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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

CHAPTER XVII
THE NEED  FOR AN HONOURABLE  SOLUTION
WE occupied Egypt thirty-eight years ago in order to rescue it from anarchy and ruin, and we remained, as we then declared and have again repeatedly declared since then, as trustees for its people who had never governed themselves and whom we could not leave to be misgoverned as in the past by their own rulers. We promised and honestly believed that our trusteeship would be merely temporary, and that when we had discharged it we would withdraw. But to discharge it we had to assume ever-increasing responsibilities for the government and administration of the country which made withdrawal more and more difficult. During the earlier period of the Occupation, it was only with the latent hostility of foreign Powers, whose opportunities of obstruction were manifold and frequent, that we had seriously to reckon. We could set against it a general acceptance of British control by the Egyptians from the head of the State downwards, and by none with such an instinctive appreciation of its value as by the masses, who could see and feel for themselves that to them at least it had brought release from ancient oppression and an undreamt-of measure of prosperity. By the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904, France, who had opposed us longer and with more determination than any other Power, signified at last her acquiescence in our presence in Egypt. Turkey
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irange of their experience and intelli-gence that we won and retained for many years the confidence and good will of the great majority of the people of Egypt. We had the courage to take great risks in those days when the poverty of the Egyptian exchequer might have excused some pusillanimity. Though our hands were much more free, the later years of the veiled Protectorate were only once touched with the same spirit, when Lord Kitchener came to the rescue of fellaheen indebtedness with his " Five Feddan Law."