The British Ambassador (Geddes) to the Secretary of State

No. 194

Sir: I have the honour to inform you, on instructions from my Government, that it has been decided by His Majesty’s Government, with the approval of Parliament, to terminate the Protectorate declared over Egypt on December 18th, 1914, and to recognise her as an Independent Sovereign State. In bringing this matter to your attention, I am instructed to communicate to you the following notification.

When the peace and prosperity of Egypt were menaced in December 1914 by the intervention of Turkey in the Great War in alliance with the Central Powers, His Majesty’s Government terminated the suzerainty of Turkey over Egypt, took the country under their protection and declared it to be a British Protectorate.

The situation is now changed. Egypt has emerged from the war prosperous and unscathed and His Majesty’s Government, after grave consideration and in accordance with their traditional policy, have decided to terminate the Protectorate by a declaration in which they recognise Egypt as an Independent Sovereign State while preserving for future agreements between Egypt and themselves certain matters in which the interests and obligations of the British Empire are specially involved. Pending such agreements, the status quo as regards these matters will remain unchanged.

The Egyptian Government will be at liberty to re-establish a Ministry for Foreign Affairs and thus to prepare the way for the diplomatic and consular representation of Egypt abroad. Great Britain will not, in future, accord protection to Egyptians in foreign countries except in so far as may be desired by the Egyptian Government and pending the representation of Egypt in the country concerned.

The termination of British protection over Egypt involves, however, no change in the status quo as regards the position of other Powers in Egypt itself.

The welfare and integrity of Egypt are necessary to the peace and safety of the British Empire which will therefore always maintain, as an essential British interest, the special relations between itself [Page 104] and Egypt long recognised by other Governments. These special relations are defined in the declaration recognising Egypt as an Independent Sovereign State. His Majesty’s Government have laid them down as matters in which the rights and interests of the British Empire are vitally involved and will not admit them to be questioned or discussed by any other Powers. In pursuance of this principle, which they hereby declare to all Powers, they will regard as an unfriendly act any attempt at interference in the affairs of Egypt by another Power and they will consider any aggression against the territory of Egypt as an act to be repelled with all means at their command.

I have [etc.]

(For the Ambassador)
H. G. Chilton