Egypt’s Struggle for Full Freedom and Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936

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After the death of the King Fuad, the Wafad Party tried to establish its political domination in Egypt and arrive at some understanding with the British. This task was greatly facilitated by the growing means of Italy under Mussolini. Realizing that after Abyssinia’s captured by Italy, Egypt could be the next target of her ambitions.

They, therefore, though it desirable that no haste should be shown in throwing off the British yoke. Instead they tried to come to some sort of an understanding with British. Nahas paid a visit to London and succeeded in finalizing the terms of a treaty with the British Government which was finally concluded in 1936.

In terms of treaty the Egyptian leaders agreed to collaborate in the Allied Power efforts against the Axis powers in recognition of Egypt’s complete independence. This arrangement was made for twenty years and was expected to serve as the basis of more cordial and permanent rela­tions between the two countries. The treaty provided for the removal of its British force from Cairo and Alexandria to the canal zone.

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The num­ber of these forces was limited to 10,000 troops and 400 pilots. Britain agreed to permit unrestricted immigration of the Egyptians into Sudan and also promised to help Egypt in securing membership of the League and abolition of capitulations. The treaty also contained a provision for its revision. It was agreed that the contracting parties could, any time after the expiration of a period of ten years, enter into negotiations for its revision.

The treaty was indeed an important step towards the attainment of goal of complete independence. By terminating the ‘occupation’ of Egypt which had long been abhorrent to the Egyptians it solved the problem of Egypt’s sovereignty and independence. However, the critics hold that the treaty did not effect any fundamental change and merely transferred the responsibility pertaining to Egypt’s internal administration to the Egyptian hands.

Britain still retained a predominant position with regard to the imperial communications, the Sudan and defence of Egypt as envisaged under the Unilateral Declaration of 1922. Further, it increased the finan­cial burden of Egypt by requiring the government to provide supplies, amenities and convalescent camps for the British forces at her own expenses.

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