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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

xv                      THE MILKER COMMISSION                    271
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leader of the Party of Independence in Paris. He was* himself believed to be less intractable than were his public utterances, with their obstinate reiteration of the one sterile proposition that the recognition of " complete independence " must be a condition precedent to any sort of negotiation either with the British Government or with the Commission. Some of the deliberate mischief-makers at one moment betrayed their alarm by throwing out reminders in the Press that Zaghlul after all was originaljy a creation ^of Lord Cromer, and with such a congenital taint might well be in danger of backsliding unless a close watch was kept upon him by the " seagreen incorruptibles " of stalwart Nationalism.
Whilst the Commission desired nothing but frank and open speech with the Egyptians, the - politicians all clung to the methods of secret diplomacy, except when they thought to serve their own purposes by calculated indiscretions. These were so frequent that it was easy to follow the mysterious goings and comings between different groups in Cairo, and between Cairo and Paris, and equally easy to detect the unfortunate part played by personal jealousies and ambitions and the deep-rooted distrust of each other that prevails amongst Egyptian politicians, in defeating the well-meant efforts of those amongst them who were most anxious to open up some avenue of fruitful discussion with the Commission. The peacemakers might have been more successful if they had had in a greater measure the courage of their convictions, but their failure was certainly not due to any unwillingness on the part of the Commission to welcome their co-operation and to agree to almost any suggestion made by them with a view to facilitate practical negotiations. The Commission evidently realised very soon that Zaghlul and his friends, however slender might be their hold on the Egyptian masses, were at least in full control of the political machine, and that until they were induced to take a hand in negotiations there could be little or no prospect of any issue by negotiation from a deadlockdrawinghad   committed   the   heinous   offencecially in o particular case which Egyptian public opinion, rightly that Egypt' wan quit** unripe for such democratic