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Transjordan

Volume 186: debated on Monday 6 July 1925

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has recently defined the southern and eastern boundaries of Transjordania; and, if so, by what authority?

On the 23rd September, 1922, the League of Nations approved a definition of Transjordan as territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk: and thence up the centre of that river to the Syrian frontier. It is clear from this definition that Transjordan territory was recognised at that time as extending as far south as the town of Akaba. The actual frontiers between Transjordan and the independent Arabian territories of Hedjaz and Nejd have never been precisely defined although His Majesty's Government have at various times invited the Sultan of Nejd and the King of the Hedjaz to agree with them in defining these boundaries. It has more than once been made clear to both parties by His Majesty's Government that they regard the correct frontier as crossing the Hedjaz Railway at some point between Ma'an and Tebuk and as giving Transjordan access to the sea in the neighbourhood of Akaba. It is true that for some time they acquiesced in the status of the Ma'an and Akaba districts remaining indeterminate pending a final delimitation of the frontier, but when King Hussein constituted the Ma'an vilayet a vilayet of the Hedjaz they formally protested, and when it appeared that these districts were being used by the Hedjaz authorities as a recruiting ground, and also for the transport of war material, they considered it their duty, in pursuance of their policy of neutrality, to take steps to establish the control of the Transjordan administration in the area for which they regard themselves as responsible under the mandate. The ex-King of the Hedjaz, who had been allowed to take refuge at Akaba, was accordingly invited to leave, and has been accommodated at Cyprus, as I have already informed the House. Steps are now being taken to establish the authority of the Emir Abdullah up to the line which His Majesty's Government have always regarded as being the correct boundary of the area under the Mandate for Palestine. The Sultan of Nejd has at the same time been once more invited to co-operate with His Majesty's Government in defining that portion of the frontier which lies between Nejd and Transjordan, but it is clear that so long as hostilities continue between Nejd and the Hedjaz it will be difficult to arrive at a final delimitation of their respective frontiers with that territory, or to communicate the, result to the League of Nations.