3 OCTOBER 1952, Page 3


OW that the autumn is beginning the usual seasonal increase in Egyptian political activity is beginning too. As a consequence General Neguib is having to face all his main problems at once—the non- co-operation of the Wafd, the future of the Sudan and relations with Great Britain. He has already shown him- self to be a determined and honest man. To get safely through the next few months he has to prove himself a great statesman. Events are certainly not conspiring to make his task easy for him. The resistance of the Wafd to all sugges- tions that it should drop its old leader, Mustapha Nahas, amounts to a challenge to the present Government to suppress the largest and most powerful Egyptian political party. Even that may not be beyond the range of General Neguib's power, but it is very difficult to execute such a movement without taking over some of the thauvinism and anti-British feeling which are an important part of the Wafd's political stock-in-trade. If General Neguib can keep clear of such cheap but tempting Wares he will earn even more respect throughout the Western World, and thus be in a stronger position to determine the ulti- Mate defensive arrangements in the Canal Zone. If, on the other hand, the bellicose speech which he made at Tanta on Monday is one which he intends to repeat and to try to put into practice, then he will lose the respect of all except the mob. In the case of the Sudan there is less temptation to extreme measures. General Neguib knows as well as any Egyptian, and better than Most, that the Sudanese leaders are unlikely to be bullied or stampeded into closer association with Egypt or driven into Unfriendly relations with Britain and the other Western Powers. The present object of Sayed Sir Abdel Rahman el-Mandi, who is now in London, is, on the contrary, to secure greater freedom of action for the Sudan by ensuring that the elections there will be held as soon as possible. It is hardly likely that the Egyptian Government will try to thwart that aim. But in this, as in all the other questions now facing him, General Neguib is called upon to exercise great political skill.