76. Telegram 687 From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State1

687. Subject: Assistance to Morocco. Ref: Amman 688 (Reftel/Notal).

1. Immediately following telegram contains message from King to Secretary for delivery to President. King dictated message to me in his office evening February 8, following his conversation with secret Moroccan mission which arrived here this afternoon from Iran. Mission [Page 195] headed by Chief Moroccan Air Force. Mission presented King with request for military aid and reported results conversation with SAH.

2. King is impressed with urgent need for military support in Morocco and says he believes Moroccan claims that Soviets and Libyans are pouring in weapons. Crux of King’s request is to help him honor Moroccan plea for 25 F–5A’s and 36 106 mm recoilless rifles. King willing to provide latter without seeking replacement. Shah says he will give 4 or 5 F–5A’s on condition they appear to come from Jordan and that US gives its agreement to the transfer. King says he will cooperate. In addition he says he is willing to transfer 20 of the F–5A given him recently by the Shah to Morocco immediately. However he wants us to provide him as soon as possible with replacements in kind or some equivalent number of F–5E’s. He would not transfer of course unless we gave permission which is required under the existing agreement with us concerning these aircraft.

3. Moroccans have asked for additional items of equipment which are included in a list which I will provide in a later para (para 7) of this cable. Shah has said he will also provide munitions for the F–5A he wishes to transfer “through” Jordan. Finally King asks for advise and assistance on getting aircraft to Morocco expeditiously.

4. After King dictated his letter we talked for a few minutes. I told him that my own personal reaction was that US would not have funds or aircraft to replace the F–5A he was considering sending to Morocco. Did the Moroccans indicate they could pay for them? He said he thought that was possible they would do so. King in that case would like some sort of high priority on the delivery of additional F–5E’s. He was aware because I told him that one for one replacement would not be very likely because of the differences in cost. I believe he would be happy indeed to be able to convert the F–5A’s into E’s at something less than a one for one trade off. He also talked about seeing the Shah soon and trying to find out whether the Shah could help finance the deal. This I very much doubt since the Shah gave the aircraft to Jordan in the first place. He is thus not very likely to turn around and pay for the replacements for his gift. The King mentioned the Saudis as a possible source of help and said he might consider going through Saudi Arabia if he visits Iran. He also indicates in his letter to the Secretary that he will be in touch with the Saudis.

5. Finally, the King mentioned Syria. He said that that Asad told him last month that he would like to stay out of the middle of the Saharan problem if he could especially since he was trying to be a mediator. But if it were necessary for him to declare himself he could not turn his back on Morocco after what the Moroccans had done to help him in October 1973. King speculated that Syria would give overflight clearances to move the aircraft and that his friend Juan Carlos in Spain [Page 196] would also be counted upon similarly to help Moroccans. King also asked whether there was anything we could do from our assets in Europe to help quickly. I did not leave much encouragement on that point.

6. Of the remaining items on the list King said he was either woefully short or completely out of the items mentioned. While I was in the office he called Chief of Staff Bin Shaker to check again that 106 mm recoilless rifles could be spared. Moroccans he said had indicated they had been in touch with US and they were trying to speed up our regular program of military aid.

7. Moroccan list (Embassy translation from French.)

1) TOW missiles launchers 24 missiles 480

2) Portable anti aircraft missiles REDEYE 200 (or more)

3) Artillery M 109A2 (155mm SP guns) 16

4) 106 mm guns 36

5) Ammunition 5.62 ATO 4,000,000 rounds

6) Artillery ammunition 12,800 155mm shells divided as follows 10 PC smoke/or phosphorous, 10 illumination, 70 PC high explosive and 10 PC training rounds

7) One squadron of F–5 25 aircraft with munitions and 2 TACANS

8. King has asked for an early reaction given Morocco’s immediate need. He reports that Moroccans shortly expect to be in an area where Algerian resistance will increase and where Algerians air superiority will be felt.

  1. Summary: The Embassy reported on a meeting between Pickering and King Hussein, who discussed additional Moroccan military requirements and Syrian support for Morocco.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Exdis. Repeated priority to Jidda, Tehran, Rabat, Damascus and Madrid. Telegram 688 from Amman is published as Document 77.