331. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 28. Please deliver following report to the President:

I had an extremely cordial and relaxed two and a half hour meeting with King Hussein in Amman today.2 He sends you his warmest regards which I reciprocated on your behalf.

The King explained in some detail the difficult choice he faced in the recent war and spoke with some satisfaction of the way he had avoided the twin dangers of full involvement, on the one hand, and isolation through total non-participation, on the other. He reflected a basic confidence in his position and in the correctness of his policies. At the same time he reiterated many of his old underlying concerns: apprehension about the Soviet position in Iraq, worry that other Arabs will make separate settlements with Israel which leave him out, and suspicion that some Arab leaders may be working for a separate Palestinian state at his expense. He said Sadat had told him the U.S. and Soviets favored this—an idea of which I immediately disabused him.

The King introduced an interesting new concept with regard to the Palestinian question; instead of an immediate return of the West Bank [Page 920] to Jordan following Israeli withdrawal, an international presence would be introduced in Gaza and the West Bank. A plebisicite would then be held offering the Palestinians there the choice between independence, federation with Jordan in a United Arab Kingdom, or reintegration into the Hashemite Kingdom. I told him that we had always envisaged the Palestinians remaining a part of Jordan but said that his concept was an interesting one which could be kept in mind as the negotiations proceed.

I briefed the King fully regarding the proposal I negotiated with Sadat on the ceasefire and prisoner of war question3 (Israeli acceptance had not yet been received at the time I left Amman). I also gave him in some detail our ideas for getting a peace conference started under U.S.–Soviet auspices in early December. I assured him that we were not being taken in by the Soviets and had no secret understandings with them. Rather, we felt that the joint auspices idea offers the least difficult and most manageable approach among the available alternatives.

In response to my point that the Arabs could not expect help from us in bringing about a settlement while we were subjected to pressure on the oil issue, the King said he fully agreed with me and had said so to other Arab leaders.

Towards the end of our meeting, the King brought up his need for additional military assistance. I was frank about the Congressional limitations on our ability to be helpful but assured him we would do our best. I was able to convey to him our decision on rapid resupply of his tank losses in the war, which was helpful, but it is clear that he has in mind a more ambitious program and more sophisticated equipment than we have provided Jordan so far. This will be discussed with his military people next month, and I said I would tell the Defense Department to be sympathetic.

After the meeting the King hosted a small informal [gathering?] laced with humor, anecdotes and further examples of our common strategic approach to the Middle East. I reassured him once again that we would always check with him if and when we talked to the Palestinians. I noted that Jerusalem would probably prove to be the most difficult issue, the Israelis showing no sign of give. The Jordanians underlined again the importance of this question; we both agreed that the city could ideally serve as a bridge between Israelis and Arabs. The King stated that he had good relations with such common friends as Iran and Turkey who share our overall approach to the region.

Once again it was clear from this visit that the King highly values his relationship with you. He wants to cooperate closely with us to re[Page 921]inforce our common interests in the area and wants to be sure his policies and actions meet with your approval. I assured him they did.

The King capped our extremely warm reception by flying me to the airport in his helicopter, and providing us with a fighter escort.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 41, Kissinger Trip Files, HAK Trip—Mideast, Islamabad, Peking, Tokyo, Seoul, HAKTO 1–60, Nov. 5–16, 1973. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate.
  2. November 8. A memorandum of conversation is ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–1977, Box 2, NODIS Action Memos 1973–1976.
  3. See Document 324.