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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Johnson Administration > Volume XX
Foreign Relations 1964-1968, Volume XX, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1967-1968   -Return to This Volume Home Page
Released by the Office of the Historian


Documents 98 through 126

98. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, March 2, 1968, 1546Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Bovis; cleared by Johnstone, Atherton, Houghton, and Davis; and approved by Eugene Rostow. Also sent to Tel Aviv and Amman.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Exdis.

123889. Subj: Jarring Mission.

Summary: Ambassador Dobrynin says USSR does not wish Arab-Israel crisis return to Security Council. Wants to work with US to find practical means implement resolution. Suggested it be done in stages. Rostow welcomed USSR willingness to work with US to help parties find solution but insisted resolution was package and negotiations of some kind necessary to work out details.

1. Dobrynin invited Rostow to lunch on Feb. 23. Dobrynin said he would first report what UAR had told Soviet Union about Jarring talks in Cairo Feb 21. Dobrynin said they are routinely supplied with verbatim report of meetings. Jarring said he had been unable get from Israelis clear acceptance of Security Council Resolution, and promise to respect and implement it. Egyptians said they told Jarring they accepted resolution as a whole, and would carry it out fully. In reply to Jarring's question about negotiating procedures, they said they were now negotiating with Israelis through Jarring, and refused answer categorically whether they would engage in indirect negotiations on Nicosia. While they did not quite exclude possibility, they would not answer question in absence of Israeli acceptance of resolution equivalent to one they had given Jarring. Jarring said he was near despair about mission, but would make one final try with Israelis before reporting to Security Council. UAR was talking about returning to Security Council and General Assembly. Soviet Union was concerned about these possibilities. Dobrynin thought we and they should work with parties to facilitate success of Jarring, both in present procedural impasse and on substantive issues at later point. Naturally, Israelis' refusal to undertake to respect and implement resolution gave rise to Arab suspicions both about Israel's attitude and US attitude.

2. Rostow welcomed Dobrynin's assurance Soviet Union did not want matter returned to Security Council and General Assembly, but wanted to work with us and parties to facilitate Jarring's effort. He agreed frank discussions between us on these subjects could clear away suspicions and misunderstandings, and therefore be helpful. Answering Dobrynin's question, Rostow said in our view whole exercise about "accepting" the resolution was metaphysical irrelevance, which had delayed process of peace dangerously. We assumed all parties had "accepted" resolution when it was passed, in sense of agreeing to work under it. But Arab insistence on words "respect and implement" had given rise to suspicions they were seeking settlement like that of 1957, without negotiations among parties and without engagement. After what had happened in 1967, this procedure was out of question. Resolution in our view was not self-implementing. It required agreement on part of parties--as to frontiers, security arrangements, and other matters. We did not see how it could be implemented unless there were negotiations-or, if that word was cabalistic to Arabs, discussions among parties looking to agreements called for by resolution. From our talks in Cairo, we had impression Egyptians have been stressing word "implement" rather than "accept" precisely in order to avoid negotiations. We did not insist on direct negotiations. We had relied on Nasser's public statement he would engage in negotiations like those in Rhodes, i.e., discussions with Israelis in presence of Jarring. UAR Ambassadors had made same point to us and to British. On basis of those statements, we had urged Israelis to agree to procedure, and they had done so, publicly and to Jarring. We and British thought some such procedure was indispensable. Present confusion illustrated its value. We were working in dark, on basis of ex parte reports of talks with Jarring, which might or might not be accurate. We all had great stake in Jarring's success. We were evidently agreed that nothing but trouble could come from return to Security Council. Why should we allow others to drag us into troubles we did not want? It was our appraisal of the situation that if it were clear UAR would engage in substantive negotiations, in Rhodes pattern, on real problems under resolution-borders, security arrangements, refugees-semantic difficulties about words used in "accepting" resolution could be overcome.

3. Dobrynin said he didn't see why so much stress was put on meetings in Nicosia, and he couldn't understand why Israelis, who were such clever people, made so much difficulty about accepting resolution. Egyptians had assured Soviets they would deal with every issue mentioned in resolution. That should be sufficient assurance to Israelis and to us that all issues would be taken up. Dobrynin clearly was not fighting hard on the Nicosia issue, but he did not undertake to press Egyptians on it, either. Dobrynin then asked for our views on how resolution could be implemented, as a practical matter. Could it be done in stages? For example, would we favor an Israeli withdrawal from "territories occupied in recent conflict," as called for under Article I of resolution, accompanied by recognition on part of Arabs of Israel's right to live, to be followed by negotiations on use of waterways, refugees, security arrangements.

4. Rostow said he could not speak for Israel, but we had favored any approach on which parties could agree for moving towards peace, and certainly would not exclude implementing agreement in stages. But he did not think scenario Dobrynin laid out was feasible, or complied with resolution as whole. We had favored approach which would have linked withdrawals to end of belligerency, but UAR had said it would not open canal to Israeli shipping until refugee problem was solved. We were willing to go along with that approach, which was that of Security Council Resolution. If UAR preferred package deal, we had no objections. Dobrynin said the UAR did prefer package deal, but maybe practicable way could be found to get some change in situation soon. Rostow said we would favor progressive steps towards peace. But resolution required agreement on "secure and recognized" boundaries, which, as practical matter, and as matter of interpreting resolution, had to precede withdrawals. Two principles were basic to Article I of resolution. Paragraph from which Dobrynin quoted was linked to others, and he did not see how anyone could seriously argue, in light of history of resolution in Security Council, withdrawal to borders of June 4th was contemplated. These words had been pressed on Council by Indians and others, and had not been accepted.

5. Dobrynin asked whether we thought solution of refugee problem was possible. Rostow said we thought it should not be too difficult, in context of peace. As he knew, Secretary thought refugees ought to be given some real choices, and not used as political hostages. Dobrynin said he supposed some refugees should emigrate to other countries. Rostow agreed. He would not exclude some repatriation or compensation, in right political atmosphere.

6. At end, Dobrynin stressed again risks of return to Security Council and other trouble and importance of cooperation between US and USSR to facilitate Jarring's mission. He said several times he would appreciate on personal and off-record basis, being briefed on Israeli version of talks with Jarring. Rostow had impression Soviets were as puzzled as we sometimes are by each side's confidence in Jarring's support for their view of problem.

Rusk

 

99. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 2, 1968, 1725Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-1969, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Exdis.

3672. Subj: Letter from King Hussein to President Johnson. Ref: State 113645./2/

/2/Document 77.

1. Following is text of letter dated March 2, 1968, addressed to President Johnson by King Hussein:/3/

/3/The signed original of this letter was transmitted to Washington as an enclosure to airgram A-235 from Amman, March 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 15-1 JORDAN)

2. "Dear Mr. President: I am grateful for your personal message which preceded the return of General Khammash from his visit to Washington.

3. Our two countries have indeed enjoyed a warm, close and mutually beneficial relationship for a long period of time, and I am pleased to receive your assurances that it is in the United States policy and interest to continue this relationship with us and that the strains and problems created by the June war have not altered the United States fundamental policy towards Jordan.

4. The arms package, which General Khammash brought us in answer to our request and which was aimed at meeting our legitimate arms requirements, did indeed manifest a strong reaffirmation of your support. We, and in the face of the enormity of the problems that confront us, have every hope that this package, with some slight modifications, can finally be agreed upon, to enable us to overcome the current problems.

5. As for your unaltered and firm resolve to extend full diplomatic and political support to Ambassador Jarring to reach a just and durable settlement in the Middle East, I can assure you, Mr. President, that we have extremely high hopes that this valuable support may enable Ambassador Jarring to make progress in the pursuit of his mission. However, I regret to inform you, Mr. President, that I have become extremely disheartened by what appears to be lack of genuine interest in a just and durable peace by the Israelis. It is unfortunate that their victory should direct them to follow a very narrow and short-sighted approach. For though the Israelis have won a battle they seem unable to appreciate the fact that they have not won a war. This is manifested in their lack of clarity over the acceptance of the Security Council's resolution under the mandate of which Ambassador Jarring is pursuing his mission; in their arbitrary actions in defiance of a semi-unanimous United Nations resolution on Jerusalem; in their continuing actions aiming at major alterations in the city which, as you well know, Mr. President, does not belong to us alone but to all Arabs and Muslims who have enjoyed the privilege of being the proud custodians of the holy places within it since the time of the Khalifa Omar, over thirteen centuries ago; in compelling thousands upon thousands of people to continue to leave the areas acquired by Israel through aggression and to flee in the face of terror and persecution, thus adding an unimaginable strain to the already heavy burdens which we shoulder; and finally in their most recent decision to alter the status and even the name of the occupied West Bank, thus dealing a severe blow to the Jarring Mission and any chance of its success. Such actions do not create an atmosphere conducive to the laying of foundations for a just and durable peace and are in defiance of the United Nations through which Israel was created, and which has repeatedly called upon Israel to respect the rights of the people she persecuted and to permit them to return to their homes and land.

6. Furthermore, Israel has persisted in the use of brutal force and has constantly attacked our people on the East Bank of Jordan, inflicting heavy losses of life and property. Her ridiculous and totally incomprehensible excuse for doing all this is that I am not fulfilling my so-called duty of ensuring the safety and security of her forces which occupy a good portion of my country. Israel seems unwilling to understand that so long as she remains in such occupation she will be met by mounting resistance by the people under occupation and who are victims of her aggression. The sum total of all this is a great tragedy for peace and for those who believe that a just, honourable and durable peace can and must exist in this area, and a growing realisation that the chance of achieving such a peace which, in my opinion, is the first and last such chance, may be lost to all forever.

7. I hope my readings are wrong, although what I live and see makes me tend to believe that I am right. I am confident that you, Mr. President, will spare no effort to ensure that such a chance is not lost.

8. I must confess, Mr. President, that patient and optimistic as I am, I am beginning to have some doubts about the wisdom of continuing to be so.

9. I wish you, sir, the very best in surmounting the many difficulties that you face as leader of one of the world's greatest powers throughout this critical period in the history of mankind. I wish to share with you, Mr. President, your confidence that we can solve our problems and obtain the objective we both so fervently desire: a peaceful Middle East in which a united Jordan can continue to play its historic role.

10. With my best regards. (Signed) Hussein."

Symmes

 

100. Action Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 4, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Confidential. A handwritten notation indicates the memorandum was received at 12:46 p.m.

SUBJECT
Concessions on Israel's PL 480 Agreement?

Negotiations on Israel's PL 480 agreement begin Tuesday. The Israelis have made one final low-key pitch for concessions. I report it because it was made on instruction but I would be inclined to stick to our present position, because I think we can do so without creating a problem and because we're already making a major concession in having any PL 480 program at all for Israel.

You will recall that, in approving the $27 million Israeli food sale, you decided that Israel should move this year to 100% dollar sale. The alternative was 75% dollar and 25% local currency. All of your advisers recommended a 100% dollar sale, and I recall your agreeing strongly that Israel "shouldn't be begging."

A less significant element in the normal terms for this kind of agreement is a 5% downpayment (in this case $1.35 million). We do waive this in some cases (India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Congo, Ceylon, Ghana, Guinea) and reduce it in others (Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan). No one sees any economic reason not to require the full 5% from Israel.

