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SUDAN AND ABYSSINIA"
BY LEOPOLD WEISS
EVER since the beginning of the cen- was all that would ever be diverted. tury England and Egypt have been at But the Egyptians could not help askloggerheads over the waters of the Nile. ing themselves whether such a promise Great Britain desires to divert part of would be kept forever. Moreover, those waters from the Nile's upper Egypt's population is growing rapidly course — especially from the Blue Nile - almost twice as fast as that of - to irrigate the arid but fertile plains Germany, for instance and she needs of the Sudan, which have proved to be more land for her own people. Her excellent cotton country. When Lord population density is already 417 per Kitchener was Great Britain's repre- square kilometre, while it is only 2.7 in sentative at Cairo, a plan for this was the Sudan itself. In Egypt millions of submitted to the Government of people depend on agriculture for their Egypt; but the proposal met violent daily bread. In the Sudan agriculture opposition, as it was thought to is pursued for the profit and conventhreaten that country's very existence. ience of Manchester spinners. So it was not until shortly before the If Egypt and the Sudan were under World War, after long negotiations and the same Government the respective the exercise of much pressure on the interests of the two countries might be part of London, that the Egyptian reconciled, for all of the Nile's waters authorities finally reluctantly con- are never used for irrigation; great sented to the erection of the Mak- quantities flow undiverted to the sea, war Dam on the Blue Nile, which and there is plenty for all. Plans have will provide water to irrigate about been in existence for a long time to five hundred and thirty square miles build dams and reservoirs in the vicinof land, in the Gezira district, lying ity of the Delta to irrigate larger areas between the White and the Blue there. A single Government might hanNile.
dle all the development along the enWhen the Nationalist movement tire river as one enterprise, and ensure swept everything before it in Egypt, that every part of its riparian area after the war, this concession was a received equal justice. thorn in the flesh of the Cairo Cabinet. These were the considerations that The members knew that the amount of have moved successive Egyptian Cabiwater to be taken from the Blue Nile nets, especially the one presided over would not seriously threaten Egypt's by the Nationalist leader, Zaghlul supply. Furthermore, in 1920 Lord Pasha, to assert so vigorously their Allenby promised again, in the name of jurisdiction over the Sudan. Their the British Government, that the members do not think their country quantity called for in the original plan can be independent unless she controls 1 From Frankfurter Zeitung (Liberal daily),
that territory, for whosoever possesses Mays
the Sudan has a strangle hold on Egypt NO. 4276
VOL, 329 —
herself and can starve her into sub- stantly breaking out in the remoter mission at will.
districts. So matters remained at an impasse
Nor is there any prospect of an imuntil November 1924, when certain hot- mediate change in the political situaheaded Egyptian conspirators assas- tion. The new elections which the sinated Sir Lee Stack, the Governor- Egyptian Government has been forced General of Sudan, at Cairo. Great to call by the pressure of the united Britain had a Conservative Cabinet at Opposition will presumably give the the time, which promptly seized the Nationalist Parties an overwhelming chance thus offered to gain a coveted majority, and result in a new Cabinet possession for the Empire. So an under Zaghlul Pasha. In view of this ultimatum was presented to the Cairo prospect, the English authorities have Government demanding that all Egyp- of late been slightly more conciliatory. tian troops be withdrawn from the The Sudan Government has informed Sudan and that all restrictions previous- the Egyptian Ministry that it is ready ly in force upon the right to take water to reserve all the waters of the White from the Nile to irrigate that prov- Nile exclusively for Egypt's use. It has ince should be canceled. be canceled. Zaghlul
Zaghlul proposed to erect another great dam at Pasha resigned, and a new Cabinet, Jebel Aulia on the White Nile near formed by Ziwar Pasha, without the Khartum, to ensure a constant supply coöperation of Parliament, accepted of water for the lower valley. Surveys Great Britain's demands.
