Courtesy Reuters

The British Position in Egypt

TWO facts underlie the present Anglo-Egyptian tension. First, the two nations have never been able to reach an agreement on the four matters which Great Britain reserved in her Declaration of 1922 establishing Egypt as an independent state. Second, the recent Mediterranean crisis has forced Great Britain to construe her rights under this Declaration broadly and to refuse concessions to Egyptian nationalism. Though the Declaration purported to establish Egypt as a sovereign state, it stipulated in Part Three that:

The following matters are absolutely reserved to the discretion of His Majesty's Government until such time as it may be possible by free discussion and friendly accommodation on both sides to conclude agreements in regard thereto between His Majesty's Government and the Government of Egypt:

(a)~ The security of communications of the British Empire in Egypt;

(b)~ The defense of Egypt against all foreign aggression or interference, direct or indirect;

(c)~ The protection of foreign interests in Egypt and the protection of minorities;

(d)~ The Sudan.

Pending the conclusion of such agreements the status quo in all these matters will remain intact.

Despite Egypt's frequent attacks on the validity of these reservations, international law regards them as binding, since Great Britain was recognized in the peace treaties to be Egypt's Protector. To make her position more secure, Great Britain sent a note to the other Powers, outlining her new position in Egypt and warning them that any aggression against that territory would be considered an unfriendly act "to be repelled with all the means at [her] command." Great Britain has openly intervened in Egypt's internal affairs upon several occasions. In addition, she has constantly, though quietly, exercised influence through the British High Commissioner in Egypt.

The foregoing does not mean that Egypt possesses no international personality. Outside the realm covered by the special British prerogatives, Egypt has complete jurisdiction. She has her own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and her own diplomatic representatives in most countries of the world. She is not a member

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