63. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan 1

106935. Ref: Amman’s 2815.2

Embassy should deliver the following letter from the Secretary to Prime Minister Talhouni:
“Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I am writing with respect to some of the concerns about US Government policy towards Jordan you expressed in recent discussions with Ambassador Symmes. I want to confirm his assurances of our support for Jordan in meeting the problems that confront Your Excellency’s Government in these days.
The record of American-Jordanian relations over the past two decades manifests the support which my Government has consistently provided to the Kingdom. While I know I need not dwell on the high regard which President Johnson has for His Majesty King Hussein, underlying those friendly ties between the leaders of our two countries is a strong fabric of friendship between Jordanian and American officials as well as the private citizens of our two countries. The recent Arab-Israel hostilities have created problems in our relations, but these are not insurmountable and are, in fact, being overcome.
By now you are aware of our decision to resume arms shipments to Jordan. We are now negotiating a PL-480 program for Jordan. We are continuing our technical assistance programs and are anxious to assist Jordan in aggressively pursuing its economic development program. These actions constitute concrete evidence of our firm intention to continue our traditional policy toward Jordan.
In this connection, I regret the interpretations that may have been placed on the discontinuance of budgetary support at this particular time. Let me assure you that our decision was based solely on fiscal considerations, i.e., pledges of Arab financial assistance for Jordan reached at the Khartoum Conference, other contributions received by Jordan, and Jordan’s very strong foreign exchange position. Congress has cut back our foreign aid resources and we would jeopardize our other AID programs to Jordan if we were to provide budget support that does not appear to be currently needed. As Ambassador [Page 131] Symmes has confirmed to Your Excellency, we continue our interest in Jordan’s financial well being and are prepared to review your Government’s budgetary situation whenever you consider that such a review is warranted.
The major problem in the area is the establishment of a peace which is just and lasting. Its achievement is of critical importance to all of us, and both of our countries are dedicated to this goal. Let there be no doubt, Your Excellency, that our efforts in this regard have been and will continue to be unremitting. We welcome as a first step the Security Council’s adoption on November 22 of the resolution under which UN Special Representative Jarring was appointed. Ambassador Jarring’s mission provides an opportunity to work toward settlement which is not likely to recur. It is of great importance that the parties make the most of this opportunity by cooperating energetically and with as much flexibility as possible in the negotiating process.
The United States, for its part, is fully committed to supporting Ambassador Jarring’s efforts. Ambassador Goldberg said in the Security Council on November 22 ‘the diplomatic and political influence of the United States Government will be exerted in support of the United Nations Special Representative to achieve a fair, equitable and dignified settlement so that all in the area can live in peace, security and tranquility.’ Jordan can count on the United States to do all it can to further a just and reasonable settlement. We are deeply conscious of the importance which the two issues of Jerusalem and the West Bank have for Jordan. When King Hussein recently visited the United States, we explained to him our position on these problems. Our policy on this has not changed.
Your Excellency and your Cabinet colleagues have done much to help maintain an atmosphere enhancing the prospects for a political solution of the Middle Eastern situation. I have noted in particular the actions your Government has taken in seeking to prevent terrorism and in encouraging the resumption of normal activities on the West Bank, such as the operation of schools and commercial traffic.
I am keenly aware of the many serious problems facing Your Excellency and the Kingdom as a whole, including the major one of alleviating the tragic plight of the refugees. My Government has, of course, continued its very substantial contributions to meet the more recent emergency situation. We have also supported the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council actions on this problem that were taken during recent months. These included resolutions calling upon the Government of Israel to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled following the outbreak of hostilities, resolutions which we continue to believe must be implemented to the fullest extent possible. We have repeatedly made clear to all concerned, both [Page 132] publicly and privately, our position on the ‘new refugees’, as well as on the need for an overall solution to the refugee problem. I can assure you that my Government remains dedicated to the principle that a just settlement of the refugee problem should and must be found. The present efforts to establish conditions of peace afford an opportunity to come to grips with this problem at last.
In closing, let me say that we recognize Your Excellency’s appointment as Prime Minister last October as a reaffirmation of the special confidence that King Hussein has long placed in your leadership. We continue to wish you success as Jordan grapples with the many difficult problems resulting from the June war. We want to help wherever and to the extent possible. I hope that Your Excellency will continue the frank and friendly dialogue that you have already established with Ambassador Symmes in whom I repose complete confidence. Sincerely, Dean Rusk.”
We assume that the GOJ will treat this letter as classified and will not release any part of it without our consent.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL JORDAN-US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Houghton and Day on January 25; cleared by Deputy Assistant Administrator in AID’s Bureau for Near East and South Asia Joseph L. Wheeler, Sisco, Davies, Handley, Eugene Rostow, and Katzenbach; and approved by Rusk.
  2. Document 27.