341. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1

SUBJECT

  • King Hussein’s Reply to the President’s Message

Transmitted as an enclosure is King Hussein’s reply2 to the President’s message of October 11.3 As you will recall, the occasion for the President’s message was our announcement to open negotiations for the sale of Phantom jet aircraft to Israel. The message was designed to reassure the King that these negotiations in no way prejudiced USG support for the Jarring Mission or for Jordan.

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The King is obviously very upset with the proposed sale of Phantoms to Israel. His sharply worded reply to the President reflects the great strains placed upon him during the past months. A principal thrust of the King’s reply is that alleged Israeli intransigence and alleged United States’ passivity in the face of this intransigence impedes a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. Other points made by the King include: (1) the proposed Phantom sale directly contradicts our profession of support for the Jarring Mission; (2) Jordan has suffered from Israeli military actions since the June 1967 war, particularly from aircraft supplied to Israel by the United States; (3) Jordan’s marked military inferiority to Israel requires a military quid pro quo for Jordan to offset the Phantoms; (4) the United States’ commitment to the territorial integrity of Jordan continues to be violated by Israeli occupation; (5) U.S. actions and positions on the Middle East problem are making it difficult for Hussein and other moderate Arabs to justify their close ties with the United States.

Our Ambassador in Jordan has a continuing dialogue with the King and there is no need for a further response on the part of the President. A signed copy of the letter has been sent by pouch.

Dirk Gleysteen 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Jordan, 8/1/68-1/20/69. Secret; Exdis.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 338.
  3. See Document 277.
  4. Gleysteen signed for Read above Read’s typed signature.