217. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State 1
Amman, July 17, 1968, 1515Z.
5774. Subj: Ball/Sisco farewell talk with Eban.
- During farewell call by Ball and Sisco, FonMin Eban said he had discussed with PriMin what it might be useful for Ball to say to King Hussein in Amman. Eban and PriMin agreed that if Hussein could overcome inhibitions about negotiations with Israel, Israel would make serious effort reach agreement. Eban had no idea how much leeway Hussein had from Cairo. As regards Hussein’s desire have clearer idea of what Israel would offer, however, Eban said GOI agreed “it necessary give Hussein a push” in this respect. If we agreed, Eban said Ball could convey to Hussein impression that in “real peace settlement” he would get very much back-not all, but great deal of what he lost.
- Eban said it would also help if Ball stressed that US wanted settlement among parties so that Hussein would realize he must turn to Israel to make progress. In addition to five points, President’s emphasis on concept that “parties to conflict must be parties to peace” was important in this respect.
- Eban said we could also convey on Israeli behalf that, while Israel does not envisage restoration of June 4 lines, it does envisage limited Kingdom on both sides of Jordan River, including Arab population and most of territory. In response Ball’s comment that he understood security was controlling principle for Israel, Eban replied in affirmative, saying Israel only seeks changes in territory justified on security grounds. In addition, Hussein could obtain non-territorial gains such as free movement of goods and persons and access to natural Mediterranean outlet. Eban stressed he did not expect Hussein to [Page 425] commit himself, but Israel was urging that Jordan at least explore the ideas outlined above within context of overall settlement.
- Sisco asked what could be said to Hussein about Jerusalem. Eban commented that there was no international pressure to redivide Jerusalem but, nevertheless, within limits set by fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and must remain united, Israel would stretch its imagination to find solution. Israel’s thinking ran towards finding formula which would comprise expression and incarnation of Moslem interests. Coupled with concept of open frontiers, this should be helpful move.
- Ball commented that with respect West Bank Hussein perhaps had some flexibility. Where Jerusalem was concerned, however, he was under pressure from other Arabs and non-Arab Moslems. Eban thought this was easiest aspect of problem since it was precisely Moslem interests for which Israel was prepared make special arrangements. Eban noted that neither US nor UK had said they favored redividing Jerusalem although some have been encouraged to think that US prepared return to June 4, 1967 status on basis its statements in UN following Israeli administrative unification of city last year.
- Sisco asked what we could tell Hussein about two questions GOI had given Jarring for UAR. There was possibility, though no certainty, that Hussein would see this step as progress toward UAR-Israel negotiations and that this would help relieve his inhibitions about moving ahead of Nasser.
- Eban suggested telling Hussein, if Israel-Jordan settlement endorsed by Palestine Arabs could be achieved, he would then have strong card since Nasser would have difficulty objecting to Palestinian settlement which Palestinians accepted. Eban also thought that degree of approval which USG would indicate for Israel-Jordan settlement would be important factor with Hussein. (Raphael, in response to Sisco’s urging, later said Israel agreed we could inform Jordanians of two substantive questions they asked Jarring to put to UAR.)
- Raphael expressed view that if Cairo allowed to “stew in own juice,” situation would evolve in which Cairo would eventually have to join.
- In response Ball’s query about Faisal’s position, Eban said characterized by inconsistencies: on one hand Faisal was emotional about Israel and Jerusalem but, on other hand, he concerned about Nasser.
- Returning to Jerusalem question, Raphael noted that there had never been Moslem endorsement of Jordan’s unilateral annexation of Jerusalem. If Jordan had been strong enough to carry annexation off, it should be strong enough to make arrangements safeguarding Moslem interests. Eban commented that to pious Moslems it was intolerable [Page 426] for Jews to control second most holy place of Islam. Israel should accept this reality in seeking Jerusalem solution.
- Re general problem of getting negotiations started, Raphael said that once Arabs realized no one would pull their irons out of fire and that they must choose between status quo and progress toward new situation, they would stop hoping for big power intervention. Jordan should, however, realize dangers in unstable border situation. Jordan should also know that, while Israel is cooperating in exploring issues, there must be discussions for Israel to go as far as Foreign Minister had indicated it would.
- On question of territorial adjustments, Ball noted that he had been briefed earlier in day by Allon on so called “Allon plan.”2 Eban stressed that this plan not endorsed by govt but should be viewed [as] possible model for way of achieving greater security without Israeli domination of Arab population. (Eban’s answer, however, was given in such a manner as to convey impression he did not think Allon plan was ever going anywhere.)