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April 27, 1948 British Deny Abdullah War on Zionism

King AbdullahThe Foreign Office (e.g. British) said late tonight that it had received a report from Sir Alec Kirkbride, British Minister to Trans-Jordan, denying that King Abdullah has “declared war on Zionism.”

Although an interview and press statement to that effect by the Trans-Jordan monarch were carried as hard fact by all London newspapers this morning, Sir Alec’s report to the Foreign Office from Amman, the Trans-Jordan capital, said the stories were without foundation.

THE FOREIGN OFFICE ALSO DENIED THAT KING ABDULLAH HAD AGREED WITH THE RULERS OF IRAQ, SYRIA AND LEBANON TO INVADE PALESTINE BY MAY 1.  [Great Britain will end its mandate in Palestine on May 15.]

Officials in Cairo said no regular armed forces had entered the Holy Land.  Some Egyptians close to the army command said an invasion had occurred, with the troops involved probably going as volunteers.

A report from Damascus, Syria, said the Arab Legion already had occupied Jericho, north of the Dead Sea, and was moving into the Dead Sea Valley that joins Trans-Jordan on the east.

This was discounted by British military authorities.  The British said units of the Arab Legion have been in Jericho for several months as security forces on loan to the British.  The Legion is supplied and trained by the British, under terms of a British-Trans-Jordan treaty.

A British spokesman said that one company of the Legion had entered Jericho under specific British orders, but that it would be withdrawn when its duties were completed.

Richard Stubbs, Palestine government spokesman, said any Trans-Jordan troops now in the Holy Land are under British command “and their conduct is not in question.”

Source:  The New York Herald Tribune. By Jack Tait, April 28, 1948.

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