Saturday, Eppie Evron "on instructions" from his Finance Minister asked us to reconsider reducing the dollar requirements to 75% and waiving the downpayment. He admitted, in making this pitch to Hal Saunders, that they weren't going to make a federal case of this. He acted like someone dutifully carrying out orders, knowing that the decision had been made.

The one reason for making any concession would be to give them the sense that we're not being completely uncompromising. Eppie points out that they're already making the $200 million shift in reserves Eshkol promised and buying $50 million in commodities here for cash.

All of your advisers are inclined to resist this final effort. But if you want to give a little I would recommend sticking to 100% dollar sale--the important issue-but reducing the downpayment requirement from 5% to 2.5%. This would be purely a gesture since the amount involved would be only $675,000./2/

/2/The details of the P.L. 480 agreement were agreed upon in negotiating sessions between Israeli Embassy and Department of State officials on March 5 and March 12. Records of these negotiations are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AID (US) 15-4 ISR. Rostow secured President Johnson's approval on March 12 of an agreement that included 50,000 additional tons of feedgrain, bringing the value of the agreement to $30.2 million. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68)

Walt

Stick to approved terms/3/
Reduce downpayment to 2.5%

/3/President Johnson checked this option.

 

101. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/

Washington, March 4, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. VI, Memos, 8/67-7/68. Secret.

SUBJECT
Resuming Relations with Nasser--The Issue

Attwood's interview with Nasser will appear in the Look that comes out tomorrow./2/ You'll recall the President's instruction at the NSC to try to use this as a handle for resuming relations; he also agreed with Nick Katzenbach that we should leave the final formal initiative in the UAR's hands. Attached for our clearance is State's instruction to Don Bergus./3/

/2/The interview was published in March 19 issue of Look, which was released for sale on March 5; see footnote 2, Document 91.

/3/Document 102.

We are well down this track and everybody in-house instinctively feels it's the right one. However, in my talks of the past few days, I have seen the issue it raises posed more sharply than ever, and I'd like to review for a moment the two schools of argument and give you my thoughts on what this move will and won't net us.

1. We are most familiar with the feeling that we ought to restore relations with Cairo because that's the key to resuming normal relations with the rest of the Arab world. Along with this argument goes the feeling that we're just generally better off present than absent. Part of our concern is the belief that a US presence will give Nasser some Westward anchor against mounting Soviet influence. Some followers of this school may even feel that a US presence would give Nasser enough added confidence to get on with peace negotiations. Underlying all this is the estimate that Nasser has improved his position, and will be around for some time as no replacement is in sight.

2. The other school starts with a different estimate--that Nasser's days are clearly numbered. Some (like Morroe Berger) even go so far as to say that Nasser had run out of steam before the war, and the defeat was only the latest in a series of blunders. Adherents of this school feel that the sub-political levels of the GUAR want Nasser to fall and would regret any US action which would give him a temporary reprieve. They believe that he's too weak to make peace and that Egypt's economy won't progress any further until he goes. Some (like Evron) believe that only Nasser's passing will permit the change of Arab heart that is the prime requisite for a lasting peace. This adds up to belief that we won't gain enough to compensate for putting off the day when Nasser goes--the day that must come before we can hope for reason and progress in the Mid-East.

I must admit that, personally, I'm torn. I guess my position boils down to these:

1. If resuming relations will improve our official access or our reporting, then it's worth resuming. I can't get rid of the instinctive feeling that we should at least be present. Then I stop and think that we're already as "present" as we're likely to be. Don Bergus' official contacts can get him to see Nasser if need be, and his contact with the Foreign Office is as good as it's likely to be. He could get around more freely, and reporting might improve somewhat. Resumption of relations won't make non-official contacts and a sense of what Egyptians really feel any freer in that totalitarian society than they were before June. In short, resumption would bring a limited but not dramatic gain.

2. If resuming relations will help improve our position in the Arab world generally, then it's worth resuming. One can easily argue that resumption in Cairo will lead to resumption at least in Baghdad, Khartoum and maybe in Algiers and make it a little easier for the Kuwaitis to go on doing business with us. But, of course, the main obstacle to improved US-Arab relations is our failure so far (in Arab eyes) to get Israeli troops off Arab soil, and that will remain so. We have to remember that Nasser, the instinctive revolutionary, will not change his stripes: we'll still be the imperialist enemy for Nasser and all his followers. In short, we should probably recognize that resumption of relations is of limited symbolic value.

3. If resuming relations will help improve chances for a peace settlement, then it's worth resuming. I must confess, I don't see much argument for this at all. I'm not so confident as some others that Nasser is too weak to negotiate a settlement. But I'm pretty sure we won't have much influence on that anyway. I do believe that, since Nasser will always be Nasser, he's nothing reliable to pin our peace arrangements on. The point here is that we don't have much choice; we have to work with whoever is in power. The only question is whether resumption of relations strengthens him appreciably. I think its effect would be marginal.

What this adds up to is that we feel instinctively that resuming relations would marginally improve our position, practically and symbolically. It's hardly likely to net us much more. On the other hand, since we can't be confident that Nasser will fall soon, it might cost us too much to wait out his fall. Therefore, on balance, we're probably right in taking this limited step, but no one should expect it to produce a startling change in Arab attitudes, or even in Nasser's.

Hal Saunders/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

To Hal./5/
Clear the attached
Call me

/5/Saunders added these options by hand. Rostow checked the first one and wrote: "but make sure Sect. Rusk (or Nick K) signs off personally."

 

102. Telegram From the White House to the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, March 5, 1968, 6:50 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. VI, Memos, 8/67-7/68. Secret; Nodis.

389. Ref: Cairo's 1413;/2/ SecState 106083./3/ Subject: US-UAR Relations.

/2/See footnote 4, Document 55.

/3/Document 62.

1. We are informed that Attwood article will appear in March 19 issue of Look which to be on newsstands March 5. We inclined to regard this as taking care of "big lie" as far as resumption of relations concerned. Accordingly, we suggest you tell your contact informally we willing release joint statement any time GUAR wishes after March 5 provided you have satisfactory undertaking on compensation (para. 6 Deptel 106083). You authorized work out date of resumption subject final check with Department. We hope you can do this tactically so that GUAR informed we regard Nasser statement to Attwood adequate but so that initiative on setting date still up to them and we not cast as running after them.

2. For your background, in conversation with Deptoff February 23 Ghorbal asked when US-UAR relations could be resumed. Deptoff replied we willing to discuss resumption at any time. Ghorbal then inquired whether upon appearance Attwood article "we can tell Mohammed Riad and Don Bergus to go ahead." He also showed Deptoff text proposed joint statement worked out by you and Mohammed (para. 10c Cairo tel 1413) and asked whether it has been approved. Deptoff said suggested timing appeared all right and he would check on status proposed joint statement. Deptoff subsequently informed Ghorbal we thought proposed statement acceptable. You may confirm to Mohammed.

3. Ghorbal raised question about level representation once relations resumed. We told him that while we plan to resume at ambassadorial level, we do not now envisage immediate exchange of ambassadors but plan to keep our representation at charge level initially.

4. Needless to say, forward movement on Jarring mission will facilitate problem resumption relations. February 27 comments by al-Zayyat on Eban's statement that Israel willing enter into some sort negotiations with Arabs do not indicate much progress. We got more negative version of Riad-Jarring February 20 talks from Soviets here than that reported Cairo's 1714./4/ Summary Soviet version being forwarded septel. Additionally, Ghorbal's summary similarly more somber. Department continues rely on position stated in para 3 Cairo's 1713./5/

/4/In telegram 1714 from Cairo, February 22, Bergus provided a summary of a report on Jarring's February 20 visit to Cairo, as given to him by Mohamed Riad. Jarring transmitted the Israeli position as he had received it from Eban but concluded that he did not feel the Israeli statement constituted acceptance of Resolution 242. According to Riad, Jarring was in a pessimistic mood and said he might ask to be relieved of his post. Riad indicated that the UAR was prepared to implement the resolution, but did not see the necessity of negotiations in Cyprus. The UAR would continue to negotiate with Israel through Jarring. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

/5/Paragraph 3 of telegram 1713 from Cairo, February 22, reported Mohamed Riad's assurance that the UAR position was that it was prepared to discuss and negotiate everything through Jarring. (Ibid.)

 

103. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 7, 1968, 0043Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Day (IO/UNP) on March 5, cleared by Battle and Atherton, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, and USUN.

125925. Subj: Jarring Mission.

Summary: Under Secretary Rostow and Assistant Secretary Battle called in Israeli Ambassador Rabin to urge that Israelis be flexible on steps needed for acceptance of November 22 SC Res and negotiating modalities and avoid actions likely prejudice Jarring mission. Noted Interior Ministry measures re West Bank had had bad effect. Rostow said US felt it should have opportunity to comment before Israel took measures affecting political atmosphere and chances for settlement. He requested Rabin convey to GOI importance we attached to approach Ambassador Barbour making re Jerusalem refugees, and other topics covered in his talk with Eban.

1. Under Secretary Rostow told Ambassador Rabin our talks with Jarring confirmed our impression he was not entirely happy with Israeli position re "acceptance" of SC resolution. We had impression that if things should blow up he would report critically on manner in which Israelis had expressed acceptance. Rostow said Jarring was trying to work out formula which hopefully would bring parties together. In dealing with acceptance question, Israel should be most careful to avoid being put in trap of having blame put on it if Jarring does not succeed. We agree Israel cannot accept thesis that resolution is self-implementing, Rostow said; we regard resolution as whole and as requiring negotiations. He emphasized however that present moment is critical in peace efforts. He said we could see no advantage in not being simple and definitive in accepting resolution and undertaking to implement it through agreement.

2. Rostow said Spanish had informed us March 4 that Riad during Madrid visit had said UAR did not insist on prior withdrawal and would accept resolution as package. At same time, Spanish reported UAR very reserved as to next step if Israel "accepts" resolution. We gave Spaniards message to convey back to UAR to effect that next step should be Rhodes-type meeting on Cyprus. We did not attach much importance to Spanish message.

3. Rostow then turned to recent Israeli orders re West Bank. Said they had caused commotion and turbulence affecting atmosphere of negotiations. Rostow said that, against background of talks between President Johnson and Prime Minister Eshkol, US felt it should have opportunity make its views known in advance when events of this kind arise. He pointed out that, though we and Israel were agreed on the issue of peace, we had been caught by surprise in this way on number of occasions. He mentioned as earlier example regulations re Jerusalem. We headed off consequences of such acts with great effort. In present case, we could not be persuaded that measures affecting West Bank were needed to fill legal void; any such void had existed so far and could do so a while longer.

4. Rostow informed Rabin that US was supporting representations being made by UK re return of new refugees to West Bank and re Jerusalem. He said expropriation and building in Jerusalem create doubt concerning negotiability of Jerusalem question. When Rabin raised question whether Israel in fact considered Jerusalem negotiable, Rostow said we were not seeking define Jerusalem policy at this juncture. We recognized it was the most difficult item and would have to be last on the agenda. We had been relying on formal Israeli statements (including Eshkol statement in Knesset Feb 26) which seemed hold open possibility of negotiations concerning it. Meanwhile, it was important avoid precluding such negotiations. He recalled that Under Secretary Katzenbach had told Eban that we would support position that City should not be redivided but that we took very serious view of interests of others including Jordan. Current Israeli actions on the ground cause doubt re negotiability he continued. Ambassador Barbour had been instructed to request that expropriation and construction be suspended. Rostow requested Rabin convey to GOI great importance that we attached to this question. He said Barbour would also be bringing up subject of refugees from West Bank. Security Council session could result from Israeli actions in any of these respects, Rostow said, and it could happen that US and Israel would be in divided position in SC. US wants to avoid that, he concluded.

5. Turning to question of Rhodes formula, Rostow urged Israelis not to stick to particular modality. He said we saw no advantage for Israel in insisting on face to face meetings with Arabs on Cyprus instantly or exclusively. Rostow referred to President Johnson's statement June 19 that we were ready to see any method tried. President had appealed for adoption of no rigid views on these matters. Rostow said it would be disaster if this opportunity for peace--which might be the only one--foundered on an issue which not fully understood in the world and which not compatible with US position as stated on June 19.

6. Rabin replied that Israel interested in peace, but in real peace. He noted that in 1956 there had been no change in basic relationships. Israeli willingness to accept Rhodes formula represented withdrawal from earlier Israeli position on direct talks, but by Rhodes formula Israel meant that parties came to Rhodes for purpose of negotiating settlement between two sides. Israel prepared negotiate "practically everything" under Jarring's Chairmanship. He claimed US position re Rhodes was departure from Rhodes model which was matter of history. Rostow replied US had not attempted define Rhodes formula. We had same purpose; negotiations among or between parties. On Rhodes parties met in various ways. Main thing was initiate process which would result in negotiations.

7. Rabin gave usual Israeli argumentation re return of West Bank refugees. He then added as personal comment that it was important recall that Israel had not initiated the war. To have peace, he said, Arabs must be taught that once you start war you lose something. Starting war meant not only taking risk of not achieving goal but also of suffering loss. Re measures in occupied territory Rabin conceded they might be mistake from public relations point of view but he insisted that they not intended change status of those areas in present or future. Rostow said that while they might not be intended to effect change of status, political consequences could be very serious and must be dealt with. He reiterated that we had asked Israelis to take steps to remove widespread feeling that Israelis did not intend to withdraw from occupied territory.

8. Evron referred to Riad's statement reported by Spaniards and observed Riad had been talking through both sides of his mouth in last few weeks. Evron also noted Nasser's March 3 statement, from which he said it was clear UAR wanted prior withdrawal and that next steps thereafter were very uncertain. Assistant Secretary Battle agreed that one could not draw any conclusions re final UAR position.

Rusk

 

104. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/

Washington, March 8, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. VI, Memos, 8/67-7/68. Secret.

SUBJECT
More on Resuming Relations with the UAR

As I mentioned yesterday on the phone, the GUAR is fudging the Look retraction of the "big lie."/2/ First, they altered the crucial admission to read-instead of "you could say that, yes"-"you could say that, but someone else may say something else." Then their spokesman said that resumption of US-UAR relations is "not at present an issue that is being considered" and that the "extraordinary" support extended by the US to Israel does not signify that the US shows any interest in maintaining friendly relations with the Arabs.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 91.

Don Bergus suggests several reasons for this hedging. One obviously is that Nasser doesn't like to admit to his people he's wrong. Another is the persistent UAR effort to hope it can use resumption to change our position.

My own view is shared in NEA, is that this fudging need not destroy the usefulness of the Look article. I think we can go ahead and tell Bergus we consider this the best we're going to get, so we can drop this issue but still leave the initiative with Nasser. Most of us doubt he will rush into our arms.

This isn't entirely throwing in the towel. The news of Nasser's retraction is getting through to the Arabs. The Egyptian press and radio have altered the interview some, but not enough to raise any doubts that Nasser now admits the original charge was untrue. In Cairo, Tunis, Khartoum, Benghazi and other places the Attwood interview has been the story, and even Sheikh Isa of Bahrain is aware of the retraction. We don't have reports from all the Arab countries, but Algeria is the only place we know of where the Look article is being ignored. Major play given to it in international broadcasts-particularly by BBC-is spreading the news no matter what Arab governments do.

Therefore, I think we're over one hurdle, but we may not be much closer to actual resumption. We may disagree somewhat on the value of resumption (my view attached),/3/ but even the President seemed to feel we shouldn't run after Nasser once we cleared all obstacles from the path.

/3/Document 101.

Hal

 

105. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union/1/

Washington, March 9, 1968, 0234Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Sisco and Eugene Rostow, cleared by Battle, Walt Rostow, and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs John M. Leddy; and approved by Rusk.

127656. For Ambassador. Pass following message urgently from Secretary to FonMin Gromyko:

"The USG notes the statement in the oral message of Feb. 28/2/ that the Soviet Union stands firmly for a lessening of tensions in the Middle East, and for turning this area into a zone of lasting peace. We are in full agreement with this goal. In our view, the efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in the Middle East have now entered a critical phase, in which the full support of the United States and the Soviet Union could be of decisive importance.

/2/The message was conveyed to Secretary Rusk by Ambassador Dobrynin on February 27; see Document 93.

The United States welcomes the assurance in your message that the Soviet Government agrees under certain conditions to an exchange of views on limiting the delivery of arms to the Middle East. We are concerned, however, that the Soviet Government believes that such limitations need await settlement of certain other aspects of the conflict. Our message of January 22/3/ emphasized the President's concern at the extensive supply of weapons from the Soviet Union and noted the pressures on the United States Government to take similar action. We consider it highly desirable to agree upon limitation of arms shipments to the area as soon as possible. We are therefore prepared promptly to discuss with the Soviet Union in a positive spirit the establishment of limitations on arms shipments. Any progress we can make in this regard would hardly fail to facilitate the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

/3/See Document 57.

We are concerned that the Soviet Union still appears to adhere to the position that a peaceful settlement in the Middle East depends upon prior withdrawal of Israeli forces to the lines existing before June 5, 1967. We believe that your position, that such Israeli withdrawal must be the first and basic point, is not consistent with the Security Council Resolution of November 22. The Security Council Resolution clearly recognizes the interrelationship between Israeli withdrawal, agreement upon secure and recognized boundaries, the termination of belligerency, respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area, guarantees of freedom of innocent maritime passage, and progress in solving the refugee problem. There is nothing artificial about the interrelationship of these elements; it is in the nature of the situation and of the history of this conflict. The principles enunciated in the Security Council Resolution point the way from an uncertain armistice to a durable and stable peace. Taken together they form the basis for a lasting settlement. They reflect the policy publicly stated by President Johnson on June 19, 1967, explained personally to Chairman Kosygin at Glassboro, and more recently reaffirmed in detail by Ambassador Goldberg in his discussion with Ambassador Dobrynin on February 28. The essential aim of this policy is to replace the Armistice regime of 1949 with an agreed and accepted settlement assuring a just and durable peace.

The history of the Palestine problem makes all too clear the necessity for such an agreed and accepted settlement by the parties. The US, as you well know, was primarily responsible for obtaining withdrawal of Israeli forces in 1957. The international understanding, on the basis of which Israeli forces were withdrawn, was that the Straits of Tiran would be and would remain open to ships of all nations including Israel. The UAR last May asserted that this international understanding was never formally accepted by it, and therefore was not binding. Its repudiation of this international understanding, which led directly to the recent conflict, demonstrates the necessity for engaging and committing the parties directly in a settlement of the issues currently in controversy.

What is vital, in our view, is that the opportunities for peace opened up by the passage of the Security Council Resolution of November 22, 1967 and the appointment of Ambassador Jarring, should be constructively used. Ambassador Jarring has made limited progress, but the possibility now exists for advancing to a next stage in which the parties would carry on negotiations and discussions under his auspices on Cyprus. If the permanent members of the Security Council, and other states, give him unstinting support we believe the prospects for peace are good. For its part the United States Government is giving him such support. We have endeavored to persuade both sides in the dispute to move forward by negotiating, under his auspices, agreements on all the elements encompassed by the Security Council resolution.

We would hope that you would use your influence with the UAR to accept the idea of the 1949 Rhodes-type negotiations. We are confident that, if this pattern of negotiations can be accepted again, it will be possible to surmount the difficulties which have been involved in Ambassador Jarring's conversations thus far, and permit the parties, at long last, to begin the substantive negotiations so essential for settlement.

We strongly urge that the Soviet Union, which has indicated its support of Ambassador Jarring's Mission, use its diplomatic influence to persuade the Arab states to take this essential next step."

Rusk

 

106. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 10, 1968, 0212Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Atherton, cleared by Deputy Executive Secretary John P. Walsh, and approved by Samuel G. Wise (S/S-O). Repeated to USUN.

127776. Deliver to Ambassador Sunday Morning. FYI--Following is based on uncleared memcon subject to review and change.

1. In view present critical stage of Jarring Mission, we concluded it desirable have one more round with Israelis here prior GOI Cabinet session and Eban/Jarring meeting scheduled for Sunday, March 10. Goldberg therefore called Rabin to Department Saturday morning, March 9 (Sisco, Battle and Evron also present).

2. Stressing that following must be closely held and not revealed to Jarring, Goldberg said our information was that formula Jarring had submitted to UARG and would submit to GOI tomorrow runs generally as follows: UAR and GOI have accepted SC resolution as basis for resolving differences. Both Governments are therefore invited send representatives to Cyprus for discussions under his auspices to facilitate agreement and implementation.

3. Reports on UAR reaction were profoundly disturbing, Goldberg said. Considered USG view was that negative UAR response to Jarring leaned in direction of being final. Though we could not say this absolutely, we thought it likely. According our info, Riad had never addressed himself directly to Jarring's formulation. Since Jarring was merely consulting with UAR on formulation and not formally issuing invitation, if UAR wanted to keep door open Riad could have said he would accept Jarring invitation if Israel did so. Instead, Riad's response to Jarring had mixed a number of points. These had included renewed allegation that Israel had not accepted resolution and allusions to necessity of returning to Security Council to force Israeli acceptance, but had also included references to internal stresses in UAR and to possibility of major powers' intervening to straighten situation out.

4. In latter connection, Goldberg speculated that UAR might hope recent U.S.-Soviet exchange would improve its position. Israelis should know that, subsequent to last Riad-Jarring talk, we had sent message to Soviets firmly restating our commitment to durable and lasting peace and emphasizing that any settlement must directly engage and commit parties in order to avoid 1957 Tiran-type arrangements.

5. Goldberg said that, for both substantive and tactical reasons, USG felt strongly that Israel should give Jarring categorical acceptance of his formulation when he presents it tomorrow, asserting GOI accepts his statement and is prepared to send delegation to Cyprus for discussions under Jarring's auspices. To take care of its special concerns, GOI could add that it understands discussions will be held according to Rhodes-type precedent. We understood basic GOI concern was to avoid Lausanne situation, where Arabs refused meet Israelis face to face. We also did not see how agreement possible without discussions.

6. Substantively, Goldberg continued, it was important for Israel to accept Jarring statement in order miss no opportunity move toward agreed settlement if this still possible. Tactically, it was important in order for Israel to establish its record and preserve its political position. If, as we thought likely, UAR was backtracking in view of deteriorating internal situation, it should be made clear that onus was on UAR. We believed issue would shortly go to Security Council, where Jarring's report would carry weight. Jarring would publish his proposal and replies of parties, and it was important that GOI reply not permit onus to be shifted to Israel. According our info, Jarring completely discouraged and going to Israel tomorrow largely to complete record for his report.

