328. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1
Amman, November 20, 1968.
- Since I had assumed our position on territorial assurance for Hussein was already well known to Israel (I understood we had immediately informed Israel what we told Hussein in November 1967) and particularly in view of State 2709354 and 272847,5 Eban’s statements [Page 654] on “unpopulated areas” reported in Tel Aviv 6152 are somewhat disconcerting. When I saw King Hussein on November 9 (Amman 7409), I read to him the following sentences from the memorandum on the “U.S. position as presented to Hussein on November 6, 1967.” “The United States, as a matter of policy, does not envisage a Jordan which consists only of the East Bank. The United States is prepared to support a return of the West Bank to Jordan with minor boundary rectifications. However, the United States would use its influence to obtain compensation to Jordan for any territory it is required to give up. For example, if Jordan is required to give up the Latroun salient, the USG will use its influence to obtain in compensation access for Jordan to a Mediterranean port in Israel. Finally, although as a matter of policy we do not agree with Jordan’s position on Jerusalem, nor do we agree with the Israeli position on Jerusalem, we are prepared to use our influence to obtain for Jordan a role in Jerusalem. In short, we are prepared to make a maximum effort to obtain for Jordan the best possible deal in terms of settlement with Israel.”
- The territorial assurances that we have given Hussein are manifestly inconsistent with any proposal that would place “certain unpopulated areas of West Bank” under Israeli sovereignty or jurisdiction. The relevance of “unpopulated areas” to “minor border rectifications” is, of course, another moot point. (Incidentally, the Jordan Govt’s 1961 maps on the “distribution of population” and “population density” show very graphically that the only “unpopulated areas” on the West Bank lie along the present ceasefire line between Israel and Jordan. These maps are in vol. 4 of the GOJ Dept of Statistics “First Census of Population and Housing” published in April 1965. A similar graphic representation of the population complexion of the West Bank is shown on “The Population of the West Bank by Settlements, November 1967,” published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 1967.) As I read para 1 of Tel Aviv 6152, Eban seems to be saying that Israel has suggested to Hussein some kind of variation of the Allon plan, which we have already indicated is unacceptable in principle both to US and to Jordan. What Eban appears to be asking of Jordan is certainly “significantly” different even if not “violently” different from the territorial assurances we have given Jordan.
- I do not know what the Israelis may have proposed to Jordan beyond the generalities occasionally passed on to us by Eban and others, nor do we know Hussein’s reaction to any specific territorial proposals Israel may have made. The King and senior GOJ officials continue to take the line with me that the Israelis have never been specific with them about territory and I, of course, have not probed them regarding this matter. Nevertheless, because of the territorial assurances we have recently reiterated to Hussein, I would strongly doubt that he [Page 655] would feel he should entertain seriously any Israeli proposal that either specifically or in principle provided “certain unpopulated areas of West Bank to remain as Israeli territory.” I am convinced that anything like that is a non-starter with the King. Even if he accepted it, I do not believe he could bring along other Jordanians with him.
- I am certain that the Dept is well aware of the foregoing. I review the matter primarily to underline my hope that we will be very firm in letting the Israelis know (1) we intend to stand by the territorial assurances we have given to Jordan and (2) our expectation that they will proceed as soon as possible to give the Jordanians acceptable territorial specifics as part of a peaceful settlement.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM. Secret; Nodis; Sandstorm. There is no time of transmission on the telegram, which was received at 12:26 p.m.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 326.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 312.↩
- Document 320.↩
- Telegram 272847 to Tel Aviv, November 16, informed the Embassy about a telephone conversation on November 15 between Sisco and Argov of the Israeli Embassy. Minister Argov called “to unravel mystery” of the seven-point program for a peace settlement he had heard Secretary Rusk had put forward. In the course of explaining that there was no separate U.S. peace program and that the points made by Rusk in his conversation with Riad were merely restatements of long-established U.S. positions, Sisco noted U.S. concerns that Israel was defining its security concerns with respect to Jordan not in terms of minor rectifications of the pre-war border, but in terms of a significant acquisition of Jordanian territory. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)↩