No. 530.
Mr. Comanos to Mr. Evarts.

No. 258.]

Sir: Referring to my immediately preceding dispatch, No. 257, I have the honor to inform you that I have received from Nubar Pasha the formal notice of his appointment by the Khedive as president of the council of ministers, minister of foreign affairs, and minister of justice.

With that communication was inclosed a copy of the Khedive’s rescript, addressed to His Excellency, concerning the organization and attributes of this newly-instituted council of ministers, and a copy of the Khedive’s address to Mr. Rivers Wilson, concerning the report of the high commission of inquiry, of which Mr. Wilson is the vice-president. Translations of these three papers are herewith inclosed.

The newspapers of the 30th of August last announced officially that by decree of the Khedive the following appointments have been made: Riaz Pasha, minister of interior; Ratib-Pasha, minister of war; Aly Pasha Moubarak, minister of public instruction and of “Wakf” and, ad interim, of public works. “Walf” means real property set apart for the maintenance of the mosks and other religious institutions of Islam.

Together with the Khedive’s rescript above mentioned, the Phare d’Alexandrie, in its issue of the 31st of August last, published Nubar Pasha’s reply thereto. A translation of that reply is also inclosed herewith.

The newspaper La Reforme, published at Cairo, announced in its issue of the 2d of this month that His Excellency Riaz Pasha, minister of interior, has been appointed minister of finance ad interim, and that Mr. Rivers Wilson has gone to Europe on a mission, having been intrusted by Nubar Pasha with the task of contracting the loan which is necessary for the liquidation of the [acknowledged] “recognized” debts of the Khedive and of the Daïras. It is generally believed that this will be a loan of about twelve million pounds, and that Nubar Pasha contemplates proposing to the Khedive that he appoint Mr. Wilson to be minister of finance.

One of the first fruits of this new order of things in the government of Egypt has been the setting at liberty, by Nubar Pasha, in his character of minister of justice, of one Hassan Moussa el Akkad, an Egyptian subject and a man of large fortune, who has been detained for many months in the police prison of Cairo for no known crime and without accusation. This deed has made a very good impression upon the public mind. Returning to the subject-matter of the translations herewith inclosed, I solicit your special attention to that sentence toward the close of the Khedive’s rescript to Nubar Pasha where His Highness says: “Together with a judiciary organization extended generally [over [Page 927] all classes] this institution [i. e. the new council of ministers] suffices to meet the necessities of our social condition.”

In his letter to me (inclosure No. 1) Nubar Pasha amplifies the Khedive’s idea. He says, about the middle of his letter: “In consequence of a judiciary organization extending generally [over all classes], it will no longer be a part of the population, it will be all the population, which will enjoy the protection of the law, applied by an independent body.” Further on in the same letter His Excellency expresses his belief that “the Government of the United States will with satisfaction see His Highness entering on this new path, and that its good-will, sympathy, and co-operation will facilitate the task undertaken by the Khedive, the realization of which the Khedive has intrusted to His Excellency and his colleagues.” These sentences (taken in connection with Mr. Farman’s dispatches Nos. 251 and 253, of the 10th and 15th of July last), refer to the Khedive’s desire for an extension of the jurisdiction and competence of the reform tribunals so as to cover all classes of individuals, Europeans and Egyptian subjects, and all classes of cases, whether civil or criminal.

It is a pet idea of the Khedive to do away entirely and once for all with what still remains of the right of extraterritoriality attaching to Franks or Europeans in the land; and it now seems, from the quotations above, that to Nubar Pasha, the father of the system of reform tribunals, the carrying out of this wish is to be intrusted. Nothing short of a final breaking up of the time-honored capitulations is, in my opinion, aimed at. I specially solicit your attention to this point, because, according to the present indications, it will not be long before the European governments, and with them the United States, will be approached by Nubar Pasha with the new plan for their acceptance, the aim of which will be to put non-Egyptians on a level with the subjects of the Khedive in all matters pertaining to right, privilege; and taxation of persons.

I have, & c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 258.—Translation.]

Nubar Pasha to Mr. Comanos.

No. 425.]

Sir: His Highness the Khedive, my august master, has intrusted me with forming a new ministry. This mission is an innovation in our governmental habits. Furthermore, His Highness, in an audience he granted to Mr. Rivers Wilson, took occasion to explain the construction he put upon it; he marked the character thereof by pointing, it out as the point of departure of a change of system in his administration.

In the rescript he lately addressed me, His Highness defines his conception, and indicates by what means this conception may be applied and realized.

I have consequently the honor, Mr. Acting Consul-General, to transmit you herewith copy of the rescript of His Highness and of his words to Mr. Rivers Wilson.

I have no need, sir, to dwell upon the importance of these papers in their bearing upon the future of the land. In consequence of a judiciary organization extended generally [over all classes], it will no longer be a part of the population it will be all the population, which will enjoy the protection of the law, applied by an independent body; and as for the administration, the principles of sound economy will necessarily prevail with a ministry sure to find in the generous intentions of His Highness and in its own composition, when its composition shall have been fixed, the elements of an independence both legitimate and of salutary effect.

I am persuaded that the government of the United States will with satisfaction see His Excellency entering, of his own accord, upon this new path, and that its good-will, sympathy, and co-operation will facilitate the work the Khedive has undertaken, the realization of which he has confided to my colleagues and myself. The Khedive has [Page 928] been pleased to intrust to me the presidency of the new ministry, along with the conduct of foreign affairs and of justice. I am indeed happy at being, through these functions, his organ in the relations of his government with the agency and consulate-general the management of which is confided, sir, to you; and I take pleasure in believing that you will be pleased to cherish toward me the sentiments of good-will that I have in times past met with in your consulate-general.

