The front page of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan memorandum, presented to UK Parliament in December 1922, prior to it coming in to force in 1923

Transjordan memorandum (1922)

The Transjordan memorandum was a British memorandum passed by the Council of the League of Nations on 16 September 1922

The memorandum described how the British government planned to implement the article of the Mandate for Palestine which allowed exclusion of Transjordan from the provisions regarding Jewish settlement.

Background

The British Mandate administration in Jerusalem only ever covered the area west of the Jordan, while the area east of the Jordan was administered by the British representative in Ma’an, Captain Alex Kirkbride until the arrival in November 1920 of Abdullah bin al-Hussein, the future Emir.

Article 25 of the British Mandate for Palestine stated that in the territory to the east of the Jordan River, Britain could ‘postpone or withhold’ the articles of the Mandate concerning a Jewish National Home:

Description

On 16 September 1922, Lord Balfour, representing the United Kingdom, reminded the Council of the League of Nations of Article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine (which had been previously approved but had not yet come into effect).

Article 25 allowed for the exclusion of Transjordan from unspecified provisions of the Mandate. He then told the council that the British government now proposed to carry out this article as had always been intended by the League of Nations and the British government. He then presented a memorandum for approval.

The front page of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan memorandum, presented to UK Parliament in December 1922, prior to it coming in to force in 1923

The front page of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan memorandum, presented to UK Parliament in December 1922, prior to it coming in to force in 1923

The memorandum began by quoting Article 25 of the Mandate. Then it said “In pursuance of the provisions of this article, His Majesty’s Government invite the Council to pass the following resolution: The following provisions of the Mandate for Palestine are not applicable to the territory known as Transjordan, which comprises all territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba on the Gulf of that name up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk: thence up the centre of that river to the Syrian frontier.” Then it listed articles 4, 6, 13, 14, 22, 23, and parts of the Preamble and Articles 2, 7 and 11, and concluded with “In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory. His Majesty’s Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.” The council then approved the memorandum.

From that point onwards, Britain administered the part west of the Jordan as Palestine, and the part east of the Jordan as Transjordan. Technically they remained one mandate, but most official documents referred to them as if they were two separate mandates.

In May 1923 Transjordan was granted internal self-government with Abdullah as ruler and Harry St. John Philby as chief representative.

Useful Information

Transjordan memorandum
Arabic: مذكرة شرق الأردن