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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
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Documents 127 through 151

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

Washington, March 29, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. I, 6/65-3/68. Secret. Rostow sent this memorandum to the President on March 30 under cover of a brief memorandum recommending that the President read it. Rostow noted a third possibility not mentioned by Saunders that could alter developments significantly in the Middle East: the fall of Nasser; but Rostow added: "I don't believe a U.S. policy can be based on that hope." (Ibid.)

SUBJECT
Next Step with Israel-Jordan

The problem in a nutshell is this:

--We agree that terrorism is a threat Israel has to do something about.

--We think Israel's effort to end terrorism by military attacks won't work. If they keep going down this track, we see only a rising spiral of attack and counter-attack ending in all Arabs at the summit rejecting a political solution and committing themselves to a guerrilla war against Israel. There's evidence now that the Israelis are beginning to think this way too, although they feel they must respond to terrorism somehow and don't yet see an alternative.

--The only persons who can stop terrorism from Jordanian territory are the Jordanian government. The problem, therefore, is to convince Hussein to stop it or--if he's already convinced but unable--to create conditions which strengthen his hand enough to crack down. We disagree with the Israelis that their military attacks strengthen his hand.

--The alternative we see is to get Jarring's peace talks on the road. If Hussein can show he's getting somewhere his way, maybe it's not too late for him to call the terrorists off, or stop them by force.

--One of the main obstacles to getting Jarring's negotiations started is Israeli inflexibility. One of the main reasons for Israeli inflexibility is the fact that the Cabinet has not taken a formal position on the terms for a peace settlement; Eshkol fears breaking up his coalition but we have assurance that they'll make up their minds the moment there's a glimmer of Arab willingness to talk.

--The difficulty with this is that the Arabs aren't likely to talk until somebody assures them there's a workable deal possible at the end of the track. This is what all the haggling over whether Israel accepts the UN resolution is about.

What all this adds up to is the conclusion of some of us that we should now urge Eshkol to bite the bullet and make the limited move necessary to give the Arabs the assurance they're looking for. Eshkol would give away nothing of substance; he would risk a Cabinet crisis, possibly for limited gains. But the risk of doing nothing looks a lot worse to us.

The alternative is to let force play itself out. The argument for is that only the Israelis will decide to bite the bullet when the pressure of terrorism builds up. The argument against is that we're in a worse position every time Israel strikes back and there's a real danger of the UN Security Council voting sanctions against Israel-with us having to decide whether to vote for, abstain or veto. More important, Israel is in a worse position if we don't stop the guerrilla spiral before the Arabs commit themselves to it.

The debate was brought to a head today in State when Luke Battle tried to clear a response from the President to Eshkol's last message. Arthur Goldberg felt it was too tough for the President. Luke, while fully understanding the President's concerns, feels that any message we send ought to lay out what we see as the serious consequences of Israel's current course.

My own feeling is that if we decide to do nothing to deter the Israelis from further retaliation it ought to be because we've decided consciously to let force play itself out a while longer. We shouldn't do nothing just because State can't work out line of action it feels the President can approve.

I don't believe there's any point in just sending another Presidential message for Eshkol to disregard. If we approach the Israelis this time, it ought to be with the purpose of working out with them a way to get Jarring on the tracks. I think the only way to do this would be to send someone like Mac Bundy with the most serious words from the President for three or four days of talk in Jerusalem. This need not look like pressure at all. The main focus wouldn't be to restrain them. It's just the only way I can see at this time to decide where we and they are going, and the only place to do that is where Eshkol and his Cabinet are.

State is considering this idea this afternoon.

Hal

 

128. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, March 29, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Harold H. Saunders, Israel, 3/1/68-4/30/68. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on April 1.

SUBJECT
Conversation with Israeli Minister Evron

Evron came in on March 29, at his request, to share his observations from his quick trip to Jerusalem. As usual, our conversation was tabbed as strictly personal and off-the-record. As can be imagined, it dealt mainly with the March 21 Israeli attack on Karameh and Israeli thinking in the aftermath.

I began by asking him what the Israelis see at the end of their current course of gradually escalating terrorist raids and retaliatory attacks. Although the results of a military review of the Karameh attack have not been finished, Evron indicated that the Israelis were not necessarily satisfied with that sort of attack as the best means to counter terrorism. He said that they would experiment with other tactics, "such as today's" (at the moment the air and artillery attack south of Lake Tiberias was going on). He also indicated, "in the utmost confidence," that the Israelis are building a "fence" from the Dead Sea to Lake Tiberias. (This is the reason for the Israeli request for a large number of anti-personnel mines which he hoped we might free quickly.) Concluding this line of discussion, he was quite ready to admit that these counter-attacks would not stop terrorism.

When I said I did not see how the Israelis could expect to stop activities based on land which they do not consistently control, he agreed that the main problem is to convince Hussein to do the job. When I said I did not believe that Israel's counter attacks would do that either, he disagreed, but he did not argue as strongly as he usually does when he is convinced of what he is saying.

I suggested that, if the military track did not promise a solution, it seemed to me this was all the more reason to get into negotiations. He suggested that more flexibility was needed before that could happen. Then telling him I wanted to ask a very indiscreet question, I asked whether Israel was denied the flexibility necessary to begin negotiations by the fact that the Israeli Government had not yet made up its mind what its position would be. I said it seemed clear to me that what the Arabs were seeking in all this haggling over whether Israel did or did not accept the UN resolution was some assurance that there was a deal at the end of the road. I realized that Foreign Minister Eban had, through us, passed the word that the Arabs would find Israel ready to negotiate generously, but it was clear that this was not convincing to the Arabs in the current atmosphere. Would an Israeli Government decision now on its negotiating terms enable some such assurance to be made?

Evron answered quite readily, thoughtfully and not emotionally. He said, first, that the moment there was a "glimmer" of Arab willingness to come to the table, the Israeli Government would "make up its mind in a moment." He said emphatically that the greatest single impression he had brought away from Jerusalem this time was the overriding desire for peace. Having felt this in his early talks there, he asked Eban whether he was right and Eban confirmed his view that everyone is "fed up with all this bloodshed."

Second, however, Evron said he had been considering for months the question of whether Israel should stake out its position before negotiations to encourage them. He said he did not believe this was the right procedure. But his main point was that, in international negotiations, one never lays his cards on the table before negotiations begin. He did not push the usual Eban line about willingness to negotiate being a necessary sign of an Arab change of heart, although this omission may have been simple oversight.

At the end of our conversation, he confirmed that he had described to Eban that questioning of the US-Israeli relationship going on in Washington that he had heard from me before his departure as well as from Harry McPherson. We had both told him that an increasing number of people were more and more troubled over whether this relationship would ever become a two-way street. Secretary Rusk had asked the Israeli Government for certain actions in Jerusalem and on refugees, and his questions have been ignored. We have advised against retaliation, and our advice has been ignored. Evron said he had arrived in the Foreign Ministry the morning that Ave Harman was giving his final impressions of the US-Israeli relationship. On the basis of Evron's report and Harman's comments, Eban at the Cabinet meeting which made the final decision to go ahead with the Israeli raid on Karameh, described this change in the Washington mood to the Cabinet. Evron felt that this had made some impression since both Minister Begin and Allon had asked Evron later whether what Eban said was true.

Evron at one point during this conversation said that one of the ideas that had occurred to him personally--and he said he had not heard this mentioned in Israel at all, so it was strictly personal-is whether now is not the time for Israel to begin thinking again seriously about a separate Palestinian entity. Hussein is so weak that perhaps only the Palestinians can take the lead. Already there are new economic relationships growing up between the towns of old Israel and the former West Bank of Jordan. Evron felt that the Palestinians were beginning to see the economic and other advantages of peace and, if they could be adequately organized, might be just the ones to stand up and take the lead in a settlement that Hussein might or might not join later. Evron did not seem to be suggesting a permanent separation of the West Bank from Jordan, but simply a settlement that could be worked out now as a first step in what might become a full settlement with Jordan later on when that was possible.

Comment: Two reflections stand out in my mind after this conversation. First, although Eppie made clear that he had not had time for full talks with the Israeli military after the attack on Karameh, he seemed to confirm that there is some second thinking going on about the effectiveness of Israel's current force. Second, there is obviously a great deal of concern about the American relationship and I wonder whether we might not have more effect on Israel's course than we now feel possible.

H.S.

 

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

Washington, April 1, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
The President's Decision and the Near East/2/

/2/The reference is to President Johnson's decision not to seek re-election, which he announced in a nationally telecast address from the White House on March 31. See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, p. 476.

Our main problem, as you said this morning, is to see how we can use the President's new position to finish as much unfinished business as possible. In the Near East, the main job is how to make concrete progress toward the President's vision of last June 19. With the President's new freedom from politics, I'd suggest that we may be able to use the uncertainties of this period to good advantage in Israel.

Two new factors are obvious:

1. The President is now more free of Israeli pressure. We shouldn't discount his strong personal determination not to let Israel down, so we have to exclude any dramatic shift in our position. But it's worth considering what we might do now that we couldn't have done last week.

2. The President has nothing to bargain with beyond next January. Whatever we do must not depend on committing the US beyond January 1969, except for military sales which a new Administration would be bound to honor or a financial commitment (like desalting) with Congress behind it.

On balance, I believe the President's increased freedom may be more important than his loss of leverage. His ability to bargain with US support was neutralized by domestic politics. Now he can play on uncertainties about his successor.

Two possible courses spring to mind:

1. Use the President's increased freedom of maneuver to bring pressure on Israel and begin re-balancing our position toward the Arabs. No successor will have such freedom to create public doubt that Israel can count on us in a Soviet-backed effort to get Arab territory back, curtail our support in the UN, tamper with tax exemption for Israel bonds or whatever else might occur to us.

2. Use the President's friendship to advantage--he may be the best friend Israel will have in the White House for some time.

I favor the latter because (a) I don't think the President would want to pressure Israel and (b) because we've never fully and systematically put his friendship on the line in a tough effort to change an Israeli position. Now, if ever, is the time to try. The Israelis are already nervous about approaching the limits of our tolerance, and they might respond to the thought that they might get more support from us now than later.

One other factor has to go in the hopper: There's not much the President can do on the Arab side. He is tabbed as too pro-Israeli, and our leverage there will increase only as we show we can move Israel.

Putting these elements together, I think our best bet is to concentrate on changing Israel's position by persuasion-rather than pressure-enough to give Jarring a real chance. That's where the President's influence is greatest.

If we take this course, we must be sure that doing something soon is better than letting Mid-East forces play themselves out. I must say I don't take much convincing on this point. It may already be too late for Hussein and Nasser to negotiate and the next Arab summit may commit the Arabs to guerrilla war instead of political solution.

We want Israel to do two things:

1. Signal "ready." One of the big obstacles to Jarring's getting started is the Israelis' position that the Arabs must come to them. In part, Eshkol is hiding behind this position to avoid the Cabinet crisis that forcing a decision on peace terms would precipitate. The question is whether an Israeli Cabinet decision now would inject enough new flexibility into the picture to get Jarring going--whether a hint to assure Hussein and Nasser that there is a deal at the end of the track would get negotiations going.

The answer, of course, hinges on whether there's something at the end of the road for Israel. No one can guarantee that the Arabs will--or can--seriously negotiate anything beside withdrawal. But no one can argue that Israel has given them a fair try, and it's hard to see how Israel can lose while it sits on the Suez Canal and the Jordan River.

2. Show tactical flexibility. The time has come to try to move them a short step back from their absolute position on direct negotiations and from the notion of a package settlement all at once. The President last June 19 specifically did not endorse direct negotiations; nor did he rule out settlement in stages, and Secretary Rusk spoke to Eshkol on this point at the Ranch.

What this adds up to is doing something concrete about what we've been talking about for weeks without result-increasing Israeli flexibility. Maybe we have a chance to cut the Gordian knot now. The point is that the Israelis are "shook" over the President's decision. Rabin told Ernie Goldstein, "We've had it." So while the President doesn't seem to have much to bargain with, the urgency of getting Israel's security position in order (50 Phantoms) in the next few months may enhance what he does have. We can't expect to bargain with airplanes for Israeli withdrawal, but now may be the time to shoot our wad on a marginal Israeli shift that might be enough to get negotiations going.

Now we come to an action proposal:

1. A special emissary to loosen up and pin down the Israeli position. Harry Symmes has proposed retired ambassadors like Holmes, Yost or Jernegan. But all of these are too "Arab" to cut any ice in Jerusalem. If we are to build on the advantages in the President's new status, we need someone who can go as the President's man and represent his pro-Israel side. (We've mentioned Mac Bundy as filling this bill.)

2. The line he would take would be to argue out the consequences of each possible course to persuade the Israelis that the consequences of retaliation and sitting tight are dead-ends. That being the case, pressures in the US are mounting to re-balance our position toward the Arabs before it's too late. That will also be an obvious task for the new President. With London, Paris and Moscow backing away from Israel, it will be dangerous for Israel if the US starts backing away too. Therefore, if Israel will shift its position enough to give negotiations a fair chance, we'll consider meeting Israel's aircraft needs now. This approach would combine a big carrot with a gentle stick urging only a marginal shift in Israel's position.

All of us have a deep sense of foreboding that the Arabs will soon be locked into a guerrilla war that none of us will know how to stop. If the President wants to make one last effort for peace, now is the time. It may already be too late, but the effort won't cost him anything. If we're going to do it, let's do it now and let's send someone like Mac Bundy with the best possible credentials.

Hal

 

130. Editorial Note

In a study of the Israeli nuclear program, Avner Cohen drew upon the recollections of physicist Edward Teller and the testimony of Carl Duckett, a former CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology, and explored the question of whether Israel had become a "nuclear-weapon state" in 1968. Teller told Duckett that his contacts in the Israeli scientific community led him to the "personal opinion" and "conjecture" that Israel was in possession of nuclear weapons. Teller was a consultant with the CIA and his views informed a National Intelligence Estimate, which Duckett said was drafted by the CIA, that drew the conclusion that Israel had nuclear weapons. (Israel and the Bomb, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, pages 297-298, 421) Duckett testified before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1978 that he took the estimate to Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms and Helms told him not to publish it. He said Helms later told him that he had taken the matter up with President Johnson and Johnson had instructed him: "Don't tell anyone else, even Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara." (Inquiry into the testimony of the Executive Director for Operations, Vol. 3, Interviews, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Security Archive Collection on Non-Proliferation, #26090) No such estimate has been found.

 

131. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach to President Johnson/1/

Washington, April 4, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Middle East Problem

Recommendations:

1. That you sign the attached letters to Prime Minister Eshkol and King Hussein./2/

/2/There is no indication of the President's reaction to either of Katzenbach's recommendations. The draft letters are ibid. The proposed letter to Hussein was not sent. For the President's letter to Eshkol, see Document 134.

2. That you agree in principle, subject to a final recommendation regarding timing, to send a personal representative to Tel Aviv for intensive talks with Israeli representatives, and possibly to Amman and Cairo. Some suggested names of prominent private persons from which a representative might be chosen are included in the following memorandum.

Background

We are deeply concerned over recent developments in the Middle East which are affording the Soviets the opportunity to exploit the situation: the pattern of provocative terrorist activities countered by substantial Israeli military retaliation; the increased status which the Fedayeen seem to have achieved as a result of these developments; the inability of Hussein to deal with this matter and the apparent weakening of his regime; the decline in sympathy for Israel and growing doubts about its peaceful intentions; the inability of Jarring to get a dialogue going between Israel and the Arabs resulting from a rigid Israeli posture and the hardening of the UAR attitude.

In light of the foregoing, we have concluded we must make a more direct effort to arrest and reverse these trends. Our efforts with the parties concerned to take measures to bring greater stability to the cease-fire areas and to begin talks under Jarring's auspices have not been successful. I believe it is now urgent that we raise these appeals to a higher level. We have indications that many Israelis are as concerned as we about the present course of events, and such an effort would strengthen those calling for a reappraisal of Israeli policies, particularly with respect to terrorism. We have therefore recommended to you the early despatch of the attached letters to Eshkol and Hussein.

In addition, it would be highly desirable for you to send to Israel, perhaps some time next week (depending on the results of Jarring's continuing efforts), an individual who could speak frankly to the Israeli Government regarding recent trends and to explore with them possible steps which could be taken to reverse these trends. The principal short-range purpose of such a trip would be to try to indicate to Jarring a willingness to formulate acceptance and implementation of the Security Council resolution in such a way that it at least provides Jarring the opportunity to continue his efforts both in Amman and Cairo. While it is problematical that this would get talks started, it would at least help place the onus for failure on the UAR rather than Israel. More broadly and fundamentally, such an emissary could try to get across to the Israelis the immediate need for some gesture on their part, at least to Jordan, which will be an overt demonstration to the Arab world of a continuing Israeli interest in a political settlement. This would bolster Hussein. As a follow-up to your discussions with Eshkol, your emissary could also explore with the Israelis their concrete ideas about a settlement.

The U.S. emissary would not take over the mediation effort of Jarring. He would support Jarring's efforts, and we would ask Ambassador Goldberg to explain this to the Secretary General so that there would be no misunderstanding.

Our hope would be that such an emissary would also find it desirable and opportune to discuss matters in Amman and Cairo, though we would not wish to make any final recommendations to you in this regard until we know the results of discussions in Tel Aviv. Since it would be desirable to include Cairo on the itinerary, we believe the individual selected should be a private person in whom you have confidence rather than a government official. We have three possibilities in mind in the following order of preference: McGeorge Bundy, Robert Murphy, George Ball. Ambassador Goldberg feels, and we agree, that the emissary should have some ostensible reason for the visit other than the actual purpose. In this respect, McGeorge Bundy would be especially suitable since his foundation affairs could quite naturally take him to the Near East./3/

/3/In an April 5 memorandum to the President, Walt Rostow discussed the proposal to send a personal representative of the President to Israel. He proposed McGeorge Bundy, whom he cited as "everyone's top choice." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69)

Ambassador Goldberg concurs.

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 5, 1968, 9:20 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 70, 4/1-5/68. Secret.

Mr. President:

Recognizing that the approach to Eshkol in the letter previously submitted to you/2/ was too general, Nick, Gene, and Luke Battle have produced a formulation which comes to bear much more precisely on an urgent operational question. The language which Eban said he could accept when Jarring gave it to him on March 10 if Hussein had accepted, is at Tab A./3/

/2/See footnote 2, Document 131.

/3/Not printed. The key passage in the formula passed by Jarring to Eban on March 10, which is bracketed for emphasis in Tab A, indicates that in order to achieve a settlement the contending parties "intend to devise arrangements under my auspices for the implementation of the provisions of the resolution."

The variation desired by Hussein to make it easier for him with Nasser involves the substitution for the bracketed passage (Tab A) of the phrase "their readiness to implement it." The Jordanians indicate they would try to go with the Jarring text even if the Israelis do not accept the phrase. Goldberg suggests it as an additional phrase. Goldberg and State believe in any case that the provision in the next sentence of the phrase "promoting agreement in achieving such a settlement" covers the Israeli position.

In any case, this draft merely urges Eshkol to "consider" this variation of language. The reasons your intervention at this point is regarded as critical are twofold:

--there is an honest judgment that if we fail on this round-now that Hussein has indicated that he is prepared to accept the Jarring March 10 formulation--the Jarring mission will fail and we face a very bleak prospect;

--the conviction that Eshkol simply will not move unless you personally take a position. He has ignored one intervention after another by Goldberg and the Secretary of State.

I have read the critical passage to Abe Fortas, who now thinks that your intervention might make sense since it is sharply focused on a particular question.

Walt

Letter cleared/4/
No
Call me

/4/The President checked this option.

 

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

Washington, April 6, 1968, 0229Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Davies, cleared by Atherton and Battle, and approved by Davies. A copy was sent to the White House for Saunders' information.

142978. 1. At luncheon April 2, Evron raised with Davies Israel's request for sizable quantities US anti-personnel mines (requests total 400,000). He said Defense had told General Geva request blocked by NEA. Evron said mines urgently needed in conjunction with security belt being constructed to inhibit infiltration along sensitive areas of cease-fire line.

2. Davies said he unfamiliar with case but gave personal reaction that since USG has taken strong public position critical of Israel's military reprisal policy, he favored cooperation in measures to provide alternates. Evron suggested if it would help that he would seek assurances mines would be used only in connection this project. Davies said it would be embarrassing if mines of U.S. origin were to be used in countermeasures on East Bank.

3. Davies later telephoned Evron to say suggested assurances would be helpful in expediting final decision.

4. FYI--Evron later complained to White House staff that Department exacting condition which implied lack of trust and which would be resented in Jerusalem. Davies telephoned to express surprise to which Evron responded he had had second thoughts relating solely to the form in which assurances conveyed. When Davies said he had in mind oral assurances, Evron replied that he authorized to state mines would be used solely in connection border-sealing project. End FYI.

Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 6, 1968, 0516Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-US. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted at the White House, cleared in substance by Atherton, and approved by Walsh. Repeated to USUN, Amman, and Cairo.

142988. 1. Please convey following message from President to Prime Minister. Begin Message. Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I have considered your message of March 22/2/ with two thoughts uppermost in my mind: deep sympathy for the serious problems which continuing terrorist acts pose for your country; and deep anxiety about the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 123.

2. I appreciate, of course, the dilemma which the recent growth of terrorism presents. I believe, however, that military action across ceasefire lines does not deter the type of terrorism you face, but leads to greater insecurity, above all at this critical moment.

3. We both recognize, I am sure, that true security for Israel lies only in peace.

4. I believe we are now at a crossroads in this respect in the Near East: the sole peace-making process now available is the Jarring Mission. I am deeply concerned by the lack of tangible results from this mission and the cumulative deterioration of the situation resulting from a growing incidence of terrorism and counter military actions-especially at this delicate moment in the internal life of Jordan.

5. I feel, therefore, that there is an urgent need to reverse the present trend--a trend which carries the risk not only of greater and greater violence and insecurity, but indeed of another round of general hostilities, as well as irreparable damage to the Jarring Mission. We wish to see every possible step taken to minimize these risks.

