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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

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in           LIMITATIONS  OF BRITISH CONTROL            53
altogether by means of a direct agreement with the Sultan. Egyptian Nationalists are fond of talking of the independence which Egypt enjoyed before the Occupation. But they conveniently forget the fact that the Sultan still possessed certain very definite rights in Egypt which had never been challenged. On the contrary, the Powers had themselves induced him to exercise them effectively, when he issued the Firman, deposing the Khedive Ismail, in 1879, and they had sought,, less successfully, to induce him to exercise them againi during the prolonged crisis that preceded the Occupation,, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, an adroit if eccentric diplomatist, who enjoyed in a singular degree Lord Salisbury's favour and confidence, was sent out in 1885 as High Commissioner to negotiate, in concert with a High Commissioner appointed by the Porte, the basis of an agreement which was originally intended to secure the military co-operation of Turkey in the Sudan, and, when that failed, was at any rate to lay down a scheme of reforms to be carried out under Anglo-Turkish auspices in Egypt, and to provide for the withdrawal of the British Occupation within a term of years, subject in certain circumstances to an eventual Anglo-Turkish inoccupation. The many vicissitudes of that diplomatic adventure need not be recalled, but, if only to measure the distance that we have travelled since then, it may be worth while to reproduce one passage from the instructions issued by Lord Salisbury to his special envoy.
"It is the wish of Her Majesty's Government to recognise in its full significance the position which is secured to His Majesty the Sultan as Sovereign of Egypt by Treaties and other instruments having a force under international law. They are of opinion that the authority of the Sultan over a large portion of the Muhammadan world which exists under his rule will be much assured by a due recognition of his legitimate position in respect to Egypt."
The joint efforts of the two High Commissioners during a prolonged stay in Cairo failed, however, to produce        danger of foreign complications.