39. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Jordanian King Hussein1

Your Majesty:

I want to thank you for your message of February 27, and also tell you how much I appreciated the chance to meet with you.2 The President was most interested in what you had to say.

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The suggestion you make in your message is of great interest, and we intend to look into it further.

As to the matters we discussed, I can report the following:

The President has directed A.I.D. and the State Department to assist your Government, within the approved total of assistance funds, in meeting the specific problem of the shortage of funds in the first half of this calendar year.3

I have communicated [less than 1 line not declassified] the President’s interest in urgently addressing the Omani problem Your Majesty raised.

My office, at my direction, is closely monitoring the planning of military assistance for Jordan beyond the completion of your current three-year modernization program in FY 1974. We are studying the list which General Ben Shaker brought to Washington against U.S. availabilities and prices, and will then ask Your Majesty’s permission formally to send a Defense Department team to Jordan to discuss requirements with your commanders on the ground. This is the procedure we followed with you in the formulation of the current three-year program. We shall then be in a position to develop a precise program together with your representatives. We would therefore hope to have by summer a response to your requests which would represent a follow-on three-year program for FY 1975–77.

I want to reiterate that, on this and other matters, the President is most anxious that Your Majesty call to his attention, through this channel, any specific difficulties or concerns that should arise. They will be addressed on an urgent basis and as a matter of personal Presidential priority.4

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 137, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan/Rifai, January 3, 1973. No classification marking. The message is Tab A to a March 3 memorandum from Rodman to Kissinger which transmitted it as a draft reply to Hussein’s February 27 message. A handwritten notation on the first page reads: “Sent 8 March 1973.”
  2. In his message, which is attached, Hussein thanked Kissinger for meeting with him (see Document 30) and stated that he looked forward to “a continuation of our dialogue and joint efforts to achieve our clear objective of an honorable, lasting peace in the Middle East.” He also suggested “investigating the possibilities of setting up a multi-national Energy Commission which could arrive at long term arrangements of long duration with various oil producing countries in our area, thus helping to stabilize them and give them a degree of security and stability as far as their product’s continuation is concerned, and perhaps eventually ensure that your own monetary problems are brought under control.”
  3. See footnote 3, Document 30.
  4. Hussein replied on March 18, thanking Kissinger for his message and stating that the Jordanian Government had tried, as agreed in Washington, to solicit Saudi help to cover part of Jordan’s $65 million budget shortfall. He regretted to say that they had been unsuccessful in their efforts and could not get the Saudis to understand or appreciate the urgency of Jordan’s needs. Hussein said he realized that this placed an additional burden on the administration since Jordan now had to request the total amount of $65 million for CY 1973, with part of it needed before July 1. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 137, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan/Rifai, January 3, 1973)