49. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Warnke) to Secretary of Defense McNamara1


  • Visit of Major General Amer Khammash, Chief of Staff, Jordan Arab Army

General Khammash arrives in Washington today for talks beginning Friday.2 King Hussein has asked us to receive him to discuss Jordan’s military requirements. Hussein expects us “to come to a meeting of the minds” with Khammash on what arms we are willing to supply to Jordan. Our Ambassador in Amman states categorically that we must be prepared to do so or risk Hussein’s acceptance of Soviet arms offers. (Relevant cables are at Tab D.)3 The kinds of arms that Khammash probably will be looking for are tanks, artillery, APCs, and a continuous flow of support items.

A draft position paper prepared by State, and cleared by Under Secretary Katzenbach, is at Tab A.4 In brief, it says:

The President has agreed to resume limited arms shipments to Jordan and has approved a $6.5 million package. This decision has been communicated to Hussein. (Package details are at Tab B.)5
The King and Khammash consider that this modest amount ($6.5 million) is insufficient to demonstrate to their army that progress is being made in reequipping the Jordanian forces. Hussein wants a commitment on major ground force items and continuing support items.
The King is prepared to forego Soviet arms offers (his assurance to this effect is at Tab C)6 but unless Jordan can get equipment from the West “there seems little doubt but that the King will turn to the Soviet bloc.”
In our discussions with Khammash, we should:
Confirm and provide details on the Presidential decision on the $6.5 million package; also tell him we will consider sympathetically in the coming months further requests for similar-type equipment.
Try to get him to agree to meet requirements for tanks, artillery, APCs, and similar items in Europe, offering to support him in this endeavor; but if this proves unacceptable to Khammash,
Agree to meet Jordan’s arms requirements from the U.S. if they are not obtainable elsewhere.
Discuss the modalities of cancelling the F-104 contract at the lowest possible cost to Jordan.
Make no commitments on credit.

I agree in general with the State paper. I think, however, it overstates the probability of Hussein going to the USSR for military equipment: he continues to depend upon us to help him in negotiations with Israel for his lost territory, he surely wants our continuing economic assistance, and his physical security depends on his association with the West, particularly the United States, and with the moderate Arabs, particularly Faisal of Saudi Arabia. While there certainly is a risk that he will go to the Soviets for military equipment. I believe we have more leverage with Hussein than the State paper implies.

I think also that it ignores the implications of the Conte-Long Amendment7 for any decision we make concerning Jordan. This requires further discussion and analysis with State.

The State proposal (subparagraph c, above) of course goes beyond what the President has already approved. State is not seeking approval for this position now, but recommends waiting until after at least the initial discussions with Khammash. I agree.

Khammash will begin substantive discussions with State on Friday afternoon. Harry Schwartz, in my absence, will carry the subsequent and more detailed discussions for DOD. I strongly recommend you see Khammash briefly, and have tentatively blocked your calendar for 1700 hours, 23 January 1968.8

Paul C. Warnke
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 72 A 1498, Jordan, 000.1-333. Secret.
  2. January 19.
  3. Not found attached. An apparent reference to telegrams 2912 and 2913 from Amman; see Document 42 and footnote 3 thereto.
  4. Reference is to a January 17 memorandum from Battle to Katzenbach that outlined the Department’s position on the impending negotiations with Khammash. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN)
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed; see footnote 3, Document 29.
  7. Reference is to the Conte-Long Amendment to the Foreign Assistance and Related Appropriations Act of 1968. The amendment was adopted as Section 119 of the Appropriations Act on January 2, 1968. The amendment directed the President to withhold economic assistance in an amount equivalent to the amount spent by any underdeveloped country other than Greece, Turkey, Iran, Israel, the Republic of China, the Philippines, and Korea for the purchase of sophisticated weapons systems. (P.L. 90-249; 81 Stat. 936)
  8. McNamara’s handwritten response, dated January 19, reads: “I believe we must be forthcoming—c is a minimum. After we obtain agreement on c as the govt’s position, I will see him.”