LONDON (May. 27)
The new Palestine situation created by last night’s Arab rejection of the U.N. Security Council’s cease-fire order was discussed here at a special meeting of the British Cabinet today.
Well-informed quarters here believe that Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin made no new proposals for ending the fighting when he gave the Cabinet a review of the problem. It was reported that the principal aspect discussed by the Cabinet was the possible withdrawal of British officers serving with the Transjordan Arab Legion.
Immediately before the meeting Bevin conferred with Lewis Douglas, U.S. Ambassador to Britain, for the fourth time in six days. He also spoke with Douglas at the end of the session. Although a Foreign Off ice spokesman today declined to confirm or deny a press report that the U.S. has asked Britain to withdraw the officers with Abdullah’s Army, observers believe that Douglas made this suggestion.
It is known that the matter has been under review at the Foreign Office for the past week. It is believed that the Britons will be withdrawn from the Arab legion, but an official announcement to this effect is not expected immediately. Any new definition of British policy in the light of the Arab replies would, a Foreign Office spokesman disclosed, probably be made known at today’s Security Council session. The spokesman revealed that the British government’s first reaction to the latest Arab notes was that they left the door open for further negotiations. Douglas and Bevin were reported to have discussed this point too.
Asked by Anthony Eden, Conservative leader, in the House of Commons today whether he had any statement to make on Palestine, Bevin answered negatively. He added that he might have a complete statement tomorrow or Monday.
Later today, Bevin was in audience with King George at Buckingham Palace. There was considerable speculation here that Bevin’s visit presaged his resignation. The King earlier heard a first-hand account of the Palestine situation from Sir Alan Cunningham, former High Commissioner for Palestine, who formally relinquished his appointment during his interview with the King. Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency here issued a statement comparing Bevin’s denial that Britons were directing the Arab Legion operations in Jerusalem with a London Times report today that a British major directed the bombardment of the Notre Dame Hospice.