12 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 2

Reinforce rnents for Egypt

The announcement of the heavy reinforcements which both our Mediterranean Fleet and our land forces in the Middle East have received in the course of the past week is reassuring. There can be no question that heavy fighting in the Middle East is impending, and it is no secret that our forces in that area are considerably outnumbered. But they are admirably led and in admirable spirit, and there seems no doubt now that if Egypt is attacked the small but efficient Egyptian Army will be much more than a spectator. If Italy were the only adversary the situation would not be particularly serious, but there are believed to be some German troops already in Libya, and. many more are likely to follow. Our command of sea- power is sufficiently demonstrated by the immunity enjoyed by our warships which have just proceeded through the Mediterranean to join the Fleet at Alexandria, and by the huge convoy carrying men and stores to Egypt. But that does not mean that the Royal Navy can be so ubiquitous as always to be certain of intercepting Italian convoys making the relatively short voyage to one or another of the Libyan ports. The arrival of the American destroyers will enable us to release more modern vessels of that class for service in the Mediterranean, where they will be particularly valuable. But it is well to recognise how hard the defection of France has made our task in Egypt. If Tunis and Morocco joined General de Gaulle the situation would be very different. But we have still to wait for that.