Egypt in Transition

By Jean Lacouture; Simonne Lacouture et al. | Go to book overview

II
The Suez Crisis

On the 19th of July 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser came back to Cairo after spending a week in Jugo-Slavia, where he attended the 'three neutrals' conference' together with Marshal Tito and Nehru. But as he left the plane that had brought him from Belgrade he showed no sign of the satisfaction that the head of a poor and until recently colonized state might be expected to feel after negotiating on equal terms with two of the most respected statesmen of the day. His face was expressionless and he refused to answer any questions before he quickly entered his car. His secretary, Ali Sabri, made no attempt to hoodwink the reporters, for everyone knew why they were upset and had been talking about it all day: 'Yes,' he said, 'the American withdrawal of their offer to finance the Aswan High Dam has completely upset our plans.' But giving a little smile which failed to hide his disappointment, he added, 'But we will build the Dam all the same.'

The crisis started off by the American State Department was undoubtedly the most serious one that the military government had so far had to face. Everyone in Cairo was asking the same question, which was whether the government would survive the deathsentence imposed from Washington. A list of names for a Neguib government was already being passed around. A change seemed the more certain as the publication two days earlier of Mr Dulles' department's communiqué -- which was drawn up in the form of an indictment -- had been preceded by the abrupt posting of Mr Byroade, United States Ambassador to Cairo, who was well known to have given stronger support to Nasser, so far as the American administration was concerned, than his duties warranted. While they did not create the 'Bikbashis' or officers' régime they were the first to protect it, though they were given little thanks. Now Washington had just inflicted the worst possible affront on Marshal Tito's guest, a material and moral snub such as could only have been administered by the enemies of neutrality and enemies of Arabism.

-467-

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Egypt in Transition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 8
  • Introduction - Egyptian Continuity And Revolutions 11
  • Part One - The Awakening of Egypt 37
  • I - The Advent of Bonaparte 39
  • II - Mohamed Ali Creates a State 50
  • III - The Cotton Boom 56
  • IV - A Revolution in Irrigation 60
  • V - The Adventurous Khedive 63
  • VI - The Arabi Revolt 69
  • VII - The Reformers 74
  • VIII - British Technocracy 78
  • IX - The 1919 Revolution 82
  • X - The Wafd 86
  • XI - Making the Best of War -- 1939 97
  • XII - The Burning of Cairo 105
  • Part Two - The Officers' Republic 123
  • I - A Short History of the 'Free Officers' Movement 125
  • II - Power -- to What Purpose? 160
  • III - Neguib's Fall 179
  • IV - The Structure of Nasser's State 192
  • V - The 'Diplomacy' of Small Nations 196
  • VI - The Political Parties 240
  • VII - Revolutionary Tendencies, 1952-57 275
  • VIII - Not a Real Revolution. 292
  • Part Three - Working Life in The Valley 307
  • I - The Land and Its Men 309
  • II - The Agrarian Reform 340
  • III - The Problem of Over-Population 357
  • IV - Economic Growing-Pains 362
  • V - Industrialization and Social Problems 367
  • VI - The Aswan Dam Problem 388
  • Part Four - Forging a Society 397
  • I - Cairo -- City of Convulsions 399
  • II - In Search of a National Culture 413
  • III - Egypt, Islam and the Modern World 430
  • Part Five - The Great Test 451
  • I - Nasser as He Really Is 453
  • II - The Suez Crisis 467
  • III - The Franco-British Invasion 481
  • IV - Egypt Carries On 493
  • V - The 'United Arab State' 505
  • A Chronology of Modern Egypt 515
  • Reading List 519
  • Index 523
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