6. There is very little time. There is still, however, an opportunity for an active strategy of peace.

7. I have just learned of Ambassador Goldberg's discussion with Ambassador Tekoah of April 5./3/ I believe that we must seize the opportunity presented by King Hussein's visit to Nasser, and the King's apparent willingness to urge acceptance of the formulation which Ambassador Jarring gave the Israeli Government on March 10. I understand that Foreign Minister Eban told Ambassador Jarring at that time that your Government could accept this formulation. I urge you most strongly to make your acceptance clear to Ambassador Jarring. The King believes it would greatly enhance the possibility of his success with Nasser if you could also agree to a variation in wording/4/ which Ambassador Goldberg set forth to Ambassador Tekoah. I hope you will be able to consider such a variation in language, as necessary.

/3/Goldberg's meeting with Tekoah was reported in telegram 4488 from USUN, April 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

/4/The language proposed by Jordan stipulated not only acceptance of Resolution 242 but also a readiness to implement it.

8. This may be the last chance for the Jarring Mission, and for peace.

Lyndon B. Johnson End Message

Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 7, 1968, 0131Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Davies on April 6, cleared by Popper, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to USUN.

143077. 1. Cairo for Bergus. With Israeli acceptance formula presented by Ambassador Jarring in his discussion in Jerusalem March 10, and King Hussein's apparent readiness to accept this approach (Amman's 4238),/2/ King's success in obtaining Nasser's acceptance now becomes of major importance in determining whether Jarring Mission is to succeed or fail. We have informed London of these developments through British Embassy and requested that Beeley consult with you soonest on what actions can be taken with the UARG in support of Hussein's position. You should apprise him of latest developments as soon as possible. In addition, suggest that you or Brommell see Hussein or, if not possible, pass word to him discreetly on results of our intervention with Israelis with view to having him make strongest efforts to obtain Nasser's acceptance. We have been reluctant to get out in front of Jarring, but issue is at such critical juncture every effort must now be made to move parties toward some form of negotiation leading to implementation Security Council resolution through agreement as required by para 3, SC Resolution. Clearly, if Nasser now reneges, responsibility for lack of progress will be on Egyptians. In light your 2055, you may wish to make this point apparent in further discussion with Muhammad Riad./3/

/2/Telegram 4238 from Amman, April 5, reported that King Hussein was prepared to try to obtain Nasser's acceptance of the proposal presented by Jarring in early March. (Ibid.)

/3/On April 6 Bergus and Mohamed Riad discussed the impending meeting between Nasser and Hussein. Bergus indicated that the United States was pressing Israel to accept a formula relating to Resolution 242 that would be acceptable to the Arab states, and urged that Nasser and Hussein should avoid any action detrimental to the Jarring Mission. (Telegram 2055 from Cairo, April 6; ibid.)

2. Amman for Ambassador Symmes. If in addition to action being taken in Cairo you deem it important pass Israeli reaction to senior GOJ officials, you authorized to do so.

Katzenbach

 

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

Amman, April 8, 1968, 1214Z.

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

4252. Dept pass Cairo. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: 143077,/2/ 3214./3/

/2/Document 135.

/3/Telegram 3214 from Tel Aviv, April 6, reported Eban's request that Hussein be informed in Cairo that Israel had authorized Jarring to convey Israel's acceptance of the formula put forward by Jarring on March 10, and Israel's willingness to send representatives to a meeting between the parties under Jarring's auspices. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) Bergus reported from Cairo on April 7 that Hussein left Cairo before an assurance relating to the Israeli acceptance of the March 10 formula could be conveyed to him. Bergus did convey such an assurance to Mohamed Riad. (Telegram 2060 from Cairo; ibid.)

1. Summary: King Hussein called me and Emboff to Palace evening 7th for briefing on Jarring talks with Nasser. Only after several hours of difficult discussion had he obtained Nasser's agreement even to consider accepting the Jarring proposal. Catch now is that Nasser insists Jarring must come up with some alternate phraseology to substitute for "I have invited the two govts to meet with me for conferences" on March 10 proposal. Jordan and UAR therefore will try to get Jarring to develop his own proposal along lines "I plan to meet with representatives or delegates of the parties in New York." Nasser is adamant that meetings can be held only in New York and must be lowest key possible. Abdul Munim Rifai stayed behind in Cairo to join with UAR FonMin Riad in meeting with Jarring on 8th.

2. King said his April 6-7 meetings with Nasser had been longest and most arduous he had ever had with any leader. Jordanians had expected some difficulties in these discussions but were stunned by Nasser's opening position which was totally negative to concept of any peaceful solution. As far as Jordanians could see this position was shared by all of Nasser's advisers. Nasser had begun by saying flatly that Jarring Mission could not succeed, that only military solution was feasible and that UAR military was therefore preparing for that solution. Nasser repeatedly said Egyptian people would not stand for the humiliation of dealing with Israelis through Jarring in terms of latter's present proposal. Nasser in fact considered Jarring's present formula as "an American trick." He indicated to the King a greater mistrust of US policy than ever and stressed he is unwilling to resume diplomatic relations with the US. According to Nasser he had just turned down opportunity to restore relations and would continue to do so.

3. Nasser told Hussein that six other Arab states have stated to him they have not accepted the SC resolution and oppose a political settlement. The six are Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait, South Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Nasser said Faisal through Omar Saqqaf had just urged him to agree to announce failure of the Jarring Mission. Hussein observed parenthetically to me "Your friend Faisal is more opposed than anyone to peaceful settlement."

4. King probed Nasser for indication to when UAR would be ready to take Israel on militarily, if Nasser seriously meant that the military alternative was the only one available to the Arabs. Nasser said he would be ready "before eighteen months had lapsed." King then countered with question how UAR proposed to help Jordan militarily since Israeli attacks on Jordan are occurring right now. Nasser replied unfortunately he was in no position to give any help. Jordanians thereupon reminded Nasser he had told them he felt personally responsible for loss of West Bank and was prepared to do anything possible to help King recover his lost territory. King pressed this point home with comment "Now you say no political solution and yet you cannot help us militarily." King said he pointed out to Nasser that whether UAR liked it or not Jordan did not intend to continue to bear alone the brunt of Israeli military attacks and would call for assistance other Arab states, specifically UAR. Thus, King continued, UAR would become involved militarily against Israel but once again in circumstances where Israelis would be dictating the time and place. This would undoubtedly mean another disastrous defeat for the Arabs. King observed he thought this stage in discussion had been turning point in his efforts to get Nasser to consider accepting Jarring proposal. The two delegations thereupon settled down to review Jarring's formula.

5. To Jordanians' surprise Nasser passed over the "to devise arrangements" phrase without hesitation. This was point on which GOJ had expected most trouble. King said he had reserved as his fallback position insertion of phraseology "readiness to implement" but found this was unnecessary. Nasser balked only at the penultimate sentence of Jarring's formula and stated that call for meetings in way Jarring proposed was "impossible".

6. Jordanians' first thought was that they must then begin all over again with their argumentation. They pointed out that the meeting with Israelis under Jarring's auspices was whole object of exercise. Nasser countered with statement if he accepted Jarring's "I have invited the two govts to meet with me for conferences," there would be a "revolution in Egypt tomorrow." Nasser stated that Cyprus as meeting place was out of the question. Jordanians then suggested possibility of New York as meeting place. Nasser was intrigued with this idea and, overriding the objections of some of his advisers, said he could accept this and added New York would be the only place where UAR could meet.

7. It was clear to the Jordanians that they had pushed Nasser as far as was possible. They felt at conclusion of discussions Nasser would stick to his position even though this put him in opposition to some of his advisers including Mahmoud Riad who throughout the meetings was particularly rigid and outspokenly anti-American. Nasser and Hussein agreed that Abdul Munim Rifai would remain in Cairo to meet with Jarring and Mahmoud Riad on Monday April 8. They would explain difficulty of "inviting the two govts" and would urge Jarring to develop a substitute phrasing of his own. Nasser indicated for example that he would not object to Jarring saying he had "arranged to meet with representatives (or delegates) of the parties in New York." Nasser also agreed with Hussein that such meetings by no means need to be confined to permanent UN representatives of the countries involved. What he could not accept was a reference to "govts" or "conferences."

8. Hussein said he was convinced Nasser both fully intends to proceed with "indirect talks" with Jarring and recognizes that talks are necessary "to devise arrangements for implementations." Hussein said as far as he is concerned he will send Abdul Munim Rifai and or Dep PriMin Ahmad Touqan, together with other aides, to talk in New York and will be prepared to move as fast as possible. Jordan's al-Farra would not be GOJ representative.

9. After reviewing the foregoing, King Hussein said "This really is our last chance. You must persuade the Israelis to keep quiet and to go along with whatever Jarring proposes in place of the present invitation to the govts." The King kept saying that "there will be talks and they can be broadened later if we can only get the meetings started." He also said that although Nasser and he remain adamant against proceeding to a formal peace treaty, they had discussed various formulas through which permanent and secure guarantees of a peaceful settlement could be established. The King recognized the problem of proposing changes in the present proposal. For that reason, Rifai and Riad would not propose any specific language to Jarring but would explain the problem and try to stimulate him to come up with language of his own that would solve the problem for the Arabs and at the same time be acceptable to Israel as Jarring's own ideas.

10. Comment: We consider results of Hussein's talks to be encouraging. They were not conclusive in terms of getting final agreement from Nasser to Jarring's formula but we believe nonetheless we are within reach of getting talks started. We leave to other addressees whether there would be benefit in giving GOI run down on Hussein-Nasser talks until it is clear what Jarring intends to do next. He may need pushing from U Thant or Bunche if we are to have any quick action. Because of Jarring's less than activist approach to his mission we recognize that proposed revising of penultimate sentence in his formula may risk considerable delay and even Israeli rejection.

11. As far as Jordanians are concerned, it is clear to us they are ready to assume all risk involved in substantive negotiations and will take the lead in expanding the scope of the talks as quickly as possible.

12. We have increasingly deep reservations about Jarring's ability to carry through the job successfully and believe he will need careful monitoring and prodding. For this reason we see positive merit in meetings in New York which outweigh the objections USG has hitherto maintained to this venue. In any case, from what Hussein says there is no alternative to New York.

Symmes

 

137. Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

CA-7122

Washington, April 8, 1968, 3:04 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Precht; cleared by Wiley, Wehmeyer, and Day, and in draft by Bovis and Atherton; and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, USUN, London, and Jerusalem.

SUBJECT
Israeli Settlements in Occupied Territories

REF
Tel Aviv 2722, A-716, Jerusalem A-176/2/

/2/Telegram 2722 from Tel Aviv, March 1, reported on a question-and-answer session in the Knesset on February 26 during which Eshkol answered questions dealing with Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, and discussed the negotiability of Jerusalem. (Ibid.) In airgram A-716 from Tel Aviv, March 29, the Embassy reported on the growth of six Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights area. (Ibid., REF ISR) Airgram A-176 from Jerusalem, March 6, reported on an Israeli settlement developing at a former Jordanian Army installation on the Dead Sea. (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

We have noted press and posts' reporting that the GOI is under increasing pressure to authorize and facilitate the establishment of civilian settlements in the occupied areas. Existing settlements in the Golan Heights, Sinai, and at Etzion were justified by the GOI as para-military encampments serving security purposes. Recent reports (Tel Aviv A-716) indicate that these settlements are taking on aspects of permanent, civilian, kibbutz-like operations and some are, in fact, civilian kibbutzim with Nahal covers. Thus far, we have no information on the establishment of settlements by the 17 groups which Prime Minister Eshkol announced in the Knesset February 26 he had approved. While there was no suggestion in his statement that these groups would be associated with Nahal, we note that the groups filed applications with the GOI and it seems probable they are non-Nahal.

Although we have expressed our views to the Foreign Ministry and are confident there can be little doubt among GOI leaders as to our continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas, we believe it would be timely and useful for the Embassy to restate in strongest terms the US position on this question.

You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol's Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention,/3/ which states "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Finally, you should emphasize that no matter what rationale or explanation is put forward by the GOI, the establishment of civilian settlements in the occupied areas creates the strong appearance that Israel, contrary to the principle set forth in the UNSC Resolution and to US policy expressed in the President's speech of June 19, does not intend to reach a settlement involving withdrawal from those areas.

/3/Reference is to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949. (6 UST 3516, TIAS 3365)

Rusk

 

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

Washington, April 8, 1968, 2348Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by Wiley and Houghton on April 5; cleared by Atherton, Davies, and Battle; and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to Amman.

143620. Ref: Tel Aviv 3159;/2/ Amman 4199./3/

/2/The Embassy reported on April 2 that it had responded to requests from the Foreign Ministry for an assessment of the internal situation in Jordan. Embassy officials had indicated that they had no information to confirm press reports that the collapse of the Jordanian Government was imminent. (Telegram 3159 from Tel Aviv; ibid.)

/3/In telegram 4199 from Amman, April 4, the Embassy noted, in response to a request from the Embassy in Tel Aviv, that offering assurances to the Israelis that Hussein's government had reserves of strength might not have the desired effect in light of the fact that the Israelis had excellent sources of intelligence of their own to assess Jordan's internal situation. (Ibid.)

1. We fully concur in Embassy Amman's 4199 and are becoming deeply disturbed by continuing evidence that elements in GOI seriously considering possibility of toppling Hussein as means of somehow improving current situation for Israel. We have particularly in mind statement made by chief of IDF naval intelligence reported Tel Aviv DAO 0626/4/ (para 1A) and report in Tel Aviv 3146/5/ that only one-third of opinion in Foreign Ministry is opposed to "solutions" involving the toppling of Hussein. We fail to see how the departure of Hussein could do anything other than put prospects for peace further in the background. We are further concerned that Israelis do not seem to have received message that regime's survival is important to US interests quite apart from interests of Israel. Given nature of our relationship with GOI, we believe that we are entitled to Israeli consideration of these interests.

/4/Not found.

/5/In telegram 3146 from Tel Aviv, April 2, the Embassy reported that information obtained from the Foreign Ministry indicated that a debate was taking place within the Israeli Government as to how to deal with the terrorism problem and the Jordanian Government. The telegram indicated that the weight of opinion within the Foreign Ministry inclined toward doing whatever was necessary to keep Hussein on his throne as the best hope of containing the terrorists, but others in the Israeli Government advocated the overthrow of Hussein. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68)

2. You may inform Fonmin officials that we believe King Hussein is still in control of the situation in Jordan, but that recent Israeli reprisal actions have made his task of maintaining internal security much more difficult. You should also inform them that the US Government is becoming increasingly concerned over indications that Israel may be contemplating further military actions against Jordan as such actions will only weaken Hussein and further augment the prestige and support for the terrorists among the Arab population.

3. You should also emphasize that preservation of Jordanian regime is a major US interest. We believe he still represents the best prospect for a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli problem. In addition, Hussein is important to our overall position in the Arab world and his fall or further weakening would likely have most unfortunate repercussions for our interests throughout the area. We trust that the Government of Israel will realize that the relationship existing between our two countries justifies our expectation that Israel will respect our interests even when Israel may not think them identical with its own.

Rusk

 

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

Washington, April 9, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Comment on Amman 4266/2/

/2/Telegram 4266 from Amman, April 8, reported on a message the Jordanian Government had just received from Israel. A personal message from Eban to King Hussein, also intended for Nasser, it indicated that Israel was eager for a settlement with the Arab states, and felt that fedayeen activities made it imperative that the settlement be reached quickly. Eban stated that if a settlement was not reached during April, Israel would have to resort to force to resolve the Fedayeen problem. Eban added that the only way to achieve a settlement was through direct contact between Israel and the Arab states. He offered assurances that Israel was prepared to discuss border and security issues in a positive manner. Israel was prepared to be flexible on the issue of Jerusalem, but could not contemplate divided control of the city. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM)

It's hard to know exactly what to make of the attached secret message from Eban to Hussein and Nasser. We can't even be sure that this third-hand account is completely accurate. The substance of the Israeli position as reported contains nothing new. The interesting aspect is the fact that they seem to be putting on some pressure now.

Whatever else one reads into it, it's an ultimatum-direct negotiations now or we'll attack-softened somewhat by the line that the politicians may be losing control in Israel and this may be the Arabs' last chance for some time to get the kind of forthcoming deal Eban can offer.

Why should Eban apply the pressure now? From other Israelis we have the impression that they'd rather sit until the Arabs come to them. Possible explanations:

1. There is a serious debate going on over how to stop terrorism, and Eban and other moderates may have bought enough time from the hard-liners to give negotiations one final try. Eban probably does feel it would be disastrous for Israel's hard-liners to gain the upper hand, but if he can't stop terrorism the peaceful way he may not be able to hold out against those who urge the military solution. While it sounds quite uncharacteristic for Eban to admit that terrorism is having an unsettling effect in Israel, he is still speaking from a position of strength since the alternative he poses is further use of force.

2. The situation may not be so neat as that described above, and this may be just one of several simultaneous attempts to explore a new tack. We know they are considering such things as seizing part of the East Bank, working directly against Nasser and Hussein, an $80 million fence on the Jordan, dealing directly with the Palestinians, and a wide variety of military answers to terrorism, three of which have been tried in the past month. It would not be surprising if they were to make diplomatic use of these to try to precipitate negotiations. They'd have nothing to lose, except that an ultimatum of this sort may do more harm than good if poorly presented.

3. Or they may be afraid of us and this may be their way of pressing the Arabs to talk on their terms before we push them to change their terms. They're alert enough to know by now that a lot of people here are beginning to talk about "partial solutions" and "last chance for peace." They also know that American public opinion against our "pro-Israeli" policy is slowly coming to life.

Except for the insight it provides if other evidence fills out the picture, there's no immediate operational aspect to this message.

John
Hal

 

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

Tel Aviv, April 9, 1968, 1204Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to Amman, Jerusalem, London, and USUN.

3252. Israeli independence day parade. Ref: Amman's 4270./2/

/2/Telegram 4270 from Amman, April 9, reported Jordanian Government concerns that a proposed Israeli independence day parade scheduled for May 2 through Jerusalem would lead to serious repercussions in the Arab world if it went as planned through east Jerusalem. The Embassy suggested that an effort be made to persuade the Israelis to cancel or reroute the parade. To that end the Embassy proposed that UN Secretary-General U Thant be encouraged to issue a statement deploring the proposed parade as likely to increase tensions in the area and complicate the efforts being made to promote peace. The Embassy further suggested that the Department issue a statement expressing a similar position. (Ibid.)

1. While I am aware that the content and the route of the Israeli independence day parade will very likely arouse negative reactions among Arabs, I question whether the proposals set forth in reftel are best designed to protect our own interests in the matter. A USG public critical position is very likely, I believe, to contribute only to blow the whole matter up still further without positive return for us or anyone else. The fact is of course, as ConGen Jerusalem has been reporting for weeks, that Israeli plans and preparations are very far advanced indeed, and that any intervention on our part would stand no chance of effecting a major change in the spectacle./3/ I urge that we make no public statements on the parade and that if there are queries we limit ourselves to a reiteration of our position on Jerusalem. I wonder in any case on what grounds we could object to a military parade being held in occupied territory by the occupying forces.

/3/The Consulate General in Jerusalem confirmed this judgment in telegram 1163 from Jerusalem, April 11. The Consulate General felt, however, that it was important for the United States to express its opposition to a parade it judged was inappropriate and unwise. (Ibid.)

2. I have not received an invitation to the parade yet and it is possible that the GOI, knowing well our views, will not tender one. Naturally, if I am invited, I do not intend to participate.

Barbour

 

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

Washington, April 9, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Exploration with Evron

As you suggested, I broached with Eppie the question of how the President might make a major effort for a Middle East settlement, explaining that this was a purely personal and private conversation. I started with the notion that some Israeli indication that a decent settlement is at the end of the track is necessary to get negotiations going. We talked about the validity of this premise and about how far the Israeli Government might go in sending such a signal.

Our conversation was most revealing. I believe the answer, in short, is that the Israelis are waiting till Nasser falls and aren't anxious for any US initiative that hurries them toward peace before that happens. Eppie musters all sorts of reasons--some sensible, some marginal--but this is what I think it boils down to.

To me, this means that we have to make our own judgment and then set out with all our energies to change the Israelis' minds (probably via an emissary). To do this, we have to have a convincing answer to their arguments that (a) Nasser can't or doesn't want to negotiate peace; (b) they can't negotiate a settlement with a schizophrenic; (c) Nasser must go before other Arab governments can be free to pursue their own interests in a settlement.

The choice before us is between (a) letting forces play out as they are with an occasional tactical prod to keep Jarring in motion and (b) playing for a substantial shift in Israel's tactical position on the assumption that such a shift would get serious negotiations started. So far, while everyone is uneasy about our present course, no one has made the hard final judgment that would shift our approach to leaning hard on the Israelis. We came close last week but were diverted by the seeming break on the Jarring front. I will be doing a separate memo to you and Luke on this. For the moment, here's how my conversation with Eppie went:

Eppie doubts--"with real regret"--that any kind of Presidential initiative or Israeli compromise now would get negotiations started. He believes the Arabs will choose to wait for President Johnson's successor. Any sign that we were urging compromise now would lead the Arabs to believe that pressures are building up on the US to push Israel into a more flexible position. Any sign of change in our position would encourage the Arabs to believe that the President's successor would have to start at least from that point and that greater compromise would be possible later. He pointed out how unanimously the Arabs view the President's Vietnam proposal as a sign of weakness and failure.

He further believes that the Arabs have all the signals they need from Israel-that the main obstacle to negotiation is that the Arabs themselves aren't ready to negotiate. In the way of signals, he cited particularly Eban's 12 February interview with Haaretz. Having said that much, the Israelis believe any more signs of compromise would be signs of weakness in Arab eyes.

Eppie is playing with a new idea. He believes that feelings of Palestinian separatism are growing stronger right under the surface on the West Bank. Since he doubts that King Hussein is a free (from Nasser) agent in negotiating a settlement, he wonders whether Israel

shouldn't start with a settlement negotiated with the Palestinians and then let them determine their own relationship with Jordan.

I suggested that, even to do this, Israel would have to make up its mind on the shape of a final settlement. He asked what we had in mind. I told him we had not drawn any lines on the map. I said that our main concern was that Hussein get back a big enough portion of the West Bank to call it a settlement and a significant role in Jerusalem. He hinted that the Israelis are thinking about a substantial modification in the old armistice line, pushing it eastward at least as far as the heights that run down through Nablus past Jerusalem and Hebron (looks like 15-25% of West Bank area). In Jerusalem he spoke of Jordanian administrative custodianship of the mosque area and, at most, a corridor of access to the old city.

