Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936

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The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially (but seldom) known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt. Under the terms of the treaty, the United Kingdom was required to withdraw all its troops from Egypt, except those necessary to protect the Suez Canal and its surroundings, numbering 10,000 troops plus auxiliary personnel. Additionally, the United Kingdom would supply and train Egypt's army and assist in its defence in case of war. The treaty was to last for 20 years; it was signed on August 26 in Zaafarana palace, and ratified on 22 December. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 6 January 1937.[1]

Among the pretexts for the treaty was the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, which had started in 1935. King Farouk feared that the Italians might invade Egypt or drag it into the fighting. The 1936 treaty did not resolve the question of Sudan, which, under the terms of the existing Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement of 1899, stated that Sudan should be jointly governed by Egypt and Britain, but with real power remaining in British hands.[2] With rising tension in Europe, the treaty expressively favoured maintaining the status quo. The treaty, however, was not welcomed by Egyptian nationalists like the Arab Socialist Party, who wanted full independence from Britain. It ignited a wave of demonstrations against the British and the Wafd Party, which had supported the treaty.

On September 23, 1945, the Egyptian government demanded the modification of the treaty to terminate all British occupation, and also to allow the annexation of The Sudan.[3] Following World War II, and the Wafd Party's victory in the boycotted 1950 election of Egypt, the new Wafd government unilaterally abrogated the treaty in October 1951. Three years later, and with new government leadership under the popular Gamal Abdel Nasser, the UK agreed to withdraw its troops in the Anglo–Egyptian Agreement of 1954; the British withdrawal was completed in July 1956. This date is seen as when Egypt gained full independence, but Nasser had already established an independent policy that caused tension with several Western powers.

Following the abrupt withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956,[4] ostensibly to pay for the dam, and established compensation for the former owners. Nonetheless, some months later, France, Israel and Britain colluded to overthrow Nasser,[5] and the Suez Crisis ensued.

The Suez Crisis brought the western alliance to a disastrous juncture, where the United States became distrusted by Britain and France. The Soviet Union threatened Britain and France with nuclear bombardment if they did not withdraw from Suez.[citation needed] The United States did not side with its Anglo-French allies and instead supported the Soviet Union's demand for Anglo-French withdrawal.


  1. League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 173, pp. 402–431.
  2. Robert O. Collins, A History of Modern Sudan
  3. Jessup, John E. (1989). A Chronology of Conflict and Resolution, 1945-1985. New York: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-24308-5. 
  4. "Suez crisis" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  5. Avi Shlaim, The Protocol of Sèvres,1956: Anatomy of a War Plot Published in International Affairs, 73:3 (1997), 509–530
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