Sidney Bradshaw Fay : The Origins of the World War
chapter 3 continued


It is commonly believed in France and England that the Kaiser’s spectacular visit to Tangier on March 31, 1905, followed by Delcassé’s fall on June 6, were the results of a German effort, by a threat of force, at a moment when France’s ally lay prostrate in the Far East, to test or break up the newly formed Entente Cordiale and separate England from France.(122)  But this belief, as the recently published German documents show, is not altogether correct.  The misconception has arisen in part from prejudice and ignorance, and in part from the fact that writers have supposed that the Kaiser’s Björkö maneuver and Bülow’s Morocco moves formed parts of one and the same consistent German Policy.

Confronted suddenly with the accomplished fact of an Anglo-French Agreement, in which Germany had not been consulted though German interests were involved, and in which there were good reasons for suspecting that secret clauses lurked behind the public declarations, Bülow and the Kaiser both felt that something must be done.  But they differed as to what this should be.

Bülow preferred to adopt a sphinx-like silence, waiting until Delcassé should formally notify Germany of the Moroccan agreement, and offer guarantees for her commercial interests and some equivalent compensations.  When Delcassé had continued to ignore Germany for nearly a year, Bülow tried to serve notice on him by forcing the Kaiser to make the spectacular diplomatic gesture at Tangier in March, 1905.  This was altogether repugnant to the Kaiser.  Nothing shows this more strikingly than a phrase in one of his letters to Bülow:

Do not forget that you persuaded me personally, against my will, to go to Tangier for the sake of the success of your Morocco policy.  Read through my telegrams prior to the Tangier visit. ... It was to please you, for the sake of the Fatherland, that I landed, mounted a strange horse in spite of my equestrian disability due to my shrivelled left arm, and might have come within a hair of losing my life—which was your venture [was Ihr Einsatz war].  I rode among Spanish anarchists because you wanted it and your policy was to benefit by it !(123)

Their divergence in views is further indicated by the fact that Bülow did not keep his imperial master fully informed on all phases of the Moroccan affair, which he and Holstein were conducting.  The greater part of the documents in Die Grosse Politik on the Morocco Crisis bear no marginal notes by the Kaiser, and were apparently not so regularly submitted nor so fully summarized for him as was usually the case.  It is also likely that one reason for Bülow’s later threat of resignation was his hope that the Kaiser would beseech him to remain, and he would then retain office with a stronger and freer hand.

The Kaiser, on the other hand, wished to avoid antagonizing French susceptibilities.  With his “anti-English complex” and his inherited traditional friendship between Hohenzollern and Romanov, he wished to avert the possible danger lurking in the Anglo-French Agreement by realizing his dream of a “Continental League.”  This flitted frequently before his imagination throughout his reign.(124)  It was a method of reviving the Alliance of the Three Emperors so far as was possible after the Tsar had entered into alliance with France.  He hoped to use his personal influence over the weak-willed Tsar to draw Russia into a defensive alliance with Germany.  Russia would then get her ally France to join it.  By thus associating the Triple and Dual Alliances, he would form a league of the five great Continental Powers.  This would put an end to the danger to Europe which existed from the antagonism of the two groups.  It would help to assure the peace of the world.  It would also be able to hold in check England’s overweening naval and colonial power.  Incidentally, it would increase his own prestige and influence, because Germany would be the dominating member of the league.  This dream perhaps was fantastic and impossible of realization, but it formed the burden of the interesting letters from “Willy” to “Nicky” during the Russo-Japanese War.(125)  At last, for a brief moment of ecstatic joy in July, 1905, it did seem about to come true.


The Kaiser had been cruising in northern waters and suddenly suggested to the Tsar that they meet on their yachts at Björkö.  The fact that France had just dropped Delcassé, as we shall see later, and was inclined to accept Germany’s proposal for a Moroccan Conference, seemed to indicate that France had abandoned hopes of revanche and might at last be brought into more satisfactory relations with Germany through the Tsar’s influence.  So the Kaiser decided to take advantage of the Björkö interview and of the Tsar’s difficulties arising from the war with Japan to reopen the negotiations of the preceding autumn with the Tsar and secure his signature to a treaty of alliance.  Some months earlier such a treaty had been discussed between them and a draft had been drawn up only to be rejected by Russia for fear of offending France.  Now, perhaps, was the time for getting it signed after all.