I said it sounded to me as if he advocates our standing back and letting events take their course. He denied this. He feels that there is already substantial Arab reason to believe that an eventual military solution would be possible because we have stood back. He harked back again to the idea that our greatest mistake in 1967 was to continue our suspension of arms shipments while the Soviets were rearming the Arabs. The Arabs do not believe we are firm in denying the area to the Soviets or in opposing the radical Arabs. In his view, we have never even made it clear that the Sixth Fleet will remain in the Mediterranean as long as it is needed. This American wishy-washy-ness is, in his eyes, the greatest encouragement the Arabs could find to believe that a military solution will become possible someday. It's the old line of making Israel so unbeatable that the Arabs will be forced to their knees.

Far from advocating our simply letting events take their course, he proposed a policy of "active passivity." He saw three things that could be done:

--Nasser should be eliminated. "There are plenty of things you could do." He claims that we continue to help keep him afloat by acquiescing in Western European and IMF programs to reschedule UAR debts. He believes we have dropped our conditions for resuming relations and are now encouraging Nasser to think that he can place conditions on resumption.

--Aircraft for Israel. The Arabs must be certain that the military balance will continue to favor Israel.

--We must make clear that we are going to stand firm against the USSR. "You should hear what even your friend, the Shah, says about your policy." He deeply fears that the mood in this country is to pull out.

I summed up by suggesting that the US could follow one of three courses:

(1) We could sit back and let local forces play themselves out.

(2) We could keep hands off the Jarring process but become more active in creating conditions that would be riper for bringing the Arabs around and convincing them that a military solution is impossible.

(3) We could press for some sort of Israeli signal and try to get the Jarring negotiations started.

He felt that the middle course was best.

Comment: This illustrates to me, more sharply than anything I have heard, the limits of trying to deal with the Israelis on the basis of friendship. They deeply distrust our "softness" in dealing with the Arabs. They will cultivate closeness with us as long as it suits their purposes. They will not open up to us on basic strategy because they disagree with us fundamentally over the question of whose side time helps. If we disagree, we will have to make up our own minds and take them on. Eppie promised to come back with more refined thoughts after he'd had time to think this over, but I thought you'd be interested in his initial reaction because it's so revealing.

Hal

 

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

Amman, April 10, 1968, 0810Z.

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

4296. Subject: Jarring Mission.

1. King Hussein summoned me last night to meet with him urgently in the PriMin's office. He had with him Crown Prince Hassan, PriMin Talhouni, Abd al-Moneim al Rifai and Zayd al-Rifai. Abd al-Moneim had not long before returned from Cairo and they had been discussing his talks with Mahmoud Riad and Jarring.

2. The King with interjections from Abd al-Moneim explained a new snag that had developed in the Jarring exercise as a result of the talks in Cairo on the 8th. As a result of the talks Abd al-Moneim had with Riad and Jarring, Jordan was now requesting the USG to state to the GOI in writing that it is the USG understanding that Israel, in saying that it accepts the Nov 22, 1967 and Jarring's March 10 proposal, means that it also accepts the implementation of the resolution. If this could be done, then Jordanian and Egyptian representatives would be in New York in a matter of few days ready to talk under Jarring's auspices. After the talks started, Jordan would be ready "to move very far, very fast" regardless of what the UAR might do. But Jordan had to have the UAR with it in order to get started in talks. With the requested written assurance from the US, Jordan could get the UAR to talks in New York. The US statement would be considered as an assurance, not as a commitment, the King said.

3. I responded that we had already been assured Jarring had been informed officially by Israel that it accepted his March 10 proposal. Why should anything else be needed and why, in particular, should it be required of us? I did not see how Jarring's proposal could be modified without raising further questions and suspicions in everyone's mind. To us Jarring's proposal, like the Nov 22 resolution, meant what it said, nothing more and nothing less. Israel had provided us with the wording of its written telegram to Jarring reiterating acceptance of his proposal.

4. Abd al-Moneim then explained the genesis of the Jordanian request as follows: After a lot of jockeying around on the 8th about what would be said to Jarring and whether Jordan and the UAR would meet him separately or together, it was decided Riad would see him first alone. Riad was to say that Jordan had accepted his March 10 proposal and was ready to meet with him. Jarring had responded to Riad and later to Rifai "That's fine, but Israel has not accepted the implementation of the resolution."

5. I expressed incredulity that Jarring had said this. In the course of further discussion, however, it came out that both Riad and Rifai had been told by Jarring that he did not consider that Israeli acceptance of his March 10 proposal or the Israeli telegram meant that they will implement the resolution.

6. I of course went over all of the old ground making especially the following points: (1) the resolution is not self-implementing (2) to accept the resolution is to accept the idea of its fulfillment (3) the resolution is a package (4) talks between the parties, but not necessarily direct talks, are understood to be required (5) some kind of secure and permanent arrangements, but not necessarily a formal peace treaty, are foreseen in implementing the resolution (6) the only true test of the intentions of the other side is to sit down and start trying "to devise arrangements for the implementation." I said it was Jarring's job to get acceptance of different words if he and the parties felt that other words were necessary. I personally thought a great deal of time had already been wasted in debating the meaning of words about "acceptance." If now we told Israel we were assuming the Arabs and Israel had agreed to implement the resolution, Israel would have every right to ask us what the Arabs meant by moving away from Jarring's March 10 proposal. We had heard enough about these forms of words to know each side seemed to find some special magic in them. If the Jordanian-UAR idea is to play legal or semantic tricks on Israel I saw no hope for a peaceful settlement. I did not see in any case why my govt should have to speak for Israel in this way. We very much wanted a peaceful settlement but we could not lend ourselves to deceiving either side. If we said "Israel agrees to implement the resolution" it would mean no more and no less than what the Jarring March 10 proposal says.

7. We went over and over this ground. The King emphasized there was no intention of misleading anyone. Jordan simply has to have the UAR with it to begin talks. The requested assurance (not a commitment, he stressed several times), from us would enable Jordan to get the UAR to New York. From then on there would be clear sailing. There would be no need for a report or statement or anything else from Jarring.

8. I pressed Abd al-Moneim on why Jarring's proposal was not sufficient. He reiterated that Jarring had said he cannot guarantee that Israel will implement the resolution and that he, Jarring, does not believe they will. Jarring had said this to Riad. When Jarring said the same thing to Rifai, the latter had said the U.S. Embassy assures us Israel accepts your proposal and will proceed to agree on its implementation. Jarring had said in effect: "I don't believe it. Get it from that Embassy in writing." It was largely for this reason that Jordan now needed a statement from the USG in writing-a statement it could show to Riad.

9. Several variations of a possible USG written statement were put forward, but I did not get a clear statement of what would satisfy the Jordanians or the UAR.

10. Hussein assured me several times that Jordan is eager to meet in New York and to reach agreement. If this umbrella can be provided to get UAR to NYC, Jordan will move ahead rapidly.

11. Comment: Foregoing is preliminary report. I am seeing Rifai again in a few minutes and may ask to see Hussein later. Will make recommendations following these meetings.

12. Only explanation for this bizarre performance that occurs to us is that Jarring must have believed that Israel's retraction of its acceptance as reported in State 143647 and 143619/2/ had again pulled the rug from under him./3/

/2/Telegram 143647 to Tel Aviv, April 9, repeated telegram 4494 from USUN, April 8, which was the basis of the information sent to Tel Aviv on April 8 in telegram 143619. Telegram 143619 to Tel Aviv, April 8, indicated that Ambassador Goldberg received a report from Jarring that the Israeli Ambassador in Nicosia had passed a message from Eban to the effect that Jarring should do nothing further to deliver the message to Hussein indicating Israeli acceptance of the March 10 formula. (Both ibid.)

/3/The Department informed the Embassy in Amman on April 12 that, for all of the reasons advanced by Ambassador Symmes, the United States could not provide the written statement Jordan had requested. (Telegram 145661; ibid.)

Symmes

 

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

Washington, April 11, 1968, 2330Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Battle, Houghton, and Sisco; and approved by Katzenbach.

145603. Ref: Amman's 4266./2/ Subject: Arab-Israeli Eban Message. Should King Hussein seek our reaction to proposal carried by Hikmat Al-Masri, suggest you reply along following lines:

/2/See footnote 2, Document 139.

1. Notwithstanding strong U.S. desire seek progress toward settlement, because of considerable risk for Hussein we believe we must leave decision to him.

2. At the same time, we recognize pressures mounting within the status quo may prove a greater danger in the longer term.

3. While there are elements in Eban message we do not like, it does represent a significant Israeli initiative and a possible opening.

4. As made clear in November discussions with Hussein in the U.S., we cannot guarantee to deliver Israel on any specific issue but would use our influence to get the best deal possible for Jordan. We adhere to the views expressed then.

5. FYI. You will recall at that time we made clear we could not envisage a viable Jordan without return of the West Bank. We believe there must be withdrawal of Israeli forces to recognized and secure frontiers but not, necessarily, the old armistice lines. We believe there could be adjustments of these lines based on security and economic considerations but that there must be mutuality in adjustments. As Ambassador Goldberg noted, for example, "If Jordan makes an adjustment along the Latrun salient there ought to be some compensatory adjustment for it." Jerusalem, we recognize, is probably the most difficult issue involved in any settlement, but even here we are prepared to be helpful. We are willing to use our influence to see what arrangements can be worked out for an appropriate Jordanian role in Jerusalem. End FYI.

6. If King should not raise this matter with you in next few days, we may wish to reassess the situation to determine whether we should take initiative./3/

/3/Symmes reported on April 12 that neither the King nor Zaid al-Rifai had raised the matter with the Embassy. Symmes concluded that "Jordanians will let this one ride at least until they see how the UAR reacts to latest Jarring developments." (Telegram 4354 from Amman; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN)

Rusk

 

144. National Intelligence Estimate/1/

NIE 35-68

Washington, April 11, 1968.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on April 11.

ISRAEL

Note

This estimate assesses Israel's situation with particular reference to its central problem of security. In the radically altered situation arising from the June war, Israel's security problems have two major aspects: (a) its military capabilities compared to those of the Arabs; and (b) the political, psychological, diplomatic, and administrative questions involved in dealing with the occupied territories and with its Arab neighbors in circumstances short of war.

Conclusions

A. Despite its smashing victory in the June 1967 war, Israel finds that acceptance by its Arab neighbors continues to elude it. A formal peace settlement is out of the question, and the present stalemate, with Israel occupying large tracts of territory and controlling a million Arabs, will probably continue for a long time.

B. Arab terrorist activity is likely to increase, though Israel will be able to keep it under control. Incidents along the cease-fire lines will also continue. Israel will retaliate on occasion, and this could develop into heavy fighting. In the longer run, continued Israeli occupation will almost certainly lead to a new round of major hostilities.

C. In this condition of uneasy truce, Israel will maintain a military superiority over the Arabs, with a view to deterring them or, if war comes, defeating them quickly enough to prevent serious damage to itself. This means modern weapons. Israel probably sees France as a not very reliable source of such arms, at least as long as de Gaulle is in power, and will look increasingly to the US. But it will also try to produce as much as possible of its own military equipment.

D. Six years ago, Israel contracted with a French supplier for a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 280 nautical miles. It could be deployed in Israel in 1969, if de Gaulle permits it. If he refuses to allow the French firm to deliver the missiles or to assist Israel in manufacturing them, the latter could go ahead on its own, but it would probably take at least five years to deploy a missile system.

[1 paragraph (8 lines of source text) not declassified]

[Here follows the 9-page Discussion section of the estimate.]

 

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

Cairo, April 15, 1968, 0815Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 7 US/McCLOY. Secret; Nodis.

2136. 1. McCloy left Cairo this morning after 36 hour stay./2/ While here he saw Nasser, Fawzi, and FonMin. Following is prepared from rough notes dictated by McCloy before departure and is subject to revision by him. He asks that distribution be restricted to Secretary, Messrs. E. Rostow, Battle and Helms and White House.

/2/John J. McCloy visited Egypt as part of a series of visits to Middle Eastern countries on behalf of the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development. He also visited Jordan April 10-11 and Lebanon April 11-13. Reports of his meetings with King Hussein and Prime Minister Talhouni are in telegrams 4316 and 4317 from Amman, both April 11. (Ibid.) For a record of McCloy's meeting with Lebanese President Helou, see Document 149.

2. Fawzi amenable but emphasized need for more significant US support for Nov 22 resolution. FonMin more critical of US and more despairing re any hope coming from US. FonMin said key to problem was limitation of Israel expansionism. He said Israel unwilling forego expansionism and US unwilling confront Israel on this issue.

3. McCloy talked very plainly to Nasser. Nasser said he willing make "package deal" with Israel including withdrawal, "agreed and secure boundaries," demilitarization, non-belligerency. Documents to be prepared in advance and then go into effect simultaneously.

4. McCloy pointed up folly of linking Suez Canal to refugee problem. McCloy said refugee problem can never be "solved" to Arab satisfaction. Meanwhile one of Egypt's most precious assets wasting away. McCloy suggested reopening of Canal with IBRD assistance on terms of free passage for everybody. Nasser seemed to acknowledge the wisdom of such a course but indicated his internal situation would not permit it.

5. Nasser admitted he was the one standing in way of resumption US-UAR relations. He again indicated concern re public reaction to resumption so long as US did not balance its policy by doing something for Arabs.

6. Nasser recalled proposed US arms aid to Egypt in 1954 had foundered on his refusal accept US technicians. We had been right and he wrong. After June war he has been begging for Soviet technicians. He unable deny use his ports to Soviet fleet.

7. Nasser made sympathetic noises re Hussein but said if latter negotiated directly with Israel he wouldn't last very long.

8. Nasser said since President Johnson has announced he will not be a candidate might be time for US do something show its lack of bias for Israel. McCloy said no US administration would take action compel Israel withdraw without assurance for Israel's security and without convincing simultaneous action on part UAR. Nasser said this bitter pill but he accepted it.

9. McCloy got impression Nasser less vigorous, more subdued. He senses restrictions on his flexibility. Although worried, he is not distraught.

10. Nasser spoke in considerable admiration for President Johnson and what Nasser called "his statesmanship action" re Vietnam. Nasser added he completely convinced President's action not a maneuver.

Bergus

 

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

Washington, April 17, 1968.

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

SUBJECT
Airlift of Equipment to Jordan

The attached memorandum from Dick Helms to the President reports another request [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that we airlift some of the equipment included in our recent arms agreement./2/

/2/Not printed. [text not declassified] Ambassador Symmes supported this appeal in telegram 4371 from Amman, April 16: "I cannot emphasize too strongly the need to be forthcoming to the GOJ with respect to airlift." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 19-8 US-JORDAN)

We have already arranged two or three regular supply flights of non-lethal equipment down from Turkey. State and Defense are now arguing over whether to arrange 10-15 special flights to carry a few of the AA guns and other combat equipment to make a psychological impact such as we tried for after the Israeli raid on Samua in 1966.

Luke is trying to push this to urgent decision. Therefore, we do not have a solid proposal yet, and I would recommend giving him another day or two to work one out with Defense. If he can, then we would probably want to tell the President since it would dramatize our arms shipments to Jordan at a time when military exchanges across the Jordan River continue. Until we have a recommendation, however, you may not want to distract him from other more important issues.

Hal

 

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

Washington, April 18, 1968, 0101Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Precht on April 17; cleared in draft by Sisco, Colonel Abba of DOD/Joint Staff, and by Colonel R. H. Jenkins of DOD/ISA; cleared in substance by Country Director for Northern Africa John F. Root and by Neuman, Battle, Atherton, and Houghton; and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Aden, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, USUN, Paris, Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, Rabat, and STRIKECOM.

148769. Ref: Amman 4270,/2/ Tel Aviv 3296,/3/ USUN 4539,/4/ Jerusalem 1163,/5/ all refs Notal.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 140.

/3/In telegram 3296 from Tel Aviv, April 11, Barbour reiterated his objections to pressuring the Israeli Government to cancel or reroute the scheduled parade. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)

/4/Telegram 4539 from USUN, April 11, transmitted Goldberg's recommendations concerning the scheduled May 2 parade. Goldberg recommended issuing a strong U.S. statement of non-attendance and criticism of the parade venue, and at the same time make a high-level demarche to the Israeli Government asking for a change of venue. (Ibid.)

/5/See footnote 3, Document 140.

1. Israeli Twentieth Independence Day Parade, to be held in Jerusalem May 2, will originate in Shu'fat in former Jordanian-held sector, skirt Walled City and terminate in Israeli sector. Israeli press has reported foreign diplomats will not be asked to attend but that military attaches will be invited. USG has received no official Israeli communication regarding US attendance.

2. Department has determined that neither Ambassador nor any other Embassy officer should attend parade in Jerusalem. If it is deemed useful and desirable, a representative of USDAO may unofficially observe parade in civilian clothes./6/ At Ambassador's discretion he and members of his staff may attend other customary Independence Day ceremonies in Israeli sector of Jerusalem consistent with practice in past years.

/6/The Department subsequently revised this instruction to prohibit any U.S. official from attending the parade. (Telegram 152893 to Tel Aviv, April 25; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)

3. We plan to inform Israeli Embassy here of our position on parade as follows: US could not authorize its representatives to attend parade in Jerusalem. This is consistent with our well known views on status of Jerusalem. As we have stated publicly and privately we believe future status of Jerusalem must be worked out in consultation with all parties having interest in special character of the city. Satisfactory solution for Jerusalem must take into consideration religious, economic, and political interests at stake including those of Israel and Jordan. This objective can best be achieved by dealing with future of Jerusalem as element in general political settlement. We have strongly and consistently expressed opposition to unilateral Israeli acts which appear to consolidate or symbolize de facto annexation of Jerusalem. We consider Israeli decision to route parade through the occupied, formerly Jordanian-held sector of the city a particularly provocative act which will understandably deepen Arab suspicions re true Israeli will to peace. We think Israelis will find little understanding for their action internationally and in UN. For Embassy Tel Aviv: Should question of Jerusalem Parade be raised by Foreign Ministry, you should make foregoing points in describing US position.

4. In formulating US position on parade Department has considered suggestions that USG attempt to dissuade GOI from staging parade in occupied East Jerusalem and that US encourage UNSYG to deplore Israeli planning for parade. We share views expressed by Embassy Tel Aviv and ConGen Jerusalem that there is no possibility GOI would make any change in its plans for Jerusalem parade. That parade would be held in Jerusalem has been foregone conclusion since June war, and elaborate preparations involving road work and construction of facilities have been made. GOI decision and actions have been taken in full knowledge US views on Jerusalem. Accordingly, we believe appropriate US response is dignified statement to press and to Israelis that emphatically and clearly sets forth consistent US position on Jerusalem while avoiding showdown over changing venue or route which we cannot win. By seeking involve UNSYG or otherwise forcing showdown, US would only provide additional fuel for Arab resentment.

5. Press guidance will be transmitted to addressees in subsequent message.

6. We plan also to inform British and other friendly governments who have expressed interest in our decision. We understand from informal consultations that British and Germans intend take similar decision.

Rusk

 

148. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/

SNIE 30-1-68

Washington, April 18, 1968.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on April 18.

TERRORISM AND INTERNAL SECURITY IN ISRAEL AND JORDAN

Scope Note

This estimate deals with the likely course of fedayeen/2/ activity and its consequences in Israel and Jordan over the next 6-12 months.

/2/In this estimate, we use the Arab word "fedayeen" in place of "terrorist" as often as possible. "Fedayeen" was originally used to describe emissaries of the medieval Assassins sent to kill their political opponents. It means one who sells his life in a sacred cause, thus redeeming himself in the hereafter. The English equivalent usually used by the Arabs is "commando." [Footnote in the source text.]

Conclusions

A. Fedayeen activity is posing dilemmas for King Hussein of Jordan and for the Government of Israel. The interaction of events in the two countries is likely to lead to increased border conflict and to threaten Hussein's control of Jordan.

B. Hussein would like to restrain the fedayeen, because they block his chances of an accommodation with Israel, bring reprisals, weaken his position on the throne, and infect the army and public with radical and subversive ideas. But he is finding restraint increasingly difficult since the fedayeen are popular symbols of defiance of Israel. The army is dissatisfied with the US arms supply program, and popular resentment toward the US is growing, based on a feeling that the US is partial to Israel. These circumstances may force Hussein to get arms from the USSR, through he fears the political implications of such a deal. If Hussein lost control, his regime would almost certainly be replaced by one more radical and aggressive, perhaps something on the Syrian pattern.

C. Fedayeen activity is unlikely to drive the Israelis from the occupied areas or endanger the existence of Israel itself. Nevertheless, Israel's leaders and people are united in their determination to halt Arab terrorism. They are beginning to question their long-established policy of reprisals, and are likely to try counterterrorism and hot pursuit as alternatives. They might mount a major military invasion of the East Bank, but we think they will decide that the disadvantages would outweigh the gains. In the end, they are likely to try to seal off much of the

present Jordanian border, though such a defensive posture runs against Israeli military tradition and instinct. Whatever their chosen tactic, they will be very tough in dealing with Arab terrorism and are unlikely to be deterred by the prospect that their efforts might topple Hussein.

Discussion

The Fedayeen

1. Arab terrorists--"fedayeen"--have become a critical factor in the internal affairs of Israel and Jordan, and in the relations of these states with one another. For a time after the June war, there was little fedayeen activity. Since the fall of 1967, however, such operations in Israel and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have been of sizable proportions./3/ As of mid-March, the Israelis claimed to have killed over 90 terrorists and to have 1,500 under detention. Some of these figures represent unorganized resistance activity in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, and many of those detained are probably suspects rather than proved fedayeen, but overall figures reflect a rising level of terrorist activity.

/3/In mid-March 1968, the Israeli Defense Minister said that 168 Israelis and 72 Arab citizens had been killed or wounded by the fedayeen since the war, in contrast with 58 killed or wounded in the preceding year. [Footnote in the source text.]

