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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

XV
THE MILNER COMMISSION
273
control and the relations between it and the Egyptian Government and Administration were subjected to close investigation at the hands of a responsible and independent body officially appointed for the purpose. Such an investigation was sorely needed, for the war had merely precipitated and clearly demonstrated the breakdown of a machine which had gradually outworn itself. The time at the disposal of the Commission was perhaps unduly short, but it sufficed to collect abundant materials for informing the ji*dgment of British Ministers. It probed the records of the public departments. It listened to the views, not only of the British officials, but also of the British unofficial community, whose existence the officials had fallen into the habit of ignoring. It heard, directly or indirectly, the opinions of many Egyptians, both official and unofficial. As for documentary evidence, it probably accumulated, as most Commissions of a similar order do, far more than it could possibly digest. Above all, it was able to witness at close quarters how the country was governed and administered during its stay in Egypt, and the one lesson it must assuredly have learnt is that such conditions of governmental and administrative confusion could not possibly endure, because they were fast becoming unendurable for Englishmen and Egyptians alike.alism than those which its political chiefs chose to exhibit, and the Commission will not have neglected to take note of them. But a nation's capacity for self-government has to be judged very largely by the capacity of the men by whom it elects to be represented, and that these did not serve Egypt wisely when they had a great opportunity is a conclusion for which they have only themselves to thank.