372. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1
Amman, December 30, 1968, 1459Z.
8104. Subj: Discussion with King Hussein on military questions and internal security.
- During my meeting with King Hussein on 28th, I said I was happy to report considerable progress in certain aspects in the military field. Most important, it appeared we might be able to get some credit for Jordan’s purchases in the present fiscal year. I did not yet know how much this would be, but I believed it would be very helpful to Jordan.
- I then noted that we were ready to schedule air transport delivery of the F-104’s, with the first to arrive commencing February 3. A 25-day period would be required to assemble and test fly the aircraft. Assuming six aircraft would be delivered each month, the whole squadron could be ready by the end of May. In other words, our schedule had been advanced by 30 days. I noted that General Kurdi had explained to DATT that H-5 air base would not be operational before March 1st and he preferred that no deliveries take place before that date. The King acknowledged that he was aware of this and said he was happy that the 104’s would be coming in.
- I cited several examples of proposed accelerated deliveries of other items. I told the King I was mentioning these details because I hoped he could use them to show critics of his arms relationship with us that we not only were able to deliver on time but that we were making significant advances in delivery dates whenever we could.
- I said we had been exploring with General Khammash and others Jordanian requests for additional materiel. I was confident that these new Jordanian requests could be examined under the annual review mechanism provided in the March 1968 Memorandum of Understanding.2 [Page 735] Perhaps Khammash might visit Washington early next year for that purpose. In noting that there might be some personnel changes under the new administration with a consequent settling-down period, I suggested we might best aim for sometime in March for that visit. Meanwhile, we would strive to get as much done as possible in communications with Washington. I emphasized that we are still prepared to consider supplying additional aircraft of some type at some time in the future. I said it seemed to me important, however, that Jordan first get its 18 F-104’s located in Jordan and operational. In principle, the option certainly remained open, I concluded.
- The King expressed thanks at various points in my presentation and I gathered that he was pleased with the accelerated delivery dates and with the general indication of our willingness to consider Jordanian requests.
- Internal Security. I told the King that we had had detailed discussions with Khammash and former security chief Abu Nuwar with regard to proposed equipping of the three-battalion Bedouin force, after which we had had further useful discussions with the British Embassy. I hoped that in a short time we might be able to get down to the specifics of financing (which might be a problem), as well as actual orders and deliveries of both US and UK equipment. The King laughed and commented that we would now have to talk to Mohammad Rasoul Kaylani (who has just replaced General Abu Nuwar). I said I assumed that, since General Khammash had had a “heavy hand” on the equipment aspects, we would not have any new problems with Kaylani.