334. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Rogers in Naples1

Tosec 39/160803. Naples pass Sisco. Subj: Jordan Sitrep No. 49 as of 0100 EDT Sept. 30, 1970.2

Part I—Relief and Supply Operations

Arms and Ammunition Shipment S: We have notified Embassy Amman that we are ready to resume arms and ammunition shipments to Jordan, including an advance ammunition resupply package to be airlifted beginning October 1 or 2.3 The latter should provide the needed psychological and material lift for the Jordan army without imposing an undue burden.
Relief Operations: Distribution of relief food in Amman is proceeding under supervision of the eight-man Jordanian coordination committee in cooperation with ICRC. The Jordan Army appears to be doing most of the actual distributing. Attempts are also being made to bring drinking water to water-short areas of the city.
Fig Hill Medical Assistance: The Fig Hill Hospital is being rapidly set up although water remains a problem. The Ambassador reports that it is a first-class facility.4 The combined ATH and MASH will have nearly 100-bed capacity.

Part II—Political and Military Developments

Departure of the Six Remaining Hostages: Arrangements have been made for the six remaining hostages to leave Amman early this morning (2:00 a.m. EDT) via an ICRC-chartered MEA plane for Athens where we hope they can make connections with TWA flight [Page 928] 881 scheduled to arrive in New York at 5:25 p.m. EDT. The Ambassador has visited them and we have passed messages from several members of the group to their families. All of the hostages said they were in good health.
Situation in Jordan: Embassy Amman reports that control of the city appears to rest with the five-nation Arab commission force, whose green-flagged cars are conspicuously circulating throughout Amman. As a result, the Jordan Government’s internal political and military freedom of movement seems to be severely restricted. The city remains divided with the fedayeen to all appearances firmly entrenched in the areas they control, including the district around the Embassy. The Embassy questions whether the five-nation force will be able to induce the fedayeen to withdraw in accordance with the Cairo agreement.5
The separate three-man “follow-up” committee headed by Tunisian Premier Ladgham is pursuing its mediation efforts. Arafat is reported to be in the Irbid area.
In the quietest day since the fighting began, large numbers of people were in the streets and some shops were open. We have no reports indicating a change in the situation in northern Jordan since the last sitrep.

Part III—Situation Following Nasser’s Death

Cairo Prepares for Nasser Funeral: Cairo and the rest of the Arab world appear to be in a state of suspended animation following the shock of Nasser’s death. Crowds have gathered at Nasser’s house and in the Cairo streets in a state of public mourning. The UAR armed forces, according to the Cairo press, have been placed on a state of alert against possible military initiatives, although the government is apparently preoccupied with the immediate problems of the succession and preparations for the funeral. To date, the following world leaders are expected to attend the funeral: Soviet Premier Kosygin, French Premier Chaban-Delmas, British FonSec Douglas Home, Yugoslav Federal Councilor Kardelj, Italian Foreign Minister Moro, and Turkish Prime Minister Demirel. Delegations from Communist China and North Korea are under the top rank.
Israel and Nasser’s Death: Although most Israelis have long held that Nasser’s departure from scene would be a boon to Israel, there is some ambivalence in initial reaction. While stressing Nasser’s hostility to Israel, many newspapers and individuals recognize he was a powerful, stabilizing force whose passing opens the prospect of greater instability and uncertainty. The first reaction gives no repeat no hint that GOI’s response for time being will be other than watchful waiting.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 JORDAN. Secret; Immediate. Drafted and approved by Theodore A. Wahl (JTF). It was repeated Immediate to the White House.
  2. Not found.
  3. In telegram 160537 to Amman, September 29, 2252Z. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 JORDAN)
  4. In telegram 5420 from Amman, September 29, 1755Z. (Ibid., SOC 10 JORDAN)
  5. In telegram 5431 from Amman, September 29, 2020Z. (Ibid., POL 23–9 JORDAN)