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Printed papers on the political situation and military policy in Egypt [‎12v] (24/176)

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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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Note by the Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence on
“The Position of the Suez Canal in Time of War.”
(Extract from C.I.D. 98-B of February 12, 1907.)
1. The case in question—the menace of the Canal by a Turkish force desiring
to invade Egypt—does not appear to be provided for by the Convention of 1888.
2. In such a case Egypt would clearly not possess the means of securing the
neutrality of the Canal, even if the Government of Egypt wished to secure it, and
the Porte, being the aggressor, could not be invoked.
3. The duty of “ taking proper steps to secure the protection and the free use
“ of the Canal ” must therefore devolve on some other Power, the right accorded to
Turkey by the Convention (Article IX) being transferred to that Power.
4. The Power on which this duty is most likely to fall would be Great Britain,
who is responsible for maintaining order in Egypt, that country being ex hypothesi
in a condition certain to lead to disorder, if the Turkish invasion were successful.
Great Britain would, moreover, possess belligerent rights owing to her troops in
Egypt being threatened with attack, and could not apparently be prevented from
taking such measures as would be required.
5. Having regard to the situation created by the Anglo-French Agreement of
1904, it may be concluded that “the other Signatory Powers ” would, in their own
interests, necessarily look to Great Britain to maintain the neutrality of the Canal,
which, in the circumstances, postulated in C.I D. Paper 89-B, would entail the
measures suggested. These measures would not “obstruct the free navigation of
“the Canal,” but would have for their object the maintenance of the freedom of
navigation for all Powers.
6. In 1882, when, owing to the Egyptian Army having revolted under Arabi,
the Canal was in danger, we seized it from end to end and held it for a short time,
thereby causing some inconvenience to traffic. We were then acting as agents of
the Khedive, who was, of course, powerless. In the hypothetical case, the Khedive
having no Navy, would also be powerless, even if he were not unwilling, to act.
7. It does not appear unreasonable to assume that the precedent of 1882 would
hold good in the case of an attempted invasion of Egypt by Turkey from the East,
and that the risk of objection by other Powers to our assuming the responsibility
of taking the measures for keeping open the traffic in the Canal would be infinitely
less now than it then was.
Report and Appendices of an Enquiry by the Standing Sub-Committee of
the C.I.D. into the Responsibility of the Navy and Army respectively
for the Defence of the Suez Canal.
(Extract from C.I.D. 115-B of June 2, 1910.)
Note by the Foreign Office.
In connection with the enquiry into the responsibility of the Navy and Army
respectively for the defence of the Suez Canal, the question has been submitted to the
Foreign Office whether, in view of Treaty engagements, naval action inside the limits
of the Canal is legitimate at all.
It appears to the Foreign Office, after careful consideration, that, by virtue of
the Convention of the 29th October, 1888, respecting the free navigation of the Suez
Canal, signed by all the Powers and accepted by His Majesty's Government in 1904,
Great Britain, in common with the other signatory Powers (of whom Turkey is one),
is under a joint and several obligation to preserve the neutrality of the Suez Canal.
Supposing that Turkey, as part of a hostile movement against Egypt, were to
project a raid of armed men across the Canal for the purpose of attacking Egypt on

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.

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English in Latin script
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Printed papers on the political situation and military policy in Egypt [‎12v] (24/176), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/263, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 16 November 2019]

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