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188. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1

203885. Subject: Middle East Situation. For Ambassador From Secretary.

1. We have been informed by Israeli Amb. Dinitz that King Hussein has informed PM Meir that after examining location of various forces, Israel should consider the Jordanian expeditionary force of the 40th Armored Brigade as hostile as of yesterday morning.

2. Israelis have also been informed that the King and his headquarters have been under pressure directly from Assad to either withdraw the brigade or have it carry out its military duties at what was then the 8th day of the war. The brigade on the 8th day is within the danger zone but had not yet taken any action. King has informed PM that brigade will inevitably be in action. Moreover, King has also informed PM that as to the probable future location of the brigade, it has been given so many contradictory orders that it is impossible to predict where it will be at any given moment.

3. Dinitz says that the Israeli understanding is that the Jordanian brigade will be working in coordination with the Iraqi forces: in effect, it is becoming part of the Iraqi movement in the area.

4. In these circumstances, according to Israeli Amb., “the least harm would be done if in addition to this force, no additional force was sent into action in this region or any other region of the front with Jordan, and that the existing Jordanian force there would receive instructions not to engage heavily in battle. This is said with the hope that the engagement should it occur will be limited.”

5. Israeli Ambassador went on to say that naturally Israel will be forced to fight when they are attacked. Ambassador then asked us whether we would do everything within our power to impress upon the Jordanians the objectives stated above.

6. Ambassador should see King immediately and weigh in in the above sense.

7. FYI: Dinitz says he knows we carry unit as 40th Armored Brigade, although his own people insist on calling it the 4th Brigade. He [Page 541]and we both curious about the difference, but assume that reference is unmistakably to the single Jordan brigade thus far deployed to Syria.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Sisco and approved by Kissinger.
  2. In telegram 5527 from Amman, October 16, Brown responded that he had discussed the telegram with Crown Prince Hassan and Sherif Nasr, who understood the problem completely. Hassan said he wanted to wake the King and talk to him alone. Brown indicated that he was standing by in case the King called and, in any event, would see him in the morning. Brown reported that both Hassan and Nasr agreed that it would be madness for Jordan to commit more troops to Syria. The Ambassador told them that what was at stake was the future of Jordan. It could remain, with luck, a moderate state with an Arab window to the West or, with bad luck, could be a minor Arab state, vassal to the rich, oil-producing states. (Ibid.)