Diary entry by Gertrude Bell, written on the 29th of September 1919, relating to the events of the previous day.
About this item
Sep 29. [29 September 1919] Reached Port Sa'id [Port Said] on the Nevasa at 5 p.m. on Sunday 28th. Fellow travellers General Kenyon, Director General of Ordnance, Col. Anderson, a sapper, Mr and Mrs Little, Americans connected with jute works, Mr. L. Crump, Resident at Patiala, Mr Sifton and Mr Morshead, both of Behar and Orissa, Kumar Singh, a Rajput princeling, Mr and Mrs Smith, I.C.S. from Punjab; the Captain's name was Henderson, a nice Scotchman. Left Marie to go on to Bombay with the luggage. Caught the 6.10 train after telegraphing to Sir Gilbert Clayton who had sent me a letter through the Embarkation officer. Col. Elgood has left Port Said. Gen. Clayton met me at the station and took me to Shepheard's. He has now been installed about a month as Adviser to the Min. of the Interior, Col. Meinetzhagen [i.e. Meinertzhagen] having taken his place as P.O. for Palestine and Syria. Cheetham, who is in charge for Allenby, has Arabia under him - this having been under Clayton but now taken away from the P.O. He says the work in the Interior is terrific. He interviews visitors all the morning. Egypt should be an object lesson to us of how not to do things. I said I thought India was a still more striking one (e.g. Mr Sifton's remark that the real difficulty under the new scheme will be how to deal with a British officer who rightly comes up against a native minister; if he is to be broken, as would seem inevitable, he should at least be allowed to retire on his full pension - this is a fine example of the extreme difficulty of relinquishing hold once we have taken hold too tight.) Gen. Clayton agreed but said that the fact that Egypt is all of one piece increases the formidableness of the problem. If India were not so much divided, Hindus against Islam, native princes against Nationalists, it would be a much graver matter, indeed if India had the homogeneous population of Egypt, we could not hold on at all. So to bed, after arranging to go with him tomorrow to Alexandria to see Sir Milne Cheetham and the Arab Bureau.