The Minister in Egypt (Gunther) to the Secretary of State

No. 51

Sir: I have the honor to report that I had an opportunity today of discussing at length with Ibrahim Fahmy Bey, the Minister of Public Works, the general problem of Nile control to an understanding of which I have been considerably assisted by Vice Consul Lawton’s thorough report of May 15th, 1927.5

I was surprised to learn from the Minister that, in his opinion, the Lake Tsana project should take precedence over Gebel Aulia, Lake Albert, and the diversion of the Sudd channel. He seemed to think that the three above mentioned projects could wait even for twenty-five years. The only Nile engineering plan to which he gives precedence over Lake Tsana is that for the heightening of the Assuan dam and the subsequent development of hydro-electric power at that spot.

After the Commission meets in November and December, next, to study the problem of the heightening of this dam, the Minister said he thought that a commission should proceed with the study of the development of power through waterflow at the dam. This is in line with some remarks recently made to me by the King, already reported to you. I asked the Minister whether he would not have an American engineer on that commission also and he said that he would like very much to have Mr. Hugh Cooper, but that the latter had intimated that he would not sit on this commission as an Italian expert had been considered by the last Egyptian Government in place of him. I observed [Page 789] that, in view of the confidence which he, the Minister, reposes in Mr. Cooper, I felt sure that the latter would be glad to reconsider his decision and added that in case he did not the Department would perhaps be disposed to consider submitting a list of American engineers—if asked to do so—especially qualified for this kind of work, from which the Egyptian Government could make its choice. This seemed to please him very much.

As telegraphed to you today in my No. 37, October 2nd, 3:00 P.M., 1928,6 the Minister of Public Works is most anxious to get in touch with Mr. Cooper.

In a personal letter to Mr. Southard of this date, I am informing him of the expressed views of the Minister in so far only as they have regard to the Lake Tsana project.

I have (etc.)

Franklin Mott Gunther
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