Extract From the Editor´s Preface
The documents relating to the British Mandate from 1920 deal with the problems of establishing the boundaries of Transjordan and particularly the tensions between Ibn Saud and King Abdullah over Ibn Saud´s claims to Aqaba and Ma´an. In 1946, Transjordan achieved independence, although it was still financially dependent on Britain, a dependence which was formalised by the military annex in the Anglo-Transjordan Treaty.
Abdullah´s moderate position towards Israel, however, was challenged within Jordan and by neighbouring Arab states. The formal union between Eastern and Western Jordan of 1950 increased the influence of West Bank opinion on Jordanian politics and led to a deterioration in relations between Jordan and Israel. In 1951 Abdullah was assassinated and his successor Talal abdicated due to mental illness. This political instability was exacerbated by the influx of refugees from Palestine.
In 1953 Hussein was crowned king and presided over an increasingly pro-Egyptian and pro-soviet political orientation. Jordan refused to join the American-sponsored Baghdad Pact and signed a military agreement with Egypt and Syria. By February 1958 Jordanian policy had changed and had become more sympathetic to the West. Jordan and the pro-Western Kingdom of Iraq announced their unification, but the union was short-lived. Revolution in Baghdad on 14 July 1958 and the assassination of the Iraqi Royal family led to the dissolution of the union and the greater reliance of Jordan on the United States, Britain and Israel for her defence. In 1961 Jordanian-Egyptian relations deteriorated due to King Hussein´s haste in recognising the new regime in Syria after the coup d´etat which resulted in her withdrawal from the UAR.
The papers of 1965 document the increasing rift between Hussein and the PLO, and the danger which the organisation presented to Jordan´s fragile stability. They also show Jordan´s increasing dependence on the United States for financial support and efforts to achieve a stable relationship with the UAR and Saudi Arabia during the Yemeni conflict.
While an attempt has been made to ensure that this collection presents as comprehensive a picture as possible, in the earlier period this is more difficult to achieve as many records have not survived and many files on sensitive issues are still closed to the public.