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

6361. Subj: Jordan’s Participation in Middle East Peace Conference.

1. I asked PM Rifai this afternoon if, after discussions with returning Jordanian delegation to Arab summit conference, he could give me latest GOJ thinking on Geneva peace conference by elaborating on remarks made by King this morning (being reported septel)2 during speech from throne at opening of Parliament.

2. Rifai said that secret resolutions on PLO adopted at Algiers conference were very dangerous. What in fact Arabs are asking Jordan to do is to try negotiate with Israel for return of West Bank and Arab Jerusalem, assume responsibility (and eventually all the blame) for whatever territorial concessions might be necessary to get Israel’s acceptance, then turn over what might be truncated West Bank to PLO. This, he said, Jordan will not do.

3. GOJ is willing, in principle, to attend Geneva peace conference since it assumes PLO will not be invited to take part in first stages of negotiations. It will do so, however, only as part of an Arab delegation, including Egypt and Syria which will have to share responsibility for decisions reached at conference regarding West Bank and Jerusalem. Egypt, Syria and PLO will also have to agree to eventual plebiscite [Page 1024]under UN auspices to decide future status of West Bank. GOJ is willing to discuss these questions with Egypt and Syria, and even with PLO, prior to Geneva peace conference but it will not take initiative to begin such discussions.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 618, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan, X, November–December 1973. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cherokee. Received at 1746Z.
  2. Telegram 6362 from Amman, December 1, reported that the King’s speech at the opening of Parliament had reiterated Jordanian policy pronouncements of the previous 10 days and had appealed for Arab support and a unified stand. Most significant was the indication that Hussein seemed to be seeking a face-saving formula so that Jordan could attend the peace conference, and that he was increasingly equivocal about his threat to boycott the conference over the Arab summit’s decision to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. (Ibid., Box 1179, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East—1973 Peace Negotiations, December 1, 1973 thru December 5, 1973)
  3. A December 1 Intelligence Information Cable reported that Hussein was still very bitter about Jordan’s treatment at the Arab summit, especially the decision to recognize the PLO. Hussein had said that until there was clarification of the summit decision on the PLO, Jordan would not commit itself to participating in the peace conference. The King appeared steadfast in his refusal to do any more for the Palestinians than he had already done, saying that the PLO could not have it both ways. If they were to be the sole representative of the Palestinian people, they could negotiate for the return of the territory. If he were to do so, the Palestinians could always blame him for the failure to get everything they wanted. (Ibid.)