have been made for a reservoir with a Since then England has managed the capacity of 2.1 billion cubic metres, Sudan as if it were a British colony. which will make it possible considerAlthough the new Governor-General, ably to increase the present cultivable like his assassinated predecessor, was area in Egypt. It is also proposed to nominally appointed by the King of transfer the Sudanese population along Egypt, the Sudan Administration pays the White Nile to the territories irno attention whatsoever to Cairo. This rigated by the Makwar Dam on the was strikingly shown during the cere- Blue Nile, in order that there may be monies attending the opening of the no diversion even for riparian crops Makwar Dam last January, when Sir from the former stream. Other details Geoffrey Archer, the Governor-Gen- of this vast enterprise include a resereral, sent King George a telegram as- voir at Lake Albert, the source of the suring him of the 'loyalty of the Su- White Nile, and a second retaining dam danese people.' The Egyptians note at Nagh Hamâdi in Upper Egypt. with growing bitterness that the Khar- But the Egyptian Nationalists protum authorities act as if the Agreement test: What do all these big projects of 1899 between Egypt and Great mean for us so long as they lie outside Britain, establishing their joint sover- our jurisdiction. Provided the Governeignty over that province, were a dead ment of Sudan is willing, we shall have letter, and treat Egypt's officials at water. But if that Government changes Khartum merely as tolerated guests. its mind, it can cut us off in a moment.' Probably the people of Sudan sym- On the other hand, England reflects: pathize with the Egyptians, as the two 'So long as the key to the Nile waters is nations are of the same faith, but they in Sudan, we can control Egypt and the are a primitive nation who have no way Suez Canal, even without keeping a to express their opinions, unless it be military garrison there. But, after all, by the tribal rebellions that are con- we are not absolute masters, because
the sources of the Blue Nile, compared its capacity can be increased to eight with which the White Nile is only a billion cubic metres, which will retain second-class stream, lie outside our water enough to supply the irrigable jurisdiction - in Abyssinia.'
lands along the course of the Nile for Tsana Lake, in the northwestern two years even were there a season corner of the Abyssinian plateau, is the without rain or snow. The necessity source of the Blue Nile, whose annual for so large a reserve is due to the fact flood is fed by its waters. In order to that the amount of water in the Lake regulate the flow of that river, there varies greatly from year to year, and is fore, it is necessary to convert this lake often considerably less than the miniinto an artificial reservoir. For years mum supply just mentioned. that problem has hovered before the In 1906 England, France, and Italy minds of British administrators, and as concluded a treaty in which Great long ago as 1900 Sir Murdock Mac- Britain was recognized to have special Donald, then Undersecretary in the interests in the Nile Basin, which of Egyptian Ministry of Public Works, course includes Tsana Lake; France drafted plans for such a project. When was given a guaranty for the railway the Boundary Treaty between Sudan which she was then building from Jibuti and Abyssinia was signed in May 1902, on the Red Sea to Addis Abeba, the England followed it up by an accord Abyssinian capital; and Italy was conwith Emperor Menelik for regulating ceded priority right to a concession for water rights at Tsana Lake and along a railway connecting her colonies of those portions of the Blue Nile which Eritrea and Somaliland. The last flow through Abyssinian territory, by provision contemplated ultimately a which Abyssinia engaged not to build railroad from Mogadishu, in Italian any new irrigation works there, and Somaliland, through Addis Abeba, to Great Britain was conceded the right to Eritrea. All these agreements stipuconstruct retaining dams at the Lakelated that the sovereignty and terriitself. The Emperor declared himself torial integrity of Abyssinia should be ready to negotiate further concerning respected. this, subject to the condition that Now that Great Britain has set hernothing be done that impaired Abys- self earnestly at work to build up a a sinia's sovereignty. That very year great irrigation system in the Sudan, an Egyptian topographical commis- Abyssinia has suddenly acquired new sion studied the project on the ground, importance for her. Quite apart from
, and two years later published its re- England's interest in providing her port.
