883.404/28

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

No. 406

Sir: Adverting to my despatch No. 393, of May 26, 1930,29 and to the previous extensive file on the subject of religious liberty in Egypt, and the two recent incidents involving converts from Islam, I have the honor now to enclose herewith, in order to demonstrate to the Department the type of fanatical attacks to which our missionary efforts may at any time be subjected, a copy of a translation of an appeal to the electors of Darb-el-Ahmar District of one El Sayed Abdel Hamid El Bakri,30 alleged to be a direct descendant of Abu Bakr El Seddik and head of the Soufi Sect of Egypt, who is running for the Senate. Incidentally, this El Bakri was heretofore supposed to be on very friendly terms with the American Missionaries and educators and they are surprised that he should have launched such a violent attack.

I have the honor to report that I read to Dr. McClenahan, Acting President of the American University, Cairo, your telegram No. 37, of May 12, informing me inter alia that you had instructed the Ambassador in London to make the appropriate enquiries. Naturally I did not, however, mention to Dr. McClenahan the report of the enquiry actually made in response to the Department’s instruction by a member of the staff of the London Embassy as reported in its despatch No. 866, of May 5, 1930, in the course of which the Foreign Office official, presumably Mr. Murray, Chief of the African Section, showed his familiarity with the file and especially with the memorandum prepared for the Residency by Judge Booth, the Judicial Advisor, a copy of which I forwarded to Mr. Wallace Murray, in the Department, under cover of my letter of April 8, 1930.29 I assume, therefore, that the American Missionary interests here may very well be under the impression that the British Government in some manner mentioned to the Egyptian Delegation the question of religious liberty, partly on our initiative and perhaps partly on its own. I am informed, however, by the British High Commissioner, Sir Percy Loraine, who has now returned to Egypt, that the question of religious liberty was never touched upon officially. He added that there were a number of miscellaneous subjects which it had been impossible to take up with the Egyptian Delegation. The High Commissioner referred, however, to the informal and unofficial contact with the [Page 763]Egyptian Delegation of the Reverend William Paton who, he tells me, finally arranged for the Egyptian Delegation to go to tea with the Archbishop of Canterbury, when presumably the matter was touched upon in a general way.

I am hopeful that due to the effect of time, the return to Egypt of the principal members of the Egyptian Government, the informal steps taken by the Residency and this Legation, notably those taken by the former with Mohamed Mahmoud Pasha and certain newspaper proprietors of the Liberal Constitutional party, the absence of the Missionaries for the most part for the summer respite, and the encouraging decision reported to you in my despatch No. 393, of May 26, 1930, in the case of Dr. Fakhry Mikhail Farrag, that the most threatening aspects of the situation will for the present no longer be apparent.

I have [etc.]

Franklin Mott Gunther
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