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Administration Warns Congress Not to Take Actions to Discourage Hussein from Joining Peace Talks

April 15, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Reagan Administration warned Congress today not to take any actions that might discourage King Hussein of Jordan from joining in Middle East peace talks.

“It is important to the U.S., including the Congress, to encourage the King in his efforts to move the area towards peace,” State Department spokesman John Hughes said. “Above all, we must avoid giving the impression that we do not understand the real risk he is running or that we might not support him in facing these risks. Such a posture is common sense as well as good policy.”

Hughes’ remarks were made in commenting on the action yesterday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee an Europe and the Middle East. While approving the Administration’s request for $115 million for Jordan, the subcommittee stipulated that Jordan could not buy advanced weapons from the U.S. unless President Reagan certified that it was ready to enter negotiations with Israel and to recognize Israel’s right to exist.


Hughes said no weapons request had been received from Jordan. However, while Jordan has been known to be seeking to buy U.S. planes and missiles since January, 1982, it has held up an official request because of Congressional opposition.

“Jordan does accept Israel’s right to exist,” Hughes maintained. “It is obvious that Jordan has been doing everything it can to move the peace process forward,” he said. He noted that Hussein accepted President Reagan’s “peace proposals as enunciated in the President’s September 1Middle East peace initiative.

A spokesman for Rep. Lee Hamilton (D. Ind.), chairman of the subcommittee, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that while Hamilton was not “surprised” by the State Department’s statement, he did not wish to comment at this time.


Meanwhile, Hughes maintained that Reagan’s peace initiative is still alive despite Jordan’s announcement Sunday that it will not enter talks. He said that since then, Reagan has talked with Kings Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Hassan of Morocco, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos Bin, in addition to King Hussein.

But, Hughes said, the U.S. feels the time for talking is over. “We feel there has been enough talks” and the issue “has been discussed sufficiently,” he said. He added, “What is needed is decisions from the Arabs which clearly support the entry of King Hussein with representative Palestinians” into negotiations. Hughes stressed that only through “direct negotiations with Israel will the Palestinian people receive their legitimate rights.”

Hughes continued to maintain that Shultz has not decided on a trip to the Middle East. He reiterated the Secretary’s remarks that he would go there at an “appropriate time.” But there was some indication today that the appropriate time could come during or after Shultz’s trip to Europe later this month.


Meanwhile, Hughes also said the State Department “remains committed to the President’s budget proposals” despite an increase in aid to Israel by the House Middle East subcommittee yesterday.

The subcommittee increased economic aid to Israel for fiscal 1984 from the $785 million recommended by the Administration to $850 million, all a grant. The grant portion of the $1.7 billion in military aid to Israel was increased to $850 million from the $550 million the Administration requested.

When Nicolas Veliotes, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs, appeared before the subcommittee earlier this year, the Administration was castigated by members for reducing the grant amount from that approved by Congress last year, even though the Administration maintained the amount it was proposing for a grant was more than it had proposed for fiscal 1983.

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