation to determine whether we should take initiative.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Battle, Houghton, and Sisco; and approved by Katzenbach.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 139.
  3. Symmes reported on April 12 that neither the King nor Zaid al-Rifai had raised the matter with the Embassy. Symmes concluded that “Jordanians will let this one ride at least until they see how the UAR reacts to latest Jarring developments.” (Telegram 4354 from Amman; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN)