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Lyndon Johnson Administration: Telegram Discussing Arms Trade with Jordan

(November 24, 1966)

This telegram discusses an arms donation that the United States will make to Jordan as an offer of good will after the Israeli raids; however, Dean Rusk notes that future arms deals with Jordan will have to be discussed at a later point.

90817. For Ambassador from Handley.

1. By immediately following telegram/2/ we are responding to King's and Tell's request for accelerated delivery of already programmed military equipment. We believe this positive and quick response will be helpful in meeting immediate need of bolstering morale of King and his status in eyes of Army and people as well as reducing chances of further disaffection in JAA. But it should not be interpreted as an indicator that USG is prepared underwrite long-term buildup JAA.

/2/Telegram 90818 to Amman, November 24, instructed Burns to inform the King of a favorable U.S. response to his request for emergency delivery of certain items of military equipment. The airlift to Jordan of 6 105mm self-propelled howitzers, 15 quarter-ton utility trucks, and 15 106mm recoilless rifles and an accelerated delivery schedule for the F-104 sales program had been authorized. (Ibid.)

2. At this moment, primary need seems to be psychological and we believe President's letter plus quick response GOJ's request for speedup certain equipment, especially F-104s, may help all concerned get over present extremely tense and dangerous period.

3. We are carefully weighing longer range problem posed by GOJ request and Embassy recommendations re increased military aid. Thinking here, however, is that major contribution US can make in months ahead lies not so much in buildup Jordan's military heft, as in finding ways to improve border security, i.e., static defense. Within few days we hope be able lay out plan and program to meet this problem. Meanwhile, consider it of highest importance you continue assess GOJ mood for indications that our short term measures and other current developments may make it possible discuss longer range problem in realistic and constructive context./3/

/3/Burns reported in telegram 1251, November 26, that he met with the King the previous day and informed him of the U.S. response to his request as authorized in telegram 90818. There followed "a long and deadly silence." The King finally thanked Burns but indicated that what the United States was offering would have little impact. (Ibid.)


Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12-5 JORDAN. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Atherton and Handley and approved by Handley.

Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, V. 18, Arab-Israeli Dispute 1964-1967. DC: GPO, 2000.