7. Rabin commented that in recent discussions with Jarring there had been two points at issue: (a) acceptance or non-acceptance of resolution and (b) form of negotiations. Since UAR had stated it accepted resolution, question now was what position UAR taking on negotiations. Goldberg replied that our info indicated UAR now ruled out any Rhodes-type talks and even ruled out going to Cyprus.

8. Rabin said he continued doubt UAR wanted settlement. He was not persuaded, however, that UAR had given Jarring final reply. March 8 Haikal article had noted that Arabs maintained Embassies in Nicosia which could serve as continuing points of contact with Jarring. Such a ploy, which would represent no advance from GOI viewpoint, could not be ruled out, since UAR obviously wanted avoid being boxed in. In reply, Goldberg pointed out that (a) whatever Haikal may have said, UAR had not made this point to Jarring and (b) this was not Jarring's proposal, which was that parties should send delegations to Cyprus. Jarring would be guided by what Riad, not Haikal said. Riad had said there could be no discussions, direct or indirect, in Rhodes-type situation. Present UAR position was that Rhodes talks had dealt with Armistice Agreements whereas what Israel now wanted was peace treaty. This UAR viewed as surrender and therefore unacceptable unless Israel first withdrew its troops./2/

/2/In telegram 2841 from Tel Aviv, March 12, the Embassy reported that the Foreign Office indicated that Goldberg's advice to Rabin was welcome and timely. Using that advice Eban secured Cabinet support in responding to Jarring that Israel would be prepared to accept his proposed formula for discussions in Cyprus. (Ibid.)

Rusk

 

107. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, March 12, 1968, 0007Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Wiley and Houghton; cleared by Davies, and Katzenbach in substance; Schwartz of DOD/ISA was informed of the substance of the telegram; and approved by Battle.

128960. Ref: Amman 3570,/2/ 3571,/3/ and 3648./4/

/2/See footnote 2, Document 95.

/3/In telegram 3571 from Amman, February 24, the Embassy concluded that with some limited accommodation to Jordan's military requests it would be possible to reach an agreement that would preempt Soviet efforts to supplant the United States as the principal source of arms for Jordan. The Embassy recommended increasing the number of tanks offered to 100 and meeting Jordan's request for anti-aircraft guns. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN)

/4/Document 95.

1. We are pleased that the King now wishes to conclude negotiations as soon as possible. In order to conclude agreement, you are authorized inform GOJ as follows:

(a) USG will increase number of M48A1 tanks in our package from 88 to 100.

(b) We will increase number of 40 mm. self-propelled anti-aircraft from 4 to 24.

(c) We will increase number of quad .50 caliber anti-aircraft guns from 9 to 100.

2. We have no objection to Khammash's proposal to scale down his undelivered ground force spare parts to a level of $2 million. JAA and DAO must decide what spares actually needed. Perhaps his purposes would be better served by cancelling out the undelivered spare parts in cases UBN, UBQ, UBS, UBU and reprogram these requirements within the ground force package now offered. Alternatively, if the JAA is in a good spare parts supply position, such requirements might be further delayed. In view heavy load of spares purchases (3 years level) under 1965 ground force agreement, we believe JAA may be "spare parts poor" and it would make good sense make new purchases of spares on the most minimum basis. By now JAA may have developed new usage factors which would enable Jordan make more economical use of funds available for military purchases.

3. In other respects package remains as previously described. With considerable difficulty we have increased the size of the package in an effort to reach prompt agreement. We cannot go further. We have also agreed to airlift some of the equipment on MAC weekly flights. We have not ruled out possibilities of additional airlifts but cost and transport would be a problem. We will also try to advance the delivery dates as much as possible. In this context, of course, we cannot even begin the process of procuring or rehabilitating the equipment until the Memorandum of Understanding and the Sales Agreement are signed and financial arrangements made. We are concerned that the longer the delay in concluding the agreement the greater risk of slippages in some of the items.

4. Instructions concerning the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding follow.

5. FYI. Although approval granted on political and psychological grounds for increased arms package itemized para 1, we are disturbed over high cost of 40 mm. SP AA's. Before conveying to the Jordanians our approval of the additional 40 mm. AA's, you should make strong effort persuade them to accept the 91 additional 50 cal. quad mount AA's as adequate meet their AA requirements. If Jordanians remain unconvinced you may then, in your discretion, offer the additional 20 40 mm. SP AA's. End FYI.

Rusk

 

108. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State/1/

Beirut, March 12, 1968, 1345Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 14 LEB. Secret; Limdis.

7344. Subject: Lebanese elections.

1. During my meeting with Minister of Interior Suleiman Frangieh March 7, he urged us to be prepared to intervene in Lebanese Parliamentary elections if UAR, Syrian or Soviet intervention becomes significant fact. To date, Frangieh admitted, external intervention is within manageable proportions. Stated UAR definitely intervening but at lower level than in past elections.

2. I reiterated US positions non-involvement to Frangieh, but emphasized our support GOL's efforts to hold free elections. USG watching developments very closely. I also told him we fully cognizant of difficulties GOL faces and said we would continue support his government's efforts within means available to us. Made clear we not providing funds or getting involved in selection candidates.

3. Frangieh agreed US policy wise and correct under present circumstances. He emphasized strongly that US should be prepared intervene if there is external intervention of any magnitude on part of others. Explained that under such circumstances there strong possibility composition of new Parliament would be weighted heavily on side of leftists and Nasserists and that such development would upset GOL's goal to have balance of forces in Parliament. Frangieh stressed that such development, in his opinion, would also be contrary to US self-interest and stated that if external intervention occurs "US has the obligation to intervene" and should be prepared to do so. Frangieh claimed GOL does not have sufficient means to combat external intervention on any significant scale.

4. Comment: Frangieh, a Maronite Christian, is a possible contender for the Lebanese Presidency in 1970 and a respected moderate with pro-Western leanings. He staunchly opposed to Nasserist and leftist political elements in Lebanon. He believes, and we agree, UAR does not need extensive funds to realize its political objectives in Lebanon because it can draw on the political base it has nurtured here for many years. Also (fortunately) he basically agrees with our assessment there is no significant financial involvement in elections at this time on part of UAR, Syrians or Soviets. His concern is that US should be prepared to stand by to help in case situation changes radically.

5. Comment: So far we have successfully staved off the myriad requests for US financial help in the elections which have come from the moderate and pro-Western politicians at all levels. The fact that the US is following a hands-off policy is slowly gaining credibility, even despite the corresponding anguish which it induces among would-be recipients. The Embassy fervently hopes that Minister Frangieh will not feel it necessary to ask us to re-enter the lists. The odds, we believe, are still with us./2/

/2/The Department approved the position taken by Porter. Telegram 130370 to Beirut, March 14, stated: "We hope that more Lebanese will get the message that U.S. nonintervention policy is firm and unequivocal and will not be altered by reports to Embassy from Lebanese politicians of actual or imagined external intervention from other parties, i.e., USSR, UAR, Syria." (Ibid.)

Porter

 

109. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 12, 1968, 1615Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM. Secret; Nodis; Sandstorm.

3770. 1. It is now getting on to four months since the adoption of the Security Council resolution of Nov 22. Most recent reports from Cairo, Tel Aviv, and USUN indicate that we are further than ever away from implementation of that resolution and may soon be back in SC.

2. In late summer we decided at least temporarily to close down "Sandstorm" and began to pursue present policy of seeking a multilateral Arab-Israeli settlement. In making this shift we of course recognized the difficulty of getting individual Arab states which, after all, have quite different interests in a final settlement, to agree on a concerted approach to dealing with Israel. Indeed, the difficulty of obtaining such an Arab consensus has been one of the principal lessons of the past twenty years.

3. Over the years we have also been very much aware of another lesson--that it is impossible for a leader of one of the smaller Arab states, such as Lebanon or Jordan, to make a separate peace with Israel and survive. Particularly in Jordan, the fate of King Abdullah always comes to mind. We doubt that the situation has changed today. A separate peace would still entail extremely grave risks for the Arab leader who appeared to contemplate it. The most moderate and reasonable Jordanians we talk to see separate talks only as a last, desperate resort.

4. We know quite well that King Hussein and many Jordanian leaders want a peaceful settlement. From the very beginning of the Jarring Mission (even though they may have played with words during the first meeting with Jarring in order to save their honor and their reputations with fellow Arabs) we have known that the Jordanians accepted the resolution and wanted to move to practical next steps.

5. Meanwhile, the situation in presently truncated Jordan can only worsen, particularly because Israel continues to follow policies tending to consolidate, at least in Arab eyes, its occupation of the West Bank. Unfortunately, the manipulative strategy followed by Israel (that is retaliatory raids to "teach Jordan a lesson," official and semi-official threats linked with retaliation, and public surfacing of contacts with Arabs or easing of Arab stands) tends to compound current difficulties faced by Jordan's leaders. In our view, although terrorism in future may not become any more effective in Israel or in the occupied territory, it seems bound to increase because of policies Israel itself is following. And the post-Feb 15 developments have shown that it is going to become more and more difficult for the Jordan regime to suppress it. Moreover, the terrorists pose a major threat to the Jordanian regime itself. We can only conclude from here that if present stalemate in the Jarring Mission continues, we will not only have failed to achieve a multilateral settlement under Jarring's aegis, but more important, we will also have substantially diminished the chances for moving successfully towards a bilateral Jordan-Israel settlement. The outlook for a stable and independent Jordan will become even more bleak.

6. Foregoing suggests the time may have come to consider again whether to encourage Israel and Jordan to seek a bilateral settlement. I recognize of course that this is not an either-or matter. It might well be possible and desirable, for example, to encourage Jordan-Israel contacts under a moribund Jarring effort. In other words, we could pay lip service to what might be an obviously dead Jarring Mission but still use latter as cloak for contacts. There would obviously be other possible variations. I am certain we will find considerable resistance to any kind of separate bilateral settlement from many prominent Jordanians. As time goes on I would expect such opposition to increase rather than to diminish, principally because Israel's position would have hardened. Recognizing there are possibilities for talks short of outright, secret contacts, I believe if as a last resort we were prepared to tell the King we saw no chance of forward motion by other means and that we were prepared to protect him if he moved towards a settlement with Israel, he might decide to take this step. I would be opposed to our making such an approach however, unless we had first obtained from the Israelis a clear and unequivocal statement in detailed terms of what they would be prepared initially to offer Hussein. By this I mean, for example, that we would have to get from Israel a clear minimum commitment as to what they were prepared to give Jordan with regard to Jerusalem. This minimum commitment would have to be specific in terms of lines on the ground, access, economic modalities, and aspects of sovereignty. It would have to be subject to some discussion. In other words, we would need to be able to say to the King that Israel was at least committed to do what it had said but that we would also hope in discussions Israel might have some add-ons to its minimum position. We would also need specifics with regard to where the Israelis expect to redraw West Bank borders, what they actually mean by demilitarization, and whether they would be prepared to consider something like the Joseph Johnson plan for refugees./2/ Unless we could obtain such specific statements from Israel, I would be opposed to our approaching the King on bilateral negotiations. In fact, I wonder if we should not now seek to elicit what Israel is prepared to offer against contingencies short of outright, secret contacts.

