President Carter and King Hussein of Jordan ended two days of talks yesterday with expressions of mutual satisfaction but no visible movement toward Jordanian participation in the Camp David peace process.
In contrast to his statement last Friday that "I'll use all the persuasive power that I have" to bring Hussein into accord with the U.S.-sponsored peace process, Carter told reporters in the king's presence after the final White House talk that "we've not tried to change each other's mind."
State Department officials described Carter's promise to use persuasion as unintended, and went out of their way to insist that Hussein was not asked "at this point" to make a decision to join the Arabian-Israeli peace process he has so far spurned.
Despite discussion in public by both Carter and Hussein of "differing routes" to the common objective of Middle East peace, a State Department participant in the talks said Hussein did not define his own alternative to the Camp David road. The official said Hussein described a list of key omissions from the Camp David agreements, including lack of definition about the final outcome of the Egyptian-Israeli talks and the missing element of Palestinian participation.
For his part, Hussein declared himself "very, very satisfied with all that has happened during my visit here" and "very pleased that we are frank with each other."
At this point in the U.S.-sponsored peace drive, nearly two years after the Camp David meeting between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Hussein told reporters only that "beginnings have been made, a better understanding exists to pursue this dialogue" between the United States and Jordan.
The Camp David agreements reserved an important role for Jordan in determining the future of the occupied West Bank. But Jordan, which was not consulted on the Egyptian-Israeli agreements or its assigned role, has steadfastly refused to take part. Referring to one of his most important objections, Hussein said yesterday that "a just and comprehensive peace" can come only with a solution of the Palestinian problem that gives the Palestinian people "rights of self-determination."
Israel has sought to limit sharply the extent of Palestinian self-determination in a West Bank agreement, fearing that Palestinians would favor a separate West Bank state of their own. Hussein is believed ready to accept a West Bank entity affiliated with Jordan, which was the governing authority in the area before the 1967 war between Egypt and Israel.
In a seeming hint of conciliation, Hussein said Jordan favors "security for all, all there now, in the near future and in the future in the broadest sense." This appeared to be a reference to Israel's insistence that its security needs be paramount in the final arrangements.
White House press secretary Jody Powell, assessing the two days' talks, said, "I can't say they have bridged the difference, but they made progress in understanding the respective positions on the peace process."
The "clearing of the air" after many months of unaccustomed chill in U.S.-Jordian relations was stressed by American officials seeking a positive note.
In addition to the central question of the drive for Arab-Israeli peace and Jordan's role in it, Carter and Hussein discussed regional security issues such as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the situation in Yemen, the security of the Persian Gulf area and U.S. problems in Iran, according to officials. Jordan is playing an important security role in several countries in the area the officials noted.
Carter, speaking to reporters, also said, "we talked about the possibility of economic progress" before and after a Middle East peace. He did not elaborate.
In addition to a second meeting with Carter, Hussein yesterday had lunch and a lengthy talk at the State Department with Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie. Today Hussein is scheduled to make a major public address to a luncheon meeting of the National Press Club.