18 JUNE 1948, Page 1

Britain, Egypt and the Sudan

The British Government has announced that it Is going ahead with its plans for increased home-rule in the Sudan, which include the establishment of an executive council and an elected legislative

assembly, whether the Egyptians like them or not. In fact, the Egyptian Government dislikes them a good deal less than does Egyptian public opinion, but both are unfortunately committed to the extreme point of view which will accept nothing short of " unity of the Nile Valley." The British Government, quite rightly taking up its stand on the basis of the existing Condominium until some agreed system is introduced to take its place, has continued to negotiate with the Egyptians as co-rulers. For a time it looked as if reason would prevail over prejudice, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister went so far as to agree with the British Ambassador in Cairo on the terms of the reforms which we are now being obliged to introduce unilaterally. Unfortunately, when the reforms came to be considered by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Egyptian Senate, it proved too easy for the Senators to use the opportunity for a spate of nationalist tub-thumping, and the Foreign Minister was overruled. This put us back to the impasse in which we have been ever since the Anglo-Egyptian treaty negotiations broke down over the Sudan clauses, and to avoid the possibility of trouble in the Sudan, where there is a good deal of natural irritation over the delay in introducing reforms, we have had to risk the possibility of trouble with Egypt. Of the two risks the latter was obviously preferable. After waiting in vain for a statement from the Egyptian Government as to whether it was throwing over its Foreign Minister or not, the Governor-General of the Sudan has been directed to go forward with the reforms to which the Foreign Minister agreed. That is the only possible course.