Be pleased to accept, sir, the expression of my high consideration.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 258.—Translation.]

The Khedive to Nubar Pasha.

My Dear Minister: I have ripely reflected upon the changes brought about in our situation, both internal and external, by recent events, and, while you are occupied with the mission I have confided to you of forming a new ministry, I wish to confirm to you my firm determination of placing the rulers of our administration in harmony with the principles that govern the administrations of Europe.

Instead of a personal power, which is actually the principle of the government of Egypt, I want a power which impresses, it is true, a general direction upon affairs, but which finds its equilibrium in a council of ministers.

In one word, I wish henceforth to govern with and by my council of ministers. In this order of ideas, I think that, in order to apply the reforms I have already announced, the members of the council of ministers ought to be all jointly and severally* bound one toward the other. This point is essential. The council of ministers will discuss all important questions of the land; the opinion of the majority will carry along with it that of the minority. Decisions will hence be taken by majority, and, in approving them, I shall consequently sanction the opinion that shall have prevailed.

Each minister will apply the decisions of the council sanctioned by me and concerning the administration which is confided to him.

The appointment of mudirs, governors, prefects of police, will be discussed between the minister under whom they stand and the president of the council, and will be submitted for my approval by the president of the council. The minister who shall have under his immediate orders the above-mentioned functionaries shall have the right to suspend them from their functions only after coming to an understanding with the president of the council. Their change or dismissal cannot take place save after an understanding between him and the minister president of the council under my sanction.

The ministers will choose the high personnel of their administrations and will submit their choice to my approval. As for secondary offices, a simple ministerial letter or decision will suffice. The action of each minister will be exercised within the limits of his attributes, and the functionaries or employés of each branch of administration shall not have to receive orders but from the chief of the department whereof they are a part, and must obey none but him.

The council of ministers will sit under your presidency, since to you it is that I have given the charge and responsibility of this new organization.

I think that the institution of a ministry possessing these attributes is not outside of range of our customs and our ideas, and is, on the contrary, in conformity with one of the precepts of the holy law. Together with a judiciary organization extended generally [over all classes], this institution suffices to meet the necessities of our social condition and permits the realizing of my firm intentions.

I put all confidence in you for applying the reforms that I have decided upon, and which I hope will give to the land all the guarantees that it has a right to expect from my government.

Believe, my dear minister, in my sentiments of high esteem and sincere friendship.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 258—Translation.]

Speech of Sis Highness the Khedive to Mr. Rivers Wilson, vice-president of the high commission of inquiry.

I have read the report of the commission of inquiry over which you have presided. It is full of details, and if time has lacked you for going to the bottom of several [Page 929] questions, I do not the less heartily thank you and your colleagues, whose departure I regret, because I should have liked to thank thorn also by the living voice. I hope you will be pleased to convey to them my best thanks.

As for the conclusions at which you have arrived, I accept them; it is quite natural that I should do it; it is I who have desired this work for the good of my land. The thing actually to be done is now for me to apply these conclusions. I am resolved to do it seriously; of this yon can be sure. My land is no longer in Africa. We form actually a part of Europe. It is, therefore, natural for us to abandon old errors in order to adopt a new system adapted to our social condition. I believe that in a future not far away you will see considerable changes. They will be more easily brought about than one thinks for.

It is at bottom nothing else but a simple question of legality, of respect for law. Above all, one must not rest satisfied with words, and as for me, I am resolved to seek the reality of things.

In order to begin and show to what point I am in earnest, I have charged Nubar Pasha to form for me a ministry.

This innovation may seem of little importance; but, seriously viewed, you will see that out of this innovation proceeds ministerial independence, and this is no small thing, because this innovation is the point of departure of a radical change of system, and is, in my opinion, the best assurance I can give that I am in earnest in my intentions regarding the application of your conclusions.

You are going to leave us; I hope that you will soon return, but I want you to take along with you the conviction that, if you have had a difficult and trying task, your efforts will not remain fruitless, for you know everything sprouts and ripens fast on this old soil of Egypt.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 258.—Translation.]

Nubar Pasha to the Khedive.

Monseigneur: In conformity with the orders of Your Highness, I have the honor to submit for the approval of Your Highness the following list for the composition of the new ministry:

  • Presidency of the council of ministers, minister of foreign affairs and of justice, Nubar Pasha.
  • Minister of interior, Riaz Pasha.
  • Minister of war, Ratib Pasha.
  • Minister of wakf and of public instruction and ad interim of public works, Aly Pasha, Moubarak.

I beg Your Highness to authorize me to leave vacant, for a little time longer, the so important ministry of finance; this administration will continue under the direction of those actually in charge of it until such time as I shall be in a position to submit for your highness’s approval the name of a person who I know enjoys the esteem of your highness and possesses the confidence of the public.

The council will be called to take action upon the ministry of agriculture and commerce; it will decide whether this ministry ought to exist or be transformed into two divisions to be incorporated with one or two ministries. In case your highness approve the composition of this ministry, I pray your highness to be pleased to give your orders accordingly.

I have the honor to be, with most profound respect, Your Highness’s most humble, most obedient, and most faithful servant and subject.

  • NUBAR.
  • TUNIS.
  1. In the French: “solidaires, les uns des autres.”