58. Memorandum for the Record1


  • President’s Telephone Conversation with King Hussein of Jordan

The following conversation took place between President Carter and King Hussein of Jordan on September 18, 1978, at 12:37–12:47 p.m.

President. I think we have had a very successful Camp David conference. We have come out with a tremendous improvement in the status of the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular. Let me just summarize briefly some of the provisions in the settlement which I think you would like. Then I would like to make a request of you.

—First of all, the Israelis accept the proposition that, in the West Bank, Resolution 242 applies in all its parts, all its principles and all its provisions.

—Secondly, the Israeli military occupation will be concluded immediately as soon as a self-government can be set up in the West Bank/Gaza and the provision calls for full autonomy for the Palestinians who live in the West Bank area. It also provides for a strong police force for the local inhabitants who can also be joined by Jordanian citizens of course, and with strong liaison directly with you or Egypt or Israel to control terrorism and to promote internal security.

—The Palestinians would have complete and full and equal involvement in negotiating the final status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and, if you have no objections, when the treaty is negotiated between you and Israel, the Palestinian Arabs will have full rights to participate in those negotiations. The Israelis have agreed. Of course, if you have objection, they cannot attend. But that will be up to you.

—After the negotiations take place between you and Israel and Egypt and the Palestinians, there will be a separate vote by the Palestinians themselves to either accept or reject the agreement that has been worked out. There would be an immediate withdrawal of Israeli security forces. I would say a substantial reduction. And the Israeli security forces could only remain in specified points that you, the Egyptians [Page 209]and the Palestinians would have to approve. There would be a Jordanian participation in joint patrols and monitoring of the borders if you agree. The Israelis have already agreed.

—The Israelis recognize that the legitimate rights of the Palestinians have to be honored and that there will be no new settlements in the West Bank or Gaza Strip during the time of the negotiations and any additional settlements would be as determined by the negotiations themselves.

—The Israelis have agreed also that there will be a final settlement of the status of the West Bank/Gaza Strip and also a treaty with you within the five-year period.

These are some of the provisions which are in the Camp David agreement that directly involve you and/or the Palestinians. Our hope is, Your Majesty, that you would agree to have a thorough briefing from us, and following that briefing, that you would agree to join the present negotiations. This is a first step, but it provides a framework through which all the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people who live in the West Bank and Gaza can be realized. But it is very crucial that you be willing to participate.

If you have specific questions after you have a thorough briefing on the documents, or have objections, I would like to have an opportunity to work with the Israelis to remove those objections before you reject the possibility of your participation. I hope that you will not make a decision on this until we can have a thorough briefing for you.

I have already invited Crown Prince Fahd to come to Washington2 as soon as it is convenient to talk to him about the provisions of the Camp David settlement. But I urge you in the strongest possible terms to participate fully in it along with ourselves, if you desire, and the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Egyptians.

King Hussein. Thank you very much indeed, Mr. President. I appreciate very much indeed your kind call. Mr. President, the last few hours have caused us very many surprises and call for very deep thought. And with your kind permission, sir, it is something I will think about very carefully and I will be looking forward to receiving the briefing. On the other hand, we will see what we can do not only within Jordan but also within the area itself. Against the background of these many many years of tragedy and see what we can come up with. With your permission, Mr. President, I will be in touch with you.

President. Can I assume, Your Majesty, that you will try to participate in the negotiations, but that you will not make a decision until after you get a thorough briefing from us? Is that correct?

[Page 210]King Hussein. I would appreciate a thorough briefing, Mr. President, but on the subject of participation . . . If you don’t mind, sir, I would like to be able to, with the Government, over a whole day to go over details of exactly where we stand. Then hopefully we should be able to be guided by God to take whatever decisions will serve the area in the best possible way.

President. So you will not make any statement against participation until after you get a briefing from us, is that correct?

King Hussein. We won’t be making any statement whatsoever until after I have had a chance to really absorb all that has happened.

President. Can I tell Secretary Vance to send someone to meet with you and go over the questions that you might have?

King Hussein. I would appreciate that very much indeed, Mr. President.

President. We will do that. I know that you are coming to see me before too long, but I would like to give you this briefing very quickly.

King Hussein. Thank you very very much. As you know, I have not yet received it officially. I only arrived back in Jordan a few minutes ago. I hope that it will be possible very soon to respond to your kind invitation.

President. I’m going to see Secretary Vance in just a minute and I’ll tell him to be in touch with you through diplomatic channels to give you a thorough briefing.

King Hussein. I hope Mrs. Carter is well. Give her our regards and respect.

President. I’ll do that. Thank you very much, sir.

King Hussein. All the best.

President. Good bye.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 56, Jordan: 8–10/78. Secret.
  2. See Document 65.