Israel Wants Britain Not to Leave Military Equipment in Jordan

Israel intends to remind Britain, when the evacuation of British troops from Jordan begins on October 20, of a British promise not to leave any heavy military equipment in the Hashemite Kingdom, informed sources said today. The British promise was made, it was understood, when Israel granted Britain permission to fly over paratroopers during the Jordanian crisis. It was considered here as possible that Britain would again ask for overflight permission to facilitate troop withdrawals from Jordan.

The British Embassy in Amman reportedly was advising London to delay withdrawal as long as possible not only because of the Jordanian situation but also, it was understood, because Embassy officials believe that the British presence in Jordan is important for the internal situation in Iraq where the revolutionary leader, Gen. Kassem, was purging elements favoring President Nasser of the United Arab Republic.

Israel officials abstained from comment on United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s interim report yesterday to the General Assembly on his latest mission to the Middle East. They were apparently in agreement with Mr. Hammarskjold’s strategy of leaving Israel out of the discussion.

Israel newspapers, however, were critical. They pointed out that the Secretary General apparently had failed to achieve anything during his most recent Middle East pacification mission except a tentative date for withdrawal of British troops from Jordan and American troops from Lebanon. Both newspapers and political observers here indicated considerable skepticism about the ability of the UN envoys to prevent new Nasser subversions in Jordan and Lebanon or to avert Jordan’s disintegration.

Some newspapers argued that the only effective factor against a Nasser thrust at Jordan after British withdrawal will be Israel’s presence in the area. Some observers added, however, that if the presence of UN envoys resulted, in a gradual rather than a sudden take over of Jordan by Nasser, Israel would be in a difficult position if a decision was taken for action to protect herself against a Nasser encirclement.

NEXT STORY