The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)
Military situation is now quiet.
Lebanon/Jew negotns. have started.
Bunche extendg. invitn. to T'jordan? truce or next round.
Nuri Pasha anxious to get Iraq settlement. Will try to get Ibn Saud to bless this.
Military : reinforced Amman, munitions under our control. Battn. to Aquaba.
End Dec. C-in-C. Med. asked to verify reports of J. crossing frontier.
Second recce. confirmed it. Egyptian A.F. co-opd. Later, they didn't accompany us, but were informed.
31/12 : 1/2/4/6 Jan. recee's : proved penetration by J. forces. Light AA fire but no serious damage. On 1/1 we told C-in-C. not to cross frontier.
7th Jan. lone recce - photo and visual. 2 @ 700/1.500 ft. and 2 above as cover.
Strong cover not considered necessary and also provocative. Risk was recognised - AA or clash with J. Air Force. Briefing : frontier not to be crossed : contact with other A.F. to be avoided : no hostile approach or fire unless clearly attacked : quick in and out of target area.
High recce. by Mosquito with 4 Tempest escort simultaneously.
Leader confirms execution of orders. After turning w. he heard fr. 2 above tht. 2 bandits were at 3pm. overhead. Didn't see them. Then saw companion baling out. Then saw 3 spitfire + 1 with J. markings. He was hit and wounded. Climbed and baled out. Thus assumed : aircraft dived and shot down top pair. Close shot down by AA. Cooper then attacked by aircraft. C-in-C. believes they didn't cross frontier. Now found 3 aircraft 15 miles w. of frontier. 4th not found : presumed removed by Jews.
Recce. showed J. activity over frontier. Therefore ordered another recce. in greater force. 2 squadrons Tempests to cover. These (lowest) were attacked by 5 aircraft : they turned : one Tempest shot down and 3 damaged.
Top cover chased them to frontier - then abandoned chase.
Was Tac. R. routine at C-in-C. initiative?
No : follow up on instns. given from here.
Approved by P.M. and myself. To ascertain facts. Told U.S. we were going to do it. They [seemed to] approve. Communicated results to U.S.
Why did Egypt w'draw co-opn.
Suppose they didn't want to imply they were invoking 1936 Treaty.
U.S. nor U.N. nor Egypt asked for these recce's.
But our responsibility for law and order in M/East.
Point is: we were asked by U.S. to find out wthr. J. forces had crossed E. frontier. Asked for B. military informn. about facts.
Para. 32 of memo.
Some of the report is demonstrably false. Want therefore to see him.
Tattersall fell over frontier. Does that mean he crossed it?
May have climbed to bale out. Might have gone over frontier.
Said you can't see frontier. True?
I wd. know Rafa. Our C-in-C. says easy to distinguish inland also because road visible on Eg. side.
Not accompanied this time by E. aircraft. Press wrong on this. Embarrassing. Shd. be corrected.
No Eg. aircraft in air during these 2 recces.
Similar types: cdn't be sure of markings at all angles. But shd. always be able to see marking in diving down on them.
Did R.A.F. report results of recces to Egyptians?
Reasonable for Jews to assume informn. wd. be given to Egypt?
Can't answer hypothetical ques.
Any re-action to Aquaba move?
In Nov/Dec. we reported to U.N. J. moves into T'jordan.
When was decn. taken to move land forces to Aquaba.
D. Cttee. not Cab.
Lovett's views on getting informn about J. dispositions. "Asked if we had any 1st hand evce more particularly fr. B. mil. authies. on the spot". Quoted terms of telegram.
I then said : we had better find out.
Eg. Amb. didn't deny J. troops were over frontier. but E. Govt. didn't want to admit.
Told by mil. expert it was surprising we had to get informn by recce.
Espionage wd. suffice.
Informn. obtd. by paying for it is unreliable.
1 lost by AA. 1 damaged by AA. 2 by air attack. 1 prob. by air attack.
Locn. of AA fire. Craft were well inside E. territory.
Cab. policy has bn. consistent throughout.
We alone were there. We alone had treaties with Arabs.
Imposs. to get settlement with U.S. - and imposs. to solve w'out them.
Don't regret this flare up. V. sore with Czecho. who criticise in U.N. and don't comply with U.N. resolns and put us in gt. diffy. over our not supplying arms to Arabs.