cotton spinners with an ample supply After that the project slept for sev- of raw cotton independent of American eral years. At last, in 1915, a new control, she has an even more vital mixed commission, consisting of rep- object in view — the protection of the resentatives of Egypt, Sudan, and Suez Canal. If she is to control that Abyssinia, took up these interrupted narrow highway, upon which the very labors, and still another body of the existence of her Empire depends, she same character did some work in 1920. cannot let Egypt become a really All three commissions agree in their sovereign State or control the Sudan. findings, which are to the effect that Inasmuch, however, as both the Sudan Tsana Lake ordinarily contains about and Egypt live from the waters of the three and one-half billion cubic metres Nile, the territory that feeds the Nile of water. By blastings and excavations must be kept in England's hands. We may therefore expect her next political without the vigorous support of France, move to be to fasten her control more who does not intend to surrender the firmly over Northwestern Abyssinia. economic advantages her long and con
Shrewdly foreseeing what was in the sistent friendship for Abyssinia have air, the Abyssinian Prince Regent, Ras gained for her in that country. Taffari, applied in 1923 for Abyssinia's Now we learn that England and Italy admission to the League of Nations. have negotiated a new agreement reEngland promptly protested; her rep- garding their Abyssinian interests. The resentatives declared that Abyssinia British assert that they have merely rehad not yet abolished the slave trade, affirmed their water rights on Tsana and therefore was unworthy to be a Lake, and the Italians claim that they member of so high-minded an inter- have only cleared the diplomatic right national body. But when it came out, of way for the railway they propose to in the course of the debates, that mem- build through Abyssinia to connect bers of the British Legation in Addis their African colonies. But Mussolini's Abeba - to be sure, not born British
eagerness to gain new territories, and ers, but Levantines in the British Fascist irritation at the stigma of Government Service
them- Italy's disastrous defeat by the Abysselves slaveholders, a quietus was put sinians in 1896, belie such modest aims. upon that argument; and Abyssinia At the very least, we may feel sure that was admitted to the League, after en- Europe is about to bless another backgaging to suppress the slave trade. But ward country with more beneficent she would hardly have won her case spheres of influence.'
BY ALFRED NOYES
SELF against Self! And England what of her?
England, that like a laboring Titan rose
And shamed the hope of all her envious foes?
She towered to her full stature through the night;
Caught the first splendor of the world's new light.
As once her Shakespeare, with his heart on fire,
In the outer dark prepare her funeral pyre.
As one travels about in the Far East To get at the first cause of the trouble and observes the growing unrest in in India to-day it is necessary to go China and Japan one cannot but be back many years to the moment when struck by the constant reports in the Lord Macaulay and the great Sanskrit daily press which seem to indicate scholar, Mr. H. H. Wilson, opposed that the unsettled conditions already each other in a great debate as to the noted have their counterpart in one form of education in India. Wilson, form or another throughout the Orient. long since forgotten, was in favor of In the Malay States it is true that firm teaching the peoples of India their own government has the situation more or religions and their own languages, while less under control, but even there one is Lord Macaulay advocated the orditold that the authorities feel the dan- nary curriculum of an English educager presaged by the antiforeign move- tion, premising that by this means ment in China on the one side and the India would be not only Westernized constant activities of agitators from but Christian within a few decades at India on the other.
most. As is well known now, this polThis being so, one is tempted to in- icy proved to be but a partial success, quire, 'What is the matter in India, for, although it may be said that the and how is it that conditions there British did introduce their language have become so uncertain as to threaten and culture into India, that culture rethe stability of the whole British Em- mained as but a thin veneer over the pire?' Naturally enough, this is a fundamental character of the Oriental. question so wide that a dozen answers Residents in the Far East will readily might be given to it, all of them pos- appreciate the truth and the imporsessing more than a modicum of truth, a
tance of this fact, for they can study and the writer himself has heard fully very similar conditions in either China half a dozen differing but feasible or Japan and deduce therefrom the theories propounded by Anglo-Indians difficulty which now besets the govall within the space of half an hour's erning power in India. conversation.
Then too it should be noted that in Therefore it is that he would not the early days the British sent comparapresume to pretend to answer in full tively few of their number to India in the problem which he propounded positions of authority, and these few above, but instead would present a were men of notable intellect and charbrief consideration of a few aspects of
acter who could not fail to acquire great the case as they have been discussed influence over the natives. As methwith him, leaving the reader to draw ods of transit grew better and trade therefrom his own deductions.
increased the number of whites com* From the China Weekly Review (Shanghai
ing to the country was naturally augAmerican English-language weekly), April 24
mented, but unfortunately the quality