After Disraeli’s decision to purchase shares in the Suez Canal, the Egyptian question assumed a place of permanent importance for successive British Governments, since it presented problems which, like those associated with Ireland, appeared to defy all attempts at solution. The basic cause of the trouble lay in the total incompatibility of Egyptian and British aspirations in two significant respects. First, Great Britain came to regard the Suez Canal as of quite fundamental strategic importance and as the lifeline of her whole Empire. Secondly, an ideological conflict arose on the question of the Sudan, when the British after 1899 developed a missionary zeal for the separate development of this area while the Egyptians clung tenaciously to the view that the Nile Valley should become a single political unit.1 An Anschluss between Cairo and Khartoum came to be as unacceptable to Great Britain, whether under Labour or Conservative rule, as that between Austria and Germany was to the victorious allies immediately after the First World War.
KeywordsPrime Minister International Affair Suez Canal High Commissioner Missionary Zeal
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- 1.For a summary of the Egyptian reasons for demanding the unity of the Nile Valley, see L. A. Fabunmi, The Sudan in Anglo-Egyptian Relations: A Case-Study in Power Politics, 1800–1956 (London, 1960 ) pp. 147–59.Google Scholar
- 1.For an outline of earlier developments, see Arnold J. Toynbee et al., Survey of International Affairs, 1925 2 vols (London, 1927–8) 1 589–269.Google Scholar
- Arnold J. Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs, 1928 (London, 1929) pp. 235–83.Google Scholar
- 3.For the texts of these two agreements, see Cmd. 3305 of 1928–9 and Cmd. 3348 of 1929–30. See also Pierre Crabitès, ‘The Nile Waters Agreement’, Foreign Affairs (New York), viii (5929–30) 145–9.Google Scholar
- 1.For a mediocre biography, see C. F. Adam, Life of Lord Lloyd (London, 1948 ).Google Scholar
- 4.For details of the strained relationship between Chamberlain and Lloyd, see Sir Charles Petrie (ed.), The Life and Letters of Sir Austen Chamberlain2 vols (London, 1939–40) II 351–60. See also C.P., no. 181(29) by Henderson, 13 June 1929, Cab. 24/204.Google Scholar
- For the High Commissioner’s side of the story, see Lord Lloyd, Egypt since Cromer, 2 vols (London, 1933–4) II chaps. 17 and 18.Google Scholar