Made concessions to U.S. over Bernadotte report : then their attitude changed at U.N.
P.M. and I decided Franks shd. see Truman. He did : Truman said he backed resoln. of 27/11. If J. want addl. territory taken they "ought" to give compensating territory eg in Negev. Then y'day asked to agree that Jerusalem shd. be divided and to press T'jordan to agree tho' Truman said he stands on Nov. resoln. under which Jerusalem is to be under internatl. control.
In Paris saw all Arabs and invited them to negotiate : settle - under auspices of U.N. They still say "never agree to J. State".
In week before 20.12.48 [of this incident] I had repeated this advice. And Eg. then agreed. This was start of cease fire agreement. And they are discussing
Trouble all thro': couldn't get U.S. to stand by anything.
Anglo-U.S. report: Anglo-U.S. experts: U.N. resolutions: Marshall's declaratn.
Each in turn deserted by Truman.
Cussedness also on J. and A. part.
Memo. attd. to C.P. demonstrates this.
How cd. we have done differently?
Recognition. Found Schuman in agreement. I am ready to recognise when J. adopt U.N. resolutions. J. won't have B. Consul at Tel-a-viv. Schuman has 25 m. Arabs in Fr. Empire and 3 Zionists in Fr. Cabinet. Ready to recognise Israeli Govt. qua Paris: but p'pone because Arabs.
In M/E. I am under no delusion over Muslims or R. activities there. But all W. Union defence is based on m'taining our posn. in M/E. Shd. have liked to w'draw, as fr. India but we can't. Mil. and oil interests in M/E.
Relations with Arabs are as good as ever - and at last are listening to advice.
W'out a settlement somehow, you will get series of Mufties and perpetuation of conflict in Palestine.
Tory Press say I have bungled this. They didn't come out v. well in 1917-45. All goes back to 1917 dishonesty of inconsistent promises to the 2 sides.
Qua settlement. T'jordan is most important as absorbg. A. part of Pal. Shdn't we encourage Abdullah to negotiate?
Egypt isn't worth backing. They were aggressors and incompetent. We cd. argue that because of their aggression they can't invoke 1936 Treaty.
Iraqis aren't v. prominent, in this now.
Split Arab League and get T'jordan in agreemt. with J.
Diffy. then is U.N. resolution. I then suggested to U.S. that Hagana shd. take over law and order in J. part and Arab League move into A. part - on ending of our Mandate. But row between Eg. and T'jordan and Eg. advance into Pal. was really directed v. T'jordan, at instign. of Arab League.
I got Abdullah to negotiate separately for truce (Secret).
E.B. also tried to get Ibn Saud to support T'jordan.
I have consistently opposed E.B.'s policy on Palestine. Ill advised by F.O. from outset. Agree defence of M/E. is vital to us : but can't be defended thro' friendship with rickety mediaeval states. F.O. and C.O.S. wrong over this. Proved by Monty's advice tht. much larger forces wd. be requd. to deal with Arab/Jew together. Misjudged A. strength.
Arab League is creature of Tories and F.O. I said this at the time. Events have proved me right. A. proved to have no morals. Better armed at outset, but even so couldn't stand up to the Jews.
C.R.A. went on record in favour of J. State. I never did.
Denied that. I said we had balanced responsibility to both sides.
I was never Zionist. But humiliated to find our policy since '45 so far contrary to spirit of Labour Party pledges.
E.B.'s policy has bn. hopelessly wrong. We cd. have had mil. bases in friendly J. State.
Look at the countries, includg. Comm. countries. wh. want to recognise Israeli legalistic defence re. frontiers not being defined won't do.
Immediate facts. Hope P.M. nor E.B. will use U.S. as excuse for recces.
Wd. damage our relns. with U.S.
Para. 32 misunderstands situation in Eg. No E. Govt. dare invoke 1936 Treaty. But note x/. We had already decided on recce.
Why did we make the recce. U.N. U.S. Egypt - none had asked for it.
At first we were accompanied by Egyptians. Natural therefore for J. to fire on B. aircraft wh. keep company with their enemies. Our pilots shd. never had bn. exposed to this risk.
