163. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State and the White House1

9618. Subject: Message to President From King Hussein.

(S-entire text)

1. Embassy has been requested to forward following letter to President Carter from King Hussein.

2. Begin text: Dear Mr. President, you were kind enough, some time ago now, to ask me to keep in touch with you on developments in the Middle East. I am writing to you once again in the spirit of friendship that has grown between us, on the Arab-Israeli problem which is the core of instability in this entire area.

Mr. President, I do not belittle the genuine desire you have shown and the continuing and relentless efforts you have made for a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I recall that in our meetings2 you have been [Page 567]gracious enough to give me more of your valuable time on this subject than any of your distinguished predecessors.

It is indeed unfortunate that the concerted efforts, which began shortly after you assumed the responsibilities of your high office, of bringing together to the Geneva peace conference, on the one hand, all the Arab parties to the conflict particularly the Palestinians, without whose participation no solution to the Palestinian problem is logically possible or meaningful, and Israel, on the other hand, were overtaken by events and prematurely abandoned. It had been our fervent hope that the Geneva peace conference would have made headway with the assistance of its co-chairmen, the United States and the Soviet Union, and under the auspices of the United Nations would have elaborated the details of a durable peace based on the eleven year old Security Council Resolution 242 and Security Council Resolution 338. Sadly, when such a process appeared almost within reach, an unexpected series of events limited the scope of possibilities and subsequently led to Camp David.

Most Arab parties, including Jordan, see the Resolutions drawn up by the United States, Egypt and Israel as successfully achieving the well-known Israeli objective of isolating Egypt from the Arab camp, and thus weakening it further, which is one of the reasons for our finding them unacceptable. Despite the inherent justice in the Arab cause, the Arab position has been weakened by Israel’s superior might, bolstered mainly by the United States championing Israel’s cause and generously accommodating her demands. Furthermore, there is a real imbalance between a process which leads Egypt to restoring her sovereignty over all her occupied lands, and the vagueness that shrouds the future of all the other occupied territories, including Arab Jerusalem. The rights of the Palestinians on their national soil have been neglected, while Israel continues to create new facts, altering the character of the entire area.

It is not difficult for any impartial body to understand the Arab at-titude towards the Camp David Agreements. Evidently if any Egyptian- Israeli peace is forthcoming, it will not mean a comprehensive solution to the principal issues which are left outstanding.3 Nor can autonomous self-rule for the inhabitants of the Palestinian occupied territories, whichever categories are included in it, be a solution to the problem, when the end of any process is unclear and Israeli intentions are infinitely more clear to us all.

I believe the heart of the problem to be sadly clear, despite our fullest confidence in your sincerity, Mr. President, the United States, where the Zionist lobby is so strong, cannot be the champion of Israel, [Page 568]committed at all times to supporting the said state with her material needs and almost unlimited military strength, and concurrently be the sole impartial and objective mediator with Israel’s opponents.4 That is why, sir, I suggested to you in my letter just before the Camp David meetings,5 that it may be wise, in the face of possible Israeli intransigence, to consider returning to the United Nations Security Council which sponsored Resolutions 242 and 338, from which the Geneva conference emerged, to seek guidance and to regain the momentum for a comprehensive lasting peace.6

The Arab Summit at Baghdad7 affirmed the Arabs’ objective of seeking a just and comprehensive peace based on total Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in June of 1967. The summit placed great emphasis on the essential Israeli withdrawal from Arab Jerusalem, which is of equal importance to hundreds of millions of believers in God. It emphasized the resolution of all aspects of the Palestinian problem in accordance with United Nations Resolutions, and the granting of the unconditional rights of self-determination to the people of Palestine. Following all these developments, I suggest again that this troubled Middle East, which threatens the interests and lives of many in the world, and even world peace, can only be saved by regaining the momentum for peace, in accordance with my earlier suggestion, regardless of what has or may transpire between Egypt and Israel.8 I see no other option or possibility.9 We must maintain the search for a comprehensive settlement of all the issues, with all parties concerned in the area, including the Palestinians. Initially with the help and direct involvement of the Security Council, and then with the help of the United States and the Soviet Union, and possibly some of our European friends, including France and the United Kingdom. I have written to you, sir, most frankly and candidly, which is, I believe, the only way I could as a friend. I am happy to contribute all I can for a better future for this area, and for the people I am honoured and proud to serve, as did my forefathers throughout Arab history. I hope to hear from you, and look forward to meeting you whenever you deem the time and circumstances appropriate for me to visit you.10 I wish you good health and every good fortune in the new year.

[Page 569]Noor joins me in sending our highest regards to you and to Mrs. Carter, and our best wishes to the family. Your sincere friend, Hussein I. End text.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 71, Brzezinski, Chron: 1/1–16/79. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. At the top of the telegram, Carter wrote: “CC Cy & Zbig. I am not interested in any visit by Hussein. No need to answer this for a while. JC.” The telegram was found attached to a January 2, 1979, covering memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance. (Ibid.) A signed copy of Hussein’s letter is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 11, Jordan: King Hussein, 2/77–2/79.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, January 1977–August 1978, Documents 3031 and 182.
  3. Carter underlined this sentence.
  4. Carter underlined this sentence.
  5. See Document 17.
  6. Carter highlighted this sentence.
  7. See footnote 7, Document 91.
  8. Carter underlined “I suggest again that this troubled Middle East” and “can only be saved by regaining the momentum for peace, in accordance with my earlier suggestion, regardless of what has or may transpire between Egypt and Israel.”
  9. Carter underlined this sentence.
  10. Carter underlined this sentence.