266. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

154000. Subject: Soviet Démarche re Jordan.

Soviet Chargé Vorontsov called urgently Sept 18 on Dep Asst Secy Davies (NEA) to present following Soviet Govt message to USG.

Begin text. The Soviet Government is concerned over the information coming in about the sharp aggravation of the situation in Jordan which has led to fierce and bloody clashes; the country stands on the precipice of a civil war. This turn of events complicates the entire situation in the Middle East and may adversely affect the continuing attempts to find ways of achieving a political settlement of the Middle East conflict.

The Soviet Government expresses the hope that the Government of the United States will agree with the Soviet Government’s view that it is necessary for all states, including those not belonging to this region, to exercise prudence in their steps in connection with the prevailing complex situation in the Middle East.

We would like to draw special attention to the possible position of Israel in connection with the current events in Jordan, and hope that the US Govt will use its influence with the Govt of Israel in order to preclude the possibility of Israel’s exploiting this situation for a still greater aggravation of the situation in the Middle East as a whole.

The Soviet Government for its part has deemed it necessary to urge the leaders of Jordan, Iraq, Syria and the United Arab Republic to take measures dictated by the situation in order at the earliest point to put an end to the fratricidal clashes in Jordan and to prevent the outbreak of civil war. We are searching for ways of bringing our viewpoint also to the attention of the leadership of the Palestine movement.

The Soviet Government as before stands for a settlement of the Middle East crisis by political means on the basis of the implementation of the Security Council Resolution of November 22, 1967 in all its parts, and is prepared to continue efforts together with other states toward the earliest attainment of this aim. End text.

At Davies’ request Vorontsov confirmed USSR has already made démarches in Baghdad, Damascus, Amman, and Cairo. He added Soviets now seeking to contact Palestinians.
Davies said US too is anxious for ME settlement along lines Nov resolution. We are concerned about fate of hostages held in Jordan by PFLP and grave danger of situation in Amman. Situation in Jordan caused in part by GOJ acceptance of proposal for negotiations. Movement against GOJ is one of opposition to peaceful ME settlement.
Davies pointed out we would be particularly concerned if Syria or Iraq were to intervene in Jordan. There have been unconfirmed reports of Syrian involvement, which would only aggravate picture and make it more difficult to stabilize situation and get on with main objective of ME settlement.
Vorontsov said Gromyko wanted message brought to Secretary as soon as possible. Davies undertook to do so.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 JORDAN. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Walter Smith (NEA/UAR); cleared by Dubs (EUR/SOV); and approved by Davies. It was repeated to Amman (Priority), Beirut, USINT Cairo, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, and USUN.