Awkward Parly. situation. Last Cab. discn. (12/13) I said we shd. be in diffies. if we seemed to be supporting A. against Jews. Certain decns. taken : but not to send land forces to Aquaba.
That was decn. of Def. Cttee.
Nothg. said at that Cab. re Egypt.
Incredible tht. Cab. shd. not have discussed.
R.S.C. asks me to make heavy cuts in Health Service expenditure. Diff. to reconcile that with waste of money on bungled M/E. policy.
Can't we now recognise Israel. And join other nations.
Find it increasingly diff. to support this aspect of f. policy.
This statement omits -
a) Part of Govt. policy to support U.N.
No diffy. when it's a matter of enforcing U.N. resolns. v. Arabs.
b) J. attitude. Invading territory that isn't theirs.
c) We have responsibilities in this area. We were right to find out facts and report them.
d) Not Arab States alone. Whole Muslim world.
e) Arabs have a strong case on Pal. issue. Bound to see some kind of fair play for Arabs.
f) Doubtful of J. as bastion in M/E. Doubt if it will be well disposed to us.
Be careful of argument at a). What is Cadogan saying to U.N. about Indonesia. Asking them to be realistic.
He isn't supporting the Dutch.
We have in each case supported U.N. resolutions.
Recces. How far into E. or N. Africa before A.B. wd. be willing to take an interest in it.
We cdn't w'out U.S. carry out any mil. adventure in M/E. We therefore have no greater interest than our Ally has. Any recce. shd. therefore have bn. done collectively because of collective interest.
A.B. implied criticism of Ministers on Front Opposn. Bench pre-war.
This is 1949 not 1938.
On last Tory W. Paper (75.000 limit on J. immigration) Labour Party disagreed - both on nos. and implications of continuing A. majority.
Post war problem: J. refugees : situation completely changed.
Charge of inconsistency are really irrelevant.
Friendly J. popn. in Med. cd. be of help to us. Why? Because of our M/E. interests. Can't put the argument at all unless we have M/E. interests outside of Palestine.
Important to have clear statement of Labour Govt. policy since '45.
I am ready to defend it.
Don't forget Mandate obliged us to defend rights of Arabs as well as support J. national home. Not until after war tht. J. put to us a case for a J. State. Even in 1946 J. wdn't put fwd. any plan for partition.
Nov. '47 U.N. Assembly resolution recognising divided Pal. But never implemented.
Nor wd. U.N. re-affirm it later. We did all we cd. to bring A. & J. together to secure peace on our w'drawal.
We played largest part in U.N. in trying to get truce.
These facts shd. be explained to Party.
Recognition. For 7 or 8 mos. made every effort to get arrangement for A. acceptance of existence of a J. State w'in Palestine. It is J. which have repeatedly flouted U.N. decisions. Can't recognise them now, while discns. are at last p'cdg.
Cdn't agree that we have abandoned pre-war Labour Party objectives.
We haven't betrayed idea of J. national home.
We must uphold authy. of U.N. Arabs began aggression, I admit.
But U.N. applied sanctions (arms embargo) and stopped the fighting. Recently, 3 resolns. wh. we have tried to support. They are now negotiating : and prospects of settlement are better than ever.
Strong case to put to Parlt. But doing so may imperil these negotns.
Prs. we cd. put pressure on Eg. But we want a settlement by common agreement : Folly to prevent that and try to impose somethg. on them. Can't we avoid debate? (Agreed : no). Then be careful.
Nothing to gain by tracing history from '45.
We can do nothing unless we carry U.S. with us.
F.O. have recent informn. we haven't got re attitude of U.S. ……
Early recognition of Israel.
Many resolutions calling on J. to go back to settle lines.
We can use Bunches report of 25/12.
Is it legitimate to say tht. before we did the recce., U.S. had said they wd. be grateful for any informn. we cd. get.
Recce's had bn. going on for some time.
Didn't regard U.S. view as leading to new need for recce. - or worse new methods of recce.
Then "U.S. said if you can get reliable informn. let us have it".
Shd. that be made public?
That wd. do: but only if accompanied by de facto recognition.
For a united Cabinet and Party.
Cdn't we get rid of the recognition diffy.
Recall Baltic States, where we were driven to give de facto recognition tho' we were v. hostile to events leading up to it.