The Hohenzollern steamed into the harbor of Björkö and dramatically dropped anchor along side of the Polar Star.  “Willy” and “Nicky” exchanged visits.  It was a scene which appealed vividly to the Kaiser’s histrionic temperament.  His exaltation of mind may be judged by a few selections from his autograph letter to Bülow, which covers six printed pages, giving the story of what happened in the cabin of the Polar Star :

Wisby, July 25, 1905
My dear Bülow:

By my telegrams you have already learned that the work of rapprochement has been crowned and the game won. . . .

And now that it is done, one is surprised and says: How is such a thing possible?  For me the answer is very clear!  God has ordained and willed it thus;  in spite of all man’s wit, in scorn of all man’s intrigues, He has brought together what belonged together!  What Russia rejected in pride last winter, and what she tried in her love of intrigue to turn against us, that now she has most joyfully accepted as a gracious gift after the fearful, stern, and humiliating hand of the Lord has brought her low.  I have done so much thinking in the last days that my head has throbbed to be sure that I am acting aright, always to keep in mind the interests of my country no less than those of the Monarchical Idea in general.

Finally, I raised my hands to the Lord above us all and committed myself to Him and prayed Him to lead and guide me as He wished;  I was only the tool in His hands and I would do whatsoever He would inspire me to do, though the task be ever so hard.  And finally I also uttered the wish of the Old Dessauer at Kesselsdorf, that if He did not wish to help me He should at least not help the other side.  Then I felt myself wonderfully strengthened, and the will and purpose became ever firmer and clearer within me:  “You will put it through no matter what the cost!”  So I looked forward to the interview full of confidence.

And what did I find?  A warm, amiable, enthusiastic reception, such as one receives only from a friend who loves one heartily and sincerely.  The Tsar threw his arms around me and pressed me to him as though I were his own brother, and he looked at me again and again with eyes that revealed his gratitude and joy.  [The Kaiser noted the absence of Lamsdorf, to whom he applied an unprintable epithet.]

The Tsar said he was burning to have a thoroughgoing discussion.  We lighted our cigarettes and were soon in medias res.  He was uncommonly pleased with our Morocco agreement [for a conference at Algeciras] which would open the way for permanent good relations with France.  He heartily approved my hope that from it a lasting understanding, perhaps even an “agreement,” with France might blossom forth.

When I pointed out that in spite of egging on by England, France had down-right refused to take up our challenge [in consenting to drop Delcassé] and therefore no longer wanted to fight for Alsace-Lorraine, he said quickly:  “Yes, that I saw;  it is quite clear that the Alsace-Lorraine question is closed once for all, thank God!” Our talk then turned on England, and it very soon appeared that the Tsar feels a deep personal anger at England and the King.  He called Edward VII the greatest “mischief-maker” and the most dangerous and deceptive intriguer in the world.  I could only agree with him, adding that I especially had had to suffer from his intrigues in recent years. . . . He has a passion for plotting against every power, of making “a little agreement,” whereupon the Tsar interrupted me, striking the table with his fist;  “Well, I can only say he shall not get one from me and never in my life against Germany or you, my word of honor upon it!”

[After dinner on the Hohenzollern the Kaiser next day, with a draft of the hoped-for treaty in his pocket, visited the Polar Star.  The conversation again turned on the subject of England’s intrigues against Russia in connection with the war with Japan.]

I soon observed how deeply injured the Tsar felt by the attitude of France in the Dogger Bank Affair, and how, at England’s behest, Rodjestvenski had been chased out of Cochin-China, virtually into the hands of the Japs:  “The French behaved like scoundrels to me;  by order of England, my Ally left me in the lurch; and now look at Brest! How they fraternize with the English. . . . What shall I do in this disagreeable situation?”

Now I felt the moment was come! . . . “How would it be, if we, too, should make a ‘little agreement?’  Last winter we talked about it . . .”  “O yes, to be sure, I remember well, but I forget the contents of it.  What a pity I haven’t got it here.” “I have a copy, which I happen to have quite by chance in my pocket.”

The Tsar took me by the arm and he drew me out of the dining room into his father’s cabin and immediately shut all the doors himself.  “Show it to me, please.”  His dreamy eyes sparkled.

