It was not until n th March that the Gladstone Ministry put its definitive veto upon the appointment of Zobeir. Its decision was communicated to Baring in a message couched in these words : “ Her Majesty’s Government have carefully considered your telegram of the 9th inst. with regard to the future government of Khartoum and the Sudan, but they do not consider that the arguments against the employment of Zobeir Pasha have been satisfactorily answered. They are prepared to agree to any other Muhammedan assistance, as well as to the supply of any reasonable sum of money which General Gordon may consider necessary in order to carry out successfully the objects of his mission.” 1
The date of this telegram should be underscored. It is of primary importance that it be remembered. The contents of the message did not reach Gordon. The telegraph line was cut near Halfayah while the fateful words were being flashed across the Mediterranean. This break isolated Khartoum.