/2/The United States supported the 1961 appointment of a Special Representative of the UN Palestine Conciliation Commission (PCC) to conduct indirect negotiations between Israel and the Arab states toward a resolution of the Palestinian refugee question. After meeting with Arab and Israeli leaders, Special Representative Joseph E. Johnson submitted his proposals to the PCC on August 31, 1962. For an August 7, 1962, memorandum from Rusk to Kennedy summarizing the background of the initiative and Johnson's proposals, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XVIII, Document 15. Additional documentation concerning the initiative is printed ibid., volumes XVII and XVIII.

7. I wish to make clear I am not by any means suggesting we should align ourselves with Jordan to act as Jordan's agent in the negotiating process itself. I do believe, however, that the King and the officials who might go along with him have everything to lose by moving to anything smacking of separate peace and that they therefore deserve to have from us and from the Israelis through us a guaranteed floor for commencing the negotiations. The substance of such direct contacts that previously have taken place between Jordan and Israel (at least those of which we are aware) largely have been devoid of detail. We gather that the King has found Israeli generalizations brought over by emissaries such as Nuseibeh quite unattractive for this reason.

8. If we were to move towards bilateral negotiations, I think we should be prepared with contingency plans for helping to handle civil strife and efforts by other Arab states to interfere. I would suggest we give thought immediately to this kind of contingency planning in any case because King Hussein might well move towards bilateral negotiations without our encouragement.

9. Finally, we would have to have ironclad assurances from the Israelis with regard to (1) publicity (before, during, and after talks-particularly if the talks should be inconclusive the Israelis would have to avoid surfacing the contacts) and (2) cessation of manipulative activities (such as retaliation and threats) at least during the course of the talks.

Symmes

 

110. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, March 13, 1968, 0238Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Atherton, Davies, and Jones on March 12; cleared by Houghton, and in draft by Sisco and Battle; and approved by Eugene Rostow. Also sent to Amman and repeated to USUN, London, Tel Aviv, and Moscow.

129216. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: USUN 4095./2/

/2/In telegram 4095 from USUN, March 12, Goldberg pointed to the possible collapse of the Jarring Mission and urged that efforts be made in Cairo and Amman to persuade the UAR and Jordan to reconsider and accept Jarring's latest proposal. (Ibid.)

1. For Cairo: Dept agrees you should see FonMin Riad at earliest opportunity to urge UARG to accept latest Jarring proposal. You should draw on reports of Nov 12 conversations with El Kony in NY/3/ and Ghorbal in Wash/4/ as well as Reftel and following.

/3/Telegram 4102 from USUN, March 13. (Ibid.)

/4/Telegram 129958 to Cairo, March 14. (Ibid.)

2. We believe Israeli affirmative response to Jarring proposal should satisfy UAR position that Israel must "accept" Nov 22 SC resolution. Refusal of UAR to consider proposal therefore difficult understand and would place onus on UAR if Jarring now reports to SC failure of his efforts.

3. We continue believe Jarring mission offers best prospect for progress toward peaceful settlement in ME and that parties should continue cooperate fully with Jarring in his efforts carry out SC mandate. In adopting Nov 22 Res, SC members demonstrated their unanimous view that problem best approached through means of UN emissary. Consultations made clear that Council members not prepared at that time to try to impose terms of settlement on parties and in particular to call for withdrawal of Israeli forces as first step toward settlement. We have no reason believe members have altered views on either of these points and GUAR should recognize they no more likely obtain from SC now type of action Council unwilling to take earlier. If issue returned to SC in circumstances in which UAR negative reaction to Jarring proposal appears to have precipitated collapse his mission, Council members especially unlikely to view UAR position sympathetically. UAR should not expect support from US in such circumstances.

4. We continue believe SC Res cannot be implemented without discussion of substantive issues. We hope parties will accept Jarring's proposal so such discussion can begin without further delay. Proposal does not prejudice either side's position. We, of course, prepared continue use our influence in support Jarring's efforts./5/

/5/In acting on this instruction, Bergus found Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad at the point of leaving for a trip to Turkey. He therefore passed the substance to Mohamed Riad who indicated that he would bring it to the Foreign Minister's attention at the earliest possible moment. (Telegram 1872 from Cairo, March 13; ibid.)

5. For Amman: We do not know what approach Jarring will take with GOJ when he visits Amman Thursday. Specifically, we do not know whether he will raise with GOJ formulation he had prepared for last meetings with UARG and GOI, which was cast in terms of getting Egyptian and Israeli delegations to Cyprus and apparently not directed to Jordanians. While we thus would not wish attempt to foreshadow Jarring's forthcoming talks in Amman, we consider it desirable that Jordanians be fully aware that UAR is backtracking on Jarring mission in general and on earlier indications it might enter Rhodes-type discussions in particular. Unless you perceive objections, therefore, you should draw on reftel and other relevant messages as appropriate to make following points to GOJ prior to Jarring's arrival:

A. Israel, according to our best information, has conveyed to Jarring a position which in effect accepts UK Resolution as basis for settlement and indicates willingness to discuss implementation of the resolution under Jarring's auspices.

B. UAR has backtracked apparently to the extent of no longer viewing resolution including paragraph 3 as a package, reverting to position of demanding prior withdrawal and sterile course of implementation by SC fiat rather than negotiations. We are urging the UAR to reconsider its position to save structure of Jarring mission as the focal point for negotiations to attain objectives set forth in UK Resolution. We hope King Hussein will support this position and weigh in with Cairo to reconsider its negative response to Jarring's last proposal in light of information that Israel has indicated acceptance to Jarring.

C. You should point out that Arabs would be in vulnerable position if recourse is had to SC since it will be evident that UAR unwillingness to enter into talks brought Jarring mission to deadend.

D. Should Jarring put the proposal to GOJ on Thursday, US hopes King will be forthcoming, bearing in mind we recognize his reservations about getting out ahead of UAR. You should also express our appreciation for constructive and statesmanlike efforts which King and GOJ have made to achieve a settlement./6/

/6/In Amman, King Hussein was out of the country when Symmes sought an appointment in response to instructions. Consequently, Symmes met with Abdul Munim Rifai and told him that he would take up the matter with the King at the first opportunity. (Telegram 3782 from Amman, March 13; ibid.)

Rusk

 

111. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 14, 1968, 0700Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE.

3787. Subj: Jordan Arms. Ref: Amman 3781./2/

/2/In telegram 3781 from Amman, March 13, Symmes reported that in the King's absence he had taken up with General Khammash the revised offer of arms for Jordan, as tendered in telegram 128960 (Document 107). Khammash would not accept the proposed package without the 40-mm. anti-aircraft guns, but with the inclusion of 20 40-mm. guns he had agreed to recommend the package to the King. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 JORDAN)

1. King Hussein received me yesterday evening immediately after returning from Aqaba. Zaid al-Rifai was also present. I reviewed with King earlier conversation with General Khammash (Amman 3781) and said I hoped he could now agree to memo of understanding as modified by add-ons./3/ I also suggested appropriate JAA officers be authorized go into details with our DATT and MAP.

/3/The revised text of the memorandum of understanding was transmitted to Amman on March 14 as an attachment to airgram A-34. (Ibid., DEF 19-4 JORDAN-US)

2. Hussein expressed warm thanks and then telephoned to Khammash, said he had me with him, and that he would discuss matter with Khammash in morning. He turned to me and said he was glad "this matter is now behind us" and that he hoped details could be quickly settled. He emphasized that important thing for Jordan was early deliveries and that he would be counting on initial air shipment of as much as possible for psychological reasons.

3. Drawing on State 128960/4/ I told King we would utilize weekly MAC flights where feasible. While we would not rule out additional airlifts, I must point out that cost and transport availability would be problems. King said he understood these factors but would still count on us to airlift as much as possible initially, as Khammash had discussed with Secretary McNamara.

/4/Document 107.

4. Comment: King seemed greatly relieved and was most gracious in expressing appreciation for add-on. Obviously we probably have some tough nuts and bolts ahead, but it is good to be out of the woods.

Symmes

 

112. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 14, 1968, 0820Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to Tel Aviv, USUN, and Jerusalem.

3793. Subject: Terrorism.

1. When I saw King Hussein on thirteenth on another matter, I mentioned I was worried about recrudescence of terrorist incidents in past few days. I said our information indicated that terrorists are still operating in strength in Jordan valley area. Given past patterns I feared another Israeli retaliation. Recognizing his policy against terrorism, I thought there might be other helpful step to take. For one thing he had told me he wanted Iraqi troops out. He had said as soon as he knew US arms were forthcoming he would be in strong position to get Iraqis out. I hoped he would start with 421 Palestine Battalion. Secondly, I hoped news that Col. Daoud is back in town meant Jordan would agree to Daoud's meeting with Israelis. This might not prevent all incidents, but it would be a helpful factor.

2. King responded that for everything he did to curtail terrorists Israelis seemed to do two things that resulted in strengthening them. Israeli unilateral actions and particularly their retaliatory actions greatly weaken Jordan argument that they do not need the Iraqis. The Iraqi Chief of Staff is expected in Jordan soon, however, and King would do what he could to start Iraqi troops on the way out. He hoped Israel meanwhile would not make this impossible.

3. On Daoud, the King said he would look into the matter as soon as the Jordan Cabinet has been reconstituted. Laughingly he said he would he happy to put Daoud in government house if the Israelis wished.

4. Hussein agreed that the terrorists are hurting the Arab cause far more than they help it. He said he could argue this proposition with other Arabs much more convincingly if he could point to some progress in achieving peaceful settlement under Jarring auspices and if Israelis would desist from their continuous unilateral actions to deprive Arabs of their rights on West Bank.

Symmes

 

113. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State/1/

Cairo, March 14, 1968, 1400Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to USUN.

1877. Subj: Jarring Mission.

1. Spent nearly two hours with Mohamed Riad today (March 14) as follow up to demarche made as reported my 1872./2/

/2/See footnote 5, Document 110.

2. Mohamed opened by conveying FonMin's warm personal regards. FonMin regretted that pressure of time before his departure plus unexpected visit of Nigerian Foreign Minister had prevented his seeing me. FonMin had carefully studied my representations and wished convey his reply. At this point Mohamed read from document and I took notes.

3. FonMin referred to statement (para 3 State 129216)/3/ "consultations made clear that Council members not prepared at that time try to impose terms of settlement on parties and in particular to call for withdrawal of Israeli forces as first step towards settlement." FonMin believes this comment is not pertinent. What we have now is resolution adopted by Security Council stipulating certain provisions. Nobody argues that fact. Moreover, UAR position with regard to UAR acceptance of resolution has been conveyed time and again to Jarring and to Washington. Needless to say that with regard to acceptance UAR has on several occasions informed USG that it accepts resolution as a whole and in its entirety. Ambassador Goldberg spoke of what he called Jarring proposal. Moreover, Ambassador Goldberg reached conclusions and drew assumptions as he did once before with regard to those proposals.

/3/Document 110.

4. Comment: At this point Mohamed read to me verbatim record of Foreign Minister-Jarring meeting of March 7. While it has several nuances which do not appear in other reports which have reached Dept, do not believe these important enough to justify telegraphic transmission entire text although will do so if Dept so requests. Will in any event air pouch text by courier leaving here March 20. One relevant point re UAR account of conversation is that FonMin carefully notes at end of his aide-memoire that Jarring did not leave paper at end of conversation but took it away with him. Moreover, UAR version of conversation raises some interesting possibilities re SC implementation of resolution if we come to that stage.

