My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO
Off to the Far East

WITH our departure by air from Rome I began to pick up my former links with the East. It was exactly twelve years since I last left Europe. A few months prior to the outbreak of World War II. I was on board ship bound for British India. What would the East be like today?

We slept the night in the 'plane. Early next morning the machine glided gently on to the airfield at Cairo. My wife pointed from the window to a group of civilians assembled on the airfield, obviously awaiting the arrival of our K.L.M. aircraft. "Evidently", said my wife, "there's a V.I.P. on board."

As we descended the steps from our 'plane some Egyptian gentlemen advanced to meet us. One of them came up to us, bowed, and informed us that he was there to welcome us on behalf of the Egyptian Government.

"My Government, Dr. Schacht, begs that during your stay in Cairo you will consider yourself the guest of our country. We have ventured to reserve accommodation for you at the Hotel Semiramis. Our Minister for Economic Affairs and our Finance Minister will be delighted to meet you."

I have never looked upon myself as a Very Important Person and did not conceal my astonishment as I accepted this charming invitation. We remained for a week in the Land of the Pharaohs. The military Putsch which spelt Finis to King Farouk's monarchy, had not yet taken place. Farouk at that time was absent on one of his many trips abroad. We wrote our names in the visitors' book at the Royal Palace.

After the agonizing years we had spent in Germany these seven days were like a dream out of the Arabian Nights. We were overwhelmed with the most touching hospitality. We were shown all the sights of the city; we went for excursions out into the country under the guidance of first-class experts. I discussed economic questions with members of the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Finance. We made many personal friendships.

We could hardly tear ourselves away from the Tut-ankh-Amen treasures which were displayed in the Museum in masterly and indescribably impressive fashion. When I was in Cairo for the

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