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x                                 INTRODUCTOBY
it will be a greater misfortune for them than for us if they spoil it by pursuing the shadow rather than the substance and persisting in demands which bear so little relation to present possibilities that in order to justify them they are driven to appeal to a mythical past bearing equally little relation to the facts of Egyptian history.
It is easy to talk about our withdrawing altogether from Egypt and leaving the Egyptians to govern or misgovern themselves. It is equally easy to talk about our remaining in Egypt and relying solely upon force to impose our will upon the Egyptians. The practical difficulties would in either event prove on closer examination to be almost insuperable. Moreover, to take the former course would mean the craven repudiation of all the responsibilities which we have assumed ever since the Occupation, though we obtained no international sanction for our assumption of them, at the very moment ''                       when we have for the first time secured that sanction by
!                      enshrining the Protectorate in the Treaty of Versailles.
I                      To take the second course would involve a persistent
\                      violation of our own principles of freedom which a British
|                      democracy would soon decline to tolerate.   Either course
f                      represents merely a counsel of despair to which British
(                  '   statesmanship is not yet so bankrupt as to allow itself
I                      to be driven.   The Egyptian problem is in its essence
|                       very similar to the problem with which we have already
I                       been confronted in India, namely, that of setting the
I                      feet of an Oriental people in the path of self-government
I                      whilst continuing to safeguard both internal and external
j                      peace.   We declined for a long time to face it in India.
1                      We have at last faced it and made a bold and generous
attempt to solve it.   We have never yet honestly faced *                      it in Egypt.    Within the first year of the Occupation
'>                      it  was—somewhat prematurely—-adumbrated  in   Lord
:                      Dufferin's famous Report.   We have   continued much
j                      too long to evade it until evasion has begun to spell
I,                      disaster.   The chaotic conditions which prevail at presentl fitness of the Egyptians to govern