To Sultan Ahmad Fouad, the resignation submitted to him by Prime Minister Youssef Wahba Pasha was kind of God sent; he accepted it without the slightest regret or hesitation and he nominated for the vacant position his mignon and courtier Mohammmad Tawfiq Nasim Pasha (1)  who was the Minister Of Interior in the previous Cabinet.  He also lobbied his pal, Lord Allenby, in support of that nomination; Allenby agreed because he approved of Nasim Pasha work at the Ministry of interior.

Politician, Minister and Prime Minister of Anatolian Turkish origin, Nasim was born in Cairo in 1875 and educated at the Jesuit School, graduating from the Khedivial Law School at the top of his class, in 1894.  He served in the “NYABA” (Prosecutor) until his appointment as Minister of “AWKAF” (Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments).  He then occupied the Ministry of Finances before moving to the Ministry Of Interior in the Youssef Wahba Pasha Cabinet.  He twice occupied the position of Prime Minister at King Fouad ‘s behest.  He also served as the King ‘s “Chef du Cabinet Royal” and speaker of the Senate.  He was frequently the rival of his Law School classmate, Isma’il Sidqqi Pasha in courting both the King and the Representative of the British Government.  Of a calm temperament, Nasim Pasha loved literature.  His marriage to a much younger Austrian lady, in his last years, set off press attacks, based on the public fear that his wife would take his vast wealth out of the Country.  He divorced the young woman and died in Cairo shortly thereafter, on March 7, 1938. (2)

In general the Nasim Cabinet is considered as a continuation of the Wahba Cabinet.  Not much changes in the Cabinet seats and no change in its policy.  The Egyptians, on the other hand, looked at it with the same dislike and distrust they looked at the previous Cabinet.  The attacks against officials continued, increasing in ferocity.  The Prime Minister was himself the target of an assassination attempt while on his way to the office.  One Ibrahim Hosni Masoud, an employee of the Health Administration, threw a hand grenade on the Prime Minister ‘s motorcade seriously wounding the chauffeur while Nasim Pasha got out of it unharmed but quite shaken.  The attacker was caught, sentenced to death by a British Military Court and executed.

The cost of living being still too high and the food products facing a severe shortage, the Cabinet decided to grant the civil servants a bonus representing ten percent of their salaries, on September first 1920; on March 1921 another bonus, not exceeding one hundred pounds was decided with the understanding that it would be considered as a loan to be deducted from future raises.  In 1921 the cost of living situation improved and the Cabinet decided to cut the cost of living of its employees, which had reached sixty percent of their salaries, by one third, reducing it to forty percent.  On the other hand and to improve the popularity of the government amongst its police and armed forces, which had reached a deep low, the Cabinet showered its uniformed personnel with a generous increase!!

To avoid the risk of a severe famine in the land caused by agricultural food products, the Cabinet decreed to cut the growing of cotton by one third and to increase that of wheat and corn.  It also reduced the custom duties on the import of wheat and flour.  As a token of thanks and appreciation, the Cabinet rewarded Mr. Jean Saclarides with the Agricultural Medal first class for his services to Egypt by discovering the cotton seed that bears his name, which gave the Egyptian cotton its well deserved reputation of high quality.

Baron Empain palace (The Hindu villa) in Heliopolis. It was designed by architect Alexandre Marcel (1860-1928), and decorated by Georges-Louis Claude (1879-1963), 

The Cabinet spent the best of more than three meetings to discuss and overcome the shortage of human dwellings.  As a result of those discussions, the Cabinet agreed to encourage the erection of more constructions by granting loans and facilities to the building contractors and particularly to the Heliopolis Company which promised to build six hundreds building more than planned (3).

Heliopolis Palace hotel with its 800 bedrooms was once the largest hotel in the Middle East; today, however it houses the central offices of the Egyptian Presidency and is not open to the public.

To encourage the private sector to give yearly raises to its employees and labor force, the Cabinet decided to raise by twenty percent the tramways rate and by 34.5 percent the electricity rate; it also raised by ten percent the price of salt.  On the other hand and without any consultation with the Government, the British High Commissioner ordered the custodian of the properties of Khedive Abbas the Second to put all those properties for public sale!!

Meanwhile the Milner Commission (4), which was met with total boycott while in Egypt, returned to England with the certainty that the Egyptians would accept nothing short of the cancellation of the British Protectorate over Egypt and the complete independence of the country. 

To save what could be saved of the “SPECIAL” relations between England and Egypt, Lord Milner sent one of his aide to Paris to invite the Egyptian Delegation (WAFD) to the Paris Peace Conference, headed by Saad Zaghloul Pasha, to proceed to London to negotiate the possibility of independence while safeguarding the special British and other foreign interests in Egypt.  The London negotiations dragged for a while but ended with the February 28, 1921, declaration stating England ‘s willingness to end the Protectorate and to invite Egypt to negotiate a new status acceptable to all parties.

As a result of this declaration, the Cabinet decided to submit its resignation to Sultan Ahmad Fouad, which would allow the Sovereign to appoint a “NEGOTIATING CABINET” of his choice.  The Sultan accepted the Cabinet resignation on March 16, 1921.

