fifty years ago September 21, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (September 21, 1970): President Nixon on West Asia

President Nixon is reported to have privately told some American newspaper executives that the U.S. would go to the aid of King Hussein of Jordan if other Arab powers, such as Iraq and Syria, who side with the Palestinian commandos, attempt to topple the regime in Jordan. Mr. Nixon is reported to have said that King Hussein’s survival was vital to American interests in West Asia. U.S. troop and naval movements are apparently aimed at backing up this promise. Observers here [Washington, September 20], however, continue to believe that the U.S. has no specific plans to intervene in Jordan and that the tough tone employed by Mr. Nixon is his private press briefing — and there are clear indications that the White House wanted these remarks of Mr. Nixon to be disclosed through the press — was not so much a statement of intentions, as a warning intended to deter Syria and Iraq from intervening in Jordan and tipping the balance against King Hussein, who has so far been able to cope with the commandos’s threat to his regime.

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