5. (Resume FonMin's remarks.) FonMin believes that account of conversation with Jarring is self-explanatory and should answer Goldberg's comments. It clearly sets forth the UAR position on the Security Council resolution, a position known to the US Government over an extended period. Therefore, it was with surprise and indeed dismay that UAR noted there seemed to be a deliberate attempt on the part of Ambassador Goldberg to confuse the issue and worse still to confuse the UAR position--a position which is clear and honest. It is to be noted that the adoption of the Security Council resolution took place after lengthy discussions between Ambassador Goldberg and FonMin. These discussions concluded on note that SC resolution should be implemented.

6. Should UAR thus take it that US is now changing its declared position re its support for implementation of the resolution? If this is case, UAR cannot but take note with dismay of such a position. UAR's definite aim, which is also aim of international community, is to reach peaceful settlement through honest implementation of resolution. This cannot be achieved except through an explicit and formal declaration by the parties. The UAR has made such a declaration and it is to be noted that it has done so not today, not yesterday, not last week, not last month, but since first visit of Jarring to Cairo. Meanwhile and through all this Israel has evaded doing the same.

7. UAR insists that to attain a true peaceful settlement the parties should take clear stands as regards implementation of the Security Council resolution. In all fairness and honesty, such a stand could not and should not be criticized. On the contrary, it should be welcomed.

8. The US in taking the position as conveyed by Goldberg is most certainly supporting Israel's approach and indeed agreeing to Israel's demand, namely holding negotiations. Goldberg must remember that since its aggression last June, Israel insisted on negotiations. Yet nevertheless the SC resolution when adopted, completely ignored this approach and requested the parties to implement its provisions through the Special Representative. Hence the issue of negotiations is neither relevant nor pertinent.

9. Goldberg furthermore said the US cannot support the UAR (cf. para 6 USUN 4102)./4/ This does not surprise FonMin.

/4/Telegram 4102 from USUN, March 13, reported on a March 12 conversation between Goldberg and UAR Permanent Representative El Kony. Paragraph 6 recorded Goldberg's assertion to El Kony that, since Israel had gone on record as supporting the latest proposal put forward by Jarring and the UAR had not, the UAR should reconsider its position or forfeit U.S. support. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

 

10. FonMin does however note that no pressure has been exerted by USG, along lines Goldberg public declaration, for implementation of resolution. In this respect Goldberg had referred to what he called a statement made to him by FonMin in New York. (Comment: This has reference to: "Riad himself had said settlement cannot be imposed on sovereign governments: they would have to agree." Cf. para 4 USUN 4102.)

11. At one time words had been put in FonMin's mouth. Now he was confronted with a new trend, namely taking words out of context. True story was following: during a discussion between Goldberg and FonMin Goldberg said he could not put pressure on Israel because it was a sovereign state. FonMin had replied that he did not ask Goldberg to do that but that all he asked was that Goldberg declare US position regarding aggression and withdrawal. Unfortunately, US refused to take such a stand. To refresh memories on this point and on the question of pressure, in conversation between FonMin and Secretary Rusk, Secretary had also refused idea of US declaration stating US is not Upper Volta and when US says something it should know it should be implemented.

12. One has a right in the light of such deliberate attempts aiming at confusing the UAR position to ask what goal, what aim Ambassador Goldberg has in mind. One could also ask whether true and honest cooperation could really be worked out between the UAR and US in solving this crisis. End of FonMin's comments.

13. I said I would of course convey the Foreign Minister's remarks to my government. I had some preliminary comments of my own however which I wished to make. First of all, I did not at all like the tone of this communication. If UAR has any interest in achieving a degree of cooperation with us, this was hardly the way to go about it.

14. Secondly, I said that just as consistently as UAR had stated its acceptance of resolution and readiness to implement it, USG had pointed out that resolution itself clearly implied some sort of discussion among the parties.

15. Finally, I noted that Jarring formula as presented to Riad carried as its point a statement that UAR and Israel have accepted the Security Council resolution. Subsequent to March 7 USG has informed UAR in Washington, New York and Cairo that Israelis have accepted Jarring formula. Does this not carry us past the point of acceptance which UAR has been stressing and to the stage of required discussions? Mohamed said that while USG had informed UAR of Israelis' acceptance, Jarring had not done so. I immediately asked that if Jarring did so, what would UAR's position be. Mohamed refused to answer this question but again noted that only word for Israel acceptance had come from USG and not from Jarring.

16. Mohamed said that FonMin will be back on the job March 18 but if prior that US has anything convey, he at my disposal any time.

Bergus

 

114. Memorandum From John W. Foster and Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/

Washington, March 14, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Jordan, Vol. V, Memos, 3/68-1/69. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
More on Hussein

Just to make sure you don't miss it, the attached/2/ from Harry Symmes deals with the other side of the question we wrote you about yesterday--what we might have to do to make it possible for Hussein to negotiate with Israel. Yesterday we considered whether it's possible for him to go it alone and leaned toward concluding that chances of his talking alone are a good bit less than even. Now Harry is writing about how to improve the chances.

/2/Document 109.

Harry feels that, to get Hussein to the negotiating table, we would have to get a specific statement from the Israelis on the minimum they are willing to offer and would have to agree to protect Hussein from the dangers of talking to Israel. He specifically mentions contingency plans for helping to handle civil strife and efforts by other Arab states to interfere.

We'll have to think this through, but it's plain that Harry is not just talking about more barbed wire to use against infiltrators at the proper time. Hussein would probably want clear indication that we will do what is necessary to save him, not that we will make friendly gestures.

Obviously, we're not going to be able to make him feel completely safe. The one thought I (HHS) have for bucking him up is based on an interesting comment to me the other day by an intelligent Lebanese. He says the Arab governments are increasingly reluctant to settle the broad Palestine question without the participation of the Palestinians. When I asked whether anybody really took seriously the thought that the Palestinians could organize a responsible representation in settlement negotiations, he said that the ouster of Shuquairy and the evolution of a collegial PLO leadership was designed to do just this.

The thought that occurs to me is that if Hussein needs support for negotiating alone the Palestinians might provide it. Jordan and Israel-not the UAR-are sitting on most aspects of the Palestine problem. If Hussein could say he was negotiating with or on behalf of representative Palestinians who wanted peace, he might have some added backing.

We're still better off pursuing our present course-trying to get the UAR back on the Jarring track both directly and via Hussein. But if that fails, we'll be looking for ideas like this. I've checked fairly widely in State and CIA and no one thinks this is a wild idea. In fact, Hussein himself is already trying to bring more Palestinians into his government. The problems are that: (a) Palestinian leadership is fragmented so he couldn't hope to have unanimous support; and (b) if Hussein gets too involved with PLO-type Palestinians, it could mean the end of Jordan via encouragement for a separate Palestine. But Hussein today is a man with no attractive alternatives, and this risk may be less than the risk of no movement at all.

If we do get back into the area of Jordan-Israel negotiations, Jerusalem will be the main sticking point, and we will have to trot out again all the thoughts you had on Jordan-Israel economic cooperation.

John
Hal

 

115. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 16, 1968, 2216Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Day, cleared in substance by Davies and Sisco, and approved by Day. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, and USUN.

131734. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: Amman 3839/2/ and USUN 4165./3/

/2/On March 15 Abdul Munim Rifai told Symmes about a meeting on March 14 between Jarring and members of the Jordanian Government. In an attempt to try to break the impasse between Israel and the Arab states, Jordan proposed that Jarring's formula for agreement on Resolution 242 be revised to read that the parties would declare their "acceptance of the resolution and their readiness to implement it." (Telegram 3839 from Amman, March 15; ibid.)

/3/Telegram 4165 from USUN, March 16, reported on a conversation between Goldberg and Israeli UN Representative Tekoah in which Goldberg urged that Israel give serious thought to accepting the revised Jarring formula as reported from Amman. (Ibid.)

1. Goldberg, Sisco and Davies called in Evron (Rabin not available) to urge Israeli acceptance of formula outlined in Amman reftel.

2. Goldberg observed that, as he had emphasized before, reports from each capital re Jarring Mission were somewhat colored. He did not mean this as criticism; it was quite natural and was due in part to Jarring's own presentations. Jarring himself said his role was not to place blame on any party. It seemed clear, Goldberg continued, that Jarring will not submit to SYG report saying Israel was in the right and UAR in the wrong. Sisco interjected that reports of last few days had made this increasingly clear. Goldberg pointed out Jarring was very precise and if Israel had not said in so many words that it accepted the resolution he would not report that it had done so.

3. Goldberg then reviewed highlights of Amman report re Jarring Mar 13 meeting in Amman, as he had done previous day for Tekoah. He noted in particular following points. Jarring, according to Jordanian report, had not characterized UAR response as negative (Jarring's conception of his role would not permit such characterization in any case). Jarring had said Cairo put strong emphasis on implementing resolution and putting it into action. Jarring had said he was pessimistic, not just because of Cairo's reaction but because of atmosphere in totality, implication being, Goldberg added, that his pessimism also based on Israeli position. According to Jordanians, Jarring said Eban had told him he thought Israeli cabinet could be persuaded to accept resolution. However, Jarring had said he could not get statement from Eban that Israel would implement it. Jarring had said he was not taking one side or other, but if deadlock continued he would have to report to SYG. Goldberg then described modification of formula proposed by Jordanians.

4. Goldberg told Evron Israel must be careful not to put itself in political box. Israel had enjoyed good political position for past few days because of its affirmative reaction to Jarring formula, but now we had new situation with introduction of Jordanian modification. Goldberg urged that Israel say "yes" to this formula but at same time protect itself by rephrasing second element concerning implementation. Israel could say it understood that Rhodes-type talks were intended and that implementation would come about pursuant to para 3 of SC resolution, meaning there would have to be an agreed settlement. Sisco noted this would amount to tying in acceptance and implementation with pursuing these through Rhodes-type negotiations and in accordance with para 3 of resolution. He said this would take teeth out of idea that implementation could come by fiat without negotiation. Goldberg said his proposal, in capsule, was that there must be agreed implementation-agreed between parties. Sisco commented Israel should build on Jordanian statement that Jordan has always accepted resolution as package. He said if our suggestion followed, there no way Israel could get hurt.

5. Evron said his off-hand reaction was that Israel would be taking very dangerous course to do this. UAR still said withdrawal came first. Sisco said Israel would reject that. Evron continued that if Jarring said he would not blame either side, Israel was then boxed in. If all Jarring did was report two views without saying which was in accord with resolution, Israeli position would be eroded. Sisco reiterated that formula we proposed would not hook Israel and Israel would not find U.S. taking position that it did. With respect to Jarring statement that it not his job to blame either side, Sisco noted that factual accounting by Jarring would show where balance lay. Goldberg pointed out Jarring no arbitrator; he would not interpret resolution for SC. Israel must see to it that its political position was protected and affirmative. He noted Israel had crossed a bridge when it said it could take first part of formula-acceptance; it should not let implementation trip it up now. Goldberg concluded with comment that there were many ways to write formula that would protect Israel and that with such formula he did not see how Israelis could be vulnerable./4/

/4/Barbour pressed the Israeli Government to accept the revised formula, but the Israeli response was that the word implementation had taken on a specific meaning in Arab pronouncements and that without language agreeing to negotiations as well, Israel could not endorse the proposed formula. (Telegram 2918 from Tel Aviv, March 17; ibid.)

