Cairo, March 22
The constitution of the Arab League, “the Mid-Eastern League of Nations,” was signed to-day by Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, but not by the Palestine observer. The Yemen will sign later. The ceremony was broadcast, and simultaneously with the signing salvos of guns were fired in Cairo and other Middle East capitals.
Editorial: the Arab League
26 March 1945
The Charter of the Arab League, which was signed at Cairo last week, is an impressive tribute to Arab diplomacy. For unity is by no means the simple and natural thing which it is sometimes represented to be. In reality Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and the Yemen, the members of the League, are divided by almost as many disputes and differences as the states of Europe. To mention only the most important of these, there are the deep suspicion of the strict Wahabis in the south for the looser forms of Islam, the ancient hostility between the primitive Arabs of the desert and the “civilised” Arabs of Syria and Lebanon, and the dynastic feud between the Hashemite dynasty, which still rules in Iraq and Transjordan, and King Ibn Saud, the masterful conqueror who now holds the holy cities of Mecca and Medina from which King Hussein originally came.
In spite of these obstacles the rulers of the seven States have agreed on a charter to co-ordinate their interests and to protect “their independence and integrity.” There is no doubt the League should benefit the peoples in many ways; it will also greatly increase their bargaining power with the Western nations. For it is no criticism of the League to say that its basis is anti-imperialism, an inevitable and healthy reaction against all foreign interference. The fact must be faced, however, that the results may not always be congenial to the British and French Governments.
This is an edited extract.