resignation of the Adli Yakan Pasha Cabinet, on December 24,
1921, accelerated the political crisis that Egypt was going
through. The British High Commissioner jumped on the occasion to
increase his power and to govern the country directly with an iron hand.
To attain that objective he issued a decree, published in the Official
Journal, ordering all the Under-Secretaries at the different departments,
most of them were British, to assume all the duties of the Cabinet Minister
until such a time when a new Cabinet would be formed. During that
period, The High Commissioner recommended to Sultan Ahmad Fouad the
appointment of Abdel Khaleq Tharwat Pasha to form a new Cabinet.
Pasha refused to abide by the British and the Sultan ’s request as
long as Egypt was under British Protectorate and vowed not to accept
the position of Prime Minister unless Egypt ‘s Independence would
be recognized and declared. (1)
28, 1922, The British High Commissioner officially declared that His
Majesty British Government ended its Protectorate over Egypt and recognized
it as a fully Sovereign and Independent Nation. As such, the new
Cabinet that would take over could recover its right to re-establish the
Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, which was abolished, in 1914, as a result
of the Protectorate. Only then did Tharwat Pasha accept to
form the new Cabinet.
Cabinet Minister and twice Prime-Minister, Tharwat Pasha was of
Turk-Egyptian extraction, he attended the Abdin Elementary School,
the Higher Teachers College and the Government Law School,
where he was one of the founders of Egypt ‘s first Law Review. Tharwat
Pasha worked for the State Domain (Daira Saniyya) Administration
after his graduation then for the Ministry Of Justice. He
was Deputy Chairman of Qena ‘s National Court and then became Director
of Administration for the National Courts as a whole. In 1907
he served briefly as Chancellor of the National Court of Appeal,
then became Governor of the Asyut Province (1907-1908), head
of the “Niyaba” (1908-1914), Minister Of Justice (1914-1919),
Minister Of Interior (1921-1922 and 1926-1927) and Foreign Affairs (1922
and 1926-1927), Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister from
1922 to 1923 and from 1927 to 1928, when he retired due to the
onset of diabetes. Elected to the Chamber Of Deputies in 1924, he
was appointed to the Senate in 1925. He served on the board of the
Islamic Benevolent Society and the Egyptian University until his death
on September 22, 1928. His colleagues, Foreign and Egyptian,
respected him for his legal expertise. He strove for Egypt ‘s
independence, but this did not stop him from working with the Palace and
the British. Some Wafdists accused him of corruption and resented
his opposition to the Wafd Party. He died suddenly in Paris
days after the formation of the Tharwat Pasha Cabinet, Sultan
Fouad declared officially, on March 15, 1922, that Egypt
now an independent Kingdom and he appointed himself as its King under
the name of Fouad The First. The next day, March 16, the
new Cabinet approved the King declaration and decreed that, as from that
date, March 15 would be Independence Day and ordered a one hundred
and one gun salute in honor of the new King. That sudden change from
Sultanate to Kingdom could be explained by the formation of the new Kingdom
of Iraq and the appointment by the British Government of Prince
Faysal, the third son of the Cherif Hussein of Mecca as its
new King as well as the appointment of Prince Abdullah, the second
son of Cherif Hussein as Emir of the Transjordan Emirate.
was right in not expecting a British objection to his new title
after it had officially recognized Egypt ‘s independence just fifteen
mass of the Egyptian population did not share the enthusiasm of the Cabinet.
It did not see any change in the status quo; the British Army was still
occupying the Country in large number, the Sudan was unofficially
separated from Egypt and the martial law, previously imposed by
the occupiers, was still implemented!!
new Cabinet notified the Foreign Nations that, as from now, Egypt was a
Sovereign Independent Nation and that Tharwat Pasha was its
new Foreign Minister beside his tenure of the Premiership.
(3). The Cabinet also decided to
cancel the yearly celebration of the anniversary of the British Monarch
‘s accession to the throne. Furthermore, the Cabinet cancelled the
position of the British Adviser to the Ministry Of Interior and it prohibited
the British Financial adviser to attend the Cabinet meetings; best of all,
the Cabinet replaced the Foreign Under-Secretaries with Egyptian ones.
As King of Egypt, King Fouad attended most of the Cabinet
meetings and, at the first meeting after the institution of the Monarchy
it was decreed that all minutes of meetings would be headed by The Kingdom
of Egypt. It was also decided to form a Committee to study the establishment
of a new Constitution and a new elections law. A budget of fifty
thousand pounds was voted for the Ministry Of Public Works to hasten
the construction of a new Parliament building.
a special Cabinet meeting, the succession to the Throne was discussed and
a new law was decreed according to which the eldest son of the King would
eventually access the throne. Article two of that same law declared
that, after King Fouad, his beloved son, Farouq, would access
issued a Royal Decree instituting him as head of the Royal Family,
which included all the descendants of Mohammad-Ali, organizing the
family and the title of each of its members, dividing those members between
(Emirs) and Nobles (Nabils).The same decree authorized the formation
of a Court Committee, headed by the King, which would have the sole
jurisdiction over the personal status of the members of the Royal Family,
such as marriage, divorce and inheritance, even if one of the couple were
an outsider married to a member of the Family. An annex to that Royal
Decree listed the names of all the members of the Family, males and females.
another meeting, the Cabinet approved the 1922/1923 budget.
It was a balanced budget of twenty-three millions and six hundred and
thirty thousand pounds. The Cabinet accepted a donation of six
thousand and six hundred British pounds, from the British Government, as
participation for the erection of a memorial for the Egyptian labor
and members of the Egyptian Camel Force who died in the First World
War. The King having criticized the laziness of the Government
employees, their procrastination tendency and the fact that they did not
work in the afternoons, the Cabinet agreed to reduce the cost of living
bonus to twenty percent of the employee’s respective salaries. In
a sudden impulse of generosity, the Cabinet decided to grant the widow
of the late Ali Moubarak Pasha, the ex-Minister of Public Instruction,
the monthly pension of twenty Egyptian pounds in recognition of
her husband ‘s services to the Country!!
Pasha Cabinet held power at a time of great political difficulties.
On December 7th, 1921, Saad Zaghloul Pasha urged the Egyptian
population to resume its struggle against the British occupiers and called
for a large meeting to discuss the situation then prevailing in the Country.
The British Authorities warned him against holding political meetings and
giving political speeches and ordered him to leave Cairo.
In his usual defiance, Zaghloul Pasha refused to accept those orders
resulting in his arrest and his exile, with his close assistants, to the
Island of Seychelles, out of nowhere in the Indian Ocean. The
British reaction resulted with lots of unrest and a few British officials
were killed as a result. The Cabinet was de-stabilized by those incidents
and things got worse when the British Army arrested members of the “Wafd”,
tried them in a Military Court and condemned them to death. It was
later decided to reduce the sentence to seven years in penitentiary and
a fine of five thousand pounds to be paid by each of the convicted “Wafdist”.
situation got worse and the Cabinet and the Egyptian Government, reluctantly,
had to crack down on the press and suppress some newspapers and magazines.
On November 29th, Tharwat Pasha could not take it any more and submitted
his resignation to King Fouad who did not hesitate to accept it
on the spot.
closing this chapter, it is interesting to note that King Fouad ruled
Egypt from March 15th, 1922 until his death on April 28th,
1936. During his reign there was seventeen various Cabinets with
‘s being the first.
(to be continued)
Kamal Karim Katba