297. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Israeli-Jordanian Settlement

We have received covertly from the political advisor to King Hussein, Zaid al Rifai, a paper which outlines the King’s view of the shape of a final peace settlement between Jordan and Israel. Rifai indicates that the paper represents the maximum concessions they believe are [Page 1020] possible. Our comments are solicited on ways they might improve their position “within the realm of the possible.” (Tab A)2

The Jordanians believe that if there is to be a movement toward a solution with the assistance of the United States at the highest level, they are willing to go “a little beyond the Rogers proposals.”

Although the Jordanians are not willing to make territorial concessions, they are prepared to sign a peace treaty with the Israelis embodying necessary guarantees, including a determination of ways to change the June 4, 1967 demarcation line into a permanent boundary. They will accept rectifications of the line, on a reciprocal basis, in order to make it a permanent boundary. Their position with regard to Guarantees, Jerusalem, Gaza and Refugees has the following basic elements:

Guarantees. The guarantees would include total demilitarization of the West Bank, no outside Arab Armed Forces stationed on Jordanian soil, a peace treaty, eventual establishment of normal relations, participation in joint development projects, and agreements on a procedure for Israelis to reside inside Jordanian territory near Jewish religious shrines.

Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be an open city under dual sovereignty of Israel and Jordan, with complete freedom of movement within the city. The Israelis could occupy the Jewish quarter of the old city in return for one of the Arab quarters in the Israeli sector.

Gaza. Gaza would become part of the Palestine region of the United Arab Kingdom (name for a new Jordan with two autonomous divisions—Palestine and Jordan), with a corridor linking Gaza to the Palestinian region. This would put the majority of the Palestinians in the area under one umbrella.

Refugees. Refugees who fled the West Bank in 1967 could return after any peace treaty. Other refugees would be given the right of repatriation or be compensated. The Jordanians believe that no more than ten percent would choose to live in Israel; the remainder, after proper financial compensation, would be settled in Jordan. With necessary funds the Jordanians are prepared to commence a resettlement of refugees in the East Bank immediately.

The Jordanian position may provide a possibility for movement toward a settlement. I have sent a noncommital reply to Rifai, but it might be worthwhile to explore this in greater detail with a meeting this summer.

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That you approve my arranging a meeting with Rifai to further examine this initiative.3 (Meeting will be between Kissinger and Rifai.)

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS–31, Jordan, Chronological File. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. A stamped notation on the memo indicates the President saw it.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Nixon checked the option indicating his approval for a meeting between Kissinger and Rifai. On July 27, Haig forwarded a July 15 letter to Kissinger from Rifai on the most recent secret meeting between Jordan and Israel, which occurred on June 29. Haig wrote: “He [ Rifai] is exceedingly gloomy about Israeli inflexibility. He is convinced that: 1) Israel will retain most of the territories, even at the price of perpetual war; 2) Only the U.S. can exert sufficient weight to change Israel’s position; 3) Israel not only accepts the inevitability of a new war but is preparing for one, as early as the end of this year; 4) Jordan will not participate in a new war as long as there is any hope of settlement.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 137, Kissinger Office Files, Country Files, Middle East)