Appendix 2: Directive to Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East
(See page 94)
To—H.Q., RAF, M.E.
X.540. 11 June 1940.
Personal to Sir Arthur Longmore. Your 493 May 13.
Following are the instructions of the Air Council as to your responsibilities.
1. You will command all Royal Air Force Units stationed or operating in the following areas. Egypt, Sudan, Palestine and Transjordan, East Africa, Aden and Somaliland, Iraq and adjacent territories, Cyprus, Turkey, Balkans (Yugoslavia, Roumania, Bulgaria, Greece), Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf.
2. The Air Officers Commanding Aden, Iraq and the Mediterranean1 will continue to exercise local administrative control in direct communication with the Air Ministry. You will, however, be responsible for general administrative control of these commands so far as operational requirements dictate. You may also draw on, or interchange, the resources of these commands as circumstances may require.
3. You will be responsible, in conjunction with the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies and the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, as may be appropriate for the preparation of plans for the employment of the units under your Command.
4. In so far as your other commitments permit you will, after consultation with the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, place under the command of the General Officer Commanding, British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan such air forces as are from time to time required by him to meet the local situation.
5. The Commander-in-Chief, Middle East will assume command of the land forces in Aden, Iraq and the shores of the Persian Gulf in the event of major land operations in or beyond the borders of those territories. This in no way affects the responsibilities of the Air Officers Commanding, British Forces in Iraq or Aden, in the conduct of purely local operations of a minor character.
6. You will, where appropriate, maintain touch with His Majesty’s representatives in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Roumania and Yugoslavia; the Governor-General in the Sudan; the High Commissioner for
Palestine and Transjordan; the Governors of Aden, Malta, Cyprus, British Somaliland, Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland; the British Resident in Zanzibar and the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf.
7. You will keep H.E. the Commander-in-Chief in India in touch with operational matters which may concern or be of interest to him.
8. The Air Officers Commanding, Aden and Iraq will continue to maintain direct communication with the political and diplomatic authorities in their Commands.
9. Subject to the direction of the Chiefs of Staffs and of the Air Ministry you are responsible in consultation with the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, the Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies and the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East for co-ordinating the operations of Royal Air Force units in your area with those of the Air Forces of the Allies of His Majesty’s Government. In addition, you are responsible for the co-ordination of the operations of the units under your command with those of the French Air Forces in North Africa and in West Africa should operations extend to these areas.
10. The primary role of the forces under your command is the defence of Egypt and the Suez Canal, and the maintenance of communications through the Red Sea. This does not, however, preclude the possibility of air forces from your Command being employed in the execution of such other plans as may be approved by the Chiefs of Staff from time to time.
11. 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 Senior Air Force Officer attached to that Mission in all matters affecting the development and training of the Royal Egyptian Air Force and the employment of that Force in War.
12. The agreement of the Egyptian Government to place the Royal Egyptian Air Force under your command will be obtained by His Majesty’s Ambassador, who will be the intermediary for all requests to the Egyptian Government. This does not exclude direct communication between yourself and the Egyptian authorities on routine matters agreed by His Majesty’s Ambassador.