Find excuse for recognising now.
Might help the negotiations at Rhodes.
True we used to delay until boundaries defined. But that is out of date. And recognn. of Govt. is a bit difft. from recognn. of State.
Advised Ibn Saud to settle. And if Rhodes goes well, thought that wd. be moment to recognise. Promised to consult Schuman before we recognise.
Two things we could do. (In a debate, this time I'm going to defend myself, gloves off, and be dammed to U.S. or to critics within Party. Crossman, Observer and leakages from Cabinet).
a) Put in diffies over Cyprus because of U.S. Haven't bn. able to shift 9.000 of mil. age tho' 100.000 have gone in fr. elsewhere.
Not fair to C.O.
b) Won't change my policy re recognition because of pressure of debate or pressure in Cabinet.
If I am to help Rhodes ……
If I recognise Israel, must clear up all round. Get them out of Cyprus. Won't go back to Truman.
Decide, if you will, tht. U.K. can follow own policy.
Timing. Don't recognise under duress because recce. incident.
All for it, if it emerges from Rhodes.
I'm not looking for a debate. But I wd. have thought it was inevitable. Tories may be divided.
Concern therefore to m'tain unity of Cab. and Party - and avoid collision with J. community.
Bound to be anxiety in Party. Wd. be helpful if P.M. and E.B. came to Party mtg. on Wednesday.
Favour recognition. Suggd earlier Tel-a-viv consular post.
Appreciate A.V.A.'s point. But cd. E.B. at least pick up earlier point
x/ say the J. wdn't have it, refer to Rhodes and indicate sympathy with recognn. at proper time.
On recce. shdn't we say we recognised risk but thought it outweighed by security of M/East.
In debate will be pressure for recognn: don't want to look as tho' we have given way to pressure.
Must consider this. Can't let down R.A.F.
If it's to be done early, do it before Party mtg.
Eg. has recognised by mtg. at Rhodes. A new development.
Put it at x/ : then say Rhodes is new argument: foreshadow recognition.
Does Cabinet endorse my policy to date?
Further developmt. of policy is another matter.
That can be stated as Cabinet concln. Agreed.
Timing : why shd. I do this before Wed. Party mtg.?
why shd. there be a debate this wk.?
Can't statement be made in H/Lds. on Wedy. Try to get as much into it as poss. Must, however, consult Schuman and speak before we recognise.
I can't defer H/C. debate if there is one in H/L.
I cd. prs. keep H/L. off Pal. - it is a For. Affairs Debate. Agreed.
E.B. to try to keep Opposn. fr. pressing for debate.
Tell U.S. to ask Jews to remove their people from Cyprus.
Play for time - to work twds. de facto recognition.
Taken from C.M. 3(49) - Meeting held on 17 January 1949.
a) Have considered this morning's discn. Suggest we tell U.S. we are willing to recognise Israel if they will recognise T'jordan. Then try to get both done simultaneously.
Am consulting other Govts. interested in recognition of Israel.
b) General strategy and policy re M/East. Have bn. unable to get U.S. concurrence.
Asked U.S. recently if they wd. support this.
If it cd. now be announced tht. there is Anglo/U.S. understanding over M/E. as a whole, it wd. help us with Muslim countries.
Suggest I now press them to agree to such an announcement now.
These 2 things wd. give us a new slant in policy.
Need to act quickly before pol. kettle here boils over.
Will try to report to Cab. on Monday next.
Debate in H/L. Swinton has agreed to lay off Palestine.
Statement in H/L. on recce's. Shd. A.H. answer?
Try to restrict it to operational point.
Taken from C.M. 4(49) - Meeting held on 17 January 1949.
Done my best. But pledged to Arabs for more than 100 years (?) Acute phase of Pal. problem has started intense Arab nationalism - among the younger men. Need therefore for caution.
Arabs haven't had a square deal from U.N. - will say so on Wed.
Must therefore pay attentn to both sides, not Jews only.
Consulted Ibn Saud. His secret view has always bn. tht. Anglo/U.S. policy shd. be settled and imposed. Asked him earlier to propose to Arabs negotiation for settlement. Told him we are now considering de facto recognn of Israel. He replies : we are quite wrong if we suppose Jews will settle down w'in any frontier. That sums up view of all Arabs.
