Авторы: 159 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

Книги:  184 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

AFTER−WAR MISTAKES

Had we acted wisely and expeditiously at the end of the war we might even then have avoided the trouble that

followed. But when Egyptian ministers asked leave to come to London in December, 1918, we answered that

the time was not opportune for these discussions, and when the Nationalist leaders proposed to send a

delegation, we said that no good purpose could be served by their coming to Europe. This heightened the

alarm, and the Nationalists retorted by raising their claims from "complete autonomy" to "complete

independence," and started a violent agitation. The Government retaliated by deporting Zaghlul to Malta,

whereupon the country broke into rebellion. Lord Allenby now came upon the scene, and, while suppressing

the rebellion, released Zaghlul and gave him and his delegation the permission to go to Europe which had

been refused in January. It was now decided to send out the Milner Mission, but there was a further delay of

seven months before it started, and during all that time agitation continued.

When the Mission arrived it quickly discovered that there was no possible "Constitution under the

Protectorate" which would satisfy the Egyptians, and that the sole alternatives were further suppression or the

discovery of some means of settlement which dispensed with the Protectorate. The Mission unanimously

came to the conclusion that though the first was mechanically possible if the cost and discredit were faced, the

second was not only feasible but far preferable, and that the right method was a treaty of Alliance between

Great Britain and Egypt, recognising Egypt as a sovereign State, but affording all necessary guarantees for

imperial interests. Working on those lines the Mission gradually broke down the boycott proclaimed against

them, convinced the Egyptians of their goodwill, induced all parties of Egyptian Nationalists to come to

London, and there negotiated the basis of the Treaty which was described in the Report. The main points were

that there must be a British force in the country−−not an army of occupation, but a force to guard Imperial

communications−−that there must be British liaison officers for law and order and finance, that the control of

foreign policy must remain in the hands of Great Britain, and that the Soudan settlement of 1898 must remain

untouched, but that with these exceptions the Government of Egypt should be in fact what it had always been

in theory: a Government of Egyptians by Egyptians.

Had the Government accepted this in December, 1920 (instead of in March, 1922), and instructed Lord Milner

to go forward and draft a treaty on this basis, it is extremely probable that a settlement would have been

reached in a few weeks; but Ministers, unhappily, were unable to make up their minds, and there was a further

delay of three months before the Egyptian Prime Minister, Adli Pasha, was invited to negotiate with the

Foreign Office. By this time the Nationalist parties which the Mission had succeeded in uniting on a common

platform had fallen apart, and the extremists once more started a violent agitation and upbraided the

moderates for tamely waiting on the British Government, which had evidently meant to deceive them. The

situation had, therefore, changed again for the worse when Adli came to London in April, 1921, and it was

made worse still by what followed. The negotiations dragged over six months, and finally broke down for

reasons that have never been explained, but the probability is that Egypt had now got entangled in Coalition

domestic politics, and that the "Die−Hards" claimed to have their way in Egypt in return for their consent to

the Irish settlement. The door was now banged in the face of all schools of Egyptian Nationalists, and Lord

Allenby was instructed to send to the Sultan the unhappy letter in which Egypt was peremptorily reminded

that she was a "part of the communications of the British Empire," and many other things said which were

specially calculated to wound Egyptian susceptibilities.

The Egyptian Prime Minister resigned, and for the next five months Lord Allenby endeavoured to govern the

country by martial law without an Egyptian Ministry. Then he came to London with the unanimous support of

British officials in Egypt to tell the Government that the situation was impossible and a settlement imperative.

The Government gave way and British policy was again reversed, but three opportunities had now been

thrown away, and at the fourth time of asking the difficulties were greatly increased. The Nationalists were

now divided and the Moderates in danger of being violently attacked if they accepted a moderate solution. It

was found necessary to deport Zaghlul Pasha and to put several of his chief adherents on trial. Suspicions had

been aroused by the delays and vacillations of the British Government. A settlement by treaty was now

impossible, and Lord Allenby had to give unconditionally the recognition of sovereignty which the Mission intended to be part of the treaty, putting the Egyptians under an honourable pledge to respect British rights

and interests. In the circumstances there was nothing else to do, but it is greatly to be desired that when the

constitution has been completed and the new Assembly convened, an effort should be made to revert to the

method of the treaty which particularly suited the Egyptian character and would be regarded as a binding

obligation by Egyptians.