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

5653. Subject: Jordanian Forces in Syria.

1. King said at 1330 local that he deeply concerned with deteriorating situation in Syria. Says that Baath Party and leadership has been in continual conference for past twenty-four hours and nothing has come out of it yet. He continues push for official attitude on cease-fire but gets no response. He will send a delegation tonight to Damascus, carrying letter to Assad. Letter will say that Jordanians will withdraw from Syria unless decision forthcoming.

2. King believes that Syrians under pressure from Iraqis and that Syrian Baath Party hesitant to accept cease-fire in fear of being outdistanced on left by Iraqi Baath. As time goes on, he is more and more concerned about Assad, fearing that his evident inability to impose decisions indicates his weakness and presages possible coup.

3. King believes that Soviets are not carrying out the Moscow bargain. He assumes that Soviets were supposed to get Damascus and Baghdad to agree to cease-fire. Baghdad, which has closest links with Moscow, is the real trouble-maker.

4. He sends following oral message to Secretary “Please get in touch with Brezhnev and tell him that it is essential that Syrians and Iraqis accede to cease-fire and that Soviets must make this point strongly in Baghdad and Damascus.”2

5. King has sent message to Sadat, expressing his concern about Syrian position and asking Sadat to do something. He is awaiting a reply.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1175, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, 1973 Middle East War, 23 October 1973. Secret; Flash; Exdis.
  2. Telegram 208919 to Amman, October 23, 1540Z, instructed the Embassy to tell the King that the United States was in touch with the Soviets on this matter. (Ibid.) In telegram 5659 from Amman, October 23, 1824Z, Brown responded that the King was appreciative of this message and that he had a delegation on its way to Cairo. When it returned, he would send another to Damascus. Currently all was quiet on the Syrian front and he planned to keep it that way. (Ibid., Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, IX, January–October 1973)