LONDON (Jul. 21)
Britain’s Middle East command has been ordered to route its airlift to Jordan in such a way as to avoid flying over Israeli territory, it was learned here last night, after a meeting between Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and members of the Defense Ministry.
British Defense circles feared Israel might refuse overflights to RAF planes bringing supplies and vital stores to the troops in Jordan. Consequently, the new orders are for the planes from Cyrpus to go first to El Adem, Libya, then across Sudan to Aden, then up to the Red Sea to Jordan’s port of Akaba, then to Jordan’s capital of Amman.
Word reached here today, however, that Air Marshal Sir Hubert Patch, as well as the Foreign Office liaison officer with the Middle East command in Nicosia, Cyprus, said that “Israelis are in any way interfering with or hampering our plans.” They added that, far from interfering, “the Israel Government has warmly welcomed Britain’s intervention in Jordan, which is very much in their own interest. “This statement was reported today by Randolph Churchill, in a dispatch to the Evening Standard.