890.0145/2–249: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State

secret

396. Embassy’s 166, January 13 paragraph 5.1 Chadwick said today legal opinion regarding Median Line has been received. Attorney General has ruled that proclamations would be good in international law “provided they are followed by effective occupation.”

2. Bevin told officials today that he wished to settle this question soon and instructed Eastern Department to prepare for submission to British Cabinet at early date various possible alternatives so that Cabinet can choose between them. Among other alternatives Eastern Department paper will include original Median Line plan which [Page 108]Eastern Department still considers mechanically easiest. Against plan are combined views British and American Embassies Tehran where “political situation is undoubtedly unpropitious.”

3. Chadwick could not say definitely when Cabinet would act but he believes this not later than week ending February 12. Consequently while recognizing that US might feel impelled to go ahead along lines Department’s 324 January 282 (Embassy’s 206, January 17 paragraph 1), Chadwick hoped that in view imminence British Cabinet decision Department would take advantage of any reasonable opportunity to delay definite action before end next week.3

Sent Department 396, repeated Tehran 8. Passed Jidda as 10 from London.

Holmes
  1. Not printed; paragraph 5 read as follows: “Asked whether Attorney General and other legal officers had made pronouncement Chadwick explained that this is still being worked upon but Foreign Office legal adviser considers that risk in going ahead would not be great and has so advised Attorney General and sought his concurrence.” (890.0145/1–1749)
  2. This was a repeat of telegram 33 to Jidda, p. 104.
  3. London advised, on February 18, that “While Eastern Department has not seen test Cab decision February 17 re median line Chadwick said today that he understands it to be that Foreign Office authorized take same action with Sheikhs as US now contemplating with Ibn Saud. Chadwick understands Cab idea is that timing UK action should be coordinated with that US.” (telegram 623, 890.0145/2–1849) Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was King of Saudi Arabia.