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U.S. Tank Sales to Jordan Expected Despite Hussein’s Refusal to Cooperate in Peace Process

June 23, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In their first meeting in 30 months, Jordan’s King Hussein gained a commitment from President Carter to provide 100 sophisticated American tanks. But the King not only refused to help the President in his Mideast peace making effort but implied that he favored getting the Soviet Union into the peace process.

While widespread Congressional opposition is manifest toward the Saudi Arabian request for enhancement of the combat capability of its 60, F-15 interceptor jets, similar protests against the tank sale to Jordan are not expected. Congressional feeling, it was indicated, would center on U.S. delivery of the tanks with the proviso that those they replace be removed from Jordan.

Administration sources said that President Carter agreed to sell Jordan 100 M-60 tanks and tentatively agreed to deliver another 100 later, should Congress not raise great opposition to the first shipment of tanks. The tanks would carry night-vision equipment and laser range-finders. Indicating the Mideast power balance would not be disturbed, the sources said Jordan has 300 M-47 while the U.S. has provided 810 M-60s to Israel and 100 to Saudi Arabia.

Jordan also was said to have acquired 250 British Chieftain tanks and was prepared to get others, including some from the Soviet Union, if the U.S. would not supply them.


Interviewed on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” today, Hussein expressed the hope that Congress would not block the sale of tanks to Jordan. “If the links are to be preserved between us, then obviously we have the right to ask our friends to update the equipment that we have…otherwise, obviously we have to look elsewhere,” he said. The interview was taped yesterday before he left Washington for Amman.

The King again sidestepped any comment on reports from the Carter Administration that he had promised that Jordan would not be used as a base to launch terrorist attacks against Israel. “The fact of the matter is that the problem never came up,” he said. “We have not altered our policy in Jordan, nor our posture of the recent past.”

In a speech here Thursday, Hussein said “the world community” should enter the peace process.

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