(To be continued)

Kamal Karim Katba

Heliopolis has a unique composite urban development based on a garden city layout with
buildings combining the French architectural tradition and the neo-Arab style of architecture.




(2)  .(see:Modern Egypt.  The Formation of The Nation-State by Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr.) 

Arthur Goldschmidt Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Middle East History at Pennsylvania State University. He is (with Lawrence Davidson) the author of A Concise History of the Middle East, Eighth Edition, and is the author as well of Modern Egypt: Foundation of a Nation-State, Second Edition. He is the recipient of the Amoco Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 2000 Middle East Studies Association Mentoring Award. Goldschmidt has been known during his years at Penn State for having created a series of courses that stimulated undergraduate interest in Middle Eastern history and culture. Educated at Colby College and Harvard University, Goldschmidt has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Fulbright Faculty Research fund, among others. He is author of numerous books and many articles and essays on Middle Eastern history. He was an elected faculty senator, chaired its committee on student affairs and served as secretary. He chaired the Middle East Studies committee for 25 years. He also was instrumental in helping to devise courses in non-western history and in developing the successor to those courses for the general education curriculum.

In addition, he is one of the most respected authorities on Egypt's Modern history. Prof. Goldschmidt is a frequent contributor on the Internet, including the prestigious and oldest forum: Egypt Net.

For meaningful and serious discussions about the History of Modern Egypt,  join Egypt Net group (The oldest & continuous Egyptian forum on the internet since 1985.) 


Heliopolis, or Misr el-Gadiydah (New Cairo) as it is known by it houses the central the Cairenes, is a unique example of urban development which owes a great deal to the personality of its promoter, the Baron Empain. 

For learning more about the story of Heliopolis and how it was built; click below (Appendix in Arabic and English )


Alfred Milner, the son of a university lecturer, was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1854. After an education at Oxford University he worked as assistant editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. Milner then became private secretary to Viscount Goshen, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On Goschen's recommendation, Milner became under-secretary of finance in Egypt.

He was noted for Milner's Kindergarten, a group of young men he mentored and who in some cases became important figures in running the British Empire  through the pursuit of British hegemony.

His fame and career was however carved in colonial appointments abroad, first in Egypt from 1889-92, from which he emerged to write England and Egypt.  After five years as chairman of the Inland Revenue (during the course of which he was knighted, in 1895) he was appointed High Commissioner in south Africa and Governor of the Cape Colony in 1897.

With the end of the First World War Milner was appointed Colonial Secretary and attended the Paris Peace Conference. His last great public service to Great Britain was, after serious rioting broke out, a mission to Egypt from December, 1919 to March, 1920 to make recommendations on British-Egyptian relations, specifically how to reconcile the British protectorate established in 1915 with Zaghlul Pasha's calls for self-government. 

The news of the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to study the causes of disorder in Egypt and make recommendations about the political future of the country within the framework of the existing British connection led to further political agitation. Wafdist activity to organize public disturbances continued. Recourse to violence and political assassination were increasing daily. Muhammad Said Pasha sought to postpone the arrival of the Mission led by Lord Milner but failed and had to resign. His succession by  Yusuf Wahba was further cause for nationalist opposition. The Wafd Committee meanwhile campaigned to insure that Egyptians would boycott the Milner Mission. They succeeded in this to the extent that throughout the Mission's presence in Egypt between December 1919 and  April 1920, even members of the Egyptian government who had conversations with the Mission pretended to do so on an informal basis.

The Mission was aware that no negotiations could be conducted with any hope of success without the involvement of the Wafd. On the other hand, Egyptian government leaders such as Rushdi and Adli Yeken were equally convinced that negotiations with Britain were inevitable and desirable. Their problem was to convince Zaghlul of this fact. Zaghlul in fact entered into negotiations with the Milner Mission in London in June 1920.

A memorandum was drafted regarding the points essential for the drafting of a treaty between an independent Egypt and the British Government. Although Zaghlul rejected the Memorandum because he feared a possible negotiated treaty between Egyptian Government Ministers and Britain, the Milner Report  made it clear that Britain had abandoned its insistence upon continued British protection over Egypt. 

Instead, Britain was now willing to consider a treaty arrangement with an independent Egypt provided its basic defence and other interests were accom- modated. But Zaghlul had submitted his nationalist position to the Egyptian public in the hope of preventing any other Egyptian leader from entering into negotiations with Britain. He would not support the Memorandum  and refused to endorse any agreement and returned to Egypt, where he was greeted with wild enthusiasm. The Milner Report, recommending the end of the protectorate and the negotiation of a treaty, was published in February 1921

The Report of the Mission was published in February 1921. The gist of its recommendations was that the Protectorate status of Egypt was no longer satisfactory. Milner's subsequent recommendation that Egypt be granted a form of independence was rejected by the Cabinet, leading to Milner's resignation in 1921.  However, the report Commission formed the basis of a settlement which lasted for a number of years.  Milner died in Sturry Court, near Canterbury on May 13, 1925.




© Kamal Katba 2007


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The July  2007 ISSUE


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