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

5639. Subject: Cease-Fire. Ref: State 208864.2

1. Talked to King at 21:30 local. He has no news whatsoever from Damascus. He knows from intercept that Iraqis are pressuring Syrians not to accept cease-fire. He has tried to phone Assad several times and is told Assad is “in meeting.” He is told Sadat also trying contact Assad to get him to agree to ceasefire.

2. Meanwhile, plans for tomorrow’s operation still underway. I told him that I’d like him to tell me that Jordanians will only be in defensive position. He asked who wanted this info. I said U.S. He said he could not answer honestly at this time.

3. I told him to think it over again. He should not be cease-fire breaker.

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4. Comment: It is not over yet. I will bug the King later this evening. But as of now I cannot give the answers that reftel requests.3

5. Second comment: Last four words of reftel came out here “if Syrians decide continue flight.” Too bad it is not that.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Also sent Flash to London, USUN, and Tel Aviv.
  2. Telegram 208864 to Amman, October 22, stated that if the King felt it was essential to leave his forces in place, the Embassy should suggest that he pass his assurances to the Israelis that his forces would adopt a strictly defensive posture if the Syrians continued to fight. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 5640 from Amman, October 22, 2010Z, the Ambassador reported that he had talked to Hussein and stressed that the main issue was that the United Nations had called for a cease-fire and Jordan should not be in violation. The King responded that “with God’s will it will not be.” He added that he was trapped by the Syrians. (Ibid.) In telegram 5641 from Amman, October 22, 2048Z, Brown reported that the King had just phoned to say that he had talked with Assad and told him that the superpowers had warned him that any action tomorrow would be in violation of the cease-fire. Assad said he would go back to his group and discuss this. Asked if this meant that Assad still had not formally accepted the cease-fire, Hussein responded that this was the fact but that he thought Assad was moving in the right direction. (Ibid.)