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867N.01/11–1847: Telegram

The Consul General at Jerusalem (Macatee) to the Secretary of State


529. Officer this Consulate General visiting Amman November 16 reports following:

Under Secretary Transjordan Foreign Office unaware, until queried, of UP interview in which Abdullah said Transjordan would remain neutral Palestine dispute and that if “New York Jews and Iraqi Arabs and all other Jews and Arabs outside Palestine” would remain quiet Palestine matter would be solved peacefully through UN. King was interviewed at his winter quarters at Shunen without knowledge Transjordan Government. After reading article Under Secretary very upset particularly references to Iraq. Stated categorically Transjordan Government policy was that of Arab League and Transjordan could not remain neutral. Added his brother, the Prime Minister, drafted many resolutions at Beirut session Arab League and Transjordan was completely committed act jointly with other Arab states. Under Secretary [Page 1269]deplored bitterly King’s unbridled press statements, saying first Greater Syria scheme now this render Prime Minister’s position with other Arab states precarious. Expected severe reactions to interview. Possible interview may precipitate showdown on hitherto latent disagreement between King and government. Prime Minister’s position strong as no replacement available at moment and unlikely King’s final position on Palestine yet fully determined by British.
Rumored in Amman Prime Minister leaving end November for London ostensibly to discuss revision Anglo-Trans Jordan treaty 1946 but more likely Trans Jordan position re Palestine. However departure doubtful unless present crisis in relations with King overcome.
Reference mytel 518, November 11, Under Secretary denied agreement by King with Jewish Agency to occupy Arab Palestine after partition. However Transjordan Government not always aware of commitments made by King, as tacitly admitted by Under Secretary.
Brigadier Glubb, British subject, now Chief of Staff Trans Jordan Army, reticent on Arab League role re Palestine, saying “events” had taken control and he unaware what would happen. Asked if he would march into Palestine if so ordered by Abdullah, he replied Abdullah not only one who, would have say in matter. Distinct impression gained that some plan in making but that no definite decision reached.1

  1. According to despatch 835, November 21, from Damascus, on November 20, Nicholas Hajji Vasselou, the Greek Chargé accredited to Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq, advised the American Chargé in Syria (Memminger) of his conversation the previous week with King Abdullah. According to the Greek Chargé, while the King “deplored the partition of Palestine, he was intelligent enough to realize that the power of the United States and Russia would be sufficient to achieve it. He, therefore, considered it his duty to face the facts and to move accordingly for the benefit of his family and his country. Abdullah, as usual, was not specific but did state that his army would move into and occupy Palestinean [sic] land to the west and to the north. He added that 6,000 of his desert legionnaires were already in Palestine and that the others would encounter no difficulty in joining them at the appointed time.

    “Mr. Vasselou said it is obviously Abdullah’s intention to keep as much as possible of those parts of Palestine allocated to the Arabs under the UNSCOP Partition Plan.

    “Mr. Vasselou concluded that while Abdullah admitted that he might have a certain amount of difficulty with Glubb Pasha he nevertheless believed that the Desert Legion would be loyal to the King and that he could rely on a sufficient number of Legion officers to achieve his aim.” (867N.01/11–2147)