Jerusalem (Sep. 30)
British military circles here believe that the Haganah has prepared plans for taking over control of the borders of the projected Jewish state immediately behind evacuating British troops, it was learned here today.
Army intelligence assumes that the Jewish militia will take up stations on the frontiers proposed by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, as the British withdraw to Jerusalem, the Negev and Transjordan. However, it is also understood that the British do not believe that the Haganah can successfully accomplish its mission unless it receives aid from abroad. The British believe that the Haganah does not have, at the present time, sufficient arms or men for the task.
Meanwhile, reports from Cairo state that British headquarters for the Middle East is discussing whether to hand over the Arab Palestinian state to King Abdullah of Transjordan or Haj Amin el Husseini, ex-Mufti of Jerusalem. Brigadier S.B. Clayton, head of British intelligence in the Middle East, recently visited Trans jordan, Syria and Lebanon, sounding out Arab leaders on their preferences.
His visit to Lebanon coincided with a recent conference on Palestine of Arab foreign ministers at Sofar, resort suburb of Beirut. His mission was to establish which of the competing factions in Palestine would meet with less opposition from influential Arab circles.
It is expected that if Abdullah were to take over the new Arab state he would immediately attempt to gobble up Syria and Lebanon, both of which have a place in his announced dream of empire–Greater Syria. On the other hand, if the Mufti takes ever, Abdullah may lose no time in pressing toward open warfare.
The dilemma is reputed to be the final stumbling block to British withdrawal from the Arab section of Palestine, and the British have let it be known that as soon as they make a decision as between the Mufti and Abdullah they will be prepared to evacuate.
High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham returned to duty this mcrning after a visit to England. Lt. Gen. Gordon H.A. MacMillan, military commander, returned from a similar trip yesterday. Ostensibly both men were on leave, but they are known to have attended important government conferences in London on the Palestine problem. It was noted here that MacMillan’s order announcing resumption of duties listed him only as commender of British forces in Palestine. Previously he had also commanded the troops in Transjordan.