Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Bevin Tells Parliament British Officers Will Serve with Arab Legion in Palestine War

May 27, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin told Commons today that British officers serving with the Arab Lesion in the Palestine war would be withdrawn only if Britain’s fulfillment of treaty obligations with Transjordan became inconsistent with its obligations to the United Nations.

Asserting that he was trying to pursue a policy of bringing an end to hostilities in Palestine, Bevin stressed that he would not be drawn into a controversy on Palestine at this stage. He denied that British officers fighting with the Transjordan Legion had participated in the artillery bombardment of Jerusalem.

Replying to a question by Sidney Silverman, M.P., whether “it is fitting that a force paid for by British money and wearing uniforms and carrying equipment provided by us should be engaged in shelling the Holy Places,” Bevin said: “The British will do what they can conceive to be right and will report to this House.” The Foreign Minister remarked that one of the difficulties in Jerusalem was “the breaking of the truce by the Jews.”

William Gallacher, Communist M.P., who repeatedly accused Bevin of responsibility for what “is now taking place,” asked him: “In view of the fact that our treaty With Transjordan lays it down that no warlike action would be taken without consultation, is the Foreign Secretary not actually responsible for all that is taking place at the present time?” Bevin did not reply to Gallacher.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Office spokesman confirmed today that the British military commander in Palestine has ordered the closing of Haifa port to all immigrants in view of “possible interference with the British evacuation.” He also confirmed reports that France has been asked by Britain to take no steps regarding Palestine while the truce talks are continuing.

Former Palestine High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham denied today that the British “deliberately introduced chaos” into Palestine before the mandate’s termination. “I am convinced that in the future the manner of our going and of our whole conduct over 25 years will be looked upon as something to admire,” he told a press conference.

Recommended from JTA