LONDON (Oct. 16)
The entry of Iraqi armed forces into the Kingdom of Jordan — a move which threatened to bring swift Israeli counteraction — has been postponed, it was reported here today from Amman. Iraqi troops, “for the time being,” will not enter onto Jordanian soil but will be stationed along the Jordan-Iraq border, ready to move in the event of an attack by Israel, according to a Jordanian Government spokesman.
The British Foreign Office spokesman refused today to comment on this development, insisting that if was purely an Iraqi-Jordan matter. Asked whether the “reassurances” Britain had previously offered Israel on the Iraqi troop move would cover the movement of Iraqi troops into Jordan at any time in the future, the spokesman said he could not make a “blanket statement,” He asserted that there had been no Anglo-Jordanian consultations on the subject of Jordan’s call for a Security Council meeting on Israel’s attacks.
Entry of the Iraqi forces had been planned, with British agreement and American acquiescence, in a move to prevent the collapse of king Hussein’s regime. The news brought immediate sharp reactions. In Jerusalem, Premier David Ben Gurion announced yesterday that Israel reserved full freedom of action in the event the Iraq troops moved it was pointed out that Israel and Iraq were technically in a state of war since Iraq has refused to negotiate an armistice with Israel. It was also pointed out that the proposed troop move followed a demand by Iraqi Premier Nuri as-Said that a solution of the Palestine problem be imposed on Israel on the lines of the 1947 partition plan. Egypt also protested loudly against the planned troop move, seeing it as a British-sponsored Iraqi move to grab Jordanian territory before Egypt could move in.
IRAQI TROOPS TO REMAIN AT JORDAN BORDER
The decision to delay any troop moves was taken at a Jordan-Iraq defense conference in Amman yesterday. The Jordan spokesman said last night that Iraqi troops and planes would be stationed along the frontier ready to move into Jordan. He said that, if necessary, the Iraqi troops would cross the Jordan River into Palestinian territory now held by Jordan.
(In Washington today, Secretary of State Dulles said that the State Department had information confirming reports that entrance of Iraqi troops into Jordan had been delayed. Asked if the United States would consider it wise for Iraqi troops to enter Jordan, Mr. Dulles said that he would rather not express an opinion on the merits of the case. He said that it was extremely complicated and involved, pointing out that the situation was covered by an Israel-Arab armistice agreement, an Arab States’ security treaty and the Bagdad Pact. In that maze of treaty relationships, Mr. Dulles said it was extremely difficult for a country not a party to express an opinion, He declared that the United States has kept informed but has not attempted to play a decisive role in the matter.)
A new factor appeared today when Syria, closest ally of Col. Nasser of Egypt, stepped into the picture. The Syrian envoy in Amman announce this morning that “Syrian heavy weapons have started to flow into Jordan.” The “flow” began at midnight, he said, and was still continuing-late this morning. He described the weapons as the gift of the Syrian people to the Jordanian Army and National Guard.
(In Washington, asked at his press conference if the United States were disturbed by this development, Mr. Dulles said he could not complain over the fact that countries with a security pact help each other, saying there was nothing wrong in such arrangements if the objective is defensive. He added, however, that the trouble was that aggression was not always easy to define. He made known that the United States was not ready to judge if the Syrian munitions supply to Jordan was helpful or bad.)
The Manchester Guardian sharply criticized the British Government today for its role in the scheme to base Iraqi troops on Jordan territory and condemned its failures to couple such a plan with measures of positive assurance to Israel that the Iraqi forces would not imperil its, security.
“The British Government was evidently a party to the negotiations between Iraq and Jordan,” the liberal daily noted. “Anybody who understands the balance of power in the Middle East could have seen the shock which would follow for Israel. Why was no reassurance given?”