In Egyptian service : the role of British officials in Egypt, 1911-1936
In 1919 the number of British officials employed by the Egyptian Government reached a peak of over 1,600, a substantial figure in relation to a colonial administration like the Indian Civil Service. However, due to the anomalous nature of Britain's occupation of Egypt, the workings of British administration there were left deliberately ambiguous. Thus although we have an extensive knowledge of imperial policy with regard to Egypt, we have little understanding of how British rule there actually functioned, certainly nothing to compare with numerous local studies of the Raj or Colonial Service at work. By studying the British administrators of the Egyptian Government, this thesis casts new light on Britain's middle years in Egypt, which saw formal imperial control succeeded by informal hegemony. We begin by analysing the Anglo-Egyptian administrative structure as a product of its historical development. We examine how well this muted style of administrative control suited conditions in Egypt and Britain's requirements there, considering the fact that by 1919 the British officials had become a major source of nationalist grievance. This loss of reputation caused the Milner Mission to select the British administration as a principal scapegoat in its proposed concessions. Moreover, it was the belief of certain leading officials that Britain's responsibility for Egyptian administration was no longer viable which finally helped precipitate the 1922 declaration of independence. The Egyptian Government now took actual rather than nominal control of its foreign bureaucrats, yet even in 1936, over 500 British officials were still employed in finance, security, and in technical and educational capacities. The changing role of these officials within an evolving mechanism of British control illuminates one of the earliest experiences of transfer of power this century.