HC Deb 27 April 1948 vol 450 cc213-4
Mr. Stanley

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any statement to make on the reported declaration of war by the King of Transjordan.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Mayhew)

In the absence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend has received no confirmation of Press reports that King Abdullah has declared war on Zionism.

Mr. Stanley

In view of the very circumstantial accounts today of events which were supposed to have taken place yesterday, surely by now the hon. Gentleman will either have had a confirmation or a denial?

Mr. Mayhew

No, Sir. We want considered and accurate reports from our representatives, and we are awaiting those reports. At present we have no information.

Mr. Stanley

Can the hon. Gentleman say when he thinks he will be able to answer this perfectly simple question, in order that I might put it down again?

Mr. Mayhew

We have been in communication both with the High Commissioner and the Minister at Amman, and we are expecting reports at any time. We will be willing to answer any Private Notice Question which is accepted.

Mr. Janner

Will my hon. Friend intimate to the Minister there that it is essential that the Treaty of Alliance which has been entered into by ourselves and Transjordan shall be properly respected? Will my hon. Friend point out that we are spending considerable sums of money in training the men who might possibly be used in the event of a war taking place between Transjordan and us—[HON. MEMBERS: "Us?"] Would not a war against Palestine at the present moment be a war against this country? [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Of course it would.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Does my hon. Friend's reply also apply to the report that the Arabs desire to take over the protection of the Holy Places in Jerusalem?

Mr. Mayhew

I can only say that that is another point, but we have no confirmation of these Press reports. Neither have we confirmation of the report that Transjordan troops have entered Palestine.

Mr. Gallacher

Has the Under-Secretary information or no information on the question whether the troops of Transjordan have entered Jericho?

Mr. Mayhew

We have no confirmation of that. I am sure that if the facts warrant it, when we have discovered them, my right hon. Friend will be willing to make a statement.

Mr. Eden

Will the Under-Secretary represent to his right hon. Friend the desirability, in view of these many reports which are going about, some of them or a disturbing character, of him making a special effort to give a considered statement after Question Time tomorrow?

Mr. Mayhew

We certainly have that in mind and if the facts warrant it, we will consider that.

Mr. Cocks

In view of the fact that King Abdullah is bound to us by a Treaty of Alliance, and is subsidised to the extent of £2 million a year, does that not constitute an obligation to check the warlike activities of this monarch, especially when they are directed against a British mandated territory?