Rusk

 

116. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 19, 1968, 1915Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to Tel Aviv.

3887. Subject: Terrorism. Ref: Amman 3844;/2/ 3886./3/ Tel Aviv for Amb Barbour from Symmes.

/2/Telegram 3844 from Amman, March 16, reported on a conversation between Symmes and King Hussein in which Symmes stressed the importance of breaking the mounting cycle of terrorism and retaliation, which was increasingly prejudicing the possibilities for peace. Symmes suggested that the withdrawal of the Iraqi troops from Jordan would begin to defuse the situation, and he discussed with Hussein the importance of direct contacts with the Israelis to try to control the problem. (Ibid.)

/3/The Embassy reported on March 19 that Colonel Daoud had been instructed to meet with an Israeli representative to consider the problem of terrorism. Daoud's instructions were to conduct the meeting in the presence of a UN representative. (Telegram 3886, March 19; ibid., POL ISR-JORDAN)

1. Summary: King has followed up on suggestions made to him per Amman 3844 and previous and in course extended discussion with Emboff afternoon March 19 revealed decision made for staged withdrawal from Jordan of Palestinian battalion of Iraqi brigade to begin within week. Decision has also been made send Col Daoud to meet with Israeli counterpart under UN auspices in next few days. He reported GOJ intensive efforts apprehend those responsible for bus incident/4/ and again requested any information which might aid the investigation. He also speculated at some length on Israeli intentions toward East Bank.

/4/On March 18 a land mine exploded under a tour bus carrying Israeli school children on a road 13 miles north of Eilat. Two children were killed and 27 were injured. (Telegram 2937 from Tel Aviv, March 18; ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

2. King prefaced discussion of terrorism with statement that his review of Arab military capabilities with own advisors, Iraqi Chief of Staff and Pakistani military team just arrived from Cairo have further convinced him of Arabs' total incapacity to win military solution of Arab-Israeli confrontation. Iraqi Chief of Staff Ansari had just advised him that Iraq could do no more to help Jordan militarily. According Pakistanis, UAR will need another ten years to modernize its air force and bring its training and maintenance up to Israeli standards. Syria, King described as completely impotent militarily and said Jordan's lack of military potential hardly bore discussion.

3. Since Israelis are fully aware of this, King said, he had come to doubt seriously that Israelis had any desire for peace and he speculated that the Israeli posture on terrorism owed something to this underlying attitude. He had concluded Israel wishes to hold on to land it now occupies for religious and cultural reasons and needs certain additional territory to consolidate its position. East Bank he feels is obvious remaining target. He questions whether Israelis would have any serious concern about adverse world opinion should they feel time had come to launch military attack. They would cite terrorism as pretext. With fall of East Bank, West Bank would quickly come to terms. In procession UAR and Syrian regimes would be exposed as impotent and likelihood their fall would sharply increase.

4. Hussein said he had "raised hell" with everybody concerning March 18 bus incident and has directed that, if perpetrators are caught in Jordan, they are to receive same punishment as if they had caused this accident to Jordanians. He said he had sent his top investigators, including trackers, to Aqaba area and stated they have discovered as yet absolutely no evidence of anyone having crossed over from Jordanian territory in that area or returned. King stated Jordanian intelligence apparatus through penetrations and otherwise has thus far been unable discover involvement on part of any known terrorist organizations with bus incident. Investigations continuing under King's personal direction. He reiterated his request for any information that might assist investigation.

4. King suggests possibility, recalling incident of oil storage tank sabotage at Eilat two months ago, that there may have been outside Egyptian involvement in yesterday's incident.

6. King said he wished tell us in confidence that decision made two days ago (Sunday, March 17) to start phased withdrawal of Palestine battalion of Iraqi brigade. Battalion would first be moved to H-4 (or H-5) and ultimately to Iraq. (Khammash subsequently stated that Iraqis strenuously resisted move on political grounds but that orders were issued today, March 19, for battalion to begin packing up.)

7. Re Col Daoud meeting with Israelis, King said he had delegated responsibility for meeting arrangements to Gen Khammash and we should follow up subject with him. King anticipated meeting under UN auspices could take place in next few days. (Arrangements have been cleared with PriMin also and further details are reported in Amman 3886.)

8. Hussein said he recognized that it would be desirable to inform Israelis of some of foregoing re terrorism and bus incident; the Palestinian battalion; and Daoud. He warned Emboff however, "If Israelis publicize exit of Palestinian battalion and claim it is result of Israeli pressure, I will not be able to let it leave, and my efforts in this regard will be seriously compromised." Similar strictures apply to the decision to send Daoud.

9. Comment: I believe it imperative that you get undertaking from Israelis that foregoing will be kept in absolute confidence before relating any of it. We know how well the Israelis can keep a secret if they so choose. I believe that it is in fact legitimate for us to claim credit for some of these developments. For example, as reported Amman 3844, the Palestine battalion was discussed with King prior to the arrival of the Iraqi Chief of Staff with whom agreement to withdraw Palestinian battalion finally reached.

Symmes

 

117. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 20, 1968, 1943Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Flash. Drafted by Atherton and Houghton, cleared by Day and Battle, and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Amman, USUN, and CINCSTRIKE.

133284. 1. Under Secretary calling in Ambassador Rabin at 1500 local time to make following points:

A. USG deeply disturbed at reports from our mission in Jordan/2/ and other indications that Israel calling up selected reservists and taking related actions which suggest military reprisal imminent.

/2/The Embassy in Amman reported on March 20 that Prime Minister Talhouni, acting on instructions from King Hussein, had requested the United States to take urgent measures to prevent imminent Israeli military action against Jordan. (Telegram 3914 from Amman; ibid.)

B. We understand sense of outrage in Israel at deplorable incident involving school bus near Eilat. Nevertheless, we cannot emphasize too strongly, as we have repeatedly in the past, that we consider military reprisals self-defeating and seriously prejudicial to hopes for peaceful solution to area problems.

C. In particular, further reprisal against Jordan would be major and possibly fatal blow to Jarring mission and to US interests in Jordan and would seriously undermine our ability to influence Arab position in constructive directions which are as much in Israel's interest as ours.

D. Such action would be particularly unfortunate at time when Jordan appears to be taking steps which Israel has been seeking for some time (Amman 3887)./3/

/3 Not found.

2. Ambassador should seek immediate appointment with Prime Minister to make parallel approach.

Rusk

 

118. Action Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 20, 1968, 7:25 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence File, Israel, 3/1/68-7/3/68. Secret.

Mr. President:

SUBJECT
Urgent Message to Eshkol

The Israelis are mobilizing on the Jordanian border. Wally Barbour has seen Eshkol, and Nick Katzenbach called in Rabin to make a strong pitch against an attack on Jordan. Barbour believes the final Israeli decision has not yet been made, and holds out the possibility they may decide to stop with a show of force. He gives us less than an even chance of holding them back.

This quick Israeli action grows out of rapidly mounting concern over continuing Arab terrorism. They just don't believe Hussein has made a real effort to damp down on terrorists. We surmise that they have been debating whether to hit him again--even harder than on February 15--or to try to solve the problem some other way. We suspect the argument within the Israeli government has been pretty evenly matched. Then when an Israeli school bus hit a mine Monday and two Israeli soldiers were killed in similar sabotage incidents, the pressure for retaliation became all but irresistible.

Hussein has asked for our help in holding the Israelis off. He fears a major Israeli attack could be the end of him and kill the Jarring mission. It would surely make our position miserable, especially if Israel decides to occupy additional territory on the East Bank.

Nick Katzenbach recommends you approve the attached message/2/ to be sent immediately from you to Eshkol. I wish there were something stronger we could do, but short of making specific threats I cannot think what it might be. I doubt it would add much to what we are already doing for you to talk with Rabin. I recommend you approve./3/

/2/See Document 119.

/3/The President checked the approval line.

Walt

 

119. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 21, 1968, 0511Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Atherton and Houghton on March 20, cleared by Battle and Walt Rostow, and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Amman and USUN.

133886. Deliver following message urgently from President to Prime Minister Eshkol:

"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I want personally to emphasize the importance I attach to the messages Under Secretary Katzenbach/2/ and Ambassador Barbour have today delivered to you and your representatives. We deplore as much as you do the recent terrorist actions against Israeli lives and property. I am firmly convinced, however, that a military reprisal against Jordan would be a major miscalculation. Such action would have destructive consequences for our common hopes for peace and for the future of our own as well as your position in the Near East.

In the interest of both our countries, I strongly urge that no action of this kind be taken./3/

/3/President Johnson's message arrived in Tel Aviv 3 hours after Israel launched early morning military operations against Jordan on March 21. Units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) moved across the Damiya and Allenby bridges at 5:30 a.m. to attack terrorist bases in the Karameh area north of the Dead Sea and the Safi area south of the Dead Sea. IDF aircraft supported the actions of the ground forces. Ambassador Barbour delivered the President's message even though military operations had begun in order to reinforce U.S. opposition to Israeli military reprisals. (Telegram 2983 from Tel Aviv, March 21; ibid) Prime Minister Eshkol telephoned Barbour later in the day to say that although the President's message had come after operations against Jordan had begun, he had responded to it by doing everything he could to localize and limit the operations and to ensure that civilians were not harmed. He justified the operations as a necessary reaction to terrorism and expressed the hope that they would help to stabilize the situation. Barbour reiterated the U.S. view that military retaliation to terrorism only exacerbated the problem. (Telegram 2991 from Tel Aviv, March 21; ibid.)

I am making a strong approach at this time to King Hussein for a maximum effort to bring terrorism to a halt./4/

/4/See Document 120.

Sincerely, Lyndon B. Johnson"

Rusk

 

120. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, March 21, 1968, 0540Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted at the White House and approved by W. E. Ledbetter (S/S-O). Repeated to Tel Aviv and USUN. The Embassy reported that the message was delivered to the King's private secretary at 9:40 a.m. (Telegram 3922 from Amman, March 21; ibid.)

133887. Deliver following message urgently from President to King Hussein.

"Dear King Hussein:

While I appreciate your problem in controlling terrorism incidents such as that which occurred on March 18th cannot but arouse passions most destructive for common hopes for peace in the Middle East.

I found your public statement of February 15th courageous; but despite this statement and subsequent efforts incidents have continued.

I appeal to you for a maximum effort to bring such incidents under firm control and to indicate by words and actions your determination to maintain an environment in which such violence cannot occur.

I am making a strong appeal at this time to Prime Minister Eshkol to exercise restraint.

Sincerely, Lyndon B. Johnson"

Rusk

 

121. Information Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 21, 1968, 7:45 a.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Jordan, Vol. V, Memos, 3/68-1/69. Secret.

Mr. President:

As you know from the press, the Israelis last night mounted a major raid on the Arab terrorist bases on the east bank of the Jordan River.

Your message got to Eshkol/2/ after the attack had been launched (8:45 p.m. EST last evening), and he responded by assuring you that this would be a limited raid and that Israeli forces would withdraw as soon as they had accomplished their mission of "preventing additional sabotage activities and disarming the terrorists." Eshkol has just (5:50 a.m. EST) phoned Barbour to say that Israeli troops are now in the process of withdrawing. Eshkol says he will respond more fully to your message.

/2/See Document 119.