2. At least 20 organizations have the purpose of using terrorism against Israel. Most of them were formed before the June 1967 war and had as their objective the liberation of Palestine from Israeli domination. Since the June war, some of these organizations have represented themselves as movements of resistance against Israeli occupation of Arab territory. However, the line between these two goals is blurred, and fedayeen raids are carried out against Israel proper as well as against Israel-occupied Arab areas. The basic goal of the fedayeen probably is to undermine the state of Israel itself. The bulk of this activity is carried out by Fatah, which pre-dates the June war, and by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was formed after it. The other major group, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has trained irregular fighters, but does not appear to have engaged in raids against Israel.

3. Control of the fedayeen movement in Jordan is a subject of rivalry among Arab States and factions. The PLO for some time has been trying to unite such activity under its aegis, but Fatah has refused to cooperate and has itself sought to unify such groups under its control. The Ba'thist regime in Syria fears the influence of Nasser and of the Arab Nationalists' Movement in the fedayeen movement and has sought to establish its own predominance over it. The goal of each contestant is predominant influence over the Palestine Arabs as an element in the inter-Arab struggle for power.

4. Most fedayeen are trained and equipped in Syria, although Algeria, Iraq, and the UAR have done some training. Though some may have been trained in Communist China and North Vietnam, we do not believe that any non-Arab force controls any of the fedayeen. Heavy financial support for liberation activities comes from well-to-do Palestinians and other Arabs in the oil-rich states, and demands appear to be increasingly levied on Jordanians. Nasser has now come out publicly in support of the fedayeen. Once trained, the fedayeen cross into Jordan, where they get help and sympathy from the Iraqi forces in Jordan and from the large numbers of their fellow Palestinians there. Fedayeen usually operate in teams of 4 to 11 men. Their missions include crossing into Israel or Israeli-occupied territory to plant mines, ambush Israeli personnel, conduct sabotage, and collect intelligence. The fedayeen have a mixed collection of small arms, grenades, and mines; according to Israeli reports, they have now acquired 120 mm mortars.

5. While there were relatively few fedayeen before June 1967, there are now probably some 2,000 in Jordan alone. Many are of a new breed. They are younger, better educated Palestinians with a sense of mission. They are likely to pursue their goals with zeal and increasing skill, though they are still relatively inexperienced. Fedayeen activity is unlikely to drive the Israelis from the occupied areas or endanger the existence of Israel itself.

6. Harsh repressive measures by Israeli occupation forces have kept the West Bank Arabs from offering much assistance to the fedayeen. The Israelis have apparently penetrated many of the fedayeen organizations, and have been able to kill or capture a substantial number of infiltrators in the act of crossing into Israeli-held territory. But these countermeasures have not stifled the fedayeen. Indeed, each successful incident will probably further boost their determination to continue and enlarge their activities. Their methods, however, will probably remain much the same; they will try to take Israeli lives and inflict damage on property, will have some successes, and will remain objects of very serious concern to Israel.

7. The Israelis have also launched severe reprisal raids designed to make the Jordanians withhold support from the fedayeen. For example, on 15 February, the Israelis shelled and bombed a refugee camp which they said was harboring fedayeen. On 21 March, several thousand Israeli troops crossed the Jordan River, seized the town of Karamah, a terrorist base, killed and captured a number of alleged fedayeen, and killed at least 60 Jordanian soldiers as well. These reprisals in particular have, contrary to Israeli expectations, caused an upsurge of popular support for the fedayeen, who have achieved a new respectability as Arab patriots.

Hussein's Position

8. King Hussein has been in a difficult situation since the June war. At that time he had earned almost universal approval at home by joining with the other Arabs in fighting Israel, but this did not entirely offset the shock of defeat and the great loss of territory. As Hussein has tenaciously held on to his connection with the US, which most Arabs believe strongly supports Israel, and as his diplomatic efforts to regain lost territory have not succeeded, frustration has become more open and pronounced in Jordan.

9. This situation makes it extremely difficult for King Hussein to arrive at an acceptable policy towards the fedayeen. He has endeavored to restrain their activities, for he recognizes that they result in Israeli reprisals which he can neither prevent nor protect against. These reprisals damage his country and his people; they also increase resentment against his regime by the Jordanian people and army. Hussein also believes that continued terrorism is destroying the chances of an accommodation with the Israelis which would return most of the West Bank to him. Moreover, the fedayeen owe allegiance to no government and constitute a subversive element which could provide a focus of antiregime sentiment. While the upper echelons of the Jordanian Government share Hussein's views, the bulk of the Jordanian people feel considerable sympathy for the anti-Israeli actions of the fedayeen. By and large, the Jordanian Army is not hostile to the infiltrators; some army units have provided covering fire for fedayeen crossing the Jordan River. They have probably, despite orders to the contrary, given them material support. Further, the Jordanian Army has not inhibited the open assistance given the fedayeen by Iraqi troops in Jordan.

10. Thanks to the rising popularity of the fedayeen, and to general anger in Jordan at Israeli reprisals, King Hussein now finds it increasingly difficult to restrict the anti-Israeli actions of the fedayeen who live in his territory. He is seeking accommodation with their leaders so as to curb criminal or antiregime activity which these groups might undertake. He probably is also trying to exploit differences among rival fedayeen groups and among the Arab regimes and factions that support them. There is little likelihood that this situation will change, and the fedayeen will probably operate from Jordan into Israel without fear of effective official opposition. As for Hussein, either permitting them to operate freely or trying to assert some degree of control over them is likely to adversely affect his position over a period of time.

11. In the past, Hussein's principal support has been the army, but the sympathy of some of its elements with terrorist activities may make it receptive to the general hostility of the fedayeen to the monarchy. This process is likely to be hastened by rising dissatisfaction with what the officer corps considers an unacceptably slow pace of arms resupply by the US. Military leaders have noted Hussein's lengthy, frustrating negotiations with the US--negotiations which have so far led to an agreement for arms supplies but have not yet resulted in the arrival of any weapons. They contrast this with the speedy Soviet resupply of the UAR and Syria and the standing Soviet offer to fully equip the Jordanian Armed Forces.

12. Though conservative Arab friends, particularly King Faisal, strongly oppose Jordan's receiving Soviet weapons, military officers are likely to press Hussein to do so. To help fend off this pressure, he is seeking to get Western arms from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and perhaps from Pakistan and Iran. Hussein has consistently refused to accept Soviet arms but would almost certainly accede if he felt it necessary to enable him to remain in power. A Soviet arms deal would be popular with the military and the public at large. Hussein might also consider that arms from the Soviets and better relations with the USSR would afford new protection from Israeli reprisal attacks. He might reason that Syria's close relations with the USSR have been a principal reason why Israel has left Syria alone.

13. Even if Hussein accepted Soviet arms, he would still try to maintain countervailing ties with the West and with the conservative Arab States. To limit adverse effects in his relationships with these countries, he might attempt to secure only specific categories of arms--e.g., tanks or artillery--from Moscow. Hussein would almost certainly take the line that he had turned to the USSR only as a last resort. His basic international policies would continue to take account of Western interests. He would continue to seek an accommodation with Israel. While he might benefit from increased domestic popularity, he would seek to rule through the same group of generally monarchist conservatives which has staffed Jordan's Government for years.

14. Though Hussein's hold on power has been weakened, it remains reasonably good. But the pressures against him-aggressive Israeli military reprisals, domestic discontent, lack of strong support from fellow Arabs and from the West--are substantial, and the initiatives open to him are not promising. Much will depend on the interaction of forces in the area; a continued high level of fedayeen activity accompanied by Israeli military countermeasures would seriously weaken him. Some progress by the Jarring mission, Egyptian or Iraqi moves to limit support for fedayeen, or receipt of arms would ease matters. Hussein has ridden out severe storms in the past and could do so again. But he is likely to be in substantial jeopardy through the next year at least.

15. A successor regime to the Jordanian monarchy would probably include numerous Palestinians and Arab nationalist army officers. It would be strongly anti-Israel. It would be more radical than Hussein's government and would be drawn toward cooperation with other revolutionary-minded Arab States. It would probably seek closer relations with the USSR and would be considerably less well disposed toward the US. But, in some aspects at least, its radical tendencies would be tempered by the continuing vital importance of subsidies from the conservative regimes of Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Responses to Terrorism

16. Israel has had a long-standing policy of reprisal in force for terrorist incidents involving loss of Israeli lives. But this policy has come under domestic criticism as a result of the Karamah raid. Preparations for this raid were not concealed; most of the fedayeen had left Karamah before the Israelis arrived and have since returned. Although raids are planned so as to limit the loss of Israeli troops, 25 Israelis were killed and over 70 wounded in the Karamah operation. This was due in part to the fact that the Jordanian Army, much to the Israelis' surprise, chose to fight rather than stand by. Opponents of the reprisal policy point out that future raids like that on Karamah are likely to cause heavy Israeli casualties and will probably fail to achieve their purpose. Fedayeen operations since Karamah have taken several Israeli lives. Jerusalem's Mayor Kollek has said publicly that reprisals do not crush the spirits of the Arabs but, on the contrary, lead to increased support for terrorism and to more recruits for the fedayeen organizations. His position apparently has some support in the Israeli Cabinet.

17. Despite this opposition, the commitment to reprisal is deeply ingrained, especially in the Israeli military establishment. Though Israeli military leaders are probably aware that reprisals weaken Hussein's position, they are willing to take actions which risk his replacement by a new, more hostile regime in Jordan. Where the Israelis have previously seen advantages in Hussein's retention of power, they may now be indifferent to his survival and may even see benefits in his departure. Were he to disappear, the Israelis could tell the US that the situation in the Near East had so evolved that Israel was its only friend, could hope for greater US military supplies, and could argue that returning the West Bank to an anti-Western regime would not be in the interest of either the US or Israel.

18. The Israelis are adopting new antiterrorist measures to supplement or replace large-scale reprisal. They have recently engaged in hot pursuit with small forces into Jordanian territory. Other measures being considered include the dispatch of Israeli terrorists into Arab territory, with the object of inflicting greater property damage and loss of life than the fedayeen cause in Israel. Such activity will probably appear in the next few months. Such counterterrorism would probably have no more satisfactory results in stopping terrorism than the policy of massive reprisal has had. Such raids would probably lead to further loss of Israeli lives and would not prevent the fedayeen from operating in Israel. But the advantage, Israel may believe, would be that it would make Israel a less conspicuous target for international condemnation.

19. If the Israelis are not able to contain terrorism by such means as increased police action, reprisals, and counterterrorism, they would then be forced to choose other measures, none particularly palatable. One course would be to mount a major military assault against the East Bank, overrunning the populated area of Jordan. But such a move would risk a renewal of broader Arab-Israeli hostilities, and could bring on a new international crisis. World reaction would be extremely hostile. Though generally confident of US support--or of at least tacit acquiescence for the moves it makes--Israel might feel that an all-out invasion of Jordan would dangerously threaten American tolerance of Israeli militancy. Further, the Israelis probably recognize the great disadvantages of occupying the East Bank, with its million and a half Arabs and its unviable economy now being kept afloat by large subsidies from rich Arab countries. And once Israel withdrew from Jordan, the fedayeen would probably soon reemerge. On balance, we believe the chances are against a massive Israeli invasion of Jordan.

20. An alternative, which has received some attention in Israel, would be to seal off at least the most troublesome stretches of the present Jordanian cease-fire and armistice lines with such devices as barbed wire, sensors, electrified fences, and land mines. The French used such a barrier, on the whole successfully, to seal Algeria's Tunisian and Moroccan frontiers during the rebellion. Israel, with a shorter and more easily patrolled frontier with Jordan, could probably make such a barrier work fairly effectively. Some of these devices have already been installed in selected border areas. Though a major defensive barrier would not be able to stop the fedayeen completely, it would probably reduce their activities--and cut Israeli casualties--sharply. The million and a half Arabs now in Israel and Israeli-occupied territory have not helped the fedayeen much. If virtually cut off from contact with and supplies from their Arab brethren, they probably could not engage in significant, organized terrorist activity.

21. There almost certainly are strong voices raised against such a proposition in Israel. A heavily fortified 200-mile frontier barrier would be expensive to build; it would have to be patrolled by large numbers of Israeli soldiers. It would run counter to the established Israeli military doctrine that a defensive posture is anathema. And it would ease domestic pressure on Hussein, whose efforts to restrain the fedayeen would then be assumed by the Israelis themselves.

22. Nonetheless, the Israelis will, over a period of time, probably be forced to opt for more effective defensive measures to seal off Israel and Israeli-occupied territory from Jordanian-based fedayeen operations. Israel's traditional reluctance to adopt a posture of static defense stemmed in large part from the feeling that this would permanently commit it to unsatisfactory frontiers; it would feel little inhibition on that score about the present shorter and more defensible cease-fire line. At the same time, Israel would be prepared to use various forms of retaliation against Jordan--including very severe ones--if defensive measures are insufficient to prevent Israeli casualties.

 

149. Airgram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State/1/

A-942

Beirut, April 19, 1968.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted and approved by Political Officer J. Thomas McAndrew and cleared in draft by Ambassador Porter. Repeated to Aden, Algiers, Ankara, Amman, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, Rabat, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Tunis, and USUN.

SUBJECT
President Helou's Views on Bringing about Stability in the Middle East

John J. McCloy paid a courtesy call April 13 on President Helou. The President availed himself of the occasion to summarize his present thinking on how the apparent impasse in Ambassador Jarring's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis might be broken. Emphasizing that he was speaking as a "Westernized Arab" the President stressed the need to understand basic Arab psychology. A fundamental prerequisite to achieving progress toward "peace" is a realization that no Arab leader could sign any agreement which would, in effect, give up what the Arabs hold to be their right to reclaim Palestine. As a direct consequence of this basic factor of life, real "peace" in the juridical sense of the word is not attainable; there can be no Versailles-type peace treaty. Therefore, it is unproductive to talk in such terms and, since the Israelis understand this aspect of Arab thinking, their persistent demands for direct negotiations leading to the signing of a peace treaty are considered only a pretext to retain the newly occupied territories.

Though true peace cannot be obtained, there may be a peaceful way out of the current impasse. The November 22 Security Council Resolution contains the elements necessary to reach a modus vivendi. Full implementation of all of the practical measures contained in the resolution would bring about an effective condition of "stability." Neither direct negotiations nor the signing of a peace treaty figure in the resolution and they are not essential to attaining this "effective stability." In the President's view a prolonged period of such "effective peace" or "stability" would present opportunities to solve the many issues inextricably tied to a Middle East settlement. No progress could be made until the two sides were separated by demilitarized zones and a UN presence which could end the military confrontation and gradually reduce the emotions and hatreds which governed the actions of both sides.

Since the key to a peaceful solution is implementation of the provisions of the November resolution, it is incumbent upon the US to use its influence to obtain Israeli acceptance. The President acknowledged the limited effectiveness of US efforts to pressure Israel into taking specific actions and commented that UAR Ambassador Ghaleb had himself acknowledged this fact in a recent conversation with the President. As far as withdrawal is concerned, President Helou said that the Arabs accept the fact that some modification of the pre-June war boundaries is essential in the interest of security and stability. Furthermore, the President believes establishment of a demilitarized zone along the new Arab frontiers with Israel, in which international forces would be stationed, would contribute to maintaining the "effective stability" he  believes attainable.

Mr. McCloy outlined current US public opinion on the Arab-Israel problem for the President. He stressed that many Americans consider justified Israel's determination not to withdraw from the territories occupied during the June war until it obtains firm guarantees of peace and security. In the aftermath of the 1956 Suez campaign, the US used its influence to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the Sinai and Gaza. In the absence of effective international guarantees, ten years later war again broke out between the Arabs and the Israelis. This time more is required than perfunctory verbal or paper guarantees before the US should pressure Israel into making concessions.

Mr. McCloy told President Helou that, although he was not on an official mission in the Middle East, he hoped he would be able to pass the President's views on to appropriate policy-making officials of the US Government.

Comment: Once again President Helou was speaking in his now familiar role of the moderate Western-oriented Arab leader interpreting Arab thoughts and feelings to a Western audience. He, of course, is indeed the "Arab friend of the West" which he terms himself to be. His analysis of the current situation and appeal for a "practical" solution in terms of a provisional modus vivendi is almost word for word the story he related to David Rockefeller in February. He is convinced continued efforts to seek the impossible can only frustrate progress toward a practical solution.

Porter

 

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

Washington, April 23, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret. A handwritten note indicates that the memorandum was received at 6:02 p.m.

SUBJECT
Status of Your Decision on Aircraft for Israel

You will recall that, after your talk with Eshkol, you asked for three reports to determine how long you could keep open your decision on the 50 Phantoms. This is where we stand:

1. Secretary McNamara reviewed production schedules and determined that you can delay your decision until December 31, 1968, and still begin delivering Phantoms to Israel in January 1970 at the rate of about four per month (Tab A)./2/ Defense might have to place orders this summer for long lead-time items, but they could be diverted to our own aircraft if you decided negatively.

/2/See Document 71.

2. General Wheeler, after reviewing training requirements with General Hod, also reports that you can delay your decision until December 31. He has told the Israelis they must have candidates with English and electronics fundamentals ready to begin advanced training in the US in January 1969 (Tab B)./3/

/3/Not attached. A copy of this February 14 memorandum from Wheeler to McNamara is in the Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 72 A 1499, 353 Israel.

The one hooker is in the training schedule. The Israelis agree with both of these judgments provided we plan only delivery at the rate of about four aircraft per month as they come off the production line. However, they haven't given up arguing that the situation might be serious enough to require delivering 30 or 40 planes in January 1970, or even before. We could meet that contingency by diverting the planes from our own inventory, but Israeli technicians and pilots would not be ready.

3. Dick Helms and the Defense Intelligence Agency still don't see that situation in the cards. [3 lines of source text not declassified] Dick reports (Tab C)/4/ that the facts available to us and to the Israelis are essentially the same, and the Israelis have surfaced no new evidence that causes our intelligence community to alter its estimate significantly.

/4/Reference is to an April 10 memorandum from Helms to Walt Rostow on the subject of U.S. and Israeli estimates on the Middle East. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68)

The reason the Israelis continue to press the gloomy picture despite our general agreement on facts is that they naturally take account of all possible enemy capabilities rather than relying on estimates of Arab and Soviet intentions. We're not likely to be able to prove our estimates that the threat will continue to be manageable. The problem in trying to resolve this difference is that their more pessimistic estimate reflects not only their understandable concern for the worst they might face but also an effort to influence our policy.

Ambassador Rabin asked me some days ago "at Eshkol's request" what the state of our decision is. With your permission, I propose simply to give Evron a low-key informal progress report on our staff work. I would say that you are keeping the mater under the active review you promised. That you have received the recommendations you asked for from General Wheeler, from the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence and that you have satisfied yourself that your option to begin delivering aircraft in early 1970 remains open. If we give Rabin a formal answer, he'll have to report it, and Eshkol will probably put it in the most pessimistic light.

We are groping for some way to link this decision to specific progress toward a political settlement. I don't believe we can bargain 50 planes for Israeli withdrawal. But we might find a time to use them in bargaining for a marginal shift in Israel's tactical position that might give negotiations a boost, if we can ever get negotiations started. Therefore, I don't believe there is any reason to rush your decision, but we will stay on top of it as you promised Eshkol.

Walt

OK to tell Evron/5/
Better not to answer at all
Call me

/5/President Johnson checked this option.

 

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

Washington, April 24, 1968, 0107Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Parker on April 22, cleared by Atherton and Day, and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, USUN, and London.

152002. Unsec 47. Subject: Arab-Israel Problem.

1. Ghorbal of UAR Interests Section called at Department April 19 for briefing on latest Jarring talks in Cairo. Deptoff showed him text of Cairo's 2179/2/ and said we found statement of UAR position therein discouraging. We also found discouraging the remarks Mahmoud Riad had made to Jarring and various friendly diplomats regarding alleged deceitful role being played by US. Riad's mistrust of us appeared to be a major obstacle to progress on Jarring mission. It was true we had informed various governments that Israel had accepted Jarring's March 10 formula, which we and Israelis had considered positive step forward. That Jarring reportedly did not attach same significance to Israel acceptance was puzzling, but did not detract from fact that Israel had moved, and at our urging.

/2/Telegram 2179, April 18, reported on a briefing Bergus received from the Foreign Ministry on the April 17 meeting between Jarring and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. In the course of explaining why the UAR could not accept Jarring's March 10 formula for the implementation of Resolution 242, as amended by Jordan, Riad alleged that the United States had launched a "vast campaign" to support Israel and persuade other Arab governments that Israel was prepared to implement the resolution. (Ibid.)

2. Deptoff said our efforts directed at convincing parties directly concerned that they should take positive steps to get over current procedural debate and move to substance. Apparent irreconciliability of UAR and Israel positions was heightened by communications problem which appeared exist between Jarring on one hand and Egyptians, Israelis and Jordanians on other. Before Egyptians accused us of deceit they should make sure they understood Jarring and vice versa.

3. Ghorbal said we should understand that problem was not one of Mahmoud Riad's personal mistrust but of convictions entire UARG. He had in fact been instructed inform us that statements made by various US representatives, plus lack of any tangible gesture on our part in support of Arabs, or in recognition their forward motion since last June, had persuaded Cairo that USG was engaged in deliberate campaign to support Israeli effort to dragoon Arabs to negotiating table. Whatever formula we devised, however it was camouflaged, Egyptians would not sit down with Israelis in New York or anywhere else and we might as well forget about it. Given this fact, real question was whether parties could move to substantive discussion without face-to-face meetings. Egyptians thought it possible and it was for this reason that Riad had made his three-point proposal to Jarring on April 8. If assured that Israel would implement the resolution, Egyptians were prepared to discuss substance and modalities of implementation through Jarring, but not directly with Israelis. If communications were the problem, this was an argument for moving to New York, where it would be possible to check quickly on what the parties had said and meant. Arabs could be in one room and Israelis in another, even in the same suite, and Jarring could move back and forth to work out details of agreement. This was not a negative position, this was a positive proposal for progress towards peace. Egyptians still wanted a peaceful settlement and were still prepared to cooperate with Jarring. But there would be an irreversible trend to extremism if progress did not begin soon.

