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Printed papers on the political situation and military policy in Egypt [‎2v] (4/176)

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The record is made up of 1 file (88 folios). It was created in 23 Apr 1923-17 Nov 1923. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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4. In making suggestions in regard to the precautionary measures that can be
organised by the Canal Company and Powers concerned to prevent a vessel being
sunk in the Canal, the Naval Stall feel that the question should be approached, in the
first instance, from the point of view of Imperial policy and defence.
5. The Canal has always been an important link in our Imperial communica
tions ; the rise of a strong Power in the East and the shifting of the strategic centres
to distant waters has made it a link of such vital importance that it is difficult to
envisage the possibility of our embarking on a war in the East unless w’e were quite
certain that it could not be severed.
6. The Naval Staff cannot but feel that the success or failure of diplomatic
action and Biritish policy in the East may depend in the last resort upon our being
able to use the Canal without let or hindrance.
7. This being so, the status of the Canal ceases to be a question of purely
domestic concern between this country, Egypt and the other signatories of the Suez
Canal Convention, and should take its place as a major question of Imperial Defence.
8. While recognising the difficulties which would confront us in attaining a
recognised and explicit power of control in the Suez Canal Zone, the Naval Staff feel
that British policy should be directed towards this end.
It would appear that much could be achieved if Great Britain were formally
given the responsibilities for the measures outlined in Article 9 of the Suez Canal
Convention, which are there given to Egypt and the Imperial Ottoman Government.
In any case, Article 9 is, for historical reasons, obsolete in its present form;
again, the position of Egypt, in consequence of its final detachment from Turkey, has
to be discussed with the Powers, and the occasion of such a discussion would appear
opportune for pressing British responsibilities in the Canal Zone as the heir to the
Turkish and Egyptian jurisdiction.
Proposed Policy.
9. The following is an outline of some of the measures that are suggested to
minimise the danger of blocking attack :—
(i.) Make sure that all Treaties we conclude with Egypt, Turkey, or other
Powers, do not in any way circumscribe the power of Great Britain to
take emergency action to maintain free navigation of the Suez Canal for
all Nations.
(ii.) Maintain liaison with the Canal Company through the British Govern
ment representative on the Board of Directors—Sir Ian Malcolm—and
ascertain through him what steps the Canal Company propose to take
in the event of suspicions being aroused that someone intends to try to
block the Canal.
(iii.) When information on this point is available, it might be possible to
advise Sir Ian Malcolm or Lord Inchcape what additional steps we
consider necessary, and ascertain what additional assistance, if any, the
Canal Company require to create a structure on which a sound
precautionary organisation might be built up.
We have perfectly legitimate reason for doing this by reason of—
(a.) The dominating shareholding power of the British Government.
(&.) Dominant British shipping interests—amounting to 64 per cent, of
total traffic.
(c.) Our position vis-a-vis Egypt.
(d.) Suez Canal is a vital link between the Wings of the Empire.
(iv.) Suggest, through the British Representative, that the number of British
pilots in the Canal Service should gradually be increased at the expense
of Greeks and Italians.
The Dutch Director would probably support the proposal that the
number of British and Dutch pilots should bear some relation to volume
of British and Dutch shipping, Great Britain and Holland being the
greatest users of the Canal. The process would naturally be a gradual
one, as vacancies are infrequent.

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Content

The file contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, and newspaper cuttings relating to the political situation in Egypt. The memoranda are written by officials at the War Office, Admiralty, Colonial Office, and Foreign Office and mostly concern military policy in Egypt and the defence of the Suez Canal. The Annual Report on Egypt for the year 1921, written by Field Marshall Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, High Commissioner of Egypt, is also included. The report covers matters such as politics, finance, agriculture, public works, education, justice, and communications. Some correspondence from Ernest Scott, Acting High Commissioner in Egypt, to Lord Curzon can also be found within the file.

Extent and format
1 file (88 folios)
Arrangement

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the rear.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 88; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 1-88; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Printed papers on the political situation and military policy in Egypt [‎2v] (4/176), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/263, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100076640426.0x000005> [accessed 22 November 2019]

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