I drew the envelope out of my pocket and unfolded the paper on Alexander III’s writing desk in front of the portrait of the Tsar’s mother.  He read once, twice and a third time, the text which has already been sent you.  I prayed God that He would be with us now and incline the young ruler.  It was still as death.  There was no sound but that of the sea.  The sun seemed gay and cheerful in the cozy cabin.  Right before me, glistening white lay the Hohenzollern, and aloft in the morning breeze, fluttered the imperial flag; on its black cross I was reading the letters, Gott mit Uns, when the Tsar’s voice near me said: “That is quite excellent.  I quite agree!”

My heart beats so loudly that I can hear it;  I pull myself together and say, casually, “Should you like to sign it?  It would be a very nice souvenir of our interview.”  He scanned the paper again, and then he said:  “Yes, I will.”  I opened the ink-well and gave him the pen, and he wrote with a firm hand “Nicolas,” then he handed the pen to me and I signed.  When I arose he clasped me into his arms deeply moved and said:  “I thank God and I thank you;  it will be of the most beneficial consequences for my country and yours; you are Russia’s only real friend in the whole world.  I have felt, that through the whole war and I know it.” Tears of joy stood in my eyes-to be sure drops of water were trickling down my forehead and back-and I thought of Frederick William III, Queen Louise, Grandpa and Nicholas I.  Were they not close by at that moment? Undoubtedly they were looking down from above and were all surely full of joy!

Thus has the morning of July 24, 1905 at Björkö become a turning point in the history of Europe, thanks to the grace of God;  and a great relief in the situation for my dear Fatherland which at last will be freed from the frightful Franco-Russian pincers.(126)

The Kaiser’s prayerful optimism and emotional fervor were soon given a dash of cold water by Bülow.  His Chancellor threatened to resign.  His pretext was that the Kaiser had ventured on his own responsibility to modify slightly the draft sent him from the Foreign Office.  The Kaiser had added the two words, “in Europe,” so that Article II read:  “In case one of the two Empires shall be attacked by a European Power, its Ally will aid it in Europe with all its military and naval forces.”  The Kaiser’s added words had the positive advantage for Germany that she assumed no obligations to help the Tsar on the frontier of India or in the Far East, where Russia was most likely to come into conflict with England.  Bülow’s threatened resignation was an unexpected and stunning blow.  The Kaiser could not part with him.  He offered to get the Tsar to change the treaty back to its original form and made an appeal which Bülow could not refuse:

You are worth 100,000 times more to me and the Fatherland than all the treaties in the world. . . . No, my friend, stay in office and with me, and we will work further in com mon together ad majorem Germaniae gloriam. . . . After the receipt of this letter, telegraph me, “All right,” so that I shall know you will stay.  Because the morning after the arrival of your letter of resignation would no longer find your Emperor alive.  Think of my poor wife and children!(127)

The Kaiser was soon to suffer a still more stunning blow, which knocked his whole dream into a cocked hat.  When the Tsar revealed the treaty to his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Lamsdorf “could not believe his eyes or ears.”  After studying over the problem for most of the night;  he explained to the Tsar the serious significance of the document signed in the cabin of the Polar Star.  He made it clear to his master how contrary the Björkö Treaty was to the spirit of the Franco-Russian Alliance, and how unlikely it was that France could be forced, volens nolens, into such a combination with Germany and Russia.  Nicky therefore had to write as tactfully as he could to Willy:

This document, of immense valour, ought to be strengthened, or made clearer, so as to enable all parties concerned to fulfill their duties honestly and frankly. . . .

During your stay at Björkö I did not have with me the documents signed by my Father, which clearly define the principles of the Franco-Russian Alliance. . . .

The first steps taken with the object of trying to find out whether the French Government could be induced to join our new treaty showed us that it is a difficult task, and that it will take a long time to prepare to bring it over of its free will. . . .

