LONDON (Mar. 15)
Britain’s commander-in-chief in the Middle East has transmitted to London a request for authority for British troops to take over virtual military control of all Trans Jordan territory.
Reinforcement on a considerable scale has already begun, presumably with the consent of Sir William Slim, chief of the Imperial General Staff who is now with the Middle East commander at Fayed, Egypt. Marine commando reinforcements and a tank regiment have already been landed at Aqaba, and the latest type fighter aircraft have been sent to Mafrak, chief R.A.F. base in Trans Jordan.
But the crucial decision which the Cabinet in London must take is whether British aid is also to be extended to Iraqi forces in the Palestine triangle. The Trans Jordan view, as expressed by Brig. John Glubb Pasha, former Arab Legion commander, is that the Iraqis in Palestine are essentially flank cover for the Trans-Jordanians on the Jerusalem front. No British decision has been taken so far, but pressure from the Niddle East command, supported by Gen. Slim, is urgent; what is desired is full British responsibility for the entire Trans Jordan and Iraq front in Palestine.
Sir Alec Kirkbride, British Ambassador to Trans Jordan, is now in London to discuss Anglo-Trans Jordan relations with the Foreign Office, an official spokesman revealed today. He added, however, that the visit was arranged before the recent events in Palestine occurred.
A Foreign Office representative confirmed last night that the Israeli Government received a warning from Britain that if Jewish forces in the Aqaba area cross into Trans Jordan territory, British troops stationed at Aqaba would go into action against them.