Rusk

 

 

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

Washington, March 29, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. I, 6/65-3/68. Secret. Rostow sent this memorandum to the President on March 30 under cover of a brief memorandum recommending that the President read it. Rostow noted a third possibility not mentioned by Saunders that could alter developments significantly in the Middle East: the fall of Nasser; but Rostow added: "I don't believe a U.S. policy can be based on that hope." (Ibid.)

SUBJECT
Next Step with Israel-Jordan

The problem in a nutshell is this:

--We agree that terrorism is a threat Israel has to do something about.

--We think Israel's effort to end terrorism by military attacks won't work. If they keep going down this track, we see only a rising spiral of attack and counter-attack ending in all Arabs at the summit rejecting a political solution and committing themselves to a guerrilla war against Israel. There's evidence now that the Israelis are beginning to think this way too, although they feel they must respond to terrorism somehow and don't yet see an alternative.

--The only persons who can stop terrorism from Jordanian territory are the Jordanian government. The problem, therefore, is to convince Hussein to stop it or--if he's already convinced but unable--to create conditions which strengthen his hand enough to crack down. We disagree with the Israelis that their military attacks strengthen his hand.

--The alternative we see is to get Jarring's peace talks on the road. If Hussein can show he's getting somewhere his way, maybe it's not too late for him to call the terrorists off, or stop them by force.

--One of the main obstacles to getting Jarring's negotiations started is Israeli inflexibility. One of the main reasons for Israeli inflexibility is the fact that the Cabinet has not taken a formal position on the terms for a peace settlement; Eshkol fears breaking up his coalition but we have assurance that they'll make up their minds the moment there's a glimmer of Arab willingness to talk.

--The difficulty with this is that the Arabs aren't likely to talk until somebody assures them there's a workable deal possible at the end of the track. This is what all the haggling over whether Israel accepts the UN resolution is about.

What all this adds up to is the conclusion of some of us that we should now urge Eshkol to bite the bullet and make the limited move necessary to give the Arabs the assurance they're looking for. Eshkol would give away nothing of substance; he would risk a Cabinet crisis, possibly for limited gains. But the risk of doing nothing looks a lot worse to us.

The alternative is to let force play itself out. The argument for is that only the Israelis will decide to bite the bullet when the pressure of terrorism builds up. The argument against is that we're in a worse position every time Israel strikes back and there's a real danger of the UN Security Council voting sanctions against Israel-with us having to decide whether to vote for, abstain or veto. More important, Israel is in a worse position if we don't stop the guerrilla spiral before the Arabs commit themselves to it.

The debate was brought to a head today in State when Luke Battle tried to clear a response from the President to Eshkol's last message. Arthur Goldberg felt it was too tough for the President. Luke, while fully understanding the President's concerns, feels that any message we send ought to lay out what we see as the serious consequences of Israel's current course.

My own feeling is that if we decide to do nothing to deter the Israelis from further retaliation it ought to be because we've decided consciously to let force play itself out a while longer. We shouldn't do nothing just because State can't work out line of action it feels the President can approve.

I don't believe there's any point in just sending another Presidential message for Eshkol to disregard. If we approach the Israelis this time, it ought to be with the purpose of working out with them a way to get Jarring on the tracks. I think the only way to do this would be to send someone like Mac Bundy with the most serious words from the President for three or four days of talk in Jerusalem. This need not look like pressure at all. The main focus wouldn't be to restrain them. It's just the only way I can see at this time to decide where we and they are going, and the only place to do that is where Eshkol and his Cabinet are.

State is considering this idea this afternoon.

Hal

 

128. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, March 29, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Harold H. Saunders, Israel, 3/1/68-4/30/68. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on April 1.

SUBJECT
Conversation with Israeli Minister Evron

Evron came in on March 29, at his request, to share his observations from his quick trip to Jerusalem. As usual, our conversation was tabbed as strictly personal and off-the-record. As can be imagined, it dealt mainly with the March 21 Israeli attack on Karameh and Israeli thinking in the aftermath.

I began by asking him what the Israelis see at the end of their current course of gradually escalating terrorist raids and retaliatory attacks. Although the results of a military review of the Karameh attack have not been finished, Evron indicated that the Israelis were not necessarily satisfied with that sort of attack as the best means to counter terrorism. He said that they would experiment with other tactics, "such as today's" (at the moment the air and artillery attack south of Lake Tiberias was going on). He also indicated, "in the utmost confidence," that the Israelis are building a "fence" from the Dead Sea to Lake Tiberias. (This is the reason for the Israeli request for a large number of anti-personnel mines which he hoped we might free quickly.) Concluding this line of discussion, he was quite ready to admit that these counter-attacks would not stop terrorism.

When I said I did not see how the Israelis could expect to stop activities based on land which they do not consistently control, he agreed that the main problem is to convince Hussein to do the job. When I said I did not believe that Israel's counter attacks would do that either, he disagreed, but he did not argue as strongly as he usually does when he is convinced of what he is saying.

I suggested that, if the military track did not promise a solution, it seemed to me this was all the more reason to get into negotiations. He suggested that more flexibility was needed before that could happen. Then telling him I wanted to ask a very indiscreet question, I asked whether Israel was denied the flexibility necessary to begin negotiations by the fact that the Israeli Government had not yet made up its mind what its position would be. I said it seemed clear to me that what the Arabs were seeking in all this haggling over whether Israel did or did not accept the UN resolution was some assurance that there was a deal at the end of the road. I realized that Foreign Minister Eban had, through us, passed the word that the Arabs would find Israel ready to negotiate generously, but it was clear that this was not convincing to the Arabs in the current atmosphere. Would an Israeli Government decision now on its negotiating terms enable some such assurance to be made?

Evron answered quite readily, thoughtfully and not emotionally. He said, first, that the moment there was a "glimmer" of Arab willingness to come to the table, the Israeli Government would "make up its mind in a moment." He said emphatically that the greatest single impression he had brought away from Jerusalem this time was the overriding desire for peace. Having felt this in his early talks there, he asked Eban whether he was right and Eban confirmed his view that everyone is "fed up with all this bloodshed."

Second, however, Evron said he had been considering for months the question of whether Israel should stake out its position before negotiations to encourage them. He said he did not believe this was the right procedure. But his main point was that, in international negotiations, one never lays his cards on the table before negotiations begin. He did not push the usual Eban line about willingness to negotiate being a necessary sign of an Arab change of heart, although this omission may have been simple oversight.

At the end of our conversation, he confirmed that he had described to Eban that questioning of the US-Israeli relationship going on in Washington that he had heard from me before his departure as well as from Harry McPherson. We had both told him that an increasing number of people were more and more troubled over whether this relationship would ever become a two-way street. Secretary Rusk had asked the Israeli Government for certain actions in Jerusalem and on refugees, and his questions have been ignored. We have advised against retaliation, and our advice has been ignored. Evron said he had arrived in the Foreign Ministry the morning that Ave Harman was giving his final impressions of the US-Israeli relationship. On the basis of Evron's report and Harman's comments, Eban at the Cabinet meeting which made the final decision to go ahead with the Israeli raid on Karameh, described this change in the Washington mood to the Cabinet. Evron felt that this had made some impression since both Minister Begin and Allon had asked Evron later whether what Eban said was true.

Evron at one point during this conversation said that one of the ideas that had occurred to him personally--and he said he had not heard this mentioned in Israel at all, so it was strictly personal-is whether now is not the time for Israel to begin thinking again seriously about a separate Palestinian entity. Hussein is so weak that perhaps only the Palestinians can take the lead. Already there are new economic relationships growing up between the towns of old Israel and the former West Bank of Jordan. Evron felt that the Palestinians were beginning to see the economic and other advantages of peace and, if they could be adequately organized, might be just the ones to stand up and take the lead in a settlement that Hussein might or might not join later. Evron did not seem to be suggesting a permanent separation of the West Bank from Jordan, but simply a settlement that could be worked out now as a first step in what might become a full settlement with Jordan later on when that was possible.

Comment: Two reflections stand out in my mind after this conversation. First, although Eppie made clear that he had not had time for full talks with the Israeli military after the attack on Karameh, he seemed to confirm that there is some second thinking going on about the effectiveness of Israel's current force. Second, there is obviously a great deal of concern about the American relationship and I wonder whether we might not have more effect on Israel's course than we now feel possible.

H.S.

 

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

Washington, April 1, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
The President's Decision and the Near East/2/

/2/The reference is to President Johnson's decision not to seek re-election, which he announced in a nationally telecast address from the White House on March 31. See Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, p. 476.

Our main problem, as you said this morning, is to see how we can use the President's new position to finish as much unfinished business as possible. In the Near East, the main job is how to make concrete progress toward the President's vision of last June 19. With the President's new freedom from politics, I'd suggest that we may be able to use the uncertainties of this period to good advantage in Israel.

Two new factors are obvious:

1. The President is now more free of Israeli pressure. We shouldn't discount his strong personal determination not to let Israel down, so we have to exclude any dramatic shift in our position. But it's worth considering what we might do now that we couldn't have done last week.

2. The President has nothing to bargain with beyond next January. Whatever we do must not depend on committing the US beyond January 1969, except for military sales which a new Administration would be bound to honor or a financial commitment (like desalting) with Congress behind it.

On balance, I believe the President's increased freedom may be more important than his loss of leverage. His ability to bargain with US support was neutralized by domestic politics. Now he can play on uncertainties about his successor.

Two possible courses spring to mind:

1. Use the President's increased freedom of maneuver to bring pressure on Israel and begin re-balancing our position toward the Arabs. No successor will have such freedom to create public doubt that Israel can count on us in a Soviet-backed effort to get Arab territory back, curtail our support in the UN, tamper with tax exemption for Israel bonds or whatever else might occur to us.

2. Use the President's friendship to advantage--he may be the best friend Israel will have in the White House for some time.

I favor the latter because (a) I don't think the President would want to pressure Israel and (b) because we've never fully and systematically put his friendship on the line in a tough effort to change an Israeli position. Now, if ever, is the time to try. The Israelis are already nervous about approaching the limits of our tolerance, and they might respond to the thought that they might get more support from us now than later.

One other factor has to go in the hopper: There's not much the President can do on the Arab side. He is tabbed as too pro-Israeli, and our leverage there will increase only as we show we can move Israel.

Putting these elements together, I think our best bet is to concentrate on changing Israel's position by persuasion-rather than pressure-enough to give Jarring a real chance. That's where the President's influence is greatest.

If we take this course, we must be sure that doing something soon is better than letting Mid-East forces play themselves out. I must say I don't take much convincing on this point. It may already be too late for Hussein and Nasser to negotiate and the next Arab summit may commit the Arabs to guerrilla war instead of political solution.

We want Israel to do two things:

1. Signal "ready." One of the big obstacles to Jarring's getting started is the Israelis' position that the Arabs must come to them. In part, Eshkol is hiding behind this position to avoid the Cabinet crisis that forcing a decision on peace terms would precipitate. The question is whether an Israeli Cabinet decision now would inject enough new flexibility into the picture to get Jarring going--whether a hint to assure Hussein and Nasser that there is a deal at the end of the track would get negotiations going.

The answer, of course, hinges on whether there's something at the end of the road for Israel. No one can guarantee that the Arabs will--or can--seriously negotiate anything beside withdrawal. But no one can argue that Israel has given them a fair try, and it's hard to see how Israel can lose while it sits on the Suez Canal and the Jordan River.

2. Show tactical flexibility. The time has come to try to move them a short step back from their absolute position on direct negotiations and from the notion of a package settlement all at once. The President last June 19 specifically did not endorse direct negotiations; nor did he rule out settlement in stages, and Secretary Rusk spoke to Eshkol on this point at the Ranch.

What this adds up to is doing something concrete about what we've been talking about for weeks without result-increasing Israeli flexibility. Maybe we have a chance to cut the Gordian knot now. The point is that the Israelis are "shook" over the President's decision. Rabin told Ernie Goldstein, "We've had it." So while the President doesn't seem to have much to bargain with, the urgency of getting Israel's security position in order (50 Phantoms) in the next few months may enhance what he does have. We can't expect to bargain with airplanes for Israeli withdrawal, but now may be the time to shoot our wad on a marginal Israeli shift that might be enough to get negotiations going.

Now we come to an action proposal:

1. A special emissary to loosen up and pin down the Israeli position. Harry Symmes has proposed retired ambassadors like Holmes, Yost or Jernegan. But all of these are too "Arab" to cut any ice in Jerusalem. If we are to build on the advantages in the President's new status, we need someone who can go as the President's man and represent his pro-Israel side. (We've mentioned Mac Bundy as filling this bill.)

2. The line he would take would be to argue out the consequences of each possible course to persuade the Israelis that the consequences of retaliation and sitting tight are dead-ends. That being the case, pressures in the US are mounting to re-balance our position toward the Arabs before it's too late. That will also be an obvious task for the new President. With London, Paris and Moscow backing away from Israel, it will be dangerous for Israel if the US starts backing away too. Therefore, if Israel will shift its position enough to give negotiations a fair chance, we'll consider meeting Israel's aircraft needs now. This approach would combine a big carrot with a gentle stick urging only a marginal shift in Israel's position.

All of us have a deep sense of foreboding that the Arabs will soon be locked into a guerrilla war that none of us will know how to stop. If the President wants to make one last effort for peace, now is the time. It may already be too late, but the effort won't cost him anything. If we're going to do it, let's do it now and let's send someone like Mac Bundy with the best possible credentials.

Hal

 

130. Editorial Note

In a study of the Israeli nuclear program, Avner Cohen drew upon the recollections of physicist Edward Teller and the testimony of Carl Duckett, a former CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology, and explored the question of whether Israel had become a "nuclear-weapon state" in 1968. Teller told Duckett that his contacts in the Israeli scientific community led him to the "personal opinion" and "conjecture" that Israel was in possession of nuclear weapons. Teller was a consultant with the CIA and his views informed a National Intelligence Estimate, which Duckett said was drafted by the CIA, that drew the conclusion that Israel had nuclear weapons. (Israel and the Bomb, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, pages 297-298, 421) Duckett testified before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1978 that he took the estimate to Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms and Helms told him not to publish it. He said Helms later told him that he had taken the matter up with President Johnson and Johnson had instructed him: "Don't tell anyone else, even Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara." (Inquiry into the testimony of the Executive Director for Operations, Vol. 3, Interviews, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Security Archive Collection on Non-Proliferation, #26090) No such estimate has been found.

 

131. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach to President Johnson/1/

Washington, April 4, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Middle East Problem

Recommendations:

1. That you sign the attached letters to Prime Minister Eshkol and King Hussein./2/

/2/There is no indication of the President's reaction to either of Katzenbach's recommendations. The draft letters are ibid. The proposed letter to Hussein was not sent. For the President's letter to Eshkol, see Document 134.

2. That you agree in principle, subject to a final recommendation regarding timing, to send a personal representative to Tel Aviv for intensive talks with Israeli representatives, and possibly to Amman and Cairo. Some suggested names of prominent private persons from which a representative might be chosen are included in the following memorandum.

Background

We are deeply concerned over recent developments in the Middle East which are affording the Soviets the opportunity to exploit the situation: the pattern of provocative terrorist activities countered by substantial Israeli military retaliation; the increased status which the Fedayeen seem to have achieved as a result of these developments; the inability of Hussein to deal with this matter and the apparent weakening of his regime; the decline in sympathy for Israel and growing doubts about its peaceful intentions; the inability of Jarring to get a dialogue going between Israel and the Arabs resulting from a rigid Israeli posture and the hardening of the UAR attitude.

In light of the foregoing, we have concluded we must make a more direct effort to arrest and reverse these trends. Our efforts with the parties concerned to take measures to bring greater stability to the cease-fire areas and to begin talks under Jarring's auspices have not been successful. I believe it is now urgent that we raise these appeals to a higher level. We have indications that many Israelis are as concerned as we about the present course of events, and such an effort would strengthen those calling for a reappraisal of Israeli policies, particularly with respect to terrorism. We have therefore recommended to you the early despatch of the attached letters to Eshkol and Hussein.

In addition, it would be highly desirable for you to send to Israel, perhaps some time next week (depending on the results of Jarring's continuing efforts), an individual who could speak frankly to the Israeli Government regarding recent trends and to explore with them possible steps which could be taken to reverse these trends. The principal short-range purpose of such a trip would be to try to indicate to Jarring a willingness to formulate acceptance and implementation of the Security Council resolution in such a way that it at least provides Jarring the opportunity to continue his efforts both in Amman and Cairo. While it is problematical that this would get talks started, it would at least help place the onus for failure on the UAR rather than Israel. More broadly and fundamentally, such an emissary could try to get across to the Israelis the immediate need for some gesture on their part, at least to Jordan, which will be an overt demonstration to the Arab world of a continuing Israeli interest in a political settlement. This would bolster Hussein. As a follow-up to your discussions with Eshkol, your emissary could also explore with the Israelis their concrete ideas about a settlement.

The U.S. emissary would not take over the mediation effort of Jarring. He would support Jarring's efforts, and we would ask Ambassador Goldberg to explain this to the Secretary General so that there would be no misunderstanding.

Our hope would be that such an emissary would also find it desirable and opportune to discuss matters in Amman and Cairo, though we would not wish to make any final recommendations to you in this regard until we know the results of discussions in Tel Aviv. Since it would be desirable to include Cairo on the itinerary, we believe the individual selected should be a private person in whom you have confidence rather than a government official. We have three possibilities in mind in the following order of preference: McGeorge Bundy, Robert Murphy, George Ball. Ambassador Goldberg feels, and we agree, that the emissary should have some ostensible reason for the visit other than the actual purpose. In this respect, McGeorge Bundy would be especially suitable since his foundation affairs could quite naturally take him to the Near East./3/

/3/In an April 5 memorandum to the President, Walt Rostow discussed the proposal to send a personal representative of the President to Israel. He proposed McGeorge Bundy, whom he cited as "everyone's top choice." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Vol. II, 4/68-1/69)

Ambassador Goldberg concurs.

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 5, 1968, 9:20 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 70, 4/1-5/68. Secret.

Mr. President:

Recognizing that the approach to Eshkol in the letter previously submitted to you/2/ was too general, Nick, Gene, and Luke Battle have produced a formulation which comes to bear much more precisely on an urgent operational question. The language which Eban said he could accept when Jarring gave it to him on March 10 if Hussein had accepted, is at Tab A./3/

/2/See footnote 2, Document 131.

/3/Not printed. The key passage in the formula passed by Jarring to Eban on March 10, which is bracketed for emphasis in Tab A, indicates that in order to achieve a settlement the contending parties "intend to devise arrangements under my auspices for the implementation of the provisions of the resolution."

The variation desired by Hussein to make it easier for him with Nasser involves the substitution for the bracketed passage (Tab A) of the phrase "their readiness to implement it." The Jordanians indicate they would try to go with the Jarring text even if the Israelis do not accept the phrase. Goldberg suggests it as an additional phrase. Goldberg and State believe in any case that the provision in the next sentence of the phrase "promoting agreement in achieving such a settlement" covers the Israeli position.

In any case, this draft merely urges Eshkol to "consider" this variation of language. The reasons your intervention at this point is regarded as critical are twofold:

--there is an honest judgment that if we fail on this round-now that Hussein has indicated that he is prepared to accept the Jarring March 10 formulation--the Jarring mission will fail and we face a very bleak prospect;

--the conviction that Eshkol simply will not move unless you personally take a position. He has ignored one intervention after another by Goldberg and the Secretary of State.

I have read the critical passage to Abe Fortas, who now thinks that your intervention might make sense since it is sharply focused on a particular question.

Walt

Letter cleared/4/
No
Call me

/4/The President checked this option.

 

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

Washington, April 6, 1968, 0229Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Davies, cleared by Atherton and Battle, and approved by Davies. A copy was sent to the White House for Saunders' information.

142978. 1. At luncheon April 2, Evron raised with Davies Israel's request for sizable quantities US anti-personnel mines (requests total 400,000). He said Defense had told General Geva request blocked by NEA. Evron said mines urgently needed in conjunction with security belt being constructed to inhibit infiltration along sensitive areas of cease-fire line.

2. Davies said he unfamiliar with case but gave personal reaction that since USG has taken strong public position critical of Israel's military reprisal policy, he favored cooperation in measures to provide alternates. Evron suggested if it would help that he would seek assurances mines would be used only in connection this project. Davies said it would be embarrassing if mines of U.S. origin were to be used in countermeasures on East Bank.

3. Davies later telephoned Evron to say suggested assurances would be helpful in expediting final decision.

4. FYI--Evron later complained to White House staff that Department exacting condition which implied lack of trust and which would be resented in Jerusalem. Davies telephoned to express surprise to which Evron responded he had had second thoughts relating solely to the form in which assurances conveyed. When Davies said he had in mind oral assurances, Evron replied that he authorized to state mines would be used solely in connection border-sealing project. End FYI.

Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 6, 1968, 0516Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-US. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted at the White House, cleared in substance by Atherton, and approved by Walsh. Repeated to USUN, Amman, and Cairo.

142988. 1. Please convey following message from President to Prime Minister. Begin Message. Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I have considered your message of March 22/2/ with two thoughts uppermost in my mind: deep sympathy for the serious problems which continuing terrorist acts pose for your country; and deep anxiety about the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 123.

2. I appreciate, of course, the dilemma which the recent growth of terrorism presents. I believe, however, that military action across ceasefire lines does not deter the type of terrorism you face, but leads to greater insecurity, above all at this critical moment.

3. We both recognize, I am sure, that true security for Israel lies only in peace.

4. I believe we are now at a crossroads in this respect in the Near East: the sole peace-making process now available is the Jarring Mission. I am deeply concerned by the lack of tangible results from this mission and the cumulative deterioration of the situation resulting from a growing incidence of terrorism and counter military actions-especially at this delicate moment in the internal life of Jordan.

5. I feel, therefore, that there is an urgent need to reverse the present trend--a trend which carries the risk not only of greater and greater violence and insecurity, but indeed of another round of general hostilities, as well as irreparable damage to the Jarring Mission. We wish to see every possible step taken to minimize these risks.