Therefore I think that the coming into force of the Björkö Treaty ought to be put off until we know how the French will look upon it.(128)

Great was the Kaiser’s vexation upon the receipt of this letter postponing indefinitely the Björkö Treaty.  He urgently appealed to Nicky to stand by his written agreement, arguing that the treaty did not conflict with the Franco-Russian Alliance, and that anyway,

Your Ally has notoriously left you in the lurch during the whole [Russo-Japanese] war, whereas Germany helped you in every way as far as it could, without infringing the laws of neutrality.  This puts Russia morally also under obligations to us;  do ut des.  Meanwhile the indiscretions of Delcassé have shown the world that, though France is your Ally, she nevertheless made an agreement with England and was on the verge of surprising Germany, with British help, in the middle of peace, while I was doing my best to help you and your country, her Ally ! . . . Our Moroccan business is regulated to entire satisfaction, so that the air is free for better understanding between us.  Our treaty is a very good base to build upon.  We joined hands and signed before God, who heard our vows !  I therefore think that the treaty can well come into existence. . . . What is signed is signed! and God is our testator !(129)

His appeals were unavailing.  The Kaiser’s hopes for a Continental League were permanently dashed to the ground.(130)


To return from the Kaiser’s attempt to secure a defensive alliance with Russia to his Chancellor’s Moroccan moves.  The latter are the more important, because they gave rise to the Morocco Crisis of 1905, and led to the intimate naval and military “conversations” between France and England, which are of the highest significance in the development of the system of secret alliances.

At a dinner given in his honor at the German Embassy, and again a few days later, on March 23, 1904, M. Delcassé mentioned informally to Prince Radolin the negotiations for the Anglo-French Agreement which was about to be signed on April 8.  Delcassé indicated the regions it would deal with—Newfoundland, Egypt, Morocco, Sokoto, and Siam.  As to Morocco, he repeated that “he wished above all else to maintain the status quo as long as possible.”  But he said that the weakness of the Sultan’s government endangered commerce in Morocco, and that France felt it desirable to strengthen the Sultan’s position and end the anarchy.  “France does not wish to have any special interests in Morocco,” he said, “but it is her task, in the interest of all nations carrying on trade, to put an end as far as possible to the anarchy in this neighboring state.”(131)  This was the first definite knowledge which Bülow received of the impending Anglo-French Agreement.  Aside from this informal notification and the fact that the Public Articles were soon printed in the newspapers, Germany was not officially notified of the text, nor formally consulted by France about this agreement, which threatened seriously to interfere with German commercial rights and political interests in Morocco.  Bülow felt that Germany had been slighted, and that her prestige as well as her material interests had been injured.  To be sure, he at once instructed the German newspapers to accept the news, without irritation and jealousy, as a new indication of the peaceful situation in the world.(132)  And in his much-quoted speech in the Reichstag on April 12, he attempted, as usual, to put a good face on a bad matter by appearing to welcome any agreements between France and England which removed causes of friction.  In answer to an interpellation on the subject he cautiously stated that he could hardly say much, because the English and French Ministers had not yet explained it publicly.  In a delicate matter of foreign affairs, he added,

I can only say that we have no reason to suppose that this agreement is directed against any Power whatever.  It seems to be an attempt to eliminate the points of difference between France and Great Britain by means of an amicable understanding.  From the point of view of German interests we have nothing to complain of, for we do not wish to see strained relations between Great Britain and France, if only because such a state of affairs would imperil the peace of the world, the maintenance of which we sincerely desire.  Concerning Morocco, which constitutes the essential point of the agreement, we are interested in this country, as in fact in the rest of the Mediterranean, principally from the economic point of view. ... We must protect our commercial interests in Morocco, and we shall protect them.(133)

Though Bülow certainly underestimated at first the political significance of the new Anglo-French Entente, he was far from taking it as lightly as one might be led to infer from his Reichstag speech, which was intended to quiet the fears of the German public.  In fact, it caused him and his Foreign Office assistants to do a good deal of serious thinking during the following weeks.  He and Holstein gradually reached a determination to hold to Germany’s rights under the international Morocco Treaty of 1880, and to ignore the Anglo-French Moroccan Convention until Delcassé should invite a discussion of it and give Germany an opportunity to be heard and perhaps get some equivalent compensations.  England and France, they felt, could not by separate agreement deprive third parties of their rights in Morocco.  France, now given a free hand in Morocco by England, would try to establish a French economic monopoly there, as she had done in all her other colonies.  She would “Tunisify” Morocco by “peaceful penetration.”  So Germany’s commercial rights and interests would be threatened, as the French would get exclusive;  trading and financial privileges, and a monopoly of railway and mining concessions.  Furthermore, German prestige would suffer, if she allowed Morocco to be disposed of by France and England as if Germany did not exist.  Holstein summed the matter up:  “If we let our toes be trodden upon in Morocco without saying a word, we encourage others to do the same thing elsewhere.”(134)