Supply of arms to Arabs. Apart fr. war, requd for internal security: and they are nervous of that now. Fr. promised supply Syria with rifles etc. on understandg. won't be used in war v. Jews.
We have held up all supplies to T'jordan - tho' ammunition in Amman now under our control. Have refused requests fr. Egypt.
Advice fr. Arab countries : recognition of Israel will complicate our diffies.
Have always believed in settlement by negotns.
Consulted Comm. and W. Union countries. Canada and S. Africa have given it already and recognise T'jordan (in a way). Australia wants to do it - not before 28/1. N.Z. wants to do it - after Cabinet decision. India prefers federal solution: realises now recognn. may be necessary but isn't ready to do it yet because of relations with Moslem world. Pakistan strongly opposed: wd. put premium on aggression. Ceylon not ready yet to recognise.
French. Wanted agreemt. before recognising. May settle today: and if so will recognise. Benelux stress need for acting together: suggest it shd. be discussed at mtg. later this week.
Ty. points outstanding also. Shd. we wait and settle those first? Or give de factor recognn., settle before de iure win recognn.
Is it proper to recognise while U.N. resolns are being flouted? eg. troubles over Dutch disregard of U.N. resolns in Indonesia.
With these warnings I recommend:
a) Keep in step with W. Union Govts.
b) Don't outrage Arabs by yielding to Press campaign.
Therefore: I wd. prefer to announce only tht. we are consultg. Comm. and W. Union Govts. with a view to ascertaining possibilities of giving de facto recognition at an early date. [Read a careful formula.
M/East is essential to our defence. If it goes, money voted under item 1 will be wasted. Important therefore to show that in this Comm. countries and W. Union countries are acting together with us. This is at least as important as Anglo/U.S. agreement.
Also want to avoid x. purposes with Pakistan. The 2 ends of Moslem world Turkey and Pakistan are v. important. Which way will they lead the Moslem world? We may be sowing seeds today.
Believe in Moslem revival. Can't assume it will be friendly whatever we may do.
Counsel caution accordingly. To prevent outraging Moslem world.
Austr. Cab. meet Thurs. N.Z. on Weds.
They don't want us to go ahead of them. Good case because earlier they were restrained only by us.
Do we contemplate condns like French?
No: wd. be thought to be designed for delay. Wd. prefer to have negotiations betwn. de facto and de iure.
Believe they will give de iure recognn to Israel: T'jordan tomorrow if elections in Israel go well.
Asked them for joint decln. on M/E. policy. But they wanted to tie it up with what we had done in Palestine. And I therefore dropped it.
Unfortunate tht. announcemt. shd. now be p'poned.
One reason we had in mind was to avoid seeming to do it under Parly. pressure.
Does E.B.'s formula mean tht. if India and Pakistan won't recognise, we won't?
No one can doubt meaning of E.B.'s formula.
It is wise to avoid doing this in a way inconvenient to our associates.
Will try to get France to p'pone any unilateral recognition until we can indicate intentn to try for genl. W. Union agreemt. to recognise.
Support the formula. Shd. satisfy H/C.
R. declns of anti Zionism?
R. will switch over soon to support of Arabs.
R. will always make effective inroads into countries with primitive econ. organn.
That is why they will have success in Arab States.
That is why I doubt if any possibility in modern world of any effective homogeneity in Moslem world or any strategic unit.
Our problem is now to extricate ourselves with least damage.
Diff. Parly. decn. Unwise to decide today to send arms to Arabs.
If informn. to that effect leaked out, our Parly. diffies wd. be v. gt.
I have no confidence in Iraq etc. Pouring money down drain. If we have to secure our oil, we may have to act, but not by buttressing Arab States.
Remember our obligns. Also how J. have bn. receivg. arms etc. thro' the Truce. How can we stand well with Asiatic nationalism if we don't see fair play.
eg. non intervention in Spain.
How urgent is this? Ques of timing.
Ready for Def. Cttee to examine urgency of need and what is required for internal purposes.
Can't we clear recognition first?
Agreed: E.B.'s formula for debate.
Def. Cttee. can consider applns. re supply of arms to Arab States.
Warning re leakages of Cabinet discussions.
Taken from C.M. 6(49) - Meeting held on 24 January 1949.