6. There is very little time. There is still, however, an opportunity for an active strategy of peace.

7. I have just learned of Ambassador Goldberg's discussion with Ambassador Tekoah of April 5./3/ I believe that we must seize the opportunity presented by King Hussein's visit to Nasser, and the King's apparent willingness to urge acceptance of the formulation which Ambassador Jarring gave the Israeli Government on March 10. I understand that Foreign Minister Eban told Ambassador Jarring at that time that your Government could accept this formulation. I urge you most strongly to make your acceptance clear to Ambassador Jarring. The King believes it would greatly enhance the possibility of his success with Nasser if you could also agree to a variation in wording/4/ which Ambassador Goldberg set forth to Ambassador Tekoah. I hope you will be able to consider such a variation in language, as necessary.

/3/Goldberg's meeting with Tekoah was reported in telegram 4488 from USUN, April 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

/4/The language proposed by Jordan stipulated not only acceptance of Resolution 242 but also a readiness to implement it.

8. This may be the last chance for the Jarring Mission, and for peace.

Lyndon B. Johnson End Message

Katzenbach

 

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

Washington, April 7, 1968, 0131Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Davies on April 6, cleared by Popper, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to USUN.

143077. 1. Cairo for Bergus. With Israeli acceptance formula presented by Ambassador Jarring in his discussion in Jerusalem March 10, and King Hussein's apparent readiness to accept this approach (Amman's 4238),/2/ King's success in obtaining Nasser's acceptance now becomes of major importance in determining whether Jarring Mission is to succeed or fail. We have informed London of these developments through British Embassy and requested that Beeley consult with you soonest on what actions can be taken with the UARG in support of Hussein's position. You should apprise him of latest developments as soon as possible. In addition, suggest that you or Brommell see Hussein or, if not possible, pass word to him discreetly on results of our intervention with Israelis with view to having him make strongest efforts to obtain Nasser's acceptance. We have been reluctant to get out in front of Jarring, but issue is at such critical juncture every effort must now be made to move parties toward some form of negotiation leading to implementation Security Council resolution through agreement as required by para 3, SC Resolution. Clearly, if Nasser now reneges, responsibility for lack of progress will be on Egyptians. In light your 2055, you may wish to make this point apparent in further discussion with Muhammad Riad./3/

/2/Telegram 4238 from Amman, April 5, reported that King Hussein was prepared to try to obtain Nasser's acceptance of the proposal presented by Jarring in early March. (Ibid.)

/3/On April 6 Bergus and Mohamed Riad discussed the impending meeting between Nasser and Hussein. Bergus indicated that the United States was pressing Israel to accept a formula relating to Resolution 242 that would be acceptable to the Arab states, and urged that Nasser and Hussein should avoid any action detrimental to the Jarring Mission. (Telegram 2055 from Cairo, April 6; ibid.)

2. Amman for Ambassador Symmes. If in addition to action being taken in Cairo you deem it important pass Israeli reaction to senior GOJ officials, you authorized to do so.

Katzenbach

 

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

Amman, April 8, 1968, 1214Z.

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

4252. Dept pass Cairo. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: 143077,/2/ 3214./3/

/2/Document 135.

/3/Telegram 3214 from Tel Aviv, April 6, reported Eban's request that Hussein be informed in Cairo that Israel had authorized Jarring to convey Israel's acceptance of the formula put forward by Jarring on March 10, and Israel's willingness to send representatives to a meeting between the parties under Jarring's auspices. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) Bergus reported from Cairo on April 7 that Hussein left Cairo before an assurance relating to the Israeli acceptance of the March 10 formula could be conveyed to him. Bergus did convey such an assurance to Mohamed Riad. (Telegram 2060 from Cairo; ibid.)

1. Summary: King Hussein called me and Emboff to Palace evening 7th for briefing on Jarring talks with Nasser. Only after several hours of difficult discussion had he obtained Nasser's agreement even to consider accepting the Jarring proposal. Catch now is that Nasser insists Jarring must come up with some alternate phraseology to substitute for "I have invited the two govts to meet with me for conferences" on March 10 proposal. Jordan and UAR therefore will try to get Jarring to develop his own proposal along lines "I plan to meet with representatives or delegates of the parties in New York." Nasser is adamant that meetings can be held only in New York and must be lowest key possible. Abdul Munim Rifai stayed behind in Cairo to join with UAR FonMin Riad in meeting with Jarring on 8th.

2. King said his April 6-7 meetings with Nasser had been longest and most arduous he had ever had with any leader. Jordanians had expected some difficulties in these discussions but were stunned by Nasser's opening position which was totally negative to concept of any peaceful solution. As far as Jordanians could see this position was shared by all of Nasser's advisers. Nasser had begun by saying flatly that Jarring Mission could not succeed, that only military solution was feasible and that UAR military was therefore preparing for that solution. Nasser repeatedly said Egyptian people would not stand for the humiliation of dealing with Israelis through Jarring in terms of latter's present proposal. Nasser in fact considered Jarring's present formula as "an American trick." He indicated to the King a greater mistrust of US policy than ever and stressed he is unwilling to resume diplomatic relations with the US. According to Nasser he had just turned down opportunity to restore relations and would continue to do so.

3. Nasser told Hussein that six other Arab states have stated to him they have not accepted the SC resolution and oppose a political settlement. The six are Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait, South Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Nasser said Faisal through Omar Saqqaf had just urged him to agree to announce failure of the Jarring Mission. Hussein observed parenthetically to me "Your friend Faisal is more opposed than anyone to peaceful settlement."

4. King probed Nasser for indication to when UAR would be ready to take Israel on militarily, if Nasser seriously meant that the military alternative was the only one available to the Arabs. Nasser said he would be ready "before eighteen months had lapsed." King then countered with question how UAR proposed to help Jordan militarily since Israeli attacks on Jordan are occurring right now. Nasser replied unfortunately he was in no position to give any help. Jordanians thereupon reminded Nasser he had told them he felt personally responsible for loss of West Bank and was prepared to do anything possible to help King recover his lost territory. King pressed this point home with comment "Now you say no political solution and yet you cannot help us militarily." King said he pointed out to Nasser that whether UAR liked it or not Jordan did not intend to continue to bear alone the brunt of Israeli military attacks and would call for assistance other Arab states, specifically UAR. Thus, King continued, UAR would become involved militarily against Israel but once again in circumstances where Israelis would be dictating the time and place. This would undoubtedly mean another disastrous defeat for the Arabs. King observed he thought this stage in discussion had been turning point in his efforts to get Nasser to consider accepting Jarring proposal. The two delegations thereupon settled down to review Jarring's formula.

5. To Jordanians' surprise Nasser passed over the "to devise arrangements" phrase without hesitation. This was point on which GOJ had expected most trouble. King said he had reserved as his fallback position insertion of phraseology "readiness to implement" but found this was unnecessary. Nasser balked only at the penultimate sentence of Jarring's formula and stated that call for meetings in way Jarring proposed was "impossible".

6. Jordanians' first thought was that they must then begin all over again with their argumentation. They pointed out that the meeting with Israelis under Jarring's auspices was whole object of exercise. Nasser countered with statement if he accepted Jarring's "I have invited the two govts to meet with me for conferences," there would be a "revolution in Egypt tomorrow." Nasser stated that Cyprus as meeting place was out of the question. Jordanians then suggested possibility of New York as meeting place. Nasser was intrigued with this idea and, overriding the objections of some of his advisers, said he could accept this and added New York would be the only place where UAR could meet.

7. It was clear to the Jordanians that they had pushed Nasser as far as was possible. They felt at conclusion of discussions Nasser would stick to his position even though this put him in opposition to some of his advisers including Mahmoud Riad who throughout the meetings was particularly rigid and outspokenly anti-American. Nasser and Hussein agreed that Abdul Munim Rifai would remain in Cairo to meet with Jarring and Mahmoud Riad on Monday April 8. They would explain difficulty of "inviting the two govts" and would urge Jarring to develop a substitute phrasing of his own. Nasser indicated for example that he would not object to Jarring saying he had "arranged to meet with representatives (or delegates) of the parties in New York." Nasser also agreed with Hussein that such meetings by no means need to be confined to permanent UN representatives of the countries involved. What he could not accept was a reference to "govts" or "conferences."

8. Hussein said he was convinced Nasser both fully intends to proceed with "indirect talks" with Jarring and recognizes that talks are necessary "to devise arrangements for implementations." Hussein said as far as he is concerned he will send Abdul Munim Rifai and or Dep PriMin Ahmad Touqan, together with other aides, to talk in New York and will be prepared to move as fast as possible. Jordan's al-Farra would not be GOJ representative.

9. After reviewing the foregoing, King Hussein said "This really is our last chance. You must persuade the Israelis to keep quiet and to go along with whatever Jarring proposes in place of the present invitation to the govts." The King kept saying that "there will be talks and they can be broadened later if we can only get the meetings started." He also said that although Nasser and he remain adamant against proceeding to a formal peace treaty, they had discussed various formulas through which permanent and secure guarantees of a peaceful settlement could be established. The King recognized the problem of proposing changes in the present proposal. For that reason, Rifai and Riad would not propose any specific language to Jarring but would explain the problem and try to stimulate him to come up with language of his own that would solve the problem for the Arabs and at the same time be acceptable to Israel as Jarring's own ideas.

10. Comment: We consider results of Hussein's talks to be encouraging. They were not conclusive in terms of getting final agreement from Nasser to Jarring's formula but we believe nonetheless we are within reach of getting talks started. We leave to other addressees whether there would be benefit in giving GOI run down on Hussein-Nasser talks until it is clear what Jarring intends to do next. He may need pushing from U Thant or Bunche if we are to have any quick action. Because of Jarring's less than activist approach to his mission we recognize that proposed revising of penultimate sentence in his formula may risk considerable delay and even Israeli rejection.

11. As far as Jordanians are concerned, it is clear to us they are ready to assume all risk involved in substantive negotiations and will take the lead in expanding the scope of the talks as quickly as possible.

12. We have increasingly deep reservations about Jarring's ability to carry through the job successfully and believe he will need careful monitoring and prodding. For this reason we see positive merit in meetings in New York which outweigh the objections USG has hitherto maintained to this venue. In any case, from what Hussein says there is no alternative to New York.

Symmes

 

137. Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

CA-7122

Washington, April 8, 1968, 3:04 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Precht; cleared by Wiley, Wehmeyer, and Day, and in draft by Bovis and Atherton; and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, USUN, London, and Jerusalem.

SUBJECT
Israeli Settlements in Occupied Territories

REF
Tel Aviv 2722, A-716, Jerusalem A-176/2/

/2/Telegram 2722 from Tel Aviv, March 1, reported on a question-and-answer session in the Knesset on February 26 during which Eshkol answered questions dealing with Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, and discussed the negotiability of Jerusalem. (Ibid.) In airgram A-716 from Tel Aviv, March 29, the Embassy reported on the growth of six Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights area. (Ibid., REF ISR) Airgram A-176 from Jerusalem, March 6, reported on an Israeli settlement developing at a former Jordanian Army installation on the Dead Sea. (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

We have noted press and posts' reporting that the GOI is under increasing pressure to authorize and facilitate the establishment of civilian settlements in the occupied areas. Existing settlements in the Golan Heights, Sinai, and at Etzion were justified by the GOI as para-military encampments serving security purposes. Recent reports (Tel Aviv A-716) indicate that these settlements are taking on aspects of permanent, civilian, kibbutz-like operations and some are, in fact, civilian kibbutzim with Nahal covers. Thus far, we have no information on the establishment of settlements by the 17 groups which Prime Minister Eshkol announced in the Knesset February 26 he had approved. While there was no suggestion in his statement that these groups would be associated with Nahal, we note that the groups filed applications with the GOI and it seems probable they are non-Nahal.

Although we have expressed our views to the Foreign Ministry and are confident there can be little doubt among GOI leaders as to our continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas, we believe it would be timely and useful for the Embassy to restate in strongest terms the US position on this question.

You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol's Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention,/3/ which states "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Finally, you should emphasize that no matter what rationale or explanation is put forward by the GOI, the establishment of civilian settlements in the occupied areas creates the strong appearance that Israel, contrary to the principle set forth in the UNSC Resolution and to US policy expressed in the President's speech of June 19, does not intend to reach a settlement involving withdrawal from those areas.

/3/Reference is to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949. (6 UST 3516, TIAS 3365)

Rusk

 

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

Washington, April 8, 1968, 2348Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by Wiley and Houghton on April 5; cleared by Atherton, Davies, and Battle; and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to Amman.

143620. Ref: Tel Aviv 3159;/2/ Amman 4199./3/

/2/The Embassy reported on April 2 that it had responded to requests from the Foreign Ministry for an assessment of the internal situation in Jordan. Embassy officials had indicated that they had no information to confirm press reports that the collapse of the Jordanian Government was imminent. (Telegram 3159 from Tel Aviv; ibid.)

/3/In telegram 4199 from Amman, April 4, the Embassy noted, in response to a request from the Embassy in Tel Aviv, that offering assurances to the Israelis that Hussein's government had reserves of strength might not have the desired effect in light of the fact that the Israelis had excellent sources of intelligence of their own to assess Jordan's internal situation. (Ibid.)

1. We fully concur in Embassy Amman's 4199 and are becoming deeply disturbed by continuing evidence that elements in GOI seriously considering possibility of toppling Hussein as means of somehow improving current situation for Israel. We have particularly in mind statement made by chief of IDF naval intelligence reported Tel Aviv DAO 0626/4/ (para 1A) and report in Tel Aviv 3146/5/ that only one-third of opinion in Foreign Ministry is opposed to "solutions" involving the toppling of Hussein. We fail to see how the departure of Hussein could do anything other than put prospects for peace further in the background. We are further concerned that Israelis do not seem to have received message that regime's survival is important to US interests quite apart from interests of Israel. Given nature of our relationship with GOI, we believe that we are entitled to Israeli consideration of these interests.

/4/Not found.

/5/In telegram 3146 from Tel Aviv, April 2, the Embassy reported that information obtained from the Foreign Ministry indicated that a debate was taking place within the Israeli Government as to how to deal with the terrorism problem and the Jordanian Government. The telegram indicated that the weight of opinion within the Foreign Ministry inclined toward doing whatever was necessary to keep Hussein on his throne as the best hope of containing the terrorists, but others in the Israeli Government advocated the overthrow of Hussein. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68)

2. You may inform Fonmin officials that we believe King Hussein is still in control of the situation in Jordan, but that recent Israeli reprisal actions have made his task of maintaining internal security much more difficult. You should also inform them that the US Government is becoming increasingly concerned over indications that Israel may be contemplating further military actions against Jordan as such actions will only weaken Hussein and further augment the prestige and support for the terrorists among the Arab population.

3. You should also emphasize that preservation of Jordanian regime is a major US interest. We believe he still represents the best prospect for a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli problem. In addition, Hussein is important to our overall position in the Arab world and his fall or further weakening would likely have most unfortunate repercussions for our interests throughout the area. We trust that the Government of Israel will realize that the relationship existing between our two countries justifies our expectation that Israel will respect our interests even when Israel may not think them identical with its own.

Rusk

 

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

Washington, April 9, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Comment on Amman 4266/2/

/2/Telegram 4266 from Amman, April 8, reported on a message the Jordanian Government had just received from Israel. A personal message from Eban to King Hussein, also intended for Nasser, it indicated that Israel was eager for a settlement with the Arab states, and felt that fedayeen activities made it imperative that the settlement be reached quickly. Eban stated that if a settlement was not reached during April, Israel would have to resort to force to resolve the Fedayeen problem. Eban added that the only way to achieve a settlement was through direct contact between Israel and the Arab states. He offered assurances that Israel was prepared to discuss border and security issues in a positive manner. Israel was prepared to be flexible on the issue of Jerusalem, but could not contemplate divided control of the city. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM)

It's hard to know exactly what to make of the attached secret message from Eban to Hussein and Nasser. We can't even be sure that this third-hand account is completely accurate. The substance of the Israeli position as reported contains nothing new. The interesting aspect is the fact that they seem to be putting on some pressure now.

Whatever else one reads into it, it's an ultimatum-direct negotiations now or we'll attack-softened somewhat by the line that the politicians may be losing control in Israel and this may be the Arabs' last chance for some time to get the kind of forthcoming deal Eban can offer.

Why should Eban apply the pressure now? From other Israelis we have the impression that they'd rather sit until the Arabs come to them. Possible explanations:

1. There is a serious debate going on over how to stop terrorism, and Eban and other moderates may have bought enough time from the hard-liners to give negotiations one final try. Eban probably does feel it would be disastrous for Israel's hard-liners to gain the upper hand, but if he can't stop terrorism the peaceful way he may not be able to hold out against those who urge the military solution. While it sounds quite uncharacteristic for Eban to admit that terrorism is having an unsettling effect in Israel, he is still speaking from a position of strength since the alternative he poses is further use of force.

2. The situation may not be so neat as that described above, and this may be just one of several simultaneous attempts to explore a new tack. We know they are considering such things as seizing part of the East Bank, working directly against Nasser and Hussein, an $80 million fence on the Jordan, dealing directly with the Palestinians, and a wide variety of military answers to terrorism, three of which have been tried in the past month. It would not be surprising if they were to make diplomatic use of these to try to precipitate negotiations. They'd have nothing to lose, except that an ultimatum of this sort may do more harm than good if poorly presented.

3. Or they may be afraid of us and this may be their way of pressing the Arabs to talk on their terms before we push them to change their terms. They're alert enough to know by now that a lot of people here are beginning to talk about "partial solutions" and "last chance for peace." They also know that American public opinion against our "pro-Israeli" policy is slowly coming to life.

Except for the insight it provides if other evidence fills out the picture, there's no immediate operational aspect to this message.

John
Hal

 

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

Tel Aviv, April 9, 1968, 1204Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to Amman, Jerusalem, London, and USUN.

3252. Israeli independence day parade. Ref: Amman's 4270./2/

/2/Telegram 4270 from Amman, April 9, reported Jordanian Government concerns that a proposed Israeli independence day parade scheduled for May 2 through Jerusalem would lead to serious repercussions in the Arab world if it went as planned through east Jerusalem. The Embassy suggested that an effort be made to persuade the Israelis to cancel or reroute the parade. To that end the Embassy proposed that UN Secretary-General U Thant be encouraged to issue a statement deploring the proposed parade as likely to increase tensions in the area and complicate the efforts being made to promote peace. The Embassy further suggested that the Department issue a statement expressing a similar position. (Ibid.)

1. While I am aware that the content and the route of the Israeli independence day parade will very likely arouse negative reactions among Arabs, I question whether the proposals set forth in reftel are best designed to protect our own interests in the matter. A USG public critical position is very likely, I believe, to contribute only to blow the whole matter up still further without positive return for us or anyone else. The fact is of course, as ConGen Jerusalem has been reporting for weeks, that Israeli plans and preparations are very far advanced indeed, and that any intervention on our part would stand no chance of effecting a major change in the spectacle./3/ I urge that we make no public statements on the parade and that if there are queries we limit ourselves to a reiteration of our position on Jerusalem. I wonder in any case on what grounds we could object to a military parade being held in occupied territory by the occupying forces.

/3/The Consulate General in Jerusalem confirmed this judgment in telegram 1163 from Jerusalem, April 11. The Consulate General felt, however, that it was important for the United States to express its opposition to a parade it judged was inappropriate and unwise. (Ibid.)

2. I have not received an invitation to the parade yet and it is possible that the GOI, knowing well our views, will not tender one. Naturally, if I am invited, I do not intend to participate.

Barbour

 

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

Washington, April 9, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret; Nodis.

SUBJECT
Exploration with Evron

As you suggested, I broached with Eppie the question of how the President might make a major effort for a Middle East settlement, explaining that this was a purely personal and private conversation. I started with the notion that some Israeli indication that a decent settlement is at the end of the track is necessary to get negotiations going. We talked about the validity of this premise and about how far the Israeli Government might go in sending such a signal.

Our conversation was most revealing. I believe the answer, in short, is that the Israelis are waiting till Nasser falls and aren't anxious for any US initiative that hurries them toward peace before that happens. Eppie musters all sorts of reasons--some sensible, some marginal--but this is what I think it boils down to.

To me, this means that we have to make our own judgment and then set out with all our energies to change the Israelis' minds (probably via an emissary). To do this, we have to have a convincing answer to their arguments that (a) Nasser can't or doesn't want to negotiate peace; (b) they can't negotiate a settlement with a schizophrenic; (c) Nasser must go before other Arab governments can be free to pursue their own interests in a settlement.

The choice before us is between (a) letting forces play out as they are with an occasional tactical prod to keep Jarring in motion and (b) playing for a substantial shift in Israel's tactical position on the assumption that such a shift would get serious negotiations started. So far, while everyone is uneasy about our present course, no one has made the hard final judgment that would shift our approach to leaning hard on the Israelis. We came close last week but were diverted by the seeming break on the Jarring front. I will be doing a separate memo to you and Luke on this. For the moment, here's how my conversation with Eppie went:

Eppie doubts--"with real regret"--that any kind of Presidential initiative or Israeli compromise now would get negotiations started. He believes the Arabs will choose to wait for President Johnson's successor. Any sign that we were urging compromise now would lead the Arabs to believe that pressures are building up on the US to push Israel into a more flexible position. Any sign of change in our position would encourage the Arabs to believe that the President's successor would have to start at least from that point and that greater compromise would be possible later. He pointed out how unanimously the Arabs view the President's Vietnam proposal as a sign of weakness and failure.

He further believes that the Arabs have all the signals they need from Israel-that the main obstacle to negotiation is that the Arabs themselves aren't ready to negotiate. In the way of signals, he cited particularly Eban's 12 February interview with Haaretz. Having said that much, the Israelis believe any more signs of compromise would be signs of weakness in Arab eyes.

Eppie is playing with a new idea. He believes that feelings of Palestinian separatism are growing stronger right under the surface on the West Bank. Since he doubts that King Hussein is a free (from Nasser) agent in negotiating a settlement, he wonders whether Israel

shouldn't start with a settlement negotiated with the Palestinians and then let them determine their own relationship with Jordan.

I suggested that, even to do this, Israel would have to make up its mind on the shape of a final settlement. He asked what we had in mind. I told him we had not drawn any lines on the map. I said that our main concern was that Hussein get back a big enough portion of the West Bank to call it a settlement and a significant role in Jerusalem. He hinted that the Israelis are thinking about a substantial modification in the old armistice line, pushing it eastward at least as far as the heights that run down through Nablus past Jerusalem and Hebron (looks like 15-25% of West Bank area). In Jerusalem he spoke of Jordanian administrative custodianship of the mosque area and, at most, a corridor of access to the old city.