There were two ways by which Germany might give expression to her wishes.  The first was to tell Delcassé in a frank and friendly manner that the published Anglo-French Convention aroused concern in Germany in regard to her commercial interests, and to ask more fully what guarantees France would offer for the protection of these interests.  This was the more neighborly way.  But it was not adopted.  The second way was to maintain an impassive and sphinx-like silence, neither recognizing nor protesting against the Anglo-French Agreement, but acting as if it did not exist for Germany, since Germany had not been officially informed of the text of it.  This second plan would consist in Germany’s going step by step with France in Morocco in the matter of police measures to curb the anarchy.  If France sent warships to Tangier, Germany could do likewise.  In this way, without infringing any rights, Germany might compel Delcassé to be the first to speak and inquire as to German intentions.  The less Germany explained her steps in the newspapers, the more uncertain and uncomfortable the French would become.  Then when once Delcassé saw that Germany was in earnest, Germany ought to make concessions and abandon any thought of establishing a foothold in Morocco.  This policy was more adventurous and dangerous to the peace of Europe.  But it was the one which Bülow and Holstein adopted.(135)

But this sphinx-like waiting policy did not bear fruit as rapidly as had been hoped.  Delcassé was evidently becoming increasingly nervous, but he avoided broaching the question.  To bring him out of his silence Germany began to encourage the Sultan to resist the police measures which the French at last, in the winter of 1904-05, planned to put into effect.  Kühlmann, the German Charge d’Affaires in Tangier, had already reported that there seemed to be friction between France and England, and that it was not likely that Delcassé could count on more than Platonic support from the British.  The Dogger Bank Affair had just occurred and given rise in England to violent indignation against Russia.  Kühlmann felt sure that France was in no position to settle the fate of Morocco without Germany’s sanction.  In fact he believed M. Delcassé to be in the unenviable position of resting one leg on Russia and another on England, and thus to be in danger of falling between two stools as the tension between these two hostile countries tightened.  He had also heard that the American Vice-Consul had said to a leading Moor, “Germany has not spoken, and until then, we cannot believe that anything definite has been decided.”(136)

During the summer of 1904 the Sultan continued to answer evasively Bülow’s demands in regard to Genthe, a German citizen murdered in Morocco.  The German Minister at Tangier, therefore, wanted Germany to assert her prestige by an ultimatum to the Sultan, to be followed, if necessary, by the sending of a warship to Moroccan waters as a diplomatic demonstration.  Bülow favored it, but the Kaiser forbade it, and it did not take place.(137)  Soon afterwards Germany put aside her grievance over the Genthe murder and began to assume an attitude of friendliness to the Sultan.  This was to encourage him to resist the “Tunisification” program which Delcassé was now believed to be preparing to force upon him.  This would consist, as was, gathered in Tangier from St. René Taillandier, the head of the French Mission, mainly of three points:  the reorganization of the Sultan’s army by French instructors;  the signing by the Sultan of a treaty with the French excluding the political influence of other nations;  and the control by, France of the Sultan’s finances.  To Kühlmann this looked very much like the establishment of a virtual protectorate.(138)  Germany therefore secretly encouraged the Sultan to resist the imposition of the French program.  When he called together a patriotic Assembly of Notables from all Morocco to examine the French demands, Kühlmann approved the measure as “a skilful anti-French move.”(139)  Then, when the French Press began to demand that the Assembly of Notables be dismissed, Bülow secretly advised the contrary, believing that the proud Moroccan chieftains would declare against the French program.  He did not think it likely that the French would go to the point of trying to bluff the Sultan with a threat of war, because the new Rouvier Cabinet did not wish to risk the expenditure of men and money in a Moroccan campaign, or weaken France’s position toward Germany by transferring troops to Africa.  Bülow, however, had been careful to warn Kühlmann not to encourage the Sultan to expect that Germany would support him to the point of making war on France on his behalf.(140)


