150. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

5410. Subject:Jordanian Intervention. Ref: A. Amman 5398.2 [reference telegram number not declassified].

1. I went back to King tonight, using Amb Keating’s talk with Allon as key.3 Said that I had no instructions nor response to the questions he has asked, but that on my own I wanted to ask again about possible Jordanian intervention in Syria. I said that King should examine his decision very carefully to see if his action would give a casus belli to Israel. I said that if I judge the frustration and anger of the Israeli military rightly he might well be doing that by sending a brigade to Syria even if he stood fast on the Jordan–Israel line.

2. King reflected a bit. He said that what he is really thinking about is the future. He will not take any action immediately. He will keep in touch with us and talk to us in advance.

3. I said give us real notice. I know Washington is working on his problem. But it takes time.

4. What he will do is put the 40th Brigade on alert. This amused him greatly. It was the 40th that stood the brunt of the Syrian attack in 1970.

5. What he plans to do is, should conditions worsen so far as the Syrians are concerned, is offer the 40th to take over duties east of Golan and on the Jordanian border, now carried out by Syrian reserve, thus freeing Syrian units for combat. He said it is not looking for combat with the Israelis. He is just trying to cover himself with the Arabs if the situation deteriorates rapidly. If the present stalemate continues, he will not move.

6. I said in any case it could lead to Jordanian confrontation with the Israelis. He should look out.

7. We agreed to re-discuss.

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8. All this was in friendly fashion. Zaid Rifai, who was present, backed me up. At one moment he said that, while Iraq has no common border with Israel, if things went bad, it might soon have one.

9. During talk King said that Iraqis had now asked for 14 tank transporters after Syrians had said they would do no good. He is sending them (let’s protect this carefully).

10. Comment: State 2006714 received after my talk. Thanks. Doing best possible. Give me a hand. But for God’s sake don’t give me instructions to tell the King at this moment that because of Cambodia there will be no FY 74 Military Assistance Program for Jordan as Defense is threatening me with.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973. Secret; Flash; Nodis.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 147.
  3. Reported in telegram 7938 from Tel Aviv; see footnote 3, Document 147. In telegram 5409 from Amman, October 10, 1720Z, Brown reported that he had given Allon’s warning to the King and Rifai that Israel would crush Jordan if it intervened in the war. Rifai said that he had heard the same warnings given to Egypt and Syria in the past and noted that Israel did not seem able to carry out those threats as rapidly as people supposed. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973)
  4. See footnote 5, Document 147.
  5. In telegram 5414 from Amman, October 10, 2035Z, Brown reported that the King had telephoned him at 10 p.m. saying that he had just received a call from Sadat asking him to intervene militarily. Hussein said that Sadat told him the fate of the Arab world depended on his decision, and that he had responded that Jordan was studying the situation. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973) In telegram 201118 to Amman, October 10, 2205Z, Kissinger asked the Ambassador to convey immediately to the King a personal message from him which reads: “I have just learned from Ambassador Brown’s latest message that you have been asked by President Sadat to intervene militarily. I urge you to delay such a decision as long as possible, and at least for another 36–48 hours. I am making a major effort through quiet diplomatic channels to bring about an end to the fighting. I do not say this lightly—I need time and your help. It is imperative you keep this in strict confidence.” (Ibid.)