Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Hare)


Subject: British Intention to Issue a Statement Following Announcement of the Union of Central Palestine with Jordan

Participants: Mr. Burrows, British Embassy
NEA: Mr. Hare

Mr. Burrows called late yesterday afternoon to ask if we had anything which we could tell him further regarding our reaction to the message which he had delivered the day before regarding the British intention to issue a statement following announcement of the union of central Palestine with Jordan.

I told Mr. Burrows that we had been giving the matter serious thought and that the result had been essentially along the line of what we had previously told him, i.e., that although we favored the inclusion of central Palestine in Jordan at the appropriate time, we felt that unilateral action to that effect by the Jordan Government was of such a character as to make it difficult for us to announce official and public approbation. I then told Mr. Burrows the suggested line which we had submitted to the Secretary for Use in reply to any questions which might be put to him by the press and said that we would probably limit our action to such an informal expression of opinion. Mr. Burrows inquired whether this meant that we also felt that that would not be an appropriate occasion to issue a declaration or statement regarding general security in the Near East. I replied that such was the case and reminded [Page 876] him that this was a matter which we had hoped to bring up for consideration with the British and possibly the French at the London Conference. I added that, whereas I had not been certain when I talked to him the night before that such a proposal would actually be made, I now had information confirming our intention to do so. I indicated that in the circumstances, it would be helpful if the British could see their way clear to deferring action on their general statement until we could discuss the matter in London.

Mr. Burrows said that the message which he had received from London indicated that the statement on general security might in fact be timed either immediately following the union proclamation or at some later date and that it was consequently possible that the British Government might wish to defer its action in order to permit discussion with us. Mr. Burrows said he would get a telegram off on the subject to London.

Immediately after this conversation, I told Mr. McGhee of my discussion with Mr. Burrows and he authorized me to tell Mr. Burrows that, in view of our intention of discussing this matter in London, the Department would strongly urge that the British Government refrain from issuing its general statement until we had had an opportunity for discussion. I telephoned Mr. Burrows to this effect and he said he would make this point clear in his telegram to London.

Late this afternoon, Mr. Burrows telephoned me to say that the Embassy had received a reply to his telegram of the night before regarding a statement on the Near Eastern Security and that decision had been reached to postpone British action in this regard in order to afford an opportunity for discussion of the matter in London.1

  1. Embassy London, on April 28, commented that

    “when US suggestion defer statement re opposition to change by violence in area was explained to Prime Minister, latter agreed deletion this statement. Furlonge emphasized Foreign Office’s pleasure at Department’s suggestion and its readiness discuss it next week. He felt suggestion had further merit in that it would provide breathing spell for Foreign Office to observe reactions in Arab States to yesterday’s parliamentary statement. In this connection, Foreign Office understands political committee Arab League being hurriedly summoned to consider situation brought about by annexation. He thought it probable League would find some face-saving formula to accept annexation, perhaps laying stress on steps taken by Jordan to obtain concurrence inhabitants Arab Palestine.” (Telegram 2313, 784.02/4–2850)

    Embassy Cairo, on April 28, reported information from the British Ambassador that the Egyptian “Foreign Minister received news of British recognition (de jure) of Israel and of Jordan’s absorption of Arab Palestine with ‘regret’ and manifestations of resentment. Salaheddin Bey said Egypt would never recognize Israel nor would it recognize Abdullah’s annexation of Palestine.” (Telegram 427, 784A.02/4–2850)