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210 THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM <
importance. But their Egyptian colleagues did attend such conferences, and even if they had previously consulted, their opinions reached the Resid only at second hand. Decisions arrived at in those ferences were conveyed sometimes by the represent; of the British Government direct to the Egyptian P Minister or to the Minister specially concerned, and s times by the Financial Adviser, the only British Ad with a seat on the Egyptian Council of Ministers, the recommendation thus made partake of the natu advice, or was it an order ? So long as it was acce] it could, of course, be treated merely as advice, but often was it only accepted lest it should be translated an order ?
In questions of lesser and more purely departm importance it seems to have depended very much the personality of the individual British Adviser or o1 how far he consulted the Egyptian head of his depart: or other Egyptian coadjutors. It was in any case i through him that the Egyptian view was conveyed, was conveyed at all, to the Residency. Many Egyp were no doubt quite satisfied to be relieved in this of any real responsibility. Others took advantage to cast upon the British the responsibility for irre proceedings of their own, which neither the Residenc; their British colleagues or superiors knew anything a or would have approved of, had they known. It w; easy and pretty safe way of sheltering themselves ag criticism from their own people. On one occasio Egyptian Minister, who was supporting before Legislative Assembly a measure on which he had in full agreement with his British Adviser, lost heart he found himself being violently attacked, and h been asked how he could venture to defend it, just pl< feebly: "The English wanted it." Weakness oi sort was partly the cause and partly the result tendency amongst some British officials to treat Egyj as mere inferiors who were there to take .and carr actually in the Egyptian services. It was the custom, I believe, to summon them to conferences at the Residency on matters deemed to be of primary