King Hussein of Jordan, at a testimonial luncheon attended by U.S.1698business, political and diplomatic leaders, yesterday accused Israel of following "a dead end policy" that will lead to the ultimate destruction of the Middle East.
Hussein said "the essence of Israel's dilemma" and the crucial problem in the area have not changed since Israel occupied Arab territory in the Six-Day War of 1967. "It is still territory or peace, and Israel has chosen territory," he said.
The $40-per-plate luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel, in honor of Hussein's 25th year on the throne, was his last major event here at the end of three days of conferences with President Carter and other officials. He flew yesterday afternoon to New York and will go to Atlanta and Houston before returning home.
"The Arab parties, while seeking the end of occupation and redress for the Palestinians, are ready for the obligations of peace," Hussein declared. He did not define those obligations, except to say that such measures as partial demilitarization, international guarantees and concrete security arrangements can be discussed and agreed upon.
Hussein said the Palestinians should have the right to establish "a national political entity" after Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory. He said Jordan would accept creation of a Palestinian state, presumably on the occupied West bank territory, which is still formally part of Jordan. In an address at American University yesterday he suggested that such a state be affiliated with Jordan through "voluntary and brotherly ties."
Israel has strongly opposed a separate Palestinian state, considering it a potential security threat of grave proportions, but has suggested a joint Jordanian-Palestinian state including parts of occupied territory to be returned.
The 41-year-old monarch drew laughter and applause during his luncheon address with two oblique references to the Feb. 18 Washington Post report that he received secret Central Intelligence Agency payments for more than 20 years.
Noting that he has now been directly involved in the Middle East conflict longer than any other leader in the area despite his relative youth, Hussein pointed out that his reign has spanned the tenure of "six American Presidents, seven secretaries of state and, I am told, eight directors of the CIA." A little later he said Jordan had transformed its society through "generous assistance programs" of the United States but "without oil, without peace and, at times, without the support of The Washington Post."
The testimonial luncheon was initiated several months ago by former U.S. diplomat L. Dean Brown, president of the Middle East Institute, a private association sponsoring scholarly and current affairs programs on the Middle East. Brown enlisted as cosponsor of the luncheon the American-Arab Association for Commerce and Industry, made up of about 300 corporations doing business in the Middle East.
Two under secretaries of state, Philip C. Habib and Lucy W. Benson, were among the 600 persons present along with Under Secretary of Commerce Sidney Harmon and a number of U.S. diplomats and Arab ambassadors in Washington. Several U.S. senators and other political figures also attended.
Thirty-four corporations and business firms sponsored tables of 10 guests each, including American, Caltex, Chevron, Esso, Gulf and Mobil oil companies; Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Litton, Northrup and Rockwell defense firms; Ford, General Motors and Caterpillar Tractor; Chase Manhattan Bank and others active in the Middle East.
Doremus & Co., a New York-based public relations firm that has an $807,000 contract to provide services to Jordan in 1977, made arrangements for press coverage. Major newspapers, wire services, camera crews of the three commercial television networks and a camera crew of the U.S. Information Agency attended.
During Hussein's trip to Washington in March, 1976, Doremus "prepared/edited speeches (and) remarks" by Hussein at the White House arrival ceremony, state dinner and university and other public appearances, according to data filed by the firm with the Justice Department in explanation of a $396,000 fee for various services.
Hussein's luncheon speech yesterday was written by the king and other Jordanian officials with suggestions from himself and other friends, according to the Middle East Institute's President Brown.