284. Editorial Note

On March 26, 1972, King Hussein of Jordan traveled to Washington, his first stop on a six-week trip abroad. (New York Times, March 27, 1972, page 10) He met with President Richard Nixon on the morning of March 28 for almost 1½ hours, during which he read from a 45-minute prepared statement that, in part, reintroduced his federation plan for Palestinian autonomy (see Document 280). The King spent the rest of the meeting describing Jordan’s financial and military needs, which he hoped the United States would satisfy. (Transcript of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Rogers, March 28, 12:32 p.m.; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 15, Chronological File) While Nixon would not officially endorse Hussein’s plan, he said that the United States would welcome any initiative that would meet the “legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.” White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler later said that, “so far as the Jordanian plan would ‘help the Palestinians develop a voice in shaping their own future it would seem to be one step in creating the conditions necessary for peace.’” (New York Times, March 29, 1972, page 2)

On March 29, the King and his advisers met for a half hour with Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and other Department of Defense officials, who told him that the President had instructed them to “be as forthcoming as possible on behalf of Jordan’s needs.” After discussing his federation plan, which he raised in the context of his efforts to confront multiple threats to regional stability, he mentioned Jordan’s “specific military problems.” (Washington National Records Center, ISA Files: FRC 330–75–0155, Box 3, Jordan) In a March 31 follow-up letter to the meeting, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern, African, and South Asian Affairs James Noyes informed Jordanian Ambassador Zuhayr Mahmud al-Mufti that the United States would sell Jordan the jet aircraft and other military equipment that it requested if Congress earmarked the credits necessary for Jordan to buy them. Noyes attached a table to the letter, which listed the equipment to be [Page 995] sold and their line-item costs for the fiscal years 1972–1974. (Ibid.: FRC 330–75–0125, Box 14, Jordan)