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Lyndon Johnson Administration: U.S. Informs Israel About Arms For Jordan

(December 15, 1966)

This telegram summarizes the deal that the United States made with Jordan regarding supplying them arms.

Acting Secretary saw Ambassador Harman and Evron 14th to inform them of USG decision to respond to King Hussein's request for aid by offering to supply small quantity arms. Package described as between $6 and $7 million, less than 5% of what King had asked. General description of items given when pressed by Israelis.

Harman said his government would be most concerned about supply of artillery and repeatedly asked for details. Noted Eban's remark re tradition of working closely to resolve problems and expressed hope same policy would apply now. Stressed difficult psychological atmosphere existing in Israel and danger of leak on proposal without prior joint planning, particularly when Knesset in session. Acting Secretary indicated some better idea of items involved would be given but stressed that even considerably larger package would have no impact on military balance. He said that Jordan's need for defense on border other than Israeli could not be discounted. He pointed out the massive shopping list requested is what Hussein and his military experts feel is absolutely necessary to stabilize situation and we have task of working from list. We cannot reject list in entirety and substitute only police equipment nor can we delete principal items and achieve our objectives. These latter being: (1) to permit continuance Jordanian policies of restraint and moderation, particularly in connection with prevention of terrorist acts from Jordanian territory, (2) to assist King in his efforts to keep other Arab troops out of his country and, (3) to provide equipment of type not requiring increase in force levels of Jordanian Army.

Davies seeing Evron 15th to discuss further nature of package./2/

/2/A summary of the conversation is in telegram 103654 to Tel Aviv, December 15. (Ibid.)


Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-8 US-JORDAN. Secret. Drafted by Davies, cleared by Handley, and approved by Katzenbach.

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