81. Telegram 37577 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Jordan1

37577. For Ambassador from Sisco. Subject: Assistance for Morocco. References: A—Amman 687; B—Amman 689; C—Amman 699; D—Tehran 1267; E—State 201455 (Notal).

1. Dept and DOD are giving urgent consideration to proposals for arms and aircraft transfers to Morocco. US policy is basically sympathetic to Moroccan needs, which we want to meet to extent possible in way that does not appear to be internationalizing Sahara dispute [Page 214] through highly visible emergency supply of US equipment, particularly during current Arab and UN diplomatic efforts to reconcile GOA and GOM differences over self-determination prior to end of Spanish administration on February 28. We recognize that Morocco under-armed vis-à-vis Algeria and want to help in part to offset the imbalance.

2. In this context Dept is prepared to immediately authorize transfer of items most readily available and easily moved and where replacement not major factor, as soon as we meet statutory requirements relating to third-party transfers as contained in section 3 (A) of Foreign Military Sales Act (FMSA), as amended, i.e., advance notification of Congress and receipt of transfer assurances from GOM. Specifics discussed below. Action on other items complicated by many factors and will require further discussion with GOM, GOI and GOJ. Embassy requested communicate decisions to GOJ and discuss other aspects with Jordanians in accordance with following guidance.

3. General points you should emphasize to GOJ.

A. Replacements for most items under consideration for transfer to Morocco cannot be furnished quickly because of lengthy production lead times which may range from 20 to 48 months in some cases.

B. Replacement costs will exceed original costs to Jordan of any items transferred to Morocco and USG has no rpt no funds to absorb these added costs. We assume this is matter to be worked out between GOM and GOJ.

C. Responsibility for maintenance status of the equipment selected for transfer must necessarily rest with countries involved.

D. Any transfers of US supplied equipment from Iran and Jordan to Morocco, or from Iran via Jordan to Morocco, must be notified to Congress and will therefore be public knowledge. You should be sure GOJ fully understands inevitability of Congressional and press attention to and possible criticism of transaction. Transfer procedures are outlined in Ref E.

E. GOJ should submit diplomatic note or other written message through MFA or MinDef to Embassy formally requesting USG authority to effect transfers in question.

F. If Jordanians raise subject of U.S. airlift, you should say you must refer question to Washington. In this connection, you might inquire whether GOJ has explored possibilities of assistance in arranging airlift from Saudis and other friendly Arab states with capability. (FYI: Transport by USAF aircraft would be very costly, rough estimate around dols 3.7 million. End FYI)

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4. Specific items

A. Recoilless rifles: Dept is prepared to agree to transfer to Morocco from Jordan of 36 106 mm recoilless rifles. We understand GOJ is not rpt not asking for replacements. Dept understanding is that Jordan received 106mm recoilless rifles under MAP; Morocco is not eligible for MAP matériel. Suggest that GOJ would therefore buy residual rights after which guns could be transferred to third party. (FYI: Residual value for each 106 mm RR is dols 2,704. End FYI) Beyond that transfer can be made as soon as GOJ files written request, Dept informs Congress in advance, and GOM submits diplomatic note concerning disposition of these items as required by FMSA. Suggested text being furnished Rabat by septel.

B. 20 F–5As from Jordanian Air Force: You should inform GOJ that first need is to work out practical problems of transfer with GOJ, GOI and GOM. Please convey following points to GOJ:

—Deliveries of initial F–5Es as replacements for F–5As, if Morocco agrees to this, cannot rpt not commence before late 1977 because of long production lead times. This is reason GOM seeks earlier delivery via transfers from Jordan. GOJ should understand this point before proceeding with transfer.

USG has no funds to absorb cost of replacements to Jordan from GOM order of F–5Es which will greatly exceed value of F–5As. We assume this will be worked out between GOJ and GOM.

—Ask GOJ estimated time needed to put F–5As in condition for ferrying to Morocco. Alternatively, if they are to be disassembled for shipment and reassembled in Morocco, need estimate of when planes could be operable. Latter is complicated operation requiring jigs and substantial team at each end.

—Seek GOJ’s views on most practicable means of moving these planes, reminding them of need to get overflight and landing/refueling clearances in Greece, Italy, Spain. We are prepared support GOJ requests for clearances.

C. 16 155 mm howitzers and ammo (both small arms and artillery) from Iran to Morocco via Jordan. Inform GOJ that we are prepared to agree to its transferring these items to Morocco once they are received from Iran, but that we should again have to comply with statutory provisions for advance notification of Congress and transfer assurances from recipient.

D. 4 or 5 F–5As with munitions from Iran: We have no objection to transfer of these aircraft and munitions from Iran to Jordan but same considerations discussed in Paras 3D and 4B above would apply to their onward transfer to Morocco.

E. REDEYE: Although REDEYES were not among items GOJ indicated it could provide to Morocco, they appear on GOM shopping list [Page 216] and GOJ may have them under consideration. If Jordanians raise subject, inform them that we would not approve their transfer to Morocco, consistent with our policy of not rpt not further proliferating this weapon.

5. You correctly surmised that matériel would not be available from our assets in Europe (nor from US military inventories anywhere) and may confirm this if Jordanians raise it again.

6. Embassy requested inform Dept ASAP of GOJ reaction to points you raise with them and whether GOJ wants to proceed with transfers under applicable conditions. Dept will not rpt not initiate steps to effect transfers until it receives GOJ assurances in this regard.

  1. Summary: The Embassy was instructed to communicate decisions to the Government of Jordan regarding arms and aircraft transfers to Morocco.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Weislogel; cleared by Atherton, Stern, Noyes, and MacFarlane; and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Rabat and Tehran. In telegram 37576 to Rabat, February 14, the Department instructed the Embassy to inform the Government of Morocco about U.S. approval for the transfer of items from Jordan pending statutory requirements. (Ibid.)