Three action items face us today:

1. State will probably postpone signing the new Israeli PL480 agreement, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today. We lay ourselves open to Israeli resentment for "applying pressure," but I don't see how we could sign this today. State would say everybody is "too busy" today and avoid any implication our delay is punitive./3/

/3/The Israeli Embassy was informed on March 21 that Assistant Secretary Battle was "preoccupied" with the events of the last 24 hours and that the scheduled signing of the P.L. 480 agreement would have to be postponed. (Telegram 134000 to Tel Aviv, March 21; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AID (US) 15-8 ISR)

2. State is considering issuing early a statement built around the theme that "further violence cannot bring peace to the Middle East" and expressing our "concern and dismay" at Israeli military action./4/ We can hardly remain silent, and we would be as careful as possible about domestic Jewish opinion. The British have already publicly urged withdrawal behind the June cease-fire lines.

/4/A statement along these lines was released by the Department on March 21. The text was transmitted to posts in the Middle East and Europe in circular telegram 133989, March 21. (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

3. We have no indication yet that there will be a UN Security Council meeting, but this is a clear possibility./5/

/5/The Security Council adopted a resolution on March 24 condemning the Israeli raid on Jordan. (UN doc. S/RES/248 (1968))

Hal

 

122. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, March 21, 1968, 1030Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.

3928. Ref: State 133587./2/

/2/The reference is in error. The correct reference is telegram 133887, Document 120.

1. We have just been asked by King's private secretary to send following message from King Hussein to President Johnson:

2. "Dear Mr. President: In response to your letter which I just received, I wish to point out the following: We are now fighting once again, defending-in the face of a blatant and premeditated Israeli aggression--our land, our homes, the shabby tents of the victims of civilization, and our honor. We are doing so with what has remained in our hands in the way of weapons since June 1967, facing overwhelming odds, unequipped as we are, not even by a finalized agreement between us for resupplying us with defensive equipment by the friendly United States.

3. "If the battle should go the way it well might do, then Jordan, its head of state, its leaders, its armed forces and its people would all become the victims of American weapons, and their own faith in the United States and its President, as well as the friendship which they valued to the point of refusing to accept any other option to bolster their defence in the face of a history of continued aggression.

4. "I am not, and shall never hold myself or my government and armed force, responsible for the safety and security of the Israeli forces of occupation in the West Bank of Jordan and the rest of the occupied Arab territories. Nor do I expect to be held responsible for this.

5. "As for the incident of March 18 to which you, Mr. President, referred, I wish to state, for your information, that after a most thorough investigation, this incident could not be traced in [planning?] or consequence, to Jordan.

6. "We have tried our best, honestly, faithfully and sincerely to lay the foundation for a just and lasting peace in this area. The blame for failure, if it occurs, must lie squarely on the Israeli side and on those who, knowingly or undeliberately, encourage Israel in her plan for the destruction of the first and last chance to achieve peace.

7. "With my regard. Sincerely, al-Hussein."

8. Comment: As we have reported, President's message arrived after Israeli attacks had begun (and had been in progress for three hours). In delivering letter it was explained that it had originated prior to this morning's attacks and that a Presidential message had also been sent to Israeli Prime Minister.

9. We have been informed that President's message to Hussein evoked a very negative reaction. King was apparently particularly upset by what he considered imputation we were holding Jordan responsible for bus incident and that he had not been sincere in his efforts to try to control terrorists.

Symmes

 

123. Information Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 22, 1968, 7:35 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Israel, 3/1/68-7/31/68. Secret.

SUBJECT
Reply from Eshkol

Ambassador Rabin delivered the attached reply/2/ this afternoon. It's mainly a statement of the familiar Israeli justification for their raid into Jordan.

/2/Not found attached. The 3-page letter from Prime Minister Eshkol to President Johnson, dated March 22, was transmitted to the Department of State under a covering note from Ambassador Rabin on March 22. Eshkol's letter and the Ambassador's note were transmitted to the White House on March 23 under cover of a note from Executive Secretary Benjamin Read. (Ibid.) For a summary of the letter, see Document 124.

What emerges more sharply from this and from Rabin's oral commentary to Luke Battle,/3/ however, is that the Israelis appear to have gathered extensive evidence that the Arab terrorist organization was planning a coordinated spring-summer offensive inside Israeli territory. They claim to have captured documents that prove it along with weapons such as Soviet-made heavy mortars.

/3/A record of Rabin's conversation with Battle on March 22 was transmitted to Tel Aviv on March 23 in telegram 135537. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Israel, 3/1/68-7/31/68)

Eshkol and Eban saw Jarring today. The Israelis are trying to keep his mission alive and to involve him now in achieving better control over the border. Our effort in New York is designed to re-focus attention on Jarring, but the debate is still going on and we can't tell what success we'll have. Jarring's future will also depend on the outcome of the Arab summit which Hussein has asked for.

On a related subject, Luke Battle has told the Israelis we will be in touch with them as soon as the UN meeting is over to reschedule the signing of the PL 480 agreement. Luke frankly told them we didn't think it would be helpful to sign while the debate continues, but he assured them that we are not backing out on the agreement.

Walt

 

124. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, March 23, 1968, 2001Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Bahti; cleared by Atherton, Day, and Saunders in the White House; and approved by Battle. Repeated to Amman and USUN.

135561. 1. Ambassador Rabin delivered to Assistant Secretary Battle March 22 Prime Minister Eshkol's reply to March 21 letter from President./2/ Summary main points follows (full text by pouch);

/2/See Document 119.

2. Noting President's message received three hours after IDF commenced action against terrorists, Eshkol reviewed terrorist incidents since Hussein's February 16 statement, stressing "gruesome attack" on children March 18.

3. Fatah had developed from clandestine to "open, blatant, organized, and virtually legalized operations under King Hussein's eyes." Awareness of Fatah's spring and summer plans made action imperative.

4. Leaders of Jordan tolerating and sometimes encouraging "second army" which violating GOI security, having no cease fire or international obligations, threatening Jordan's independence, and bringing Jordan and Israel into conflict.

5. Blow against Fatah should cause no regret to Israel, GOJ, or US, whose common interests advanced by Israeli action. It would be "destructive" if UN were to evade strong criticism of Fatah operations from Jordan.

6. IDF was ordered not harm civilians, and this restriction cost Israel heavy price. Hussein should understand JAA was not IDF target, even though JAA had sometimes surrendered to Fatah pressure.

7. King now better able consolidate cease-fire and move toward negotiated peace. Continuation Jarring mission necessary. Eban has told Jarring GOI still accepts his proposal for peace conference with Arab states at Nicosia and will work with him patiently despite "Nasser's irresponsible rejection this proposal." Jarring has accepted GOI proposal come Jerusalem today to "contribute to relief immediate tensions between Israel and Jordan."

Rusk

 

125. Action Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 26, 1968, 8:10 p.m.

SUBJECT
Signing Jordan Arms Package

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Jordan, Vol. V, Memos, 3/68-1/69. Secret.

After weeks of negotiation, the Jordan Arms package is ready for signing. Nick Katzenbach would like to authorize Ambassador Symmes to sign tomorrow but does not want to go ahead without our OK. The plan is to do this without publicity for the moment.

As you know, this negotiation has gone on for some weeks. It just happens that all the details are now wrapped up. It may not be the best time in view of continuing terrorist attacks and last week's Israeli raid. However, there may not be any good time, and the main purpose of this exercise is to bolster Hussein. The equipment involved in this deal will not arrive in Jordan for some time.

For balance, Luke Battle has rescheduled the signing of the Israeli PL-480 agreement for this Friday morning./2/ That will get some publicity.

/2/The P.L. 480 agreement with Israel was signed in Washington on March 29. (Telegram 138825 to Tel Aviv, March 29; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AID (US) 15-8 ISR)

My own feeling is that our public, especially the Jewish community, has accepted the resumption of military sales to Jordan. I doubt that the simple act of signing will cause much additional reaction, even if it leaks out. The press already writes as if the deal has long since been wrapped up.

Therefore, I recommend that we tell State to go ahead. But I do not wish to do so without informing you./3/

/3/The President checked the approval line. The memorandum of understanding and protocol were signed in Amman on March 28 by Prime Minister Talhouni and Ambassador Symmes. (Telegram 4060 from Amman, March 28; ibid., DEF 19-8 US-JORDAN) The texts of the memorandum of understanding and protocol were transmitted to the Department as enclosures to airgram A-266 from Amman, April 5. (Ibid., DEF 19-4 US-JORDAN)

Walt

 

126. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan/1/

Washington, March 28, 1968, 0138Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Atherton and Houghton on March 27, cleared by Davies, and approved by Battle. Repeated to Tel Aviv and USUN.

137662. Ref: State 136930./2/

/2/Under Secretary Rostow debated how best to respond to terrorism with Israeli Minister Evron on March 26. Rostow warned that another retaliatory raid such as the March 21 raid into Jordan would further weaken King Hussein, undermine the Jarring peace mission, and increase the chances of another regional war. (Telegram 136930 to Tel Aviv, March 27; ibid.)

1. In your discretion you may draw on report of Rostow-Evron conversation reported reftel to give GOJ flavor of present Israeli attitudes and indication of our efforts forestall further Israeli attacks. We shall continue those efforts, as we oppose retaliatory raids just as we do terrorism, but we are not sanguine that these efforts will prevail with GOI for long in the absence of a serious and successful effort on the part of the Arabs to reduce sharply the incidence of terrorist activity. Although we appreciate Hussein's problem in controlling terrorism in the absence of progress towards a settlement, we at the same time believe that no Israeli Government can resist internal political pressures for military action if terrorism continues in Israeli territory. Underlining this assessment is British report that Eban told Foreign Secretary Stewart in London on March 25 that he realized March 21 raid conflicted with Israel's long-term aim of negotiated settlement, but, given growing intensity of terrorism, security considerations were overriding for GOI.

2. Just settlement acceptable to both sides is obviously only real solution to terrorist problem and we are actively studying ways we can assist Jarring's efforts towards settlement. However, if terrorism retaliatory raids cycle continues, situation will quickly degenerate to point of no return. We have and will continue to work for more flexibility in Israeli position, but it is imperative that Jordanians demonstrate significant measure of control over terrorist activity. Unfortunately, we have no blueprint to offer the Jordanians for controlling terrorism, but would suggest renewed offer of early secret talks between senior military officers, if necessary under UN auspices, might be a means of expressing GOJ's desire to control terrorism as far as its capabilities permit. We urge Jordan consider advantages of UN presence along cease-fire line.

We most strongly hope if a Summit Conference is held that GOJ would make unmistakably clear need for curbing terrorism. In stressing the necessity of stopping terrorism, we are not unmindful of efforts GOJ has taken or of moderate and constructive course GOJ has followed. We have particularly in mind the King's press conference on March 23. We are concerned by present situation in which dangerous trend away from peace appears to be unfolding and are using what influence in concerned capitals we have to reverse trend. We hope conclusion arms negotiations will be considered an earnest of US interest in providing support for King in his effort chart course through these troubled waters to a just settlement so urgently needed by the peoples of the Near East./3/

/3/The Embassy responded on March 30 that, while Embassy officials had been and would continue using these kind of arguments with the Jordanian Government, expectations were that Jordan would not be able to control guerrilla activities in Israeli-occupied territory. The only long-term solution to the terrorism problem, from the Embassy's perspective, would derive from Israeli implementation of the terms of UN Resolution 242. (Telegram 4119; ibid., POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM)

Rusk

 

 

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