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Printed papers on the political situation and military policy in Egypt [‎5v] (10/176)

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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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(C.) Sections where the bottom and banks are rocky and in some places high.
These are the characteristics at kilom. 100, and elsewhere in the southern
portion of the Canal.
The cutting of a channel round a ship sunk in one these sections would
involve blasting operations of considerable magnitude and would take at least
six months.
It would probably be simpler and quicker to attempt to salve or demolish the
ship, but even then the block would take months to icmove.
Experience at Zeebrugge and Ostend has shown the difficulty of saiving ships
that have been prepared and sunk with the deliberate intention of blocking a fairway.
The difficulties of salvage in the Suez Canal would be greatly increased by absence
of any considerable tidal rise and fall, and of any adjacent place to which portions of
the ship could be moved clear of the fairway as the operation progressed.
15. The Captain of a blockship would prefer to scuttle his ship in one of the
rocky portions of the Canal. These portions are well know r n to those who habitually
navigate the Canal, and in the case of the defile north of Lake Timsah are obvious on
account of the height and nature of the banks.
The difficulty of salving, demolishing, or cutting a channel round a ship
deliberately and effectually scuttled in a rocky portion of the Canal would be con
siderable, and many months would elapse before the waterway would be passable for
Capital Ships.
(c.) The pilot would have to he overpowered, intimidated or suborned.
16. Suez Canal pilots are recruited from the mercantile marine officers of the
principal maritime nations, and experience during the war has shown them to be, on
the whole, a reliable and conscientious body of men.
17. The qualifications of a deep-sea Master’s Certificate of their own country
are essential, and candidates must have commanded or been second in command of a
large steamship, or held an important post.
18. The following are the numbers and nationalities of the pilots in April
1923 :—
Percentage of number of
Percentage of
ships of each nationality to
total tonnage using Canal.
(11 months of 1922 )
( 1 ^
Less than 1
Less than 1
It will be seen that the percentage of pilots of each nationality bears no fixed
relation to the percentage of shipping owned by each nation, and that in this respect
Great Britain and Holland are very inadequately represented.
19. The following extract from a memorandum by Sir Malcolm Mcllwraith,
from the office of the Judicial Adviser, Cairo (vide C.I.D. Paper 80-B of the
16th July, 1906) on the difficulties which arise as regards the application of the
International Convention for the free navigation of the Suez Canal, shows that
importance was attached to the capability of the pilot in preventing the wrecking
of ships in the Canal: —
“ In conformity with the rule that a neutral State may not give aid or
“ assistance to the belligerents, either directly or indirectly, it must not furnish
“ pilots to their ships of war.

About this item


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)

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 [‎5v] (10/176), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/263, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 November 2019]

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