LONDON (Sep. 15)
Considerable differences exist between British and United States policies in the Middle East and remain to be ironed out, even after the talks in Washington this week between Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Secretary, and Dean Acheson, United States Secretary of State, it was learned here today.
For more than three months, London has been completely in the dark about future United States intentions in the Middle East. Following the visit to London last April by George C. McGhee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs, it was decided by the Foreign Office and the State Department that they would work closely together in the execution of the so-called “McGhee Plan,” which provides for economic and industrial assistance to the countries of the Middle East. It was then that the British appointed Sir Desmond Morton as their representative in implementing the “McGhee Plan.”
For reasons which have remained a complete mystery to the British Foreign Office, virtually nothing was heard of the plan thereafter or of Washington’s intentions, except vague reports that the U.S. Government had decided to water down the McGhee proposals. Neither at Lausanne–site of the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine negotiations with Israel and the Arab nations–nor at London did United States officials reveal their policy.
One difficulty now recognized here was the inability of President Truman to find a suitable man to head a survey mission to the Middle East, as provided for in the “McGhee Plan.” The President first offered the post to Gen. Lucius D. Clay, former U.S. Military Governor in Germany, who declined, and then to Philip D. Read, board chairman of the General Electric Co., who also refused it. When the appointment was announced of Gordon Clapp, chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the British were still totally in the dark over precisely what the Americans wanted from the survey mission.
The British claim that they have, meanwhile, considerably clarified their own position. Although the British Foreign Office denied a press report of a drastic change in British policy in the Middle East, a check today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at that Ministry revealed that the denial was made by a comparatively Junior official, who was unacquainted with the new course decided upon at the top level.