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

2530. Subject: Arms for Jordan. Ref: State 79171.2 Amman 25193 and 2528.4

By prior agreement I stayed on with King Hussein following Senator Ribicoff’s audience for a brief discussion of arms situation. [Page 19] Arms question had already come up in general way during meeting with Senator.
I said I was pleased His Majesty had had opportunity mention Jordan arms requirements to the Senator, who had seemed quite sympathetic to Jordan’s needs as described by the King. I had been concerned, however, to learn through EmbOff on 4th (Amman 2528) that Soviet economic survey mission scheduled to come to Jordan later this month would, at Soviet request, include three Soviet military officials. I could appreciate sense of frustration felt by His Majesty. I felt obliged nevertheless to say I personally believed presence in Jordan of Soviet military, if it became known, would tend prejudice our efforts gain approval for resumption of U.S. arms shipments to Jordan as well as for our general efforts in support of Jordan. I had noted Jordan press article that morning stating that Soviet survey mission would not arrive until after first of year. I hoped this was true because it would allow time for USG to arrive at what I believed would ultimately be favorable decision on resuming some arms shipments to Jordan.
His Majesty responded that he was not sure when Soviet mission would arrive. It might be before end of year. Soviet Ambassador in informing him only a few days ago of mission’s coming had stated mission would include three senior military officials but that latter would not be identified as such in order to avoid embarrassing Jordanian Govt. King said he had been taking line with Soviets that he still intended obtain his arms from usual sources. Nevertheless, he had not felt he could tell Soviet Amb to delete three military from survey mission. For one thing, Soviets had been taking very moderate line recently. They were supporting U.N. resolution in talks with Jordan and had stressed Israel’s right to existence. Soviet Amb had also spoken of Soviet efforts to dampen Syrian extremism. He considered Soviets, despite some outward appearances, had been playing a generally constructive role with regard to Arab-Israeli problem. This factor also led him to feel he could not tell Soviets not to send mission at this time or not to bring military personnel if they did. On other hand, it was his intention to see that Soviet military only looked around in general way and that they did not get into any specific discussion of Jordan’s requirements. This was understood, he emphasized.
I commented that His Majesty was, of course, best judge of GOJ interests in this respect. Some of us, however, still have suspicions about Soviet motives in the Near East. Only in last few days Soviets had been making noises of willingness to discuss some form of arms limitation in area; yet with Jordan they were pursuing what could only be considered a significantly new arms supply role in Near East. Although Soviets more cautious and seem to recognize danger of escalation of Arab-Israeli incidents, some of us still believe they will pursue their [Page 20] spoiling operations in Near East wherever possible. I personally was suspicious enough of their motives to wonder if they could be counted on to keep presence in Jordan of three military personnel quiet.
Conversation concluded with my telling His Majesty I had new word from Washington indicating high level USG officials fully appreciate urgency GOJ requirements and actively reviewing matter. I was therefore hopeful of a favorable decision on Jordan arms shortly after Congressional action is completed on foreign aid appropriation bill. I thought this could be before Christmas. King seemed to appreciate these assurances. He said earlier in morning he had spoken to assembled senior JAA officers to tell them he expects soon to be able to provide them with specifics regarding military equipment supplies.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE, Moscow, London, and Tel Aviv.
  2. Telegram 79171 to Amman, December 5, informed the Embassy that the question of resuming the supply of arms to Jordan was under active high-level discussion. The question would have to be explored with Congressional leaders, however, so a decision was not imminent. The Department instructed the Embassy to try to persuade the Jordanian Government to be patient. (Ibid.)
  3. Not found.
  4. In telegram 2528 from Amman, December 6, the Embassy reported that King Hussein was being pressed by the Soviet Union to continue a military dialogue begun during the King’s recent visit to Moscow. The Soviet Union planned to send a military delegation to Amman to explore Jordan’s military requirements, and the Soviet Ambassador in Amman had told the King that his government was prepared to supply Jordan’s arms need at bargain prices and under favorable terms. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN)