72. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the White House and the Department of State1

Secto 8069. White House for the President and Dr. Brzezinski Only From the Secretary. State for Warren Christopher and Peter Tarnoff Only From the Secretary. Subj: Meeting With King Hussein.

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1. I met again this morning for about an hour and a half with King Hussein and his close advisers.2 The King said he had been reassured and heartened by our meeting of yesterday. He provided me with comments on our five principles and agreed to put on paper his ideas for elements of a peace treaty. The Jordanian response to our efforts was warm and cooperative, and showed the King’s continued interest in playing a role in the Palestinian problem. His Majesty asked me to send you his very best wishes.

2. Hussein described our draft principles as a tremendous step forward. He gave me in writing six observations on principles four and five3 (the implication was that he agreed with the first three). The Jordanians would want the following included in the principles:

—Explicit provision for withdrawal from all the territories occupied in 1967 to the 1967 lines with minor, reciprocal modifications.

—A comprehensive settlement would be agreed in totality and a state of peace would come with the final withdrawal phase. Phasing would not extend over years.

—During negotiation and implementation, no physical, cultural or demographic changes would be made in the occupied areas.

—Eastern Jerusalem must be returned to Arab sovereignty, with a unified city and guaranteed access to the holy places.

—Refugees have a right to repatriation and compensation as UN resolutions have provided. Implementation would be negotiated.

—Regarding self-determination, Jordan favors votes on leadership and political future held under a transitional international regime.

3. In ensuing discussion Hussein said he feared that if we went to Geneva without knowing what we mean by borders, the Israelis would start from present lines and the Arabs, in response, would go back to the 1947 partition lines as a basis.

4. On phasing, we explained in more detail our concept of a package deal in which everything would be agreed but with implementation to proceed over time—noting that it might take some time. The Jordanians appeared to agree generally with this concept, and noted that the exercise of self-determination might indeed require time. They wanted to ensure the process could not be stalled, however.

5. For the first time in my discussions with Arab leaders, we discussed Jerusalem at some length, Hussein having brought into this meeting for this purpose his UN Ambassador who came from a prominent Jerusalem family. They seemed flexible on forms of administra[Page 408]tion but firm on return of the Arab section to Arab sovereignty. The King gave me a lengthy paper detailing Israeli treatment of occupied Jerusalem.4 Similarly, we talked in some detail about the problems of refugee compensation and repatriation, the Jordanians observing that a solution of the territorial problems alone could still leave the bulk of the refugees as a continuing source of unrest.

6. In discussing the preparation of a draft settlement outline, Hussein noted the ambiguity of his position—should he deal with the West Bank as well as direct Jordan-Israel issues? He said he would do so, though not in actual treaty language. I urged he be as detailed and explicit as possible.

7. He briefly discussed the situation in the Middle East generally and Lebanon in particular. Hussein again expressed his concern that Israel might move militarily and I assured him our judgment was that it would not. He said he was worried about Assad, over-extended as he was in Lebanon and with economic problems at home. There was always the danger of a change that could put Syria on the same track as Iraq. As for Lebanon, the King said he supported Sarkis and was providing help in forming a Lebanese force. He was concerned, however, that Sarkis would lose his chance to bring a solution if he did not act more decisively. He mentioned some recent implications of Iraqi interest in better relations, and he encouraged us to seek closer ties.

8. On bilateral issues, we agreed the state of affairs between us was better even than usual. He briefly discussed some economic and military aid questions, but there were no problems of any consequence.

9. Finally, he agreed to meet with me again early on August 11.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Trips/Visits File, Box 106, 7/31/77–8/12/77 Vance Trip to the Middle East: [Progress Reports II], 8/77. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cherokee.
  2. No memorandum of conversation has been found.
  3. No paper with King Hussein’s observations has been found.
  4. No paper on Israeli treatment of occupied Jerusalem has been found.