While accepting the resignation of the Adli Yakan Cabinet, King Fouad requested its members to keep their post and run the State’s affairs until the formation of a new Cabinet.  The King was probably expecting a long delay before an agreement is reached between the Palace, the Parliament with its huge Wafdist majority and, last but not least, the British High Commissioner; But it took only four days of intense haggling before an agreement acceptable to all was reached.  The British High Commissioner had received strict instructions from London never to agree on a Cabinet led by Saad Zaghloul, the leader of the Wafd Party, or any other Cabinet that would include Wafdist extremists such as Ahmad Maher and Mahmoud Fahmi Al Noqrashi who were suspected to be involved in political assassination and particularly that of General Lee Stack, the ex Sirdar of the Egyptian Army and Governor General of the Sudan

To avoid more conflicts with the British Government, Zaghloul Pasha declared his refusal to form a Cabinet, if requested, and suggested that a Cabinet formed and led by Abdel Khaleq Tharwat Pasha would be accepted by the Parliament; he also indicated that such a Cabinet would receive the full collaboration of the Wafd.  Both King and High Commissioner accepted the compromise and, on April 1927, Tharwat Pasha was officially tasked to form and lead a new Cabinet.

Tharwat accepted to form a Cabinet on condition that his Government would not be subjected to harsh criticism by the elected members of the House, concerning the Government relations with London and that the Parliamentary deliberation of the Laws pertaining to the Egyptian Army and those regulating the appointment of villages Mayors would be indefinitely postponed.  Zaghloul Pasha, using his immense prestige amongst the Parliamentarians, managed to obtain their agreement to abide by Tharwat Pasha’s conditions.  Thus the new Cabinet was formed amongst a general feeling of optimism and, for a few months, the Government run smoothly the affair of State without much or noisy opposition.

The Cabinet decided that the Prime Ministers of the Country needed a larger and more appropriate offices and, with the approval of the Parliament, the amount of seventy-two thousand Egyptian Pounds was allocated for the purpose of buying the residential palace of Princess Neemat Kamal El Dine Hussein.  The palace is still used as the Prime Ministers office where Cabinet meetings take place.

The Cabinet agreed, in 1927, to amend the agricultural Cooperatives Law promulgated in 1922, from being totally run by the Government into a joint operation run by both Government and the farmers those cooperatives serve; the amount of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds was allocated to put the amended law into practice.

The Cabinet appropriated ninety feddans for the building of a new University to be called the Egyptian University and an extra forty feddans for the building of a new Faculty of Medicine and its hospitals.  February 7, 1928, was a great day in the cultural and scientific life of Egypt when King Fouad placed the cornerstone of that great project.  The Faculty of Law and Letters were the first to be built.

To facilitate the traffic in Cairo, the amount of ninety five thousand pounds was allocated by the Cabinet to build the boulevard of Prince Farouq (now “EL GUEISHE STREET) and that of El Azhar.  Another amounted of Thirty thousand Pounds was allocated for the construction of a Nile bridge in the city of Damietta.

The Cabinet also authorized the Ministry of Communications to buy from France six Pullman wagons and eight sleeping wagons of the latest models.

As a token of thanks and appreciation, the Cabinet agreed to promote the famous poet Hafez Ibrahim (the poet of the Nile), who was then the Director of the National Library, and Doctor Ali Mustafa Musharrafa, the candidate for the chair of Natural Physics at the Faculty of Sciences, to level three, with a starting monthly salary of sixty Pounds.

The Cabinet decided that the King, who was solely responsible for the religious matters, would have to associate the Cabinet in dealing with those important issues.  It also decided to form a High Commission to handle the matters pertaining to the appointments and promotions of all Government employees along with other matters such as annual and medical leaves.

The tamed Parliament encouraged the Cabinet to reduce the yearly salaries of the Deputies from six hundred Pounds to four hundred and eighty Pounds with the exclusion of the Cabinet Ministers!!  To smooth its relationship with the Wafd Party, the Cabinet decided to raise the yearly salary of Mustafa El Nahas Pasha to one thousand Pounds on condition that he desists of his court case against the Government.  Nahas Pasha was then the Deputy Speaker of the House.

The King having decided to pay an official visit to Europe, the Cabinet added an amount of twelve thousand pounds to the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to refurbish the Egyptian Legations in London, Paris and Brussels, which would host the King during his visit to those cities.  It also agreed to allocate the amount of twenty thousand Pounds to cover the King’s expenses during that trip and the amount of one thousand Pounds to cover those of Tharwat Pasha, the Prime Minister, who would accompany the King during that visit.

The political calm that prevailed during that period was interrupted by a sudden political incident:  Around the end of May and the beginning of June 1927 and before the King’s trip, the House discussed the Country’s budget for the year 1927/1928; during that discussion the Army Forces Committee submitted a proposal that would cut the Military Budget by canceling the position of Sirdar of the Egyptian (that position had not been filled since the assassination of General Lee Stack Pasha) and reducing the power and duties of the Inspector General of The Egyptian Army (both positions were strictly confined to British Generals).  Upon hearing that news, the High Commissioner received instructions from London ordering the Egyptian Prime Minister to urge the Parliament to remove the request of the Army Committee from the Budget discussions agenda.  Furthermore the British Government insisted on appointing another British General in the new position of Deputy Inspector General of the Egyptian Army and threatened to re-deploy its fleet in Egyptian territorial waters!!  Facing that new threat, the Cabinet quickly surrendered to British requests (read ultimatum) and even extended the contract of the (British) Inspector General by another three years, promoted him from Major General to Lieutenant General, raised his salary to one thousand and eight hundred pounds a year and quickly appointed a (British) Major General to be his assistant!!

