Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

See other formats

continuity of personnel at the British Residency. Mr. (afterwards Sir Mine) Cheetham, who was Councillor, had been left in charge in the usual course when Lord Kitchener went home on leave before the war, and he continued to carry on for several months after Lord Kitchener had gone to the War Office on the outbreak of hostilities. Sir Henry MacMahon, an able officer of the Indian Political Department, who had been Foreign Secretary in India, but was on leave in England, was sent out, on Lord Kitchener's recommendation, to Cairo as High Commissioner after the Proclamation of the Protectorate. But barely two years later he was somewhat abruptly recalled, and Sir Reginald Wingate, who had been Sirdar and Governor of the Sudan for nearly two decades, was appointed to succeed him. Sir Henry MacMahon had no knowledge at all of Egypt, and though Sir Reginald Wingate had served in Cairo during his earlier years in the Egyptian army and kept to some extent in touch with Egypt from Khartum, the conditions he came back to as High Commissioner must have been almost as unfamiliar to him as they had been to Sir Henry MacMahon. Moreover, the administrative machinery of which they in turn took charge was already out of gear, and their own authority was more and more cast into the shade by the military authority which, as the war dragged on, took things more and more into its own hands. Worst of all, neither of them seems to have ever enjoyed the real confidence of the Foreign Office, as they were both new to diplomacy, and their advice, even when, as the event may have ultimately shown, it was sound, never apparently carried enough weight to command consideration amidst the conflicting views of the different Departments and the many grave preoccupations of the War Cabinet. The very fact that, to the surprise of many, Egypt during the war gave very little trouble led to a careless over-confidence for which we had to pay after the war was over. From the day war was declared between Great Britainrary tendencies, heiscretion which he began to urge on his august master's credit was the visit which heocialf light railways and the introduc