To confirm its position as “WAR CABINET”, A Royal decree was proclaimed on September 2, 1939, declaring “MARTIAL LAWS” which was approved by the House of Deputies with a majority of “YES” with only 13 objections. As for the Senate, the votes resulted with 68 approvals against 59 refusals. To appease the British, the Cabinet amended the Criminal Law by adding articles imposing harsh sentences for crimes committed against the safety of the Country and that of its “ALLIES” (read England).
An extra budget was allocated to reinforce the Armed Forces particularly in its positions at the Egyptian borders; more patrol cars were bought for the use of the “FRONTIER CORP” (SILAH AL HOUDOUD) and more reinforcements were allocated to the “COASTAL GUARDS” (GHAFAR AL SAWAHEL); an extra 12 military planes were added to the Air Force and 53 light tanks were purchased for the “Cavalry Corp” (SILAH AL FORSAN).
To cover all these expenditures, the Cabinet agreed to raise all taxes by one percent and a permanent Cabinet committee was formed to oversee the protection of civilians against air raids. Last but not least, the Cabinet formed another committee headed by the Minister of Finances for the purpose of establishing a statistical list of all the strategically needed materials in all the Governorates; that same committee would keep an eye on prices and would impose prices control wherever and whenever needed.
It is interesting to note that the Cabinet went as far as studying the feasibility of moving no less than about a quarter million city dwellers to the country side and allocating the daily survival amount of 30 pennies (MALLIMS) to each immigrant. The project was luckily shelved when it appeared that the cost would certainly exceed one million and six hundred thousand pounds!!
As mentioned before, the failure of the British Government to get the Egyptian Cabinet to declare war against Germany caused lots of tension between the two Countries and that tension extremely intensified after the military collapse ofFrance which encouraged Italy to join Germany in its war against the British Empire (4). Tripolitania (LIBYA), which was then an Italian Colony, shared a long border with Egypt and constituted an imminent threat against the British troops in Egypt and particularly the Suez Canal; which prompted the Brits to put an immense pressure on King Farouk to fire the Aly Maher Cabinet and appoint a Cabinet more cooperative with the Brits. Sir Miles Lampson went as far as threatening the Egyptian King to confiscate his throne and put him under house arrest!! He also threatened to repeat what England did, in 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, by declaring Egypt a British Protectorate!! Terrified by the British threats, King Farouk invited his Prime Minister and the heads of the different Egyptian Political Parties to an urgent meeting at the Royal Palace during which Aly Maher Pasha presented the resignation of his Cabinet, after a rule of ten months and seven days, to save his King and Country!!