xvii THE NEED FOR AN HONOURABLE SOLUTION 301
interests—interests with which, moreover, the whole economic life of Egypt is bound up ?
Another polfcy would be simply to take our stand on our ^paramount position already recognised by the Treaty of Versailles, and presumably about to be confirmed by our Peace Treaty with Turkey, and impose the unconditional acceptance of British supremacy upon a country which owes to our arms alone its release from Turkish suzerainty, and has no title to claim as of right an independence whjph it did not possess before the war and has, in fact, for twenty-five centuries never possessed. But such a policy, if it stopped there, would be the very assertion of force from which, as Lord Curzon has stated, the British Government recoiled when in 1914 it preferred the proclamation of a Protectorate to the annexation pure and simple of Egypt to the British Empire. As a policy of force it would be incompatible with the sentiments that govern the British democracy, or with the ideals which the British Commonwealth of Nations has set before itself. We could not justify it before the world, and though a large army of occupation would doubtless keep Egypt in subjection, it would be only too probably a Sinn Fein Egypt, and the Sinn Fein spirit with all the latent forces of Mahomedan fanaticism behind it might well prove even more dangerous in the East than in the West.
There should have been no need to allude to such a policy, since it has already been implicitly and explicitly repudiated in every declaration made by the British Government, had not the Egyptians been led, partly by our own blunders and procrastination and partly by a long-drawn campaign of deliberate misrepresentation, to distrust all official assurances. The policy to which the British Government have pledged themselves is the same policy, applied to Egyptian conditions and to the closer relationship with the British Empire into which Egypt has been brought by the war, that is now universally recognised to be the only one that can knit the Empirere of the foreign communitieH established in Egypt who look to us for the protection of their