British Deny Abdullah War On Zionism

Call Story of Arab Invasion Plot False

Bevin May Reveal Today How Far England Goes With U. S. on Trusteeship

By Jack Tait From the Herald Tribune Bureau Copyright, 1948, New York Herald Tribune Inc.

LONDON, April 27.- The Foreign Office 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 with-out 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.]

C. P. Mayhew, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, told the House of Commons earlier that the British government had not received any news from Palestine confirming the press reports of King Abdullah’s purported “declaration of war” on Zionism.
British to Oppose Invaders

Whitehall sources said, however, that if organized legions from neighboring Arab states do cross the Palestine border, British troops, op???terms of the mandate, will (??).

A Foreign Office spokesman said tonight that such an Arab move would be injudicious, since it was the natural desire of the Arab population within and outside Palestine to preserve British neutrality in the Holy Land.

After Mr. Mayhew had replied negatively to questions asking for information on a reported invasion of Palestine from Trans-Jordan, Anthony Eden, deputy leader of the opposition, inquired. “In view of the many reports, some of a very disturbing character, will the government try to give a considered reply after questions tomorrow?”

Mr. Mayhew said, “Yes, we will certainly consider that.”

Mr. Mayhew had told the House previously that the government, before taking any decisions, wanted “considered and accurate reports from our representatives.”

Several questions regarding the recent activities of King Abdullah’s Legion in Palestine are to be answered in the House tomorrow.

At the same time Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin may also give some indication of Great Britain’s future in the Holy Land. He may give some news on consultations of the last few days between London and Washington on the implementation of the American trusteeship plan for the Holy Land and answer the question- How far will Britain go to back up trusteeship?

Report Invasion from Egypt

JERUSALEM, April 27 (AP).-An Arab source said troops of an Egyptian armored division invaded Palestine today in a dawn crossing of the southern frontier, but the report was denied by Egyptian officials in Cairo.

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 United Press correspondent in Cairo reported he saw two trains loaded with Egyptian soldiers leaving the Egyptian capital’s railroad station at dawn for what an officer said was “an unknown destination,” actually the Palestine border. The troops were infantrymen, the correspondent said, and although they did not wear unit badges they wore army hats, khaki shirts and shorts.]

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.”


Tel Aviv Barclays Bank Robbed Of $1,000,000 by Stern Gunmen

Disguised as Haganah Guards, Terrorists Make Daylight Holdup; Irgun and Haganah in Pact; British Threaten to Intervene in Jaffa

TEL AVIV, April 27.-Jewish Stern Group gunmen, disguised as Haganah military guards, robbed a British bank of $1,000,000 today, as Great Britain threatened to intervene in the battle for the near-by Arab city of Jaffa.

The Sternists seized the largest sum ever stolen from a bank in Palestine in a daylight raid on Barclays Bank in Allenby Street, a branch of Barclays in London.

Meanwhile, officers of Irgun Zvai Leumi, another Jewish extremist group, and Haganah, the Jewish Army, signed a formal agreement providing for co-ordination of their two forces. The pact was made in an orange grove on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

Informed sources said the pact might mark an end to the battle of Jaffa, which Haganah has opposed from the start. Britain warned the Jews that if they continue to attack the Arab city they can expect British resistance.

The ultimatum was delivered to Tel Aviv’s Mayor Israel Rokach by a British official who dashed across the no-man’s-land between the rival cities carrying a white flag.

The bank robbery was the largest ever carried out in a Jewish city. The Stern Group (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) had been after Barclays, in the heart of Tel Aviv, for some time. Several months ago Sternists broke into the bank’s cellar and tried for ten hours to enter the vaults, without success.

Today they returned, dressed as Haganah police, who recently took over British police duties in protecting banks. While several Sternists were overpowering the

Haganah guards inside the bank, about forty more formed a cordon around the building. Others got the keys to the underground vaults from the bank’s three managers.

It was the first Stern Group raid on a public institution since Haganah was assigned the job of patrolling the city.

A Stern Group leader interviewed last Saturday in Tel Aviv was asked why his men steal public and private funds.

“We need more funds,” he said. “There is a war on. Besides, this will prove untrue the allegations that we are connected with the Russians. If we were, we would not have to do this sort of thing.”

Irgun’s attack on near-by Jaffa continued for the third day without noticeable advance. Irgun members asserted they seized a railway station and the main police building, but their claims were not confirmed.

The stand of the British regarding Jaffa was in contrast to their policy in the northern coastal city of Haifa. It was believed the new action was based on the fact that Jaffa is an all-Arab city and the Irgun operations constitutes an invasion. Haifa was a combined Jewish-Arab city until the Arabs began their withdrawal few days ago.

It also was noted that the British have not announced they are evacuating Jaffa and. therefore might regard intervention as a measure of self-defense.