I said it sounded to me as if he advocates our standing back and letting events take their course. He denied this. He feels that there is already substantial Arab reason to believe that an eventual military solution would be possible because we have stood back. He harked back again to the idea that our greatest mistake in 1967 was to continue our suspension of arms shipments while the Soviets were rearming the Arabs. The Arabs do not believe we are firm in denying the area to the Soviets or in opposing the radical Arabs. In his view, we have never even made it clear that the Sixth Fleet will remain in the Mediterranean as long as it is needed. This American wishy-washy-ness is, in his eyes, the greatest encouragement the Arabs could find to believe that a military solution will become possible someday. It's the old line of making Israel so unbeatable that the Arabs will be forced to their knees.

Far from advocating our simply letting events take their course, he proposed a policy of "active passivity." He saw three things that could be done:

--Nasser should be eliminated. "There are plenty of things you could do." He claims that we continue to help keep him afloat by acquiescing in Western European and IMF programs to reschedule UAR debts. He believes we have dropped our conditions for resuming relations and are now encouraging Nasser to think that he can place conditions on resumption.

--Aircraft for Israel. The Arabs must be certain that the military balance will continue to favor Israel.

--We must make clear that we are going to stand firm against the USSR. "You should hear what even your friend, the Shah, says about your policy." He deeply fears that the mood in this country is to pull out.

I summed up by suggesting that the US could follow one of three courses:

(1) We could sit back and let local forces play themselves out.

(2) We could keep hands off the Jarring process but become more active in creating conditions that would be riper for bringing the Arabs around and convincing them that a military solution is impossible.

(3) We could press for some sort of Israeli signal and try to get the Jarring negotiations started.

He felt that the middle course was best.

Comment: This illustrates to me, more sharply than anything I have heard, the limits of trying to deal with the Israelis on the basis of friendship. They deeply distrust our "softness" in dealing with the Arabs. They will cultivate closeness with us as long as it suits their purposes. They will not open up to us on basic strategy because they disagree with us fundamentally over the question of whose side time helps. If we disagree, we will have to make up our own minds and take them on. Eppie promised to come back with more refined thoughts after he'd had time to think this over, but I thought you'd be interested in his initial reaction because it's so revealing.

Hal

 

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

Amman, April 10, 1968, 0810Z.

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

4296. Subject: Jarring Mission.

1. King Hussein summoned me last night to meet with him urgently in the PriMin's office. He had with him Crown Prince Hassan, PriMin Talhouni, Abd al-Moneim al Rifai and Zayd al-Rifai. Abd al-Moneim had not long before returned from Cairo and they had been discussing his talks with Mahmoud Riad and Jarring.

2. The King with interjections from Abd al-Moneim explained a new snag that had developed in the Jarring exercise as a result of the talks in Cairo on the 8th. As a result of the talks Abd al-Moneim had with Riad and Jarring, Jordan was now requesting the USG to state to the GOI in writing that it is the USG understanding that Israel, in saying that it accepts the Nov 22, 1967 and Jarring's March 10 proposal, means that it also accepts the implementation of the resolution. If this could be done, then Jordanian and Egyptian representatives would be in New York in a matter of few days ready to talk under Jarring's auspices. After the talks started, Jordan would be ready "to move very far, very fast" regardless of what the UAR might do. But Jordan had to have the UAR with it in order to get started in talks. With the requested written assurance from the US, Jordan could get the UAR to talks in New York. The US statement would be considered as an assurance, not as a commitment, the King said.

3. I responded that we had already been assured Jarring had been informed officially by Israel that it accepted his March 10 proposal. Why should anything else be needed and why, in particular, should it be required of us? I did not see how Jarring's proposal could be modified without raising further questions and suspicions in everyone's mind. To us Jarring's proposal, like the Nov 22 resolution, meant what it said, nothing more and nothing less. Israel had provided us with the wording of its written telegram to Jarring reiterating acceptance of his proposal.

4. Abd al-Moneim then explained the genesis of the Jordanian request as follows: After a lot of jockeying around on the 8th about what would be said to Jarring and whether Jordan and the UAR would meet him separately or together, it was decided Riad would see him first alone. Riad was to say that Jordan had accepted his March 10 proposal and was ready to meet with him. Jarring had responded to Riad and later to Rifai "That's fine, but Israel has not accepted the implementation of the resolution."

5. I expressed incredulity that Jarring had said this. In the course of further discussion, however, it came out that both Riad and Rifai had been told by Jarring that he did not consider that Israeli acceptance of his March 10 proposal or the Israeli telegram meant that they will implement the resolution.

6. I of course went over all of the old ground making especially the following points: (1) the resolution is not self-implementing (2) to accept the resolution is to accept the idea of its fulfillment (3) the resolution is a package (4) talks between the parties, but not necessarily direct talks, are understood to be required (5) some kind of secure and permanent arrangements, but not necessarily a formal peace treaty, are foreseen in implementing the resolution (6) the only true test of the intentions of the other side is to sit down and start trying "to devise arrangements for the implementation." I said it was Jarring's job to get acceptance of different words if he and the parties felt that other words were necessary. I personally thought a great deal of time had already been wasted in debating the meaning of words about "acceptance." If now we told Israel we were assuming the Arabs and Israel had agreed to implement the resolution, Israel would have every right to ask us what the Arabs meant by moving away from Jarring's March 10 proposal. We had heard enough about these forms of words to know each side seemed to find some special magic in them. If the Jordanian-UAR idea is to play legal or semantic tricks on Israel I saw no hope for a peaceful settlement. I did not see in any case why my govt should have to speak for Israel in this way. We very much wanted a peaceful settlement but we could not lend ourselves to deceiving either side. If we said "Israel agrees to implement the resolution" it would mean no more and no less than what the Jarring March 10 proposal says.

7. We went over and over this ground. The King emphasized there was no intention of misleading anyone. Jordan simply has to have the UAR with it to begin talks. The requested assurance (not a commitment, he stressed several times), from us would enable Jordan to get the UAR to New York. From then on there would be clear sailing. There would be no need for a report or statement or anything else from Jarring.

8. I pressed Abd al-Moneim on why Jarring's proposal was not sufficient. He reiterated that Jarring had said he cannot guarantee that Israel will implement the resolution and that he, Jarring, does not believe they will. Jarring had said this to Riad. When Jarring said the same thing to Rifai, the latter had said the U.S. Embassy assures us Israel accepts your proposal and will proceed to agree on its implementation. Jarring had said in effect: "I don't believe it. Get it from that Embassy in writing." It was largely for this reason that Jordan now needed a statement from the USG in writing-a statement it could show to Riad.

9. Several variations of a possible USG written statement were put forward, but I did not get a clear statement of what would satisfy the Jordanians or the UAR.

10. Hussein assured me several times that Jordan is eager to meet in New York and to reach agreement. If this umbrella can be provided to get UAR to NYC, Jordan will move ahead rapidly.

11. Comment: Foregoing is preliminary report. I am seeing Rifai again in a few minutes and may ask to see Hussein later. Will make recommendations following these meetings.

12. Only explanation for this bizarre performance that occurs to us is that Jarring must have believed that Israel's retraction of its acceptance as reported in State 143647 and 143619/2/ had again pulled the rug from under him./3/

/2/Telegram 143647 to Tel Aviv, April 9, repeated telegram 4494 from USUN, April 8, which was the basis of the information sent to Tel Aviv on April 8 in telegram 143619. Telegram 143619 to Tel Aviv, April 8, indicated that Ambassador Goldberg received a report from Jarring that the Israeli Ambassador in Nicosia had passed a message from Eban to the effect that Jarring should do nothing further to deliver the message to Hussein indicating Israeli acceptance of the March 10 formula. (Both ibid.)

/3/The Department informed the Embassy in Amman on April 12 that, for all of the reasons advanced by Ambassador Symmes, the United States could not provide the written statement Jordan had requested. (Telegram 145661; ibid.)

Symmes

 

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

Washington, April 11, 1968, 2330Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Battle, Houghton, and Sisco; and approved by Katzenbach.

145603. Ref: Amman's 4266./2/ Subject: Arab-Israeli Eban Message. Should King Hussein seek our reaction to proposal carried by Hikmat Al-Masri, suggest you reply along following lines:

/2/See footnote 2, Document 139.

1. Notwithstanding strong U.S. desire seek progress toward settlement, because of considerable risk for Hussein we believe we must leave decision to him.

2. At the same time, we recognize pressures mounting within the status quo may prove a greater danger in the longer term.

3. While there are elements in Eban message we do not like, it does represent a significant Israeli initiative and a possible opening.

4. As made clear in November discussions with Hussein in the U.S., we cannot guarantee to deliver Israel on any specific issue but would use our influence to get the best deal possible for Jordan. We adhere to the views expressed then.

5. FYI. You will recall at that time we made clear we could not envisage a viable Jordan without return of the West Bank. We believe there must be withdrawal of Israeli forces to recognized and secure frontiers but not, necessarily, the old armistice lines. We believe there could be adjustments of these lines based on security and economic considerations but that there must be mutuality in adjustments. As Ambassador Goldberg noted, for example, "If Jordan makes an adjustment along the Latrun salient there ought to be some compensatory adjustment for it." Jerusalem, we recognize, is probably the most difficult issue involved in any settlement, but even here we are prepared to be helpful. We are willing to use our influence to see what arrangements can be worked out for an appropriate Jordanian role in Jerusalem. End FYI.

6. If King should not raise this matter with you in next few days, we may wish to reassess the situation to determine whether we should take initiative./3/

/3/Symmes reported on April 12 that neither the King nor Zaid al-Rifai had raised the matter with the Embassy. Symmes concluded that "Jordanians will let this one ride at least until they see how the UAR reacts to latest Jarring developments." (Telegram 4354 from Amman; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL ISR-JORDAN)

Rusk

 

144. National Intelligence Estimate/1/

NIE 35-68

Washington, April 11, 1968.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on April 11.

ISRAEL

Note

This estimate assesses Israel's situation with particular reference to its central problem of security. In the radically altered situation arising from the June war, Israel's security problems have two major aspects: (a) its military capabilities compared to those of the Arabs; and (b) the political, psychological, diplomatic, and administrative questions involved in dealing with the occupied territories and with its Arab neighbors in circumstances short of war.

Conclusions

A. Despite its smashing victory in the June 1967 war, Israel finds that acceptance by its Arab neighbors continues to elude it. A formal peace settlement is out of the question, and the present stalemate, with Israel occupying large tracts of territory and controlling a million Arabs, will probably continue for a long time.

B. Arab terrorist activity is likely to increase, though Israel will be able to keep it under control. Incidents along the cease-fire lines will also continue. Israel will retaliate on occasion, and this could develop into heavy fighting. In the longer run, continued Israeli occupation will almost certainly lead to a new round of major hostilities.

C. In this condition of uneasy truce, Israel will maintain a military superiority over the Arabs, with a view to deterring them or, if war comes, defeating them quickly enough to prevent serious damage to itself. This means modern weapons. Israel probably sees France as a not very reliable source of such arms, at least as long as de Gaulle is in power, and will look increasingly to the US. But it will also try to produce as much as possible of its own military equipment.

D. Six years ago, Israel contracted with a French supplier for a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 280 nautical miles. It could be deployed in Israel in 1969, if de Gaulle permits it. If he refuses to allow the French firm to deliver the missiles or to assist Israel in manufacturing them, the latter could go ahead on its own, but it would probably take at least five years to deploy a missile system.

[1 paragraph (8 lines of source text) not declassified]

[Here follows the 9-page Discussion section of the estimate.]

 

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

Cairo, April 15, 1968, 0815Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 7 US/McCLOY. Secret; Nodis.

2136. 1. McCloy left Cairo this morning after 36 hour stay./2/ While here he saw Nasser, Fawzi, and FonMin. Following is prepared from rough notes dictated by McCloy before departure and is subject to revision by him. He asks that distribution be restricted to Secretary, Messrs. E. Rostow, Battle and Helms and White House.

/2/John J. McCloy visited Egypt as part of a series of visits to Middle Eastern countries on behalf of the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development. He also visited Jordan April 10-11 and Lebanon April 11-13. Reports of his meetings with King Hussein and Prime Minister Talhouni are in telegrams 4316 and 4317 from Amman, both April 11. (Ibid.) For a record of McCloy's meeting with Lebanese President Helou, see Document 149.

2. Fawzi amenable but emphasized need for more significant US support for Nov 22 resolution. FonMin more critical of US and more despairing re any hope coming from US. FonMin said key to problem was limitation of Israel expansionism. He said Israel unwilling forego expansionism and US unwilling confront Israel on this issue.

3. McCloy talked very plainly to Nasser. Nasser said he willing make "package deal" with Israel including withdrawal, "agreed and secure boundaries," demilitarization, non-belligerency. Documents to be prepared in advance and then go into effect simultaneously.

4. McCloy pointed up folly of linking Suez Canal to refugee problem. McCloy said refugee problem can never be "solved" to Arab satisfaction. Meanwhile one of Egypt's most precious assets wasting away. McCloy suggested reopening of Canal with IBRD assistance on terms of free passage for everybody. Nasser seemed to acknowledge the wisdom of such a course but indicated his internal situation would not permit it.

5. Nasser admitted he was the one standing in way of resumption US-UAR relations. He again indicated concern re public reaction to resumption so long as US did not balance its policy by doing something for Arabs.

6. Nasser recalled proposed US arms aid to Egypt in 1954 had foundered on his refusal accept US technicians. We had been right and he wrong. After June war he has been begging for Soviet technicians. He unable deny use his ports to Soviet fleet.

7. Nasser made sympathetic noises re Hussein but said if latter negotiated directly with Israel he wouldn't last very long.

8. Nasser said since President Johnson has announced he will not be a candidate might be time for US do something show its lack of bias for Israel. McCloy said no US administration would take action compel Israel withdraw without assurance for Israel's security and without convincing simultaneous action on part UAR. Nasser said this bitter pill but he accepted it.

9. McCloy got impression Nasser less vigorous, more subdued. He senses restrictions on his flexibility. Although worried, he is not distraught.

10. Nasser spoke in considerable admiration for President Johnson and what Nasser called "his statesmanship action" re Vietnam. Nasser added he completely convinced President's action not a maneuver.

Bergus

 

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

Washington, April 17, 1968.

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

SUBJECT
Airlift of Equipment to Jordan

The attached memorandum from Dick Helms to the President reports another request [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that we airlift some of the equipment included in our recent arms agreement./2/

/2/Not printed. [text not declassified] Ambassador Symmes supported this appeal in telegram 4371 from Amman, April 16: "I cannot emphasize too strongly the need to be forthcoming to the GOJ with respect to airlift." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 19-8 US-JORDAN)

We have already arranged two or three regular supply flights of non-lethal equipment down from Turkey. State and Defense are now arguing over whether to arrange 10-15 special flights to carry a few of the AA guns and other combat equipment to make a psychological impact such as we tried for after the Israeli raid on Samua in 1966.

Luke is trying to push this to urgent decision. Therefore, we do not have a solid proposal yet, and I would recommend giving him another day or two to work one out with Defense. If he can, then we would probably want to tell the President since it would dramatize our arms shipments to Jordan at a time when military exchanges across the Jordan River continue. Until we have a recommendation, however, you may not want to distract him from other more important issues.

Hal

 

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

Washington, April 18, 1968, 0101Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Precht on April 17; cleared in draft by Sisco, Colonel Abba of DOD/Joint Staff, and by Colonel R. H. Jenkins of DOD/ISA; cleared in substance by Country Director for Northern Africa John F. Root and by Neuman, Battle, Atherton, and Houghton; and approved by Katzenbach. Repeated to Aden, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, USUN, Paris, Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, Rabat, and STRIKECOM.

148769. Ref: Amman 4270,/2/ Tel Aviv 3296,/3/ USUN 4539,/4/ Jerusalem 1163,/5/ all refs Notal.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 140.

/3/In telegram 3296 from Tel Aviv, April 11, Barbour reiterated his objections to pressuring the Israeli Government to cancel or reroute the scheduled parade. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)

/4/Telegram 4539 from USUN, April 11, transmitted Goldberg's recommendations concerning the scheduled May 2 parade. Goldberg recommended issuing a strong U.S. statement of non-attendance and criticism of the parade venue, and at the same time make a high-level demarche to the Israeli Government asking for a change of venue. (Ibid.)

/5/See footnote 3, Document 140.

1. Israeli Twentieth Independence Day Parade, to be held in Jerusalem May 2, will originate in Shu'fat in former Jordanian-held sector, skirt Walled City and terminate in Israeli sector. Israeli press has reported foreign diplomats will not be asked to attend but that military attaches will be invited. USG has received no official Israeli communication regarding US attendance.

2. Department has determined that neither Ambassador nor any other Embassy officer should attend parade in Jerusalem. If it is deemed useful and desirable, a representative of USDAO may unofficially observe parade in civilian clothes./6/ At Ambassador's discretion he and members of his staff may attend other customary Independence Day ceremonies in Israeli sector of Jerusalem consistent with practice in past years.

/6/The Department subsequently revised this instruction to prohibit any U.S. official from attending the parade. (Telegram 152893 to Tel Aviv, April 25; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 8 ISR)

3. We plan to inform Israeli Embassy here of our position on parade as follows: US could not authorize its representatives to attend parade in Jerusalem. This is consistent with our well known views on status of Jerusalem. As we have stated publicly and privately we believe future status of Jerusalem must be worked out in consultation with all parties having interest in special character of the city. Satisfactory solution for Jerusalem must take into consideration religious, economic, and political interests at stake including those of Israel and Jordan. This objective can best be achieved by dealing with future of Jerusalem as element in general political settlement. We have strongly and consistently expressed opposition to unilateral Israeli acts which appear to consolidate or symbolize de facto annexation of Jerusalem. We consider Israeli decision to route parade through the occupied, formerly Jordanian-held sector of the city a particularly provocative act which will understandably deepen Arab suspicions re true Israeli will to peace. We think Israelis will find little understanding for their action internationally and in UN. For Embassy Tel Aviv: Should question of Jerusalem Parade be raised by Foreign Ministry, you should make foregoing points in describing US position.

4. In formulating US position on parade Department has considered suggestions that USG attempt to dissuade GOI from staging parade in occupied East Jerusalem and that US encourage UNSYG to deplore Israeli planning for parade. We share views expressed by Embassy Tel Aviv and ConGen Jerusalem that there is no possibility GOI would make any change in its plans for Jerusalem parade. That parade would be held in Jerusalem has been foregone conclusion since June war, and elaborate preparations involving road work and construction of facilities have been made. GOI decision and actions have been taken in full knowledge US views on Jerusalem. Accordingly, we believe appropriate US response is dignified statement to press and to Israelis that emphatically and clearly sets forth consistent US position on Jerusalem while avoiding showdown over changing venue or route which we cannot win. By seeking involve UNSYG or otherwise forcing showdown, US would only provide additional fuel for Arab resentment.

5. Press guidance will be transmitted to addressees in subsequent message.

6. We plan also to inform British and other friendly governments who have expressed interest in our decision. We understand from informal consultations that British and Germans intend take similar decision.

Rusk

 

148. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/

SNIE 30-1-68

Washington, April 18, 1968.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on April 18.

TERRORISM AND INTERNAL SECURITY IN ISRAEL AND JORDAN

Scope Note

This estimate deals with the likely course of fedayeen/2/ activity and its consequences in Israel and Jordan over the next 6-12 months.

/2/In this estimate, we use the Arab word "fedayeen" in place of "terrorist" as often as possible. "Fedayeen" was originally used to describe emissaries of the medieval Assassins sent to kill their political opponents. It means one who sells his life in a sacred cause, thus redeeming himself in the hereafter. The English equivalent usually used by the Arabs is "commando." [Footnote in the source text.]

Conclusions

A. Fedayeen activity is posing dilemmas for King Hussein of Jordan and for the Government of Israel. The interaction of events in the two countries is likely to lead to increased border conflict and to threaten Hussein's control of Jordan.

B. Hussein would like to restrain the fedayeen, because they block his chances of an accommodation with Israel, bring reprisals, weaken his position on the throne, and infect the army and public with radical and subversive ideas. But he is finding restraint increasingly difficult since the fedayeen are popular symbols of defiance of Israel. The army is dissatisfied with the US arms supply program, and popular resentment toward the US is growing, based on a feeling that the US is partial to Israel. These circumstances may force Hussein to get arms from the USSR, through he fears the political implications of such a deal. If Hussein lost control, his regime would almost certainly be replaced by one more radical and aggressive, perhaps something on the Syrian pattern.

C. Fedayeen activity is unlikely to drive the Israelis from the occupied areas or endanger the existence of Israel itself. Nevertheless, Israel's leaders and people are united in their determination to halt Arab terrorism. They are beginning to question their long-established policy of reprisals, and are likely to try counterterrorism and hot pursuit as alternatives. They might mount a major military invasion of the East Bank, but we think they will decide that the disadvantages would outweigh the gains. In the end, they are likely to try to seal off much of the

present Jordanian border, though such a defensive posture runs against Israeli military tradition and instinct. Whatever their chosen tactic, they will be very tough in dealing with Arab terrorism and are unlikely to be deterred by the prospect that their efforts might topple Hussein.

Discussion

The Fedayeen

1. Arab terrorists--"fedayeen"--have become a critical factor in the internal affairs of Israel and Jordan, and in the relations of these states with one another. For a time after the June war, there was little fedayeen activity. Since the fall of 1967, however, such operations in Israel and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have been of sizable proportions./3/ As of mid-March, the Israelis claimed to have killed over 90 terrorists and to have 1,500 under detention. Some of these figures represent unorganized resistance activity in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, and many of those detained are probably suspects rather than proved fedayeen, but overall figures reflect a rising level of terrorist activity.

/3/In mid-March 1968, the Israeli Defense Minister said that 168 Israelis and 72 Arab citizens had been killed or wounded by the fedayeen since the war, in contrast with 58 killed or wounded in the preceding year. [Footnote in the source text.]

