WASHINGTON (Nov. 6)
King Hussein of Jordan today indicated to newsmen, following a lengthy luncheon meeting with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, that Israeli Troops must be withdrawn before intermediaries could discuss an Arab-Israel settlement. Hussein seemingly ruled out direct negotiations, and referred to “intermediaries” seeking a solution after Israeli troop withdrawal.
The King said that Jordan would recognize the right of every state to exist. It was phrased in such manner as to suggest that Israel was included. He revealed that his visit might include negotiations jointly for himself and the Nasser regime. He stressed that he was in “extremely close touch” with the current position of Egypt on Israel, and referred to the Arab Summit conference at Khartoum as a “turning point. He pointed out that the Soviet Union was interested in Jordanian efforts at the United Nations.
Hussein declined to comment directly on his talks with Mr. Rusk. He stated only that he was afforded an opportunity to present the Arab position. While referring repeatedly to “chances for a just peace,” Hussein made clear that he thought in terms of Israeli troop withdrawal and negotiations through intermediaries, rather than direct negotiations.
Asked pointblank if Jordan would enter direct talks with Israel, Hussein said “at the moment, and for the time being, the position is that we will not.” When asked whether he was simultaneously speaking for Nasser, Hussein said that “at the moment we are very close.” He added “there are no differences” between himself and Nasser. He said the Arab case was “an extremely reasonable one” and would gain acceptance. While he could not discuss details of the Arab willingness to compromise, he said, he could state that “we are willing to give a great deal.”
Hussein said the Israel problem was “born” in the United Nations and that is where discussions would be held and — he hoped — a solution acceptable to the Arabs would be found.
An unusually large crowd greeted the Jordanian king as he came to the State Department for his noon-hour meeting with Mr. Rusk. The greeters, in the Department building diplomatic lobby, included diplomats and departmental desk officers, as well as secretaries and other Government employees.
U.S. ADMINISTRATION ‘ENCOURAGED’; SEES ‘CHANGE’ IN ARAB POSITION
United States officials said after the Hussein-Rusk talks that the Administration was encouraged by Hussein’s “moderation.”
Earlier today, the State Department said that it regarded yesterday’s television statement by King Hussein on peace with Israel as a “tremendous and welcome change in the Arab position,” and that it attached great significance to his statement on conditions that would restore peace to the Middle East.
King Hussein said yesterday, on the TV show “Face the Nation,” that he was prepared to “recognize the right of all to live in peace and security in the Middle East area and this represents a very vast and tremendous change from earlier positions.” Asked if he meant “all states” in the region, Hussein replied “all who live in it. And I think that if we do manage to find the right formula then it would mean all states.” He did not mention Israel by name in this context. After the broadcast he told newsmen that Israel’s right to exist in peace and security would depend on the boundaries Israel negotiated with her Arab neighbors.
The king is scheduled to meet with President Johnson Wednesday, and will probably address the United Nations Security Council later this week, if the Council meets to continue debate on the Middle East crisis.