In This Review

Egypt and American Foreign Assistance, 1952-1958
Egypt and American Foreign Assistance, 1952-1958
By Jon B. Alterman
Palgrave, 2002, 200 pp

With this book and the much earlier Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955-1982 by William J. Burns, we have two studies that treat the role of economic aid as an instrument of American foreign policy toward Egypt. Alterman offers a detailed assessment of the financing, staffing, strategy, and performance of the several different U.S. aid efforts during those years, ranging from the largely forgotten Egyptian-American Rural Improvement Service to the much better known negotiations concerning the building of the Aswan High Dam. Alterman maintains that the Egyptian government during these years was very serious about the pressing need for accelerated development, even if it remained ambivalent about foreign aid and foreign involvement. Still, the economic results, although not to be dismissed, were not apparent enough to sustain a partnership. In the end, the Cold War and regional pressures proved more powerful in determining the foreign policies of countries.