NEA Files: Lot 55–D36

Statement by the United States and the United Kingdom Groups

top secret

The Problem

Transjordan and the Greater Syria Movement.


The British group referred to the Anglo-Trans Jordan Treaty of 1946 which provides for strategic facilities in Transjordan and for British assistance in financing and equipping Transjordan forces. They also mentioned the useful role played by the Arab Legion in Palestine. Concern was expressed about King Abdullah’s tendency to indulge in provocative, utterances, particularly in respect of Greater Syria, which had given rise to friction with King Ibn Saud. The British had endeavored to assert a calming influence on King Ibn Saud and a statement had been made in the House of Commons for the purpose of making it clear that the British were not sponsoring the Greater Syria project. The British Government hoped that the United States Government would on their side continue to do all they could to allay the anxiety of King Ibn Saud. If the United States Government felt able to recognize Transjordan and to appoint a representative at Amman they would also be in a better position to help in exercising a calming influence on King Abdullah. The British Government disliked the position that the British were represented at Amman and not the Americans.
The American group observed that United States Diplomatic Representatives in Saudi Arabia had repeatedly told King Ibn Saud that it was the understanding of the American Government that the British were not supporting the Greater Syria idea. Regarding its own position on the Greater Syria issue, the American Government had not reached any decision, although no reason was perceived for opposing such a plan provided that it had the free consent of the various countries concerned and was brought about in such a way as not to disturb King Ibn Saud. On the matter of recognition of Transjordan, action was being delayed pending a decision on the subject of Palestine by the United Nations. In any event the possible election of Transjordan as a Member of the United Nations would doubtless clear the way for recognition. The form which American representation might take at Amman had not been decided. Thought had been given to dual representation through existing Offices in either Jerusalem or Baghdad but [Page 604] the establishment of an independent Mission at Amman was not excluded.
The British group observed that although consideration had been given to the establishment of bases in Transjordan no definite plans had been evolved and one of the principle problems which had arisen in that connection had been to obtain a Mediterranean outlet. An outlet to the Gulf of Aqaba was, of course, possible but not entirely satisfactory. The suggestion was made that the question of an outlet to the Mediterranean might be considered in connection with current discussion of the Palestine question by the United Nations.


The United States Government would give consideration to the recognition of Transjordan at the appropriate time and to the possible appointment of a Diplomatic Representative resident at Amman.
Access to the Mediterranean should be borne in mind in connection with current discussion of the Palestine question in the United Nations.
Neither the American nor British Governments feel in the position actively to support the formation of Greater Syria. They are not, however, unalterably opposed to such a project provided it could be carried into effect in a manner acceptable to the countries concerned and without incurring undue opposition on the part of Saudi Arabia.
Both the American and British Governments would do what was possible to restrain King Abdullah from making provocative utterances about Greater Syria and to allay the anxiety of King Ibn Saud in that regard.