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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

xn         THE BREAKDOWN  OF THE CONTROL        211
instructions and not to have opinions of their own. It is small wonder that Egyptian officials came to believe that their advancement depended upon subservience rather than good work.
Still worse was the effect of the belief which, after Lord Cromer's time, steadily gained ground, largely as the result of the indulgence granted to the Khedive Abbas and his proteges, that it was the policy of the British control to prefer Egyptian Ministers and officials who never " give trouble," and in recognition of their docility to turn a blind eye on their shortcomings. Such tendencies soon spread, and there can be little doubt that they became very marked in later years among some of the British officials charged by their respective departments with the inspection of the Egyptian Administration in the Provinces. Nowhere could they be more dangerous, for nowhere can a few bad failures bring a whole service so quickly into disrepute. The strength of a chain is the strength of its weakest links, and a very small number of misfits suffice to destroy confidence. The relations between the provincial authorities and British inspectors, whose reports to headquarters may be decisive, are in fact far more delicate and depend far more upon personal tact and good feeling than the relations between the higher Egyptian and British officials at the seat of government. Had it not become the fashion with some of the higher British officials to hold the Egyptians of no account,                         I If
such important duties as those of inspection would never                           !k
have been entrusted to young and inexperienced English-                         ||
men who, even if only through sheer ignorance, trod heavily on Egyptian corns. The mere question of manners is not so unimportant in an Oriental country as we are sometimes inclined to hold it. A British official may be extremely competent, but whether in the very responsible position of an Adviser, or in a much more humble post, he is of no use in Egypt if he is incapable by temperament, or will not take the trouble, to get on with Egyptians,                         jit
and to treat ┬╗them with the courtesy and personal for-
p 2tion above cited and any personrstatement.    The Special