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,
declared his refusal to form
a Cabinet, if requested, and suggested that a Cabinet formed and led by
Khaleq Tharwat Pasha would be accepted by the Parliament; he also indicated
that such a Cabinet would receive the full collaboration of the Wafd.
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
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
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
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
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
thousand Pounds to cover those of Tharwat Pasha, the
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
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)
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
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
purchase seven new airplanes. In September 1931, the British
aircraft company won a contract to supply Egypt with
De Havilland Gipsy Moth trainers. (1)
(to be continued)
Kamal Karim Katba