London (Sep. 14)
The British Government will issue a statement of policy on Palestine “as soon as the conference of foreign ministers, which is now taking place in London, is out of the way,” Reuter’s reports today.
The news agency, which is close to official circles, emphasized that the British Government has not yet decided on its future policy in Palestine, but that the preveiling opinion in London is that failing a decision which will satisfy the minimum Jewish requirements for the continued immigration of Jewish refugees from Europe within the next six weeks, there will be trouble in the Middle East.
The report revealed that Colonial Secretary George Hall has again met representatives of the Jewish Agency and told them that with so many urgent issues facing the Government at home and on the continent it had been impossible so far to deal with delicate issues involved in the Palestine problem. At the same time, the Colonial Secretary emphasized that the Government realized the urgency of the matter and that a decision would not be postponed one day longer than necessary.
“There are now 16,000 young Jews, mostly ex-ghetto fighters or Maquisards, who have tramped from all over Europe and assembled in Southern Italy determined to get to Palestine and there are thousands more elsewhere in Europe,” the Reuter report says. “In view of this general situation it is believed here that a British policy statement will be issued as soon as the conference of foreign ministers is out of the way.”
PALESTINE TO BECOME MOST IMPORTANT SECURITY CENTER IN MIDDLE EAST
The report also revealed that a strategic revision of British military dispositions in the Middle East is now under way. This revision will make Palestine the most important security center for the entire Middle East and the area of the Suez canal.
Broadly, the idea behind the revision is that in the future neither Iraq nor Egypt will be an essential or secure basis for British military power in the Middle East, which will be largely a matter of air and naval power. The maintenance of air bases in Iraq would require considerable protective forces to ensure against a repitition of a rising such as that which occurred in 1941, whereas air power strongly based on Palestine would be able to be used over the entire Middle East and the Suez area.
“This is believed to be the explanation for the continued construction of airfields in Palestine, particularly in the south,” the report says. “Palestine has the additional advantage of presenting a local industrial base and skilled local labor which is not available in Iraq. Well informed observers here consider it likely therefore that gradually the basis of British military and air strength in the Middle East will be moved from Egypt and Iraq to Palestine while Cyprus will become the pivot for her naval power.
“One immediate consequence of this adjustment of Middle Eastern policy is that the British authorities will have strong forces in Palestine this Autumn, a situation which is markedly different from any of the previous occasions when they had to deal with armed uprising or other trouble.” the report continues. “British Labour leaders would like, of course, to achieve an-agreed solution between Jewish, Arab and British interests, but the prospects of such a happy ending are not rated high,” it concludes.