Telegram on Warning Jordan on Fatah Attacks
(October 8, 1965)
Palestinians were launching increasing numbers of terrorist
attacks against Israel
and the Israelis
began to complain to the United States and warn of the necessity to
respond. The United States passed on the message to Jordan and warned
that King Hussein's
was also being undermined by the failure to control the terrorists.
Hussein's failure to act would ultimately lead to a war between Jordan
and the PLO
Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy
Washington, October 8, 1965, 5:35 p.m.
151. Fatah raids from Jordan were major topic discussion in Ambassador Harman's
courtesy call on Assistant Secretary Hare October 7. Harman said Fatah
raids are a pressing security matter in Israel where the situation is
becoming increasingly difficult. Originally Israel had concentrated
on the longer range danger posed by UAC but this attitude has changed
since Fatah operations have acquired character of grave regularity,
central planning and expertise reminiscent of 1955-56. Fatah striking
deep into Israeli territory. People are unable sleep nights. Armed forces
are being diverted from essential training to night patrol duties and
wartime atmosphere created in border villages. GOI appreciates what
US doing in Amman but worried and would not like to draw practical deductions
from its analysis of situation. It is afraid King will not be able seize
hold of situation. He should know Fatah his enemy as well as Israel's.
Important for him to take real action.
Ambassador Hare responded we appreciate Israel's concern
over this type penetration. We have been in frequent touch with Jordanians,
most recently with King on October 4 and 5 and Prime Minister on October
7. We convinced any doubts King may have had about seriousness matter
are dispelled. He came out October 4 publicly about Fatah. Press conference
by Prime Minister is to follow. Military are alerted. Jordanians have
arrested individuals although guiding apparatus still intact. King has
stated he is at wit's end to know what more he can do. If Israel thinking
in terms of retaliatory raid Israel should remember King is not responsible
but is trying to contain situation. Retaliatory raid would hit Jordan
not real offender and would favor those Arab elements who want to accelerate
long term animosity toward Israel. Raid would be grist for Shuqairy's
mill. US understands Israel's concern and is doing its best. Jordan
is also trying. Restraint on Israel's part necessary. Foregoing is distillation
of our most careful thought and collective thinking.
Ambassador Harman responded Israel has shown extraordinary
patience due to desire give Hussein time. But now appears Israeli restraint
and a less than active King have contributed to Fatah's feeding on its
own success. The King gives no sign of making all-out security push
and Jordanians in lower echelons including IJMAC uncooperative. While
Israel appreciates US efforts with Jordan GOI is in vulnerable position
on this issue particularly in view of elections. Israel cannot take
too much more risk. King should not miscalculate Israel can indefinitely
Ambassador Hare said we prepared if Israel authorized
convey to GOJ seriousness with which Israel regards situation. We would
urge Israel take no action that does not fit with progress we have made.
Ambassador Harman replied he assumed we thought US actions of October
4, 5 and 7 should be allowed time to have effect. Ambassador Hare agreed.
Ambassador Harman said he thought would be helpful if US would reinforce
its concern to Amman.
Symmes (NE) noted that 1) we have information, already
imparted to Israel Embassy, that word is getting down to lower Jordanian
levels, 2) it is in Israeli and US interest King and other decision
makers stay in power, and 3) these decision makers have been back in
Jordan only one week and therefore need time to intensify control.
In separate conversation Department passed Israel
Embassy (Yinon) substance King's and PriMin's comments on Fatah reported
Amman's 198 and 201 2(omitting King's speculation
GOI might be behind Fatah, also numbered paras 1 and 5 of Amman's 201).
Stated we appreciative intelligence given us by GOI in past on Fatah
activities outside Jordan and would welcome receipt additional such
info in future. Pointed out that greater our total store of knowledge,
better able we were to pass GOJ key intelligence of possible value its
anti-Fatah efforts. Re GOI accusation lower levels GOJ not cooperating
King's directives, suggested Israelis produce in IJMAC any evidence
supporting this charge keeping us informed also. Yinon doubted utility
MAC channel, claiming GOJ lacked confidence SJD Daoud, but opined might
be feasible pass such evidence through UNTSO Chief of Staff for direct
transmission King or PriMin.
1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration,
RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 ISR-JORDAN. Confidential. Drafted
by Wolle and Nyerges, cleared by Symmes, and approved by Raymond A.
Hare. Also sent to Tel Aviv and repeated to Jerusalem and USUN and pouched
2. Telegram 198 from Amman, October 6, reported a
conversation with King Hussein the day before on the subject of Fatah.
Telegram 201 from Amman, October 7, reported a conversation that day
with the Prime Minister on the same subject. (Both ibid.)
Sources: U.S. Government. Foreign
Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 18, Arab-Israeli Dispute
1964-1967. DC: GPO,
2000. Department of State.