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The Six-Day War: Hussein Warns of Dayan Assassination Plot

(January 18, 1968)

Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State

Amman, January 18, 1968, 1715Z.

3040. For INR Hughes and NEA Battle. Subj: Terrorist plans to assassinate Israeli officials.

1. At the end of our conversation today, King Hussein said there was a very sensitive matter that he felt he should mention to me. He then explained that when he was in Saudi Arabia last week he had heard from a "high level" that "some of the Arab terrorist organizations" are planning the assassination of certain Israeli officials, with Moshe Dayan being a principal target. (The King said he had voiced his strong disapproval of such a course of action, and implied that his source also disapproved of these alleged terrorist plans,) With some embarrassment he said he left it to me as to how or whether these reports should be brought to the attention of the GOI [Government of Israel]. He said he wanted to make it absolutely clear that he is opposed to terrorism in general and to assassination of individuals in particular.

2. In connection with terrorism, King Hussein said his intelligence information is that the situation is becoming much worse. More terrorists are coming from Syria and others are coming in from Gaza and Iraq. He has issued orders to insure that the situation in South Jordan is cleaned up completely. He believes that terrorist threats can be handled more easily in that region but the situation opposite the West Bank remains difficult. He volunteered that one purpose of his forthcoming trip to Baghdad (which will now be delayed until early February) will be to speak to the Iraqis about getting PLO and terrorist elements out of Jordan. He noted parenthetically that he expects he and others may also become terrorist targets.

3. Comment: From the way the King spoke to me about the terrorist plans against Israeli officials, I judge that he had received some fairly hard information that some of the terrorist groups may try hard to get Dayan. I leave to the Dept how best to get this information conveyed to the Israelis without compromising King Hussein as source.


Sources: U.S. Government. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 20, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1967-1968. DC: GPO, 2000. Telegram is from Harrison Symmes, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan.