CH. vm CLAIM TO "COMPLETE INDEPENDENCE" 143
laid before the High Commissioner, Sir Eeginald Wingate, a formal demand for the abolition of the Protectorate and the recognition of the complete independence of Egypt. Sir Reginald Wingate listened to them very courteously, but according to the account of the conversation published in the Nationalist Press, which is probably quite accurate on this point at least, the only reply he was in a position to make was that he was not acquainted with the intentions of His Majesty's Government in regard to the future of Egypt. Zaghlul was doubtless prepared for this reply, for a few days later he asked the High Commissioner to support Ms request to the military authorities for permission for himself and his colleagues of the Delegation to leave for England, where they wished to place the Egyptian case before the British people. That request was refused after reference to His Majesty's Government, and with less than Sir Reginald's usual tact the refusal was notified, not in a letter from the High Commissioner himself, but in a somewhat curt note from his private secretary. Zaghlul after all had been for several years an Egyptian Minister, and he may be excused for having taken umbrage at the form in which the refusal of a request in itself perfectly legitimate had been conveyed to him by the Residency. He appealed then to higher quarters, and in a series of skilfully argued letters to Mr. Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau, M. Orlando, and President Wilson he adjured each of those statesmen in turn and with increasing vehemence to apply to Egypt, whose invaluable co-operation during the war entitled her to a hearing, the lofty principles they had proclaimed in defining their war aims.
When the Peace Conference met in Paris, the Nationalist Delegation, which henceforth represented the Party of Egyptian Independence, sent to all the Plenipotentiaries an exhaustive Memorandum in which the Nationalist programme was fully set forth. It was a plausible document. It gave a somewhat highly coloured picture of the immense progress made by the Egyptian people in the days of
MSuez." In 1916, 10,463 men of the Egyptian Labour Corps,n depots and cotton markets to assis