On June 24, 1927, Tharwat Pasha accompanied the King during his visit to Europe and, while in London, the Egyptian Prime Minister held preliminary talks about the future of the Anglo/Egyptian relations with Sir Austin Chamberlain the British Foreign Affairs Minister, for the purpose of laying the ground for official negotiations between the two countries that would eventually reach a Friendship And Alliance Treaty between the two Countries.  The talks resulted with a project of a Treaty that was detrimental to Egypt to the point of making the British occupation absolutely legal!!  Tharwat Pasha sent the Treaty project to Saad Zaghloul Pasha, who was then the speaker of the House, through diplomatic channel, requesting his opinion, and received a quick answer from Zaghloul stating that he would have to study the Treaty project in all its details before committing himself.  On his return to Egypt, and before submitting the Treaty project to his Cabinet, Tharwat Pasha asked the British High Commissioner for some clarifications concerning the Egyptian Army and Police and the Nile waters but the High Commissioner insisted that the Treaty project should be submitted as is to the Cabinet.

On March 24, 1928, The Egyptian Prime Minister submitted the Treaty project to his Cabinet and, after going carefully through each line, the Cabinet unanimously agreed that the wording and spirit of the Treaty project were totally unacceptable since it would deprive Egypt from its sovereignty and independence.  On that same day Abdel Khaleq Tharwat Pasha submitted his resignation to the King stating health reasons.

One of the very important events that took place during the tenure of the Tharwat Pasha Cabinet was the sudden death of Saad Zaghloul Pasha who was considered as the George Washington of Egypt.  On the beginning of the month of August 1927 and while visiting his home village in the Province of Gharbyah, Saad Zaghloul felt a strong pain in his right ear accompanied by high temperature; the doctors who examined him diagnosed a scarlet fever and started a treatment based on their diagnosis. Having felt somewhat better the doctors recommended that he should return to Cairo for more and better care.  At his return to Cairo Zaghloul Pasha resumed his treatment but, on the evening of August 23, 1927, his situation turned to the worse and he died that same evening.  At the announcement of his death the Cabinet, in a special session, declared a state of mourning all over Egypt citing all the sacrifices and services of the deceased leader.  On September 26, 1927, the Parliamentary Committee of the Wafd Party unanimously elected Mustafa Al Nahas Pasha as Leader of the Wafd.

In 1928 the Egyptian parliament proposed the creation of an air force. The Egyptian Ministry of War announced that it needed volunteers for the new military force. Over 200 Egyptian officers volunteered and were given strict medical tests and technical examinations. In the end, only three succeeded in becoming the first Egyptian pilots: Capt Abdel-Moneim El-Miqati, Capt Fouad Hagag and Capt Ahmed Abdel-Razeq. 

Abd El-Minuim Miquati, Ahmed Abd El-Raziq, Fouad Abd El-Hamid taking off from Hatfield.

On 2 November 1930, a royal decree by King Fouad stipulated the creation of the Royal Egyptian Army Air Force (REAAF). The decree allocated LE50,000 to fund the new force, LE43,000 to establish an airport and LE7,000 to purchase seven new airplanes.  In September 1931, the British De Havilland aircraft company won a contract to supply Egypt with 10 De Havilland Gipsy Moth trainers. (1)

(to be continued)

Kamal Karim Katba


A memorial service was held at the Virgin Mary Church in Nasr City in honor of the late Dr. Yonan Labib Rizq, who died a year ago. His annual service was attended by the Head of the Shoura Council, Safwat Al Sherif, representatives of the Presidency, and several parliamentarians.

Dr. Yonan Labib Rizq, born Oct. 27, 1933, was the chairman of the History Department at Ain Shams University where he taught Modern History. He was also a respected member of the Shoura Council where he was a member of the Higher Press Council, and headed the History Committee of the Supreme Culture Council. He was a prolific writer with a regular column appearing in Al-Ahram newspaper and the Egyptian Chronicles. He was the author of several esteemed publications, which rendered him an authority on Modern History, the subject of his MA and PhD degrees. 

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Literature from Ain Shams University in 1955.

 "The Egyptian chronicles" is celebrating with great pride his long time achievements as an impeccable Egyptian historian of Modern Egypt, and acknowledges its indebtedness for the many valuable contributions of this great man to this Electronic magazine.  May God bless his soul.




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.) 


After graduating from the flying training school the 3 first Egyptian pilots traveled to England for specialized training. The second of November 1930 the royal decision was taken by King Fouad of Egypt to create the Egyptian air force under the name of Egyptian Army Air Force (EAAF) and in September 1931 the British De Havilland aircraft company won a contract to supply Egypt with 10 DH-60 tiger moth trainers. Although the British government wanted to ship the aircrafts to Alexandria but due to Egyptian pressure the ship carrying the aircrafts was ordered to return back  to  England where the aircrafts were assembled and flown by the first Egyptian pilots to Cairo.

The first advisor of the EAAF was squadron leader Victor Herbert Tait who was a Canadian, he started his working by carefully selecting the staff, building airbases and purchusing the weapons .

On 23 May 1932 five of the 10 Egyptian moths took off from Hatfield air field north of London flown by Abd El-Minuim Miquati, Ahmed Abd El-Raziq, Fuad Abd El-Hamid and 2 other British pilots. On 2 June these  aircrafts arrived at Almazah airport northeast of Cairo  where they were greeted by king Fouad and a large crowed of exited Egyptians. This  event marked the birth of the Egyptian air force. 




© Kamal Katba 2009


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