28 DECEMBER 1945, Page 2

The Treaty with Egypt

Though a formal note from the Egyptian Government, asking for a revision of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of Alliance, has only just been received, informal exploratory conversations have been in pro- gress for some time. The 1936 Treaty, negotiated by -Mr. Eden on the one side and Nahas Pasha, leader of the Nationalist Wafd, and at that time Prime Minister, provided that Egypt should be recognised as an independent sovereign State, that the capitulations should be abolished, and the military occupation of Egypt by British forces be terminated. The status quo in the Sudan was to continues and British troops were still to be stationed in the vicinity of the Suez Canal to guard that vital communication. The treaty was to come up for revision after twenty years, but Egypt, on the plea that as the result of the defeat of Germany and Italy the whole position in the Middle East has changed, is asking for revision when less than half the appointed term has run. There is no reason to take exception to that, and Mr. Bevin, it is understood, does not. The present Egyptian Prime Minister, Nokrashy Pasha, is being pressed by his Nationalist opponents, and he deserves any support we can give him. But there is at least one practical difficulty and one political. Troops can only be stationed on the Canal if there are barracks for them to live in, and the projected barracks have nevoi yet been built. For that reason the troops are still in the ,Cairo district, where alone there is accommodation for them. The Egyptians naturally object to their presence there, but in present

circumstances it is hard to see where else they can be ; the Egyptian army is not yet equal to guardianship of the Canal. The other, and less tractable problem, is the Sudan. That great area, inhabited by a population wholly different racially from the Egyptian, is prospering, and being slowly led in the direction of self-government. It is of the first importance that the regime there should be maintained ; little in the way of concession to Egyptian demands can be made here.