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British Government Asks France for Explanation of Ex-mufti’s “escape” to Middle East

Britain today asked the French Government for an account of the circumstances under which the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem escaped from France over the week-end, a Foreign Office spokesman announced.

A Reuter report today emphasized that the ex-Mufti, though considered guilty of offences against the Palestine Defense Regulations, is not regarded by the British Government as a war criminal despite the fact that he acted as an agent for Hitler and Mussolini during the war. A Foreign Office spokesman said that Britain still wanted to place the ex-Mufti on trial for his participation in the anti-British, pro-Nazi rebellion in Iraq in 1941.

Official quarters here stated that the French Government was aware that the return of the ex-Mufti to the Middle East under present circumstances “would be most unwelcome” to Britain. The London newspapers report that the British Legation in Damascus denies that the ex-Mufti arrived there on a British plane. A Reuter report from Damascus said that it was learned tonight that the ex-Mufti is not in the Syrian capital.

A Foreign Office spokesman today denied a report from Cairo that the British Government has notified the King of Egypt that it will not approve the recommendations of the Anglo-American inquiry committee on Palestine. He indicated that Britain would not commit herself on these recommendations before receiving the official views of the Jews and the Arabs which are expected within the next ten days.

Field Marshal Lord Montgomery, who will become Chief of the Imperial General Staff at the end of this month, left England by plane for the Middle East, it was officially announced today.

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