Dual Control

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Joint British French supervision of Egyptian government revenues and disbursements from 1878 to 1882, supplementing the supervision provided by the Caisse de la Dette Publique set up in 1876.

The first controllers were members of the so-called European cabinet, in which a British subject was finance minister and a Frenchman held the portfolio for public works. This cabinet, appointed by Egypt's Khedive Ismaʿil in August 1878, under pressure from his European creditors, lasted only six months because of its fiscal stringencies, which included placing many Egyptian army officers on half pay. Four months later Khedive Ismaʿil was deposed in favor of his son, Tawfiq.

The British and French governments appointed their controllers: Sir Evelyn Baring (later Lord Cromer), who had served on the Caisse, and de Blignières, the former Egyptian works minister. They drew up what would become the 1880 liquidation law, which reduced Egyptian government indebtedness by strictly limiting government expenditure. This caused either antiforeign sentiment or feelings of nationalism among Egyptian officers and officials, leading to the 1881 and 1882 Urabi revolution.

Once the cabinet headed by Mahmud Sami alBarudi took control in February 1882, the controllers could no longer direct the budget. Dual Control was formally terminated when the British occupied Egypt in September 1882. Without access to military force, which Britain and France refused to apply until the Urabi revolution, Dual Control could not impose its program on Egypt's economy and body politic.

See also Baring, Evelyn; Ismaʿil ibn Ibrahim; Urabi, Ahmad.


Marlowe, John. Cromer in Egypt. London: Elek; New York: Praeger, 1970.

Schölch, Alexander. Egypt for the Egyptians! The Socio-Political Crisis in Egypt, 18781882. London: Ithaca Press, 1981.

arthur goldschmidt