191. Paper Prepared by the National Security Council Staff1



U.S. Options

The attached State Department draft memo (reviewed but not formally cleared through Deputy Assistant Secretary Noyes in Defense)2 outlines as one course of action these two steps:

—Approving in principle and subject to an annual US-Jordanian review the provision over a three-year period of military equipment to Jordan as recommended by the military survey team to facilitate the reorganization of the Jordanian armed forces. The total value of this equipment would amount to about $130 million roughly prorated over four years, FY71 through FY74.

—Replacing U.S.-manufactured equipment lost during the September civil war and not covered in Secretary Laird’s letter of December 103 [see previous sub-tab].

[Page 670]

If this course of action were approved, King Hussein would be informed now of the above.

Mr. Sisco in his covering memo to you outlines two other possible courses:

—Stalling Hussein for the time being by telling him that we are studying the survey team’s report4 urgently and will discuss additional requirements in the near future.

—Telling Hussein that, because of lack of funds, we cannot be responsive to his requests for more arms beyond the Laird commitment until we have obtained Congressional approval for financing.

These are tactical means for delaying a decision or a reply. They are not real alternatives. The real alternative would be to decide that we are not going to commit ourselves now to a three-year program for Jordan and promise Hussein something less, if anything at all. To promise something less, we would simply move down the four increments recommended by the military survey team from the full program to, say, the first full increment. (The Laird letter of December 10—the “impact package” offered to Hussein—promised part of the survey team’s first increment.)

In order to describe how selecting a smaller package would work, the survey team’s options are laid out below.

The Survey Team’s Options

All options which the Survey Team developed contain two constant components:

—$9.1 million in replenishment of battle losses.

—$30.7 million for the revised FY70 artillery and air defense package. [This figure is down from the original $42 million approved last spring.5 The revision results from the fact that the proposed reorganization of the Jordanian forces replaces some of the earlier requirements met in that package with new ones.]

On top of that $39.8 million minimum, the team developed four alternatives to the Jordanian request. These options, which build from a minimum response up to the full Jordanian request (described below) can be sketched as follows:

[Page 671]

Alternative IV—$42.6 million: This is essentially a package for providing equipment in the next 6–9 months to meet the modernization needs of the Jordanian forces in being. [The major items would be: 33 APC’s; 50 tanks; 40 self-propelled 155 mm. howitzers; 15,000 M–16 rifles; 500 grenade launchers; 275 Sidewinder missiles, a ground control radar, spares and ground equipment for the present F–104 squadron. The Laird package of December 10 provided some of these items: 57 APC’s; 14 M–60 A1 tanks; no longer range guns but 42 106 mm. recoilless rifles; 16,000 M–16 rifles; 500 grenade launchers; 80 machine guns (50 cal. and 30 cal.); promise of a later answer on more tanks and on radar. The cost of the Laird package is about $26 million.]

Alternative III—$81.5 million: This includes the equipment under the above alternative and adds to the above the equipment necessary to equip new units, particularly mechanized infantry battalions and another brigade in the mechanized division. [In addition to equipment under alternative IV, there would be 125 more APC’s; 50 more tanks; 20 self-propelled 105 mm. howitzers.]

Alternative II—$117 million: This would add to both of the above one squadron (24 aircraft) of close support/intercept aircraft (the F–5).

Alternative I—$146.7 million: This represents a paring down of the Jordanian request to represent a reasonable long range capability objective for the Jordanian Armed Forces. The plan would be to reach this goal in increments over a three to four year period, starting with Alternative IV above as the first increment. Incremental increases could follow periodic review of absorptive capability, the threat and financial availabilities. [This would involve, including the above increments, the following total of major items: 288 APC’s; 100 tanks; 20 105 mm. self-propelled howitzers; 45,000 M–16 rifles; 1500 grenade launchers; 24 F–5 aircraft; 2 C–130 aircraft.]

The Jordanian Request—$186.6 million. In addition to the equipment listed under Alternative I above, this list includes among major items: 156 more APC’s; 50 more tanks; 20 more 105 mm. self-propelled howitzers; 23,000 more rifles; and additional quantities of ammunition.

The Issues

The provision of any equipment beyond that already committed presents two key problems:

1. Financial. The supplemental appropriation if passed by Congress6 would provide $30 million—just enough to cover a good part of the December 10 package and replenishment of September. Jordan still needs another $30 million (roughly the cost of last spring’s artillery [Page 672] package) in FY 71. This may require a special FY 71 supplemental bill for Jordan requesting a combination of military assistance grant and supporting assistance. If this is not possible, the President could approve under Section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act furnishing the equipment on a grant basis from Defense stocks. [He would have to make a determination that such action is “vital to the security of the U.S.” This would be subject to reimbursement from subsequent military assistance appropriations.]

2. Political. With growing fedayeen thought about taking over Jordan rather than destroying Israel, the longer term commitment to Hussein would make sense mainly if it is in the context of a major effort (a) to achieve an Israel-Jordan settlement and (b) to settle the Palestinian problem by working through Hussein. [This issue is discussed in connection with the Palestinian option.]

The principal issue therefore is whether the U.S. believes now is the time to make a major long-term commitment to Hussein. The conclusion of the attached memo is that we should make such a commitment—but in a very guarded way by subjecting it to annual review. The approach recommended is to establish the framework of a three-year program but to hold an annual review of Jordanian needs and available financing.

The argument for this approach is that it has the element of supporting the one element in Jordan that seems committed to a settlement with Israel while still giving the U.S. an escape if the situation in Jordan changes.

The argument against is that such a commitment would take the U.S. one step closer to precluding any serious ties with a Palestinian government in Jordan.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–050, Senior Review Group Meetings, SRG Meeting—Jordan 12–17–70. Secret. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Attached but not printed is the undated memorandum from Sisco to Kissinger.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. According to the December 7 report of the Department of Defense Military Survey Team, the group went to Jordan at the King’s request, after the fedayeen uprising in September, to “assess Jordanian military needs resulting from a planned reorganization of the Jordanian Arab Army, and to consider the financial implications of that reorganization for the governments of Jordan and the United States.” (Washington National Records Center, ISA Files: FRC 330–73A–1975, Box 20, Jordan)
  5. See Document 113.
  6. See footnote 4, Document 190.