99. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1
Amman, March 2, 1968, 1725Z.
3672. Subj: Letter from King Hussein to President Johnson. Ref: State 113645.2
- Following is text of letter dated March 2, 1968, addressed to President Johnson by King Hussein:3
- “Dear Mr. President: I am grateful for your personal message which preceded the return of General Khammash from his visit to Washington.
- Our two countries have indeed enjoyed a warm, close and mutually beneficial relationship for a long period of time, and I am pleased to receive your assurances that it is in the United States policy and interest to continue this relationship with us and that the strains and problems created by the June war have not altered the United States fundamental policy towards Jordan.
- The arms package, which General Khammash brought us in answer to our request and which was aimed at meeting our legitimate arms requirements, did indeed manifest a strong reaffirmation of your support. We, and in the face of the enormity of the problems that confront us, have every hope that this package, with some slight modifications, can finally be agreed upon, to enable us to overcome the current problems.
- As for your unaltered and firm resolve to extend full diplomatic and political support to Ambassador Jarring to reach a just and durable settlement in the Middle East, I can assure you, Mr. President, that we have extremely high hopes that this valuable support may enable Ambassador Jarring to make progress in the pursuit of his mission. However, I regret to inform you, Mr. President, that I have become extremely disheartened by what appears to be lack of genuine interest in a just and durable peace by the Israelis. It is unfortunate that their victory should direct them to follow a very narrow and short-sighted approach. For though the Israelis have won a battle they seem unable to appreciate the fact that they have not won a war. This is manifested in their lack of clarity over the acceptance of the Security Council’s resolution under the mandate of which Ambassador Jarring is pursuing his mission; in their arbitrary actions in defiance of a semi-unanimous United Nations resolution on Jerusalem; in their continuing actions aiming at major alterations in the city which, as you well know, Mr. President, does not belong to us alone but to all Arabs and Muslims who have enjoyed the privilege of being the proud custodians of the holy places within it since the time of the Khalifa Omar, over thirteen centuries ago; in compelling thousands upon thousands of people to continue to leave the areas acquired by Israel through aggression and to flee in the face of terror and persecution, thus adding an unimaginable strain to the already heavy burdens which we shoulder; and finally in their most recent decision to alter the status and even the name of the occupied West Bank, thus dealing a severe blow to the Jarring Mission and any chance of its success. Such actions do not create an atmosphere conducive to the laying of foundations for a just and durable peace and are in defiance of the United Nations through which Israel was created, and which has repeatedly called upon Israel to respect the rights of the people she persecuted and to permit them to return to their homes and land.
- Furthermore, Israel has persisted in the use of brutal force and has constantly attacked our people on the East Bank of Jordan, inflicting heavy losses of life and property. Her ridiculous and totally incomprehensible excuse for doing all this is that I am not fulfilling my so-called duty of ensuring the safety and security of her forces which occupy a good portion of my country. Israel seems unwilling to understand that so long as she remains in such occupation she will be [Page 205] met by mounting resistance by the people under occupation and who are victims of her aggression. The sum total of all this is a great tragedy for peace and for those who believe that a just, honourable and durable peace can and must exist in this area, and a growing realisation that the chance of achieving such a peace which, in my opinion, is the first and last such chance, may be lost to all forever.
- I hope my readings are wrong, although what I live and see makes me tend to believe that I am right. I am confident that you, Mr. President, will spare no effort to ensure that such a chance is not lost.
- I must confess, Mr. President, that patient and optimistic as I am, I am beginning to have some doubts about the wisdom of continuing to be so.
- I wish you, sir, the very best in surmounting the many difficulties that you face as leader of one of the world’s greatest powers throughout this critical period in the history of mankind. I wish to share with you, Mr. President, your confidence that we can solve our problems and obtain the objective we both so fervently desire: a peaceful Middle East in which a united Jordan can continue to play its historic role.
- With my best regards. (Signed) Hussein.”
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-1969, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Exdis.↩
- Document 77.↩
- The signed original of this letter was transmitted to Washington as an enclosure to airgram A-235 from Amman, March 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15-1 JORDAN)↩