2. At least 20 organizations have the purpose of using terrorism against Israel. Most of them were formed before the June 1967 war and had as their objective the liberation of Palestine from Israeli domination. Since the June war, some of these organizations have represented themselves as movements of resistance against Israeli occupation of Arab territory. However, the line between these two goals is blurred, and fedayeen raids are carried out against Israel proper as well as against Israel-occupied Arab areas. The basic goal of the fedayeen probably is to undermine the state of Israel itself. The bulk of this activity is carried out by Fatah, which pre-dates the June war, and by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was formed after it. The other major group, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has trained irregular fighters, but does not appear to have engaged in raids against Israel.

3. Control of the fedayeen movement in Jordan is a subject of rivalry among Arab States and factions. The PLO for some time has been trying to unite such activity under its aegis, but Fatah has refused to cooperate and has itself sought to unify such groups under its control. The Ba'thist regime in Syria fears the influence of Nasser and of the Arab Nationalists' Movement in the fedayeen movement and has sought to establish its own predominance over it. The goal of each contestant is predominant influence over the Palestine Arabs as an element in the inter-Arab struggle for power.

4. Most fedayeen are trained and equipped in Syria, although Algeria, Iraq, and the UAR have done some training. Though some may have been trained in Communist China and North Vietnam, we do not believe that any non-Arab force controls any of the fedayeen. Heavy financial support for liberation activities comes from well-to-do Palestinians and other Arabs in the oil-rich states, and demands appear to be increasingly levied on Jordanians. Nasser has now come out publicly in support of the fedayeen. Once trained, the fedayeen cross into Jordan, where they get help and sympathy from the Iraqi forces in Jordan and from the large numbers of their fellow Palestinians there. Fedayeen usually operate in teams of 4 to 11 men. Their missions include crossing into Israel or Israeli-occupied territory to plant mines, ambush Israeli personnel, conduct sabotage, and collect intelligence. The fedayeen have a mixed collection of small arms, grenades, and mines; according to Israeli reports, they have now acquired 120 mm mortars.

5. While there were relatively few fedayeen before June 1967, there are now probably some 2,000 in Jordan alone. Many are of a new breed. They are younger, better educated Palestinians with a sense of mission. They are likely to pursue their goals with zeal and increasing skill, though they are still relatively inexperienced. Fedayeen activity is unlikely to drive the Israelis from the occupied areas or endanger the existence of Israel itself.

6. Harsh repressive measures by Israeli occupation forces have kept the West Bank Arabs from offering much assistance to the fedayeen. The Israelis have apparently penetrated many of the fedayeen organizations, and have been able to kill or capture a substantial number of infiltrators in the act of crossing into Israeli-held territory. But these countermeasures have not stifled the fedayeen. Indeed, each successful incident will probably further boost their determination to continue and enlarge their activities. Their methods, however, will probably remain much the same; they will try to take Israeli lives and inflict damage on property, will have some successes, and will remain objects of very serious concern to Israel.

7. The Israelis have also launched severe reprisal raids designed to make the Jordanians withhold support from the fedayeen. For example, on 15 February, the Israelis shelled and bombed a refugee camp which they said was harboring fedayeen. On 21 March, several thousand Israeli troops crossed the Jordan River, seized the town of Karamah, a terrorist base, killed and captured a number of alleged fedayeen, and killed at least 60 Jordanian soldiers as well. These reprisals in particular have, contrary to Israeli expectations, caused an upsurge of popular support for the fedayeen, who have achieved a new respectability as Arab patriots.

Hussein's Position

8. King Hussein has been in a difficult situation since the June war. At that time he had earned almost universal approval at home by joining with the other Arabs in fighting Israel, but this did not entirely offset the shock of defeat and the great loss of territory. As Hussein has tenaciously held on to his connection with the US, which most Arabs believe strongly supports Israel, and as his diplomatic efforts to regain lost territory have not succeeded, frustration has become more open and pronounced in Jordan.

9. This situation makes it extremely difficult for King Hussein to arrive at an acceptable policy towards the fedayeen. He has endeavored to restrain their activities, for he recognizes that they result in Israeli reprisals which he can neither prevent nor protect against. These reprisals damage his country and his people; they also increase resentment against his regime by the Jordanian people and army. Hussein also believes that continued terrorism is destroying the chances of an accommodation with the Israelis which would return most of the West Bank to him. Moreover, the fedayeen owe allegiance to no government and constitute a subversive element which could provide a focus of antiregime sentiment. While the upper echelons of the Jordanian Government share Hussein's views, the bulk of the Jordanian people feel considerable sympathy for the anti-Israeli actions of the fedayeen. By and large, the Jordanian Army is not hostile to the infiltrators; some army units have provided covering fire for fedayeen crossing the Jordan River. They have probably, despite orders to the contrary, given them material support. Further, the Jordanian Army has not inhibited the open assistance given the fedayeen by Iraqi troops in Jordan.

10. Thanks to the rising popularity of the fedayeen, and to general anger in Jordan at Israeli reprisals, King Hussein now finds it increasingly difficult to restrict the anti-Israeli actions of the fedayeen who live in his territory. He is seeking accommodation with their leaders so as to curb criminal or antiregime activity which these groups might undertake. He probably is also trying to exploit differences among rival fedayeen groups and among the Arab regimes and factions that support them. There is little likelihood that this situation will change, and the fedayeen will probably operate from Jordan into Israel without fear of effective official opposition. As for Hussein, either permitting them to operate freely or trying to assert some degree of control over them is likely to adversely affect his position over a period of time.

11. In the past, Hussein's principal support has been the army, but the sympathy of some of its elements with terrorist activities may make it receptive to the general hostility of the fedayeen to the monarchy. This process is likely to be hastened by rising dissatisfaction with what the officer corps considers an unacceptably slow pace of arms resupply by the US. Military leaders have noted Hussein's lengthy, frustrating negotiations with the US--negotiations which have so far led to an agreement for arms supplies but have not yet resulted in the arrival of any weapons. They contrast this with the speedy Soviet resupply of the UAR and Syria and the standing Soviet offer to fully equip the Jordanian Armed Forces.

12. Though conservative Arab friends, particularly King Faisal, strongly oppose Jordan's receiving Soviet weapons, military officers are likely to press Hussein to do so. To help fend off this pressure, he is seeking to get Western arms from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and perhaps from Pakistan and Iran. Hussein has consistently refused to accept Soviet arms but would almost certainly accede if he felt it necessary to enable him to remain in power. A Soviet arms deal would be popular with the military and the public at large. Hussein might also consider that arms from the Soviets and better relations with the USSR would afford new protection from Israeli reprisal attacks. He might reason that Syria's close relations with the USSR have been a principal reason why Israel has left Syria alone.

13. Even if Hussein accepted Soviet arms, he would still try to maintain countervailing ties with the West and with the conservative Arab States. To limit adverse effects in his relationships with these countries, he might attempt to secure only specific categories of arms--e.g., tanks or artillery--from Moscow. Hussein would almost certainly take the line that he had turned to the USSR only as a last resort. His basic international policies would continue to take account of Western interests. He would continue to seek an accommodation with Israel. While he might benefit from increased domestic popularity, he would seek to rule through the same group of generally monarchist conservatives which has staffed Jordan's Government for years.

14. Though Hussein's hold on power has been weakened, it remains reasonably good. But the pressures against him-aggressive Israeli military reprisals, domestic discontent, lack of strong support from fellow Arabs and from the West--are substantial, and the initiatives open to him are not promising. Much will depend on the interaction of forces in the area; a continued high level of fedayeen activity accompanied by Israeli military countermeasures would seriously weaken him. Some progress by the Jarring mission, Egyptian or Iraqi moves to limit support for fedayeen, or receipt of arms would ease matters. Hussein has ridden out severe storms in the past and could do so again. But he is likely to be in substantial jeopardy through the next year at least.

15. A successor regime to the Jordanian monarchy would probably include numerous Palestinians and Arab nationalist army officers. It would be strongly anti-Israel. It would be more radical than Hussein's government and would be drawn toward cooperation with other revolutionary-minded Arab States. It would probably seek closer relations with the USSR and would be considerably less well disposed toward the US. But, in some aspects at least, its radical tendencies would be tempered by the continuing vital importance of subsidies from the conservative regimes of Kuwait, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Responses to Terrorism

16. Israel has had a long-standing policy of reprisal in force for terrorist incidents involving loss of Israeli lives. But this policy has come under domestic criticism as a result of the Karamah raid. Preparations for this raid were not concealed; most of the fedayeen had left Karamah before the Israelis arrived and have since returned. Although raids are planned so as to limit the loss of Israeli troops, 25 Israelis were killed and over 70 wounded in the Karamah operation. This was due in part to the fact that the Jordanian Army, much to the Israelis' surprise, chose to fight rather than stand by. Opponents of the reprisal policy point out that future raids like that on Karamah are likely to cause heavy Israeli casualties and will probably fail to achieve their purpose. Fedayeen operations since Karamah have taken several Israeli lives. Jerusalem's Mayor Kollek has said publicly that reprisals do not crush the spirits of the Arabs but, on the contrary, lead to increased support for terrorism and to more recruits for the fedayeen organizations. His position apparently has some support in the Israeli Cabinet.

17. Despite this opposition, the commitment to reprisal is deeply ingrained, especially in the Israeli military establishment. Though Israeli military leaders are probably aware that reprisals weaken Hussein's position, they are willing to take actions which risk his replacement by a new, more hostile regime in Jordan. Where the Israelis have previously seen advantages in Hussein's retention of power, they may now be indifferent to his survival and may even see benefits in his departure. Were he to disappear, the Israelis could tell the US that the situation in the Near East had so evolved that Israel was its only friend, could hope for greater US military supplies, and could argue that returning the West Bank to an anti-Western regime would not be in the interest of either the US or Israel.

18. The Israelis are adopting new antiterrorist measures to supplement or replace large-scale reprisal. They have recently engaged in hot pursuit with small forces into Jordanian territory. Other measures being considered include the dispatch of Israeli terrorists into Arab territory, with the object of inflicting greater property damage and loss of life than the fedayeen cause in Israel. Such activity will probably appear in the next few months. Such counterterrorism would probably have no more satisfactory results in stopping terrorism than the policy of massive reprisal has had. Such raids would probably lead to further loss of Israeli lives and would not prevent the fedayeen from operating in Israel. But the advantage, Israel may believe, would be that it would make Israel a less conspicuous target for international condemnation.

19. If the Israelis are not able to contain terrorism by such means as increased police action, reprisals, and counterterrorism, they would then be forced to choose other measures, none particularly palatable. One course would be to mount a major military assault against the East Bank, overrunning the populated area of Jordan. But such a move would risk a renewal of broader Arab-Israeli hostilities, and could bring on a new international crisis. World reaction would be extremely hostile. Though generally confident of US support--or of at least tacit acquiescence for the moves it makes--Israel might feel that an all-out invasion of Jordan would dangerously threaten American tolerance of Israeli militancy. Further, the Israelis probably recognize the great disadvantages of occupying the East Bank, with its million and a half Arabs and its unviable economy now being kept afloat by large subsidies from rich Arab countries. And once Israel withdrew from Jordan, the fedayeen would probably soon reemerge. On balance, we believe the chances are against a massive Israeli invasion of Jordan.

20. An alternative, which has received some attention in Israel, would be to seal off at least the most troublesome stretches of the present Jordanian cease-fire and armistice lines with such devices as barbed wire, sensors, electrified fences, and land mines. The French used such a barrier, on the whole successfully, to seal Algeria's Tunisian and Moroccan frontiers during the rebellion. Israel, with a shorter and more easily patrolled frontier with Jordan, could probably make such a barrier work fairly effectively. Some of these devices have already been installed in selected border areas. Though a major defensive barrier would not be able to stop the fedayeen completely, it would probably reduce their activities--and cut Israeli casualties--sharply. The million and a half Arabs now in Israel and Israeli-occupied territory have not helped the fedayeen much. If virtually cut off from contact with and supplies from their Arab brethren, they probably could not engage in significant, organized terrorist activity.

21. There almost certainly are strong voices raised against such a proposition in Israel. A heavily fortified 200-mile frontier barrier would be expensive to build; it would have to be patrolled by large numbers of Israeli soldiers. It would run counter to the established Israeli military doctrine that a defensive posture is anathema. And it would ease domestic pressure on Hussein, whose efforts to restrain the fedayeen would then be assumed by the Israelis themselves.

22. Nonetheless, the Israelis will, over a period of time, probably be forced to opt for more effective defensive measures to seal off Israel and Israeli-occupied territory from Jordanian-based fedayeen operations. Israel's traditional reluctance to adopt a posture of static defense stemmed in large part from the feeling that this would permanently commit it to unsatisfactory frontiers; it would feel little inhibition on that score about the present shorter and more defensible cease-fire line. At the same time, Israel would be prepared to use various forms of retaliation against Jordan--including very severe ones--if defensive measures are insufficient to prevent Israeli casualties.

 

149. Airgram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State/1/

A-942

Beirut, April 19, 1968.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted and approved by Political Officer J. Thomas McAndrew and cleared in draft by Ambassador Porter. Repeated to Aden, Algiers, Ankara, Amman, Jerusalem, Jidda, Khartoum, Kuwait, London, Rabat, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Tunis, and USUN.

SUBJECT
President Helou's Views on Bringing about Stability in the Middle East

John J. McCloy paid a courtesy call April 13 on President Helou. The President availed himself of the occasion to summarize his present thinking on how the apparent impasse in Ambassador Jarring's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis might be broken. Emphasizing that he was speaking as a "Westernized Arab" the President stressed the need to understand basic Arab psychology. A fundamental prerequisite to achieving progress toward "peace" is a realization that no Arab leader could sign any agreement which would, in effect, give up what the Arabs hold to be their right to reclaim Palestine. As a direct consequence of this basic factor of life, real "peace" in the juridical sense of the word is not attainable; there can be no Versailles-type peace treaty. Therefore, it is unproductive to talk in such terms and, since the Israelis understand this aspect of Arab thinking, their persistent demands for direct negotiations leading to the signing of a peace treaty are considered only a pretext to retain the newly occupied territories.

Though true peace cannot be obtained, there may be a peaceful way out of the current impasse. The November 22 Security Council Resolution contains the elements necessary to reach a modus vivendi. Full implementation of all of the practical measures contained in the resolution would bring about an effective condition of "stability." Neither direct negotiations nor the signing of a peace treaty figure in the resolution and they are not essential to attaining this "effective stability." In the President's view a prolonged period of such "effective peace" or "stability" would present opportunities to solve the many issues inextricably tied to a Middle East settlement. No progress could be made until the two sides were separated by demilitarized zones and a UN presence which could end the military confrontation and gradually reduce the emotions and hatreds which governed the actions of both sides.

Since the key to a peaceful solution is implementation of the provisions of the November resolution, it is incumbent upon the US to use its influence to obtain Israeli acceptance. The President acknowledged the limited effectiveness of US efforts to pressure Israel into taking specific actions and commented that UAR Ambassador Ghaleb had himself acknowledged this fact in a recent conversation with the President. As far as withdrawal is concerned, President Helou said that the Arabs accept the fact that some modification of the pre-June war boundaries is essential in the interest of security and stability. Furthermore, the President believes establishment of a demilitarized zone along the new Arab frontiers with Israel, in which international forces would be stationed, would contribute to maintaining the "effective stability" he  believes attainable.

Mr. McCloy outlined current US public opinion on the Arab-Israel problem for the President. He stressed that many Americans consider justified Israel's determination not to withdraw from the territories occupied during the June war until it obtains firm guarantees of peace and security. In the aftermath of the 1956 Suez campaign, the US used its influence to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the Sinai and Gaza. In the absence of effective international guarantees, ten years later war again broke out between the Arabs and the Israelis. This time more is required than perfunctory verbal or paper guarantees before the US should pressure Israel into making concessions.

Mr. McCloy told President Helou that, although he was not on an official mission in the Middle East, he hoped he would be able to pass the President's views on to appropriate policy-making officials of the US Government.

Comment: Once again President Helou was speaking in his now familiar role of the moderate Western-oriented Arab leader interpreting Arab thoughts and feelings to a Western audience. He, of course, is indeed the "Arab friend of the West" which he terms himself to be. His analysis of the current situation and appeal for a "practical" solution in terms of a provisional modus vivendi is almost word for word the story he related to David Rockefeller in February. He is convinced continued efforts to seek the impossible can only frustrate progress toward a practical solution.

Porter

 

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

Washington, April 23, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68. Secret. A handwritten note indicates that the memorandum was received at 6:02 p.m.

SUBJECT
Status of Your Decision on Aircraft for Israel

You will recall that, after your talk with Eshkol, you asked for three reports to determine how long you could keep open your decision on the 50 Phantoms. This is where we stand:

1. Secretary McNamara reviewed production schedules and determined that you can delay your decision until December 31, 1968, and still begin delivering Phantoms to Israel in January 1970 at the rate of about four per month (Tab A)./2/ Defense might have to place orders this summer for long lead-time items, but they could be diverted to our own aircraft if you decided negatively.

/2/See Document 71.

2. General Wheeler, after reviewing training requirements with General Hod, also reports that you can delay your decision until December 31. He has told the Israelis they must have candidates with English and electronics fundamentals ready to begin advanced training in the US in January 1969 (Tab B)./3/

/3/Not attached. A copy of this February 14 memorandum from Wheeler to McNamara is in the Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 72 A 1499, 353 Israel.

The one hooker is in the training schedule. The Israelis agree with both of these judgments provided we plan only delivery at the rate of about four aircraft per month as they come off the production line. However, they haven't given up arguing that the situation might be serious enough to require delivering 30 or 40 planes in January 1970, or even before. We could meet that contingency by diverting the planes from our own inventory, but Israeli technicians and pilots would not be ready.

3. Dick Helms and the Defense Intelligence Agency still don't see that situation in the cards. [3 lines of source text not declassified] Dick reports (Tab C)/4/ that the facts available to us and to the Israelis are essentially the same, and the Israelis have surfaced no new evidence that causes our intelligence community to alter its estimate significantly.

/4/Reference is to an April 10 memorandum from Helms to Walt Rostow on the subject of U.S. and Israeli estimates on the Middle East. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. IX, Cables and Memos, 3/68-5/68)

The reason the Israelis continue to press the gloomy picture despite our general agreement on facts is that they naturally take account of all possible enemy capabilities rather than relying on estimates of Arab and Soviet intentions. We're not likely to be able to prove our estimates that the threat will continue to be manageable. The problem in trying to resolve this difference is that their more pessimistic estimate reflects not only their understandable concern for the worst they might face but also an effort to influence our policy.

Ambassador Rabin asked me some days ago "at Eshkol's request" what the state of our decision is. With your permission, I propose simply to give Evron a low-key informal progress report on our staff work. I would say that you are keeping the mater under the active review you promised. That you have received the recommendations you asked for from General Wheeler, from the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence and that you have satisfied yourself that your option to begin delivering aircraft in early 1970 remains open. If we give Rabin a formal answer, he'll have to report it, and Eshkol will probably put it in the most pessimistic light.

We are groping for some way to link this decision to specific progress toward a political settlement. I don't believe we can bargain 50 planes for Israeli withdrawal. But we might find a time to use them in bargaining for a marginal shift in Israel's tactical position that might give negotiations a boost, if we can ever get negotiations started. Therefore, I don't believe there is any reason to rush your decision, but we will stay on top of it as you promised Eshkol.

Walt

OK to tell Evron/5/
Better not to answer at all
Call me

/5/President Johnson checked this option.

 

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

Washington, April 24, 1968, 0107Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Parker on April 22, cleared by Atherton and Day, and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, USUN, and London.

152002. Unsec 47. Subject: Arab-Israel Problem.

1. Ghorbal of UAR Interests Section called at Department April 19 for briefing on latest Jarring talks in Cairo. Deptoff showed him text of Cairo's 2179/2/ and said we found statement of UAR position therein discouraging. We also found discouraging the remarks Mahmoud Riad had made to Jarring and various friendly diplomats regarding alleged deceitful role being played by US. Riad's mistrust of us appeared to be a major obstacle to progress on Jarring mission. It was true we had informed various governments that Israel had accepted Jarring's March 10 formula, which we and Israelis had considered positive step forward. That Jarring reportedly did not attach same significance to Israel acceptance was puzzling, but did not detract from fact that Israel had moved, and at our urging.

/2/Telegram 2179, April 18, reported on a briefing Bergus received from the Foreign Ministry on the April 17 meeting between Jarring and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. In the course of explaining why the UAR could not accept Jarring's March 10 formula for the implementation of Resolution 242, as amended by Jordan, Riad alleged that the United States had launched a "vast campaign" to support Israel and persuade other Arab governments that Israel was prepared to implement the resolution. (Ibid.)

2. Deptoff said our efforts directed at convincing parties directly concerned that they should take positive steps to get over current procedural debate and move to substance. Apparent irreconciliability of UAR and Israel positions was heightened by communications problem which appeared exist between Jarring on one hand and Egyptians, Israelis and Jordanians on other. Before Egyptians accused us of deceit they should make sure they understood Jarring and vice versa.

3. Ghorbal said we should understand that problem was not one of Mahmoud Riad's personal mistrust but of convictions entire UARG. He had in fact been instructed inform us that statements made by various US representatives, plus lack of any tangible gesture on our part in support of Arabs, or in recognition their forward motion since last June, had persuaded Cairo that USG was engaged in deliberate campaign to support Israeli effort to dragoon Arabs to negotiating table. Whatever formula we devised, however it was camouflaged, Egyptians would not sit down with Israelis in New York or anywhere else and we might as well forget about it. Given this fact, real question was whether parties could move to substantive discussion without face-to-face meetings. Egyptians thought it possible and it was for this reason that Riad had made his three-point proposal to Jarring on April 8. If assured that Israel would implement the resolution, Egyptians were prepared to discuss substance and modalities of implementation through Jarring, but not directly with Israelis. If communications were the problem, this was an argument for moving to New York, where it would be possible to check quickly on what the parties had said and meant. Arabs could be in one room and Israelis in another, even in the same suite, and Jarring could move back and forth to work out details of agreement. This was not a negative position, this was a positive proposal for progress towards peace. Egyptians still wanted a peaceful settlement and were still prepared to cooperate with Jarring. But there would be an irreversible trend to extremism if progress did not begin soon.

Rusk

 

 

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