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


  • The Situation in Jordan—1800 GMT

The situation in Jordan remains about the same, although Nasser’s death could ultimately remove one of the principal building blocks of the fragile cease-fire. Amman remains relatively calm but the fedayeen are not withdrawing and the situation in the north may be shaping up along classic guerrilla warfare lines. The international relief effort is continuing without any major problems but we may be approaching the point now that we have met the most urgent needs—to pause momentarily to take stock. Initial U.S. military resupply shipments to Jordan will begin in about three days.

The Cease-fire

Nasser’s death may further undermine the shakey cease-fire agreement reached in Cairo. Our embassy in Amman thinks that for a short time it is likely that the hostility between the government and the fedayeen will be muted as the Arab world mourns Nasser’s death, but that in the near future Nasser’s passing may act as a solvent of the agreements reached in Cairo. Arab radicals such as Syria and Iraq might feel that with Nasser’s moderating influence removed, there will be new opportunities for their leadership and the turmoil in Jordan could provide them with an ideal arena. Nasser, moreover, was probably the only Arab leader who might have marshaled Arab public opinion to restrain the fedayeen.2

Amman is relatively calm, although the fedayeen remain in semiofficial and almost uncontested control of some areas. The city is taking on a more normal appearance, however, with considerable civilian foot traffic and firing diminished to occasional intense but brief exchanges. The embassy speculates that the slowdown may have resulted from fatigue on both sides, shortages of ammunition and the desire of both the King and the fedayeen not to weaken their case in the eyes of Arab public opinion. King Hussein, however, has told an embassy officer [Page 926] that the army will not leave Amman and the other cities until the fedayeen depart first.3

The situation is still very fragile in northern Jordan. The British see the situation there developing along classic guerrilla lines. The army holds the center of most of the smaller towns in the north—although not the important towns of Irbid, Ramtha and Mafraq which they have surrounded but not entered—and are able to use most of the roads. The fedayeen, however, seem able to move with considerable freedom across the countryside, to harass army lines of communication, to re-infiltrate after they have been expelled from an area, and to launch attacks on army posts.


A spokesman at the International Red Cross Headquarters in Geneva announced at 1715 GMT that the 6 remaining hostages have been turned over to delegates of the ICRC in Amman today.4

Relief Program

The following is the current status of our relief efforts:

  • —The general purpose mobile hospital is now in position and has received its first patients.
  • —The eighteen aircraft bringing in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) have all arrived at Amman Airport and have departed without incident. The MASH unit is now being moved into position at the site of the general purpose mobile hospital.
  • —The two U.S.-supplied hospitals will be supported by one C–130 supply flight per day from Germany.
  • —In addition to the two hospitals supplied by the United States and the British medical unit scheduled to arrive on September 29 and 30, a German 50-bed hospital (with a 12-man staff, including two surgeons) is scheduled to arrive by September 30. A French mobile hospital has already been moved into Jordan and has been operating since about September 26.
  • —The chartered food flight from Beirut to Amman on Tuesday, the 29th, has been cancelled because trucks carrying food were unable to reach the Beirut airport in time.

Military Aid

Preparations are being made to ship ammunition to Jordan as soon as possible. The first military flights will begin from Turkey in about [Page 927] three days. The initial 20 flights will enter Jordan from Saudi Arabia, where we already have the necessary clearance, and land at a military airfield in Jordan.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 615, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, Vol. V. Secret. Printed from an uninitialed copy.
  2. No such reporting cable from Amman has been found.
  3. In telegram 5358 from Amman, September 28, 2120Z. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 JORDAN)
  4. Ambassador Brown met with the six hostages shortly after their release. An account of the hostages’ ordeal, based on Brown’s interview with them, is in telegram 5475 from Amman, September 30, 1430Z. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 615, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, Vol. V)