Appendix 1: Army Council Instructions to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the Middle East
See page 32
1. You are appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the Middle East.
2. The area over which your command extends in peace comprises: –
Palestine and Transjordan
3. In these areas you will exercise general control over all British land forces in matters of high policy in peace and will, in particular, be responsible for the review and co-ordination of war plans and plans for reinforcements in emergency, including the distribution of available land forces and material between these areas.
4. In addition you will be responsible for the preparation of all war plans, in co-operation with the local military or air force commanders, for the employment of land forces in British Somaliland, Aden, Iraq and the shores of the Persian Gulf.
5. In carrying out these tasks you will where appropriate consult and co-operate with the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, the Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station, the Commander-in-Chief in India, the Inspector General, African Colonial Forces, and the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the Middle East.
6. You will maintain close touch with His Majesty’s Ambassador in Egypt; His Majesty’s Ambassador in Iraq; the Governor General in the Sudan; the High Commissioner for Palestine and Transjordan; the Governors of Cyprus, Aden and British Somaliland; and the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf.
7. The policy of His Majesty’s Government with regard. to the Egyptian Forces is that they shall be developed into efficient modern forces capable of co-operating with the British Forces in the defence of Egypt. You will maintain close touch with His Majesty’s Ambassador in Egypt, the Head of the British Military Mission, and the Egyptian General Staff in all matters of high policy affecting the development and employment in war of the Egyptian Army, with due regard to the existing responsibilities of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Egypt, in such matters as local defence co-operation between British and Egyptian troops, and training. You will delegate to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief,
the British Troops in Egypt, such matters as are, in your opinion, best arranged by him direct with the appropriate Egyptian authorities and, subject to the agreement of the Egyptian Government at the time, command of the Egyptian Army in war.
The agreement of the Egyptian Government to place the Egyptian Army under the command of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in Egypt will be obtained by His Majesty’s Ambassador through whose intermediation all demands on the Egyptian Government will be made.
8. You should bear in mind that His Majesty’s Ambassador must retain in all circumstances his existing position vis-à-vis the Egyptian Government. This does not exclude direct communication between the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, British Troops in Egypt, and the Egyptian authorities on routine matters agreed by His Majesty’s Ambassador.
The same considerations will apply as regards your relations with His Majesty’s Diplomatic Representatives in the other countries included in the area over which your command will extend in war. In the case of Iraq, this will not preclude direct communication with the Inspector General of the Iraq Army on such matters as may be agreed by His Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq.
9. You will visit all areas which are included in war in your Command (vide paragraph 14 below) to study local situations and inform yourself of local problems.
10. Subject to the direction of the Chiefs of Staff, and of the War Office in respect of the land forces, you are responsible, in conjunction with the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, the Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station, and the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East, for co-ordinating the British war plans with the war plans of Allies of His Majesty’s Government in the Near and Middle East and North Africa.
This will involve at present co-ordination with the French military authorities in North Africa, Syria and French Somaliland; the Turkish General Staff; and possibly ultimately the Greek and Rumanian General Staffs.
You will arrange to exchange visits with these authorities as may be required.
11. To assist you in these tasks you will be provided with a staff for your own use. Of this Staff, the Senior General Staff Officer will also be a member of the Joint Planning Staff for the Middle East, which will include the Chief Staff Officers of the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, and the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East.
The Joint Planning Staff will be responsible for inter-service coordination of all war plans as may be directed by the Commanders concerned, namely, the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East, and yourself.
The composition of the staffs of your headquarters and of the Joint Planning Staff is shown in the Annexure to these instructions.
12. Your requirements as regards intelligence will be provided by the Middle East Intelligence Centre, which is being established in Cairo.
The charter for this Centre, as approved by the Committee of Imperial Defence, was issued to all concerned under War Office letter No. 0160/2133 (M.I.2) dated 30th June 1939.
13. Your headquarters will be located at Cairo.
14. Should war break out the area of your Command will be extended to include all military forces in British Somaliland, Aden, Iraq and the shores of the Persian Gulf, with the exception of those which are normally under the control of the Royal Air Force.
15. Your tasks in war are to co-ordinate (in consultation with the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East, for matters affecting Iraq and Aden) the action of the land forces in the areas under your command and the distribution of available resources between them. You will be guided by the policy for the conduct of operations which will be communicated to you from time to time.
You will co-ordinate the operations of the forces under your command with the operations of the various allied forces in the areas mentioned in paragraph 10.
For this purpose you will work in direct co-operation with allied military commanders concerned.
By command of the Army Council, (Sgd.) H. J. CREEDY.
The War Office, 24th July 1939.
1. Staff of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East.
1 Brigadier, General Staff.
1 General Staff Officer, Grade 2.
2 General Staff Officers, Grade 3 (including 1 for Joint Planning Staff).
1 Administrative Staff Officer.
2. Joint Planning Staff.
Chief Staff Officer to Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean.
1 Naval Staff Officer.
Brigadier, General Staff, Middle East.
1 General Staff Officer, Grade 3.
Senior Air Staff Officer, Middle East.
1 Air Staff Officer.