84. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

3461. Subj: Jordanian request for anti-infiltration equipment. Ref: Amman 3047,2 State 104263.3

1.
After events of the past few days4 it is clear we need to move forward in any way possible to help Jordanians to exercise better control of terrorist infiltrations. I consider it particularly important to respond quickly to request for anti-infiltration equipment reported in reftel. In addition to providing effective additional control measures, such [Page 174] equipment, if available, could provide Jordanian leadership a much needed encouragement to intensify their present efforts. This initiative by the Jordanians might also be used as evidence to Israel of Jordanian will to act on the matter.
2.
We appreciate equipment discussed in our telegram of Jan 19 might not be available or that it may be too technical to lend itself to expeditious installation in the Jordan Valley terrain. If we have no suitable equipment available, or if for some reason we do not wish to make it available, I would like to be informed expeditiously. It is time we responded in some way to the Jordanians on this matter. Our continuing silence may be interpreted as indifference to Jordanian request or even an unwillingness to help. I am sure that Washington is well aware of nature of terrain we are talking about. It might be well to keep in mind, however, that we are talking about a limited number of fords across river and transit areas in Jordan. We would hope we could find some kind of equipment to monitor these major transit areas even though we could not expect completely to curtail terrorist crossings.5
Symmes
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 23-8 JORDAN. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Document 54.
  3. Telegram 104263 to Amman, January 25, informed the Embassy that the Jordanian request for assistance in controlling terrorist activity was being studied in Washington. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 23-8 JORDAN)
  4. On February 8 an exploding mine killed three Israeli civilians and wounded two others. The incident triggered daily artillery exchanges across the Jordan River cease-fire line, and attacks by the Israeli Air Force which caused heavy Jordanian casualties in a refugee camp. (Memorandum from George C. Denny to Secretary Rusk, February 14; ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
  5. The Department responded on February 22 in telegram 119314 to Amman, a joint State/Defense message. The Jordanian request was receiving sympathetic and urgent consideration, but it was judged that a substantive response would have to depend on more specific information concerning the type of anti-infiltration system desired and the number and type of devices which would be most suitable. (Ibid., POL 23-8 JORDAN)