359. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1
Washington, December 24, 1968, 2236Z.
292074. Amman’s 6994.2
- We share your view that efforts to reach an Arab-Israel settlement are at an impasse and that some changes in tactics will be necessary if progress toward a settlement is to be made. These could be in the direction of (a) a more active U.S. role with the parties making more explicit to them and publicly what we are prepared to support and what we will not support; (b) an effort to concert with the Soviets in order to bring the UAR to acceptance of a contractual, agreed peace as the price of Israeli withdrawal; and, (c) more intensive U.S. efforts with Israelis to secure GOI commitment to principle of withdrawal (Jerusalem, Gaza and minor border adjustments aside) in context of peace. In any event, we plan to operate within the context of the November 22 Resolution keeping Jarring in play, if possible, and avoiding a direct U.S. involvement in the mediatory process. This, of course, will be subject to review by the new administration.
- Covert Israeli-Jordanian negotiations seem also to be at impasse. Whether the Israelis sought to lull us into inactivity by assuring us repeatedly of progress being made in these talks or whether they simply unable to assess the limits of the possible insofar as Hussein’s options are concerned, process seems moribund until such time as one or the other government tables alternative proposals.
- Your recommendations are along lines of our thinking here. Trend has been toward making more specific U.S. ideas on issues involved in a settlement and clarifying what we are prepared to support. Thus, we agree that when you or Ambassador Barbour sees occasion to feed in ideas or opportunities for substantive probing, you should do so. A necessary caveat is that this must be in the context of an informal exchange of views unless subject is an established U.S. position and should be limited to the two or three decision makers on each side who count and whose discretion can be relied upon.
- Reftel came as we were clearing letter suggesting you raise with Zaid Rifa’i or other the possibility of Jordan tabling counter proposals [Page 715] to the Allon Plan along lines of recognizing Israel’s legitimate concern at security on the West Bank and exploring various interim arrangements which would obtain until Israel is assured of Jordan’s capability and willingness to prevent hostile actions being mounted from area against Israel.3 Joint patrols, UN force with Jordanian and Israeli liaison contingents, or Israeli military enclaves maintained for a limited period, until a regime of peace and security established were ideas that came to mind. These would provide reasonable security assurances for Israel and at the same time give regime stronger grounds for moving against any Palestinian irredentist movements as prolonging Israeli presence. You may wish to touch on these in your forthcoming discussion with King Hussein along with other thoughts in Paragraph 4A of reftel. You might stress to King that an articulated GOJ position on these questions would be useful in flushing out a possible Israeli fallback position to Allon Plan.
- You should assure King that USG will be actively engaged in supporting moves toward a settlement in the context of the November 22 Resolution.
- There has been a small working group (NEA-IO-L) which has been engaged in planning on an ad hoc basis for a settlement since August of 1967. Some of the “think pieces” are currently being revised and will be pouched to both posts for comment and background use in informal discussions.
- We are considering ways of making public more detailed USG views on what we would consider a fair and reasonable settlement under the November 22 Resolution. Recommendations now being formulated for this or next administration.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM. Secret; Nodis; Sandstorm. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Atherton, Seelye, Sisco, and Katzenbach; and approved by Hart. Repeated to Tel Aviv and USUN.↩
- The reference is incorrect. The correct reference is telegram 7992 from Amman, Document 353.↩
- The letter was not found.↩