By G. P. Gooch
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On April 7 the Foreign Secretary told Revelstoke and Cassel that, until the strength o f the movement could be judged, the Government must hold its hand. He added that in his view the campaign was founded on misapprehension, and he strongly deprecated any change o f attitude. The financiers replied that they had in no way committed the Government, adding that i f the negotiations were continued the constitution o f the Board o f Directors and other details would not be settled without official approval.
They were prophetic words. Three months later President Loubet returned the visit, the first French Chief o f the State to cross the Channel since Napoleon III. The royal host welcomed his guest with an exuberance unusual on such ceremonial occasions. “ I hope that the welcome you have received to-day has convinced you o f the true friendship, indeed I will say the affection, which my country feels for France. I shall never forget the reception that was recently given to me, and the sentiments which I now express are those which I have always entertained.
His chief had not expected the whole Egyptian ques tion to be raised, and he found the proposals very foi-reaching. France, he argued, would not receive in Morocco a sufficient equivalent for the immense concessions which she was asked to make; for England’s gain would be immediate, while she only gave France a hope. Lansdowne rejoined that France would also receive immediate advantages, while she was merely invited to recognise existing facts. Cambon retorted that in the field o f Egyptian finance France had the same rights as England, and she was being asked to abdicate in favour o f the latter.