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Callers On Neguib

David Low (1891-1963)



Pen and ink with bodycolour

13 ½ x 14 ½ inches

Manchester Guardian, Wednesday 30 December 1953

The Illustrators. the British Art of Illustration 1900-2018, November 2018-January 2019, No 105

Mohamed Neguib had been one of the leading figures in the Egyptian Revolution, which had begun on 23 July 1952 to depose King Farouk and liberate the country from Britain. He had first been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army, then in September as Prime Minster of Egypt. On 18 June 1953, Neguib was sworn in as President, declaring the end of the Egyptian and Sudanese monarchy and the establishment of the Republic of Egypt. In December 1953, his first meeting with a British politician was not with the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, but with a Labour backbencher, Richard Crossman. In 1953, in an effort to legitimise the new regime in the eyes of the West and maintain cordial relations with Israel in an attempt to gain American aid in gaining liberation from Britain, the Revolutionary Command Council, the body set up to supervise the new Egyptian Republic following the Revolution with Neguib at its helm, sought an expansion of contacts with Israel, including, for the first time, official messages from the Egyptian government. As well as through traditional US and British diplomatic channels, the Egyptian government used a number of prominent go-betweens, including Richard Crossman. During 1945-46, Crossman had served as a member of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry into the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine and had maintained a number of close ties with prominent Israeli politicians.

With a Labour backbench MP obtaining an audience with the new Egyptian President ahead of Anthony Eden, Sir David Low imagines who else might achieve a meeting with Neguib before the Foreign Secretary. He suggests Aneurin Bevan, head of the ‘Bevanite’ left wing of the Labour Party; Bevan’s wife and fellow Labour MP, Jennie Lees; Julian Avery, a Conservative MP and son-in-law of Housing Minister and future Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan; and even Sir David Low himself.

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