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

5457. Subject: Delivery of Secretary’s Letter.2

1. Gave the Secretary’s letter to the King at 2100 hours local. Others present, who read it, were Zaid Rifai and Crown Prince Hassan. Rifai spoke first saying he was very disappointed. He had listened to press conference reports3 on radio and had read this letter. Neither one copes with problem that Jordan has: how to get a cessation of hostilities and start on settlement before the ME crumbles.

2. King then changed subject. Said he can go on no longer. He cannot see himself creating another country and another army out of the rubble. He is leaving for the front with the 40th Brigade. He will be the first volunteer and then feel no shame in front of his men.

3. Thereafter ensued long debate, in Arabic and English well-mixed, as Hassan (who said it would be better to cancel the whole business than to take such a risk), Rifai (who said the King is the country and has to be in the country), and me (saying commanders don’t get out in front of a brigade if they want to control a whole army) arguing against such a course of action.

4. Comment: King calmed down a bit and we talked about Saudi forces (septel).4 But then he reverted to subject saying that he neither mad nor sick but he would rather die with his soldiers than live in a dishonored, ruined country under the thumb of the Soviets. I left as Zaid and Hassan continued to plead with him.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973. Secret; Flash; Nodis.
  2. In telegram 4901 to Amman, Kissinger sent the following “personal message” to Brownn to “convey immediately” to King Hussein: “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—and I need time and your help. It is imperative you keep this in strict confidence.” (Ibid)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 159.
  4. In telegram 5458 from Amman, October 12, the Embassy reported that the King had met and discussed the logistics of the movement of Saudi forces through Jordan with the Saudi commander. He told the commander to have the unit travel by night using back roads to Azraq and from there to Syria. Hussein said he expected the force to reach Syria by the night of October 13. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973)