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Bevin Announces British Intention to Proclaim Trans Jordan an Independent State

January 18, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The expected British recommendation that Transjordan become a sovereign independent state was made today by Foreign Secretary Bevin in an address before the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization.

With regard to Palestine which is under the same mandate as Transjordan, the British Foreign Secretary declared: “The Assembly is aware that an Anglo-American inquiry committee is at this very moment examining the question of European Jewry and also the Palestine problem. We think it necessary to await the committee’s report before putting forward any proposals concerning the future of Palestine.”

Leaders of the Jewish Agency declined to comment on Bevin’s announcement, but the world executive of the New Zionist Organization issued a statement expressing opposition to the imminent independence of Transjordan on the grounds that this territory was an integral part of mandated Palestine. “Mr. Bevin’s announcement must be fought not only on a purely political level, but also on a legal plane,” the statement said.


Jan Masaryk, Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister, who followed Bevin, told the Assembly of the United Nations Organization of the necessity for a speedy international solution of the Jewish problem.

“Although not in this assembly, the Jewish question is at least being considered internationally,” he said. “I am glad of that. After what has happened to the Jews, the solution of their problems is the undeniable duty of all decent people.

“I am not suggesting any definite solution of one sort or another,” he continued. “For that I am not qualified. But I say as long as anti-Semitism exists, we have no right to call ourselves civilized people. Don’t forget that wherever anti-Semitism exits, fascism and nazism are lurking in every bush. The problem of the helpless, hopeless wandering Jews is a horror for me.”


Bevin’s announcement that “His Majesty’s Government intends to take steps in the near future for establishing Transjordan as a sovereign and independent state,” caused considerable discussion among the delegates, in view of the fact that he emphasized that “under these circumstances, the question of placing Transjordan under trusteeship does not arise.”

The announcement was also discussed from the point of view of whether the solution of the Palestine problem on the basis of partition would be facilitated by the independence of Transjordan, since it is considered likely that the Arab part of a partitioned Palestine would be linked with Transjordan in one Arab state. British circles indicated that “on the whole it would not make a partition solution of the Palestine problem more difficult.”

British circles admitted that the granting of independence to Transjordan will affect not only the future of Palestine, but also that of Iraq. The peace and security of Transjordan have been dependent for the past twenty years upon the Transjordan Arab Legion organized and officered by the British. This force, which numbers about 16,000 men, is entirely paid for by the British, and Emir Abdullab, the ruler of Transjordan, has made it clear that his country could not afford to maintain it.


Semi-official British quarters pointed out today that the independence of Transjordan is definitely linked with the future of its armed force which, they said, is essential for the security of the country in view of Transjordan’s “special dynastic situation in the Middle East.” They predicted that when Emir Abdullah comes to London next month, he will raise the question of some kind of joint defense force with Iraq, also a Hashemite country.

The Hashemite dynasty, upon which King Ibn Saud, the “strong man of Arabia,” looks with suspicion, might also be discussed when Emir Abdullah reaches London, it was indicated here today. It is obvious that the emergence of an independent Arab state ruled by one of the sons of the Hashemite King of the Hedjaz, whom Ibn Saud drove from his throne, will naturally be watched with keen interest by the Saudi Arabian ruler. Saudi Arabia, as one of the United Nations, will vote on the British proposal which presumably will be referred to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations Organization for final approval.


Meanwhile, the executive of the Jewish Agency was today considering the implications of Bevin’s announcement. Some statements may be issued by the Jewish Agency tomorrow after the arrival here of David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the Agency’s executive, who left Palestine by place yesterday.

Dr. Paul Rebenfeld, chairman of the New Zionist Organization, in a statement criticizing Bevin’s announcement said: “The Jewish people might not yet be represented at the United Nations Organization. This will come. But in regard to the Palestine Mandate, it is in possession of an international status which gives it the right to raise officially the question of the legality of Britain’s proposed action in regard to the Transjordan part of the Mandated territory of Palestine. That article 22 of the Mandate permits the mandatory power to withhold or to postpone the application of those of its stipulations that refer to the Jewish National Home, does not entitle her to render forever impossible the application of those measures by unilateral action, nor does it give her the right to break off part of the territory which she holds in trust.”

Charging that Bevin’s announcement had “flouted” the authority of the United Nations Organization, Rebenfeld declared that termination of the Mandate, which had been a matter for the League of Nations to decide, will in the future to the concern of the trusteeship council. Mr. Bevin’s statement, coming as it does when the League is defunct, and when its functions with regard to the mandate system have not yet been properly taken over by United Nations Organization disregards this fact,” he assorted.

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