Cairo (Oct. 21)
Egyptian political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, disfavor the country being mixed up in any way in the Pan-Arabic movement of which the Syro-Palestine Committee and its Jerusalem associates, the Moslem Supreme Council, are active sponsors and propagators in the Near East. The Egyptians consider that their fatherland, by an amazing renaissance of modern times, has given ample proof to the world that it is able to stand on its own feet, possessing its own distinctive culture. They look upon themselves not as Arabs, though they are racially affinities, but as Egyptians, meaning a nation with interests, hopes and visions peculiarly its own.
This may be gathered from the pronouncements of Nahas Pacha, president of the powerful Wafd National Party, who declared, “We have no Arabic problem, but solely an Egyptian one. For us to mix in outside matters means to burden ourselves with additional tasks. The aspirations of other peoples are dear to us, but “we regard the task of working with all our strength for Egyptian greatness and prosperity paramount.” King Fuad, himself a distinguished scholar and wise statesman, under whom in the last few years Egypt has accomplished a remarkable forward movement, is known to share these views on Egyptian self-development as the matter of primary interest.
Attempts to rouse the Egyptian masses in favor of a Pan-Arabic union, are carried on chiefly by a group of extremely capable foreigners, mostly Syrian Christian exiles who reside in Egypt since the collapse of the anti-French movement, the apex of which was the Druse revolt three years ago. The official world in Cairo and Alexandria is extremely favorably disposed to the Palestine Jews. The increasing business relations of the last few years, especially the fast-growing orange, citrus fruit and grape wine export from Palestine, has caused the friendly sentiments shared by the merchants and shippers. Despite the Palestine troubles, trade with Egypt continued uninterruptedly. The Palestine wine-growers, though having an exceptionally fine harvest, are unable to fill the orders coming in chiefly from Egypt and Syria, where they are purveyors to the French occupational army of 50,000 men, each soldier receiving a daily ration of one liter of wine.
Egypt is enjoying prosperity, visible chiefly in the vast building program going on in Cairo and Alexandria, in the seething turmoil of the Stock Exchange, the markets, the crowded port of Alexandria, the establishment of many schools and institutions of higher learning. All classes are solely concerned with prosperity, with a fervor reminiscent of American “pep” and initiative.
The citizens, anxious to maintain this attitude, are loath to become involved in outside entanglements. Egypt is a civilized country, inhabited by a separate and distinct nation, is the sentiment expressed on all sides. The outward aspects of metropolitan life uphold this contention in a striking manner. Cairo, the city of beauty, is the cultural center of Islamic learning for the entire world. Many theatres feature native artists. In the movies are mixed French and American films. The leaders feel it would be degrading to mix in the sordid quarrel in Palestine in behalf of their backward Arab brethren, who have to go a long way before reaching the civilization of Egypt. Circular letters sent around in the last few days by the Syro-Palestine Committee, calling upon Egyptian merchants to declare a boycott against Jewish Palestine products, are regarded as an impudent interference requiring government action. Political circles also frown upon the move as it is obvious Egypt might become involved in international complications if discrimination is practiced against the Jews residing in Palestine who are nationals of states by whose friendship Egypt places great store and counts on in the future when it will have achieved complete independence. On the whole, the Egyptians are unconcerned as to whether or not the Jewish National Home becomes a reality so long as there is peace and profitable relations. Official circles are sympathetic to Palestine Jewry and regard them as cooperators, bringing modern civilization into the Near East. King Fuad is the only monarch who officially expressed sorrow at the Jewish sufferings in the recent massacres and attacks, through the Jerusalem Consul. Mohamed Mahmoud Pasha, who ruled Egypt at the behest of King Fuad, with dictatorial powers, after dissolving Parliament, shares the monarch’s view that it is imperative for Egypt to continue to hew her own trail and refrain from adding an onerous outside burden like supporting the Palestine Arabs to the extremely complex political situation.