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must possess all the qualities which we look for in a trained diplomatist, a good administrator, and an experienced man of the world.
It is not easy in any country to produce a number of officials, who have undergone a departmental training, and who at the same time possess all these qualities. It is especially difficult, when they are found, to attract them to Egypt on salaries of £2000 a year and less. The efficient working of the administrative machine depends, however, mainly on choosing the right man for the right place. What often happens when any place has to be filled is this, on the one hand, are a number of candidates who wish to occupy the post, but who do not possess the qualifications necessary to fill it with advantage to the public interests; on the other hand, are a very small number of persons, who possess the necessary qualifications, but who, for one reason or another, are reluctant to accept the appointment. Under these circumstances, it is a matter for congratulation that administrative successes have been the rule, whilst the failures have been the exceptions.
Looking to the anomalous positions occupied by the Anglo-Egyptian officials, it is, indeed, greatly to their credit that, as a body, they should have succeeded in performing the several tasks allotted to them. Without doubt, they have had diplomatic support behind them. Moreover, and this is perhaps more important than the support itself, it has been felt by all concerned that the possibility of stronger support than that which was actually afforded lay in the background. Nevertheless, the British officials in Egypt have had to rely mainly on their individual judgment and force of character. The British Consul-General can occasionally give advice. He may, when speaking to the British official, temper the zeal of the latter for
reform, or, when talking to the Egyptian Minister, advocate the views of the reformer. But he cannot step seriously upon the scene unless there is some knot to be untied which is worthy of a serious effort. He cannot at every moment interfere in matters of departmental detail. The work done by the Anglo-Egyptian official is, therefore, mainly the outcome of his own resource and of his own versatility. If he is adroit, he can make the fact that the soldiers of his nation are in occupation of the country felt without flaunting their presence in any brusque fashion before the eyes of his Egyptian superior. As a matter of fact, the most successful Anglo-Egyptian officials have been those who have relied most on their own powers of persuasion, and have rarely applied for diplomatic support.
In describing more particularly the position of the Anglo-Egyptian officials, a distinction must be drawn between civilians and soldiers. The British officers of the Egyptian army have had to contend against considerable difficulties, but, as compared with their civilian colleagues, they have from one important point of view been at an advantage. There is a reality about the position of the soldier which does not exist in the case of the civilian. The Egyptian Commander-in-Chief, or, to call him by his Egyptian title, the Sirdar, not only commands the army. It is recognised by the Egyptian Government and by the public that he commands it. There is thus no flagrant contradiction between his real and his nominal position. Most of the superior officers of the army, whether departmental or regimental, are British. The Sirdar is, therefore, master of the situation. He can decide on what orders to give, and he can rely on his orders being obeyed, not only in the letter but in the spirit. He is not obliged to trim his sails to every passing political breeze.
Far other is the position of the Anglo-Egyptian civilian. Some of the most important civil functionaries possess no executive functions. They can only advise. No special system exists to enforce the acceptance of their advice. All that can be said is that, in the event of their advice being systematically rejected, the British Government will be displeased, and that they will probably find some adequate means for making their displeasure felt. Further, of those Anglo-Egyptian civil officials who possess executive power, few can be certain that their power is effective; they cannot rely confidently on their subordinates, who are rarely British, to carry out the letter, and still less the spirit of their instructions. The AngloEgyptian official is also driven by the necessities of his position into being an opportunist. The least part of his difficulties lies in deciding what should be done. That is usually easy.
When once he clearly sees before him the action which ought to be taken, he has to decide the more difficult questions of when to act and how to conduct himself in order to get others to act with him. And, in deciding on these latter points, he often has to take into consideration matters which at first sight appear to be not even remotely connected with the immediate subject under discussion. Every Anglo-Egyptian civil official, therefore, has not only to be guided by the general impulse given by British diplomacy to Egyptian affairs, but he also has to do a good deal of diplomatic work on his own account.
Comparisons have been occasionally instituted between the position of the English in Egypt and that of the French in Tunis. In 1890, a report on Tunisian affairs was prepared by M. Ribot. A glance at this report is sufficient to show that, for all practical purposes, the French Government have
annexed Tunis. Scarcely a semblance of native authority remains. The French officials have a free hand in dealing with the administration of the country. The French Resident-General presides at the Council of Ministers and directs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No law is valid which has not been countersigned by him. The Ministry of War is in the hands of the General in command of the French army of occupation. All the important offices of the State are held by Frenchmen. A French Secretary-General receives all the letters addressed to the Tunisian Government and prepares the answers. “ Ainsi,” it is said, “aucune affaire ne peut échapper à sa surveillance, et dans toutes, il peut donner ses conseils et faire prévaloir la pensée du Protectorat.” By the side of each of the “ Câïds," who answer to the Egyptian Moudirs, is placed a French Controller who, amongst other functions, has the Police under his command.
M. Ribot concluded his account of the system of administration in the following terms: “Il fallait ensuite qu'aucun détail dans l'application de ces décisions ne pût nous échapper. Aucun document n'entre dans les bureaux de l'Administration centrale ou n'en sort, aucune lettre n'est présentée à la signature du Premier Ministre, aucune correspondance n'est envoyée aux destinataires sans passer par l'intermédiaire du Secrétaire général et être soumis à son examen. Tout ce qui arrive aux Câïds ou émane d'eux est de la même manière soumis à l'examen des Contrôleurs civils. Rien ne peut donc se faire dans la Régence qui ne soit approuvé par nous.' This is sufficiently explicit.
In point of fact, Tunis is just as much a part of France as the Department of the Seine. A qualified Tunisian has explained the position of the Bey of Tunis in the following terms : "Les attributions du Bey de Tunis se réduisent seule
ment à la nomination de quelques employés subalternes et même ces nominations sont soumises à l'approbation du Ministre Résident de France, ou de son premier secrétaire, qui est en même temps Secrétaire-Général du Gouvernement Tunisien.”
More than this, the attitude of the other Powers, and notably of England, towards the French administration of Tunis has been persistently friendly. The British Government speedily abandoned the Capitulations at the instance of France, an example which was followed by Italy and other Powers."
It is, therefore, clear that no analogy exists between the conditions under which France took in hand the Tunisian problem and those which obtained, and still obtain, in respect to the AngloEgyptian administration of Egypt.
The most important British official in Egypt is the Financial Adviser. After the Arábi revolt, the question of how to place the financial administration of Egypt under European control had to be reconsidered. It was decided to appoint a British official with the title of Financial Adviser. He was to have no executive functions, but he was to be present at the meetings of the Council of Ministers. No attempt has ever been made to define his duties in any very precise manner. Broadly speaking, however, it may be said that, as his official title implies, he has to advise on all important financial matters, without unduly encroaching on the prerogatives of the Finance Minister. Outside his special duties, his position is also of importance. As he is present at all the meetings of the Council, he has the best opportunities for knowing what is going on in Egyptian
1 The friendly attitude of England and Germany towards France in Tunis has been recognised in a work entitled La Politique Française en Tunisie (p. 374), which, though published anonymously, was, it is well known, written by a member of the French diplomatic corps.