883.512 Motor Vehicles/19

Memorandum by the Minister in Egypt (Jardine)47

I made a friendly call upon Sidky Pasha, the Prime Minister, this morning to pay my respects prior to moving to Alexandria for the summer. Mr. Merriam accompanied me in order that I might introduce him to the Prime Minister.

During our conversation I took occasion to remind the Prime Minister that he had not obtained any relief for our automobile dealers, though he had promised me during my last conversation with him that he would look into the matter with the serious intention of alleviating some of our difficulties. I drew his attention to the fact that during the first four months of this year there had been only 47 permits issued for trucks and busses, as compared with some 240 for the same period in 1931; that all the dealers handling American made trucks and busses were complaining that they were being slowly put out of business because they were unable to obtain permits to operate their busses and trucks; that manufacturers of American made cars were also complaining that their business was practically at a standstill since no dealer would purchase a new one until he had [Page 644] obtained a permit from the Government which, under existing restrictions was almost impossible to secure.

I told him that I wanted to be frank with him and advised him that unless and until the very reasonable relief which I had requested had been obtained, it was very doubtful if my Government’s consent to the levying of additional taxes on motor vehicles would be forthcoming.

The Prime Minister stated that the crisis was responsible for the policy which his Government was pursuing, just as, probably for the same reason, my Government had increased the tariff on Egyptian cotton, manganese ore and onions to the disadvantage of Egypt. However, he assured me that the policy which the Egyptian Government is following in granting licenses or permits to operate motor vehicles is not in any way directed towards any Government or particular make of car; his Government is simply endeavoring to find the most practical means of obtaining revenue to meet the requirements of the Government.

There was nothing in what the Prime Minister said to me to encourage me to believe that this policy would be altered in any particular in the near future.

W. M. Jardine
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Minister in his despatch No. 497, June 1; received July 5.↩