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46                      THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
1                                            withdrawal.    They might well have proved almost as
dangerous to the peace of Europe as to the slight elements
fl      '!                              'of  stability  which  the   Occupation  was  beginning  to
^                   N                            restore in Egypt itself. . So the Occupation was prolonged
|                                               from- year to year, and the possibility of ending it became
V    (                                           more and more remote as the work of reconstruction to
|'4                                               which the Occupation had committed us compelled us
|s                                               to extend and tighten our grip on every branch of the
*jj                                                administration.    We were at least able to restore security
I                                               and prosperity such as Egypt had never before known,
I                                               and as all the large foreign communities established in
Egypt shared exactly the same benefits as the British community, foreign Powers were less and less inclined to quarrel with us for remaining in Egypt. The rulers of Turkey, whether Old Turks or Young Turks, were never reconciled to the ascendancy of a Christian Power in a Mahomedan country over which they still claimed and exercised a not unimportant remnant of their ancient rights of sovereignty and a still less unimportant influence in virtue of a common faith. But French hostility abated with the growing menace of the Kaiser's ambitions, which drew Great Britain and France together, and the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 finally removed the danger of all serious friction between the two Western Powers over Egypt as well as over other colonial issues which had been sometimes scarcely less acute.
British Governments had long since ceased to talk about withdrawal, but never until after the Anglo-French Agreement had they openly acknowledged that no definite term could be set to the Occupation. Not even then were its implications frankly faced. The Occupation had assumed the shape of a veiled Protectorate, but no attempt was ever made—nor has been hitherto made since the veiled Protectorate was converted into an open Protectorate in 1915—to define the actual relationship thereby established between Egypt and Great Britain. From the moment we occupied Egypt we had I                                          to assume responsibility for its governance. But we                .  ,                           me, who was for many years one of Lord Cromer's most