Egypt 2013

Egypt Between 1931 and 1937


From 1931 to 1937 the internal events of Egypt went through eventful phases, which are summarized in the following lines. The conflict between the government supported by the sovereign’s confidence and the ruling party, the Wafd, which had abstained from the 1931 elections in protest against the constitution change in 1930, continued in 1932 and 1933. Around the Wafd they gathered the other opposition parties: the nationalist party (al – ḥ izb alwa ṭ an ī) and the party of constitutional liberals, the latter, however, with less intransigence. The government party formed in the wake of the president of ministers, Ismā‛īl Ṣidqī Pascià, a man of uncommon energy and skill, but not comforted by popular favor, took the name of the people’s party (ḥ izb ash – sha ‛ b) and had the support of the union party (ḥ izb al- itti ḥā d). These two parties never became a mass movement, the majority of the people remaining loyal to the Wafd, for the prestige of its late leader Sa‛d Zaghlūl Pascià, also under the direction of his successor Mustafà en-Naḥḥās Pascià. The ministry chaired by Ismā‛īl Ṣidqī Pasha firmly maintained order, despite repeated unrest and terrorist attacks, especially expecting to put the state finances in order and to remedy the repercussions of the economic crisis, which were also felt in Egypt. On 21 September 1933, Ismā‛īl Ṣidqī Pascià, embittered by the difficulties and unable by poor health to devote himself to government affairs, resigned. The new ministry set up on 27 September under the presidency of ‛Abd el-Fattāḥ Pascià continued the policy of the previous one and laboriously maintained itself in power, while, taking advantage of the weakness of the regime,

A new political directive was then inaugurated by Tawfīq Nasīm Pascià, former head of the king’s cabinet. On November 15, 1934, he set up a transitional ministry, which began to give satisfaction to the Wafd, which had for some time supported the English, obtaining from the king (November 30, 1934) the repeal of the anti-liberal constitution of 1930 pending the elaboration of a new constitution. The Wafd persisted in its opposition to the government, demanding the restoration of the 1923 constitution already approved by parliament and considered as an expression of the will of the people. The king and the government resisted the Wafd’s demands for a year; Great Britain was also opposed to the return to the constitution of 1923, preferring a regime that gave less chance of development to the nationalist movement which suddenly rekindled in Egypt. The growing intrusiveness of Great Britain (concentration of the English fleet in Alexandria) caused especially by the concern not to lose control of the Nile valley while the Italo-Ethiopian conflict worsened, the repercussions of this conflict in the internal politics of Egypt and the widespread belief among the Egyptians that it was convenient to exploit for national purposes the favorable opportunity of the international crisis deriving from that conflict, exacerbated popular agitation and above all the action of intellectuals and student organizations. In November and December 1935, high school and Egyptian university students took to the streets and confronted the police; there were four students dead and many wounded. On December 12, 1935, Tawfīq Nasīm Pasha presented the decree for the signature of the king, which restored the constitution of 1923. He remained in power until the elections of May 1936, the results of which brought the majority of the Wafd. This party ruled the country for a year and a half with a ministry chaired by Muṣṭafă en-Naḥḥās Pascià and carried out intense foreign policy work (see below).

In the most delicate moment of the serious situation described above, on April 28, 1936, Egypt lost its first king, Fu’ād. The only son Fārūq, born in 1920, was proclaimed successor. Given his minor age, the sovereign prerogatives were exercised by a regency council chaired by Prince Moḥammed ‛Alī until July 29, 1937, when Fārūq I assumed the exercise of power, taking the constitutional oath before parliament.

It should be noted the considerable part taken in Egypt in the last three years by youth associations of a sporting-military nature, such as the blue shirts (al – qum ṣā n az – zurq), mostly loyal to the Wafd, and the green shirts of the “Young Egypt “, opposite to the Wafd.

The internal life of the country, after these years of crisis, was painstakingly recomposing itself amid serious difficulties of a material moral nature, also in relation to the execution of the clauses of the treaty with Great Britain, which increased the responsibilities and burdens of the Egypt. Wafd itself was not compact; at the end of 1937 he was threatened by internal dissensions. The expulsion of en-Naqrāshī Pasha from the Wafd (September 13, 1937) aggravated the internal split. The ministry of en-Naḥḥās Pascià was at the same time in conflict with the young King Farūq on constitutional issues and popular favor was alienated. The king resolved the crisis by revoking the ministry of en-Naḥḥās and appointing Moḥammed Maḥmūd Pascià, head of the constitutional liberals, to form a new ministry (December 29, 1937). The sports-military youth associations were dissolved and new political elections were called for April 1938. The result of the latter was fully favorable to the government, which has more than 130 seats in the new chamber. The defeat of the Wafdists was sensational, passing from 159 seats to 20. The same en-Naḥḥās Pascià was not re-elected. Moḥammed Maḥmūd Pascià then resigned,

During the Italo-Ethiopian conflict, Egypt, dragged by British influence, adhered to the sanctions against Italy, although it was not a member of the League of Nations, and held an officially hostile attitude to the Italian enterprise. These same events hastened the conclusion of negotiations between Egypt and Great Britain for the definition of “confidential” matters in the declaration of February 28, 1922, by which Great Britain recognized the independence of Egypt. For Egypt 2013, please check

The negotiations begun on 2 March 1936 in Cairo ended in London on 26 August 1936 with the signing of a treaty of friendship and alliance, which essentially contains the following points: 1. alliance between the two countries for a duration of 20 years, from renew itself upon expiry on the same basis or on new ones to be agreed (but, in any case, an eternal covenant); 2. help from Great Britain in the defense of the Suez Canal until Egypt is able (and England is persuaded of this capability) to provide for its own defense and consequent maintenance of British ground and air forces in the area. of the Canal; 3. construction of roads, bridges, etc., at the expense of Egypt according to the strategic needs of the alliance; 4. condominium in Sudan with promises of a return to the status quo existing before the expulsion of the Egyptians in 1924; 5. promised British support to Egypt for the abolition of capitulations and for its entry into the League of Nations. The treaty was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on November 14 and by the Senate on November 18, 1936.

A conference convened in Montreux on April 12, 1937 at the invitation of Egypt to the capitular powers ended on May 8 with the signing of a convention that sanctions the imminent end of the capitular privileges of foreigners in Egypt. The mixed courts now existing in Egypt will be maintained for a “transitional period” until October 14, 1949, when jurisdiction for all matters, both civil and criminal, will rest solely with the national courts (formerly called indigenous courts). The consular courts, which have so far judged in criminal matters and personal status, lose jurisdiction in criminal matters, which is transferred, for the transitional period, to mixed courts, and may retain jurisdiction in matters of personal status until 1949. Thus in 1949 the capitular jurisdiction that the Egyptians believed represented an injustice, a stumbling block to their national sovereignty, will disappear. Another important result of the abolition of capitulations is the freedom acquired by Egypt to exercise its full legislative and fiscal power over foreigners, while previously the laws, and especially those that imposed tax burdens, had to be approved by the general assembly of the court of mixed appeal before being applicable to foreigners. The Montreux Convention has established the principle of “non-discrimination” in this regard to prevent foreigners from being subjected to exceptional harassment measures. The convention entered into force on October 15, 1937. On May 26, 1937 the

With regard to Italy, relations have recently been clarified: on April 16, 1938, in Rome, in parallel with the Anglo-Italian agreement, an Italian-Anglo-Egyptian good neighborly agreement was signed.

Egypt 2013