The Minister in Egypt (Jardine) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received August 26—8:40 a.m.]
92. Egyptian Government has been very much concerned since the publication of the estimate of the American cotton crop by the United States Department of Agriculture with regard to the decline in cotton prices, Sakellaridis having reached this week the lowest price ever recorded. Egypt’s dependence on cotton goods and the prospect of a long period of low prices has aroused much apprehension on the part of the Government, already disturbed by steadily increasing forced sales of land and the inability of cultivation to meet mortgage and other payments falling due.[Page 161]
Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs called on me today and is now writing a note verbale embodying decisions taken by the Council of Ministers yesterday and which he requested that I communicate to my Government. The note begins by stressing the necessity of public authorities in cotton producing countries “to join together with a view to examining the most appropriate means for the regulation of cotton cultivation”.
It adds that the Egyptian Government “would be happy to participate in any commission of inquiry or conferences having in view the examination of the question of the production of cotton”. The suggestion is made that without anticipating the decisions to which the commission or conference should confine itself the Egyptian Government would be disposed to examine measures of prohibition of cotton cultivation graduated over a number of years as it is considered that prohibition of cotton cultivation for a year might defeat its own object by bringing an increased demand in anticipation of reduced stocks and a consequent pressure upon public authorities to repeal or to restrict the application of the measures of control. The note concludes with the opinion that in the absence of any present possibility of increasing demand the only means of restoring the supply to harmonize with the present demand is through a reduced production over a number of years.