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From 50 Years Ago (5 August 2006)

Company, Cairo has won a decisive first aid. Egypt

Company, Cairo has won a decisive first aid. Egypt’s militant attitude to Israel, her

FROM 50 YEARS AGO

round in the diplomatic battle against the mounting defence expenditure, her ambitious West. Its policy of denial of financial aid to industrial plans and similar other economicEgypt for building the Aswan Dam seems to and financial policies are cited by the British have been based on the assumption of Foreign Minister as evidences that Egypt is Moscow’s inability or unwillingness to assist “no longer in a position to devote to the damEgypt. This assumption is questionable. Cairo project the degree of priority necessary toVol VIII, No 31, August 4, 1956 may yet receive aid from Moscow. But secure its success”...

Colonel Nasser has shown statesmanship inEgypt’s exercise of her sovereignty inSuez and Sovereignty not obliging the West by any hasty or more nationalising the Suez Canal Company will

active association with the Communist bloc. be regarded as a violation only by those who

Colonel Nasser’s decision to nationalise Reasons furnished by America and Britain take a view of contracts which is completelythe Suez Canal Company may be a political for their withdrawal of the former offer of out of date. For such revision of contracts and move. Egypt has been provoked to this po-aid are unconvincing. One is Egypt’s failure the right of sovereign State to exercise it litical action by the far more political decision to reach any agreement with the riparian Britain herself has got enough precedent andof Britain and America to withdraw their States on the Nile. There are differences so has the United States of America. One has former offer of aid to Egypt in financing the between Egypt and the Sudan on the distri-only to go back to the nationalisation decrees Aswan Dam. Colonel Nasser has some eco-bution of the Nile waters. But these differ-that Britain passed and the records of thenomic justification for nationalising the Suez ences were in the process of being eliminated American courts, refusing the foreclosure Canal Company. Economic arguments ad-since the joint offer was first made. This of mortgages during the years of the great vanced by Britain and America for the with-objection is now less tenable, as is evident depression. It may not be to a country’s interestsdrawal of their former offer of aid are without from Khartoum’s enthusiastic endorsement to apply the same criterion to its own basis. Cairo had two choices in retaliating of Cairo’s retaliatory action. Both America nationals and foreigners in the matter of comagainst the joint Anglo-American diplomacy. and Britain have pleaded doubts about Egypt’s mercial obligations. But this is a right whichIn choosing to finance the Aswan Dam partly ability to finance the Aswan Dam in support sovereign power reserves to itself. It cannot out of the resources of the nationalised Suez of their belated withdrawal of the offer of be questioned.

Economic and Political Weekly August 5, 2006

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