It was during these rival efforts in Morocco on the part of Kühlmann and Taillandier to win the ear of the Sultan, that Bülow suddenly decided to have the Kaiser stop on his trip from Hamburg to Corfu at Tangier and greet the Sultan.  The original schedule of the Kaiser’s trip did not provide for this, but Bülow had the Kölnische Zeitung print a despatch from Tangier announcing that the Kaiser would land there on March 31.  He then sent the clipping to the Kaiser, adding, “Your Majesty’s visit will embarrass M. Delcassé, block his plan, and benefit our economic interests in Morocco.”(141)  The Kaiser at first agreed, but when he learned from the newspapers that the Tangier population, including the English, were planning to exploit his visit against the French, he wrote Bülow:  “Telegraph at once to Tangier that it is most doubtful whether I land, and that I am only travelling incognito as a tourist;  therefore, no audiences, no receptions.”  Bülow, however, shrewdly pointed out to him that a public announcement of the visit had been made, and if it was given up, Delcassé would spread abroad the idea that it was owing to French representations in Berlin that the visit had been abandoned.  Delcassé would make a diplomatic triumph out of it.  So the Kaiser again agreed, though at Lisbon, and even at the last moment in the harbor at Tangier, he had further hesitations.  But he finally yielded to the advice of those with him, and carried out the program which had been arranged for him.(142)

In spite of the difficulties of landing in a very rough sea and the fright caused to the Kaiser’s horse by the din of Arab yelling, music, and the promiscuous discharge of fire-arms, the Kaiser’s visit passed off smoothly enough with brilliant Oriental color.  At the German Legation he received the members of the German colony and the Diplomatic Corps.  To the French representative he said that his visit meant that Germany wanted freedom of trade and equality with others;  that he wished to deal directly with the Sultan as a free and equal sovereign of an independent country, and he expected that France would respect his wishes.  To the Sultan’s Great Uncle and Plenipotentiary, he emphasized the same points, adding that such reforms as were made ought to be in accordance with the Koran an Mohammedan tradition;  that European customs ought not to be blindly adopted;  and that the Sultan would do well in this matter to heed the advice of his Notables.(143)

Bülow then proposed the calling of an international conference of all the Powers who had signed the Madrid Treaty of 1880.

He thought this the best way of settling the Moroccan question and securing the commercial interests of Germany, as well as of other nations, against the danger of Delcassé’s “Tunisification” of the country.  Here, he rightly believed, he was on solid ground.  He renewed Germany’s declaration of territorial disinterestedness, and made it clear that Germany was not seeking any special advantages for herself, but was only acting in the interest of all countries having commercial interests in Morocco.

He felt sure that he would have the support of a majority of the Powers in such a conference.  President Roosevelt was sounded and was thought to favor it, as he had always favored an “open door” policy throughout the world.(144)  Bülow hoped that Roosevelt’s attitude would have a favorable effect on England and strengthen the influence of the London Times correspondent at Tangier,(145) who had supported the German point of view.  Austria and Italy, he believed, could be counted on as allies.  Russia was too much absorbed by the defeats in Manchuria to interpose objections.  The Sultan of Morocco himself grasped eagerly at the conference idea, when it was suggested to him, as an easy way of avoiding a virtual French protectorate.  France, therefore, would be left in a minority and would have to consent to see her secret agreements with England and Spain replaced by an international settlement.  As the whole French Morocco policy had been peculiarly the work of Delcassé, the thwarting of it by the holding of an international conference would probably render his position in France insecure, especially if Germany firmly insisted on a conference.  Meanwhile, Bülow continued to maintain toward France his very disconcerting attitude of sphinx-like and impassive silence, still ignoring the Anglo-French Moroccan Agreement of 1904.(146)

As Bülow had calculated, the French in general, and Delcassé in particular, now became very uneasy.  They felt that they were being menaced by Germany, but did not understand exactly what she wanted.  Some suspected she was looking for a pretext for war, which was certainly not the case, as the recently published German documents clearly prove.  Within France there was a strong and growing party which felt that Delcassé had been pursuing an adventurous and dangerous imperialist policy;  he was involving the risk of war with the Sultan of Morocco, and even with Germany, at a time when France was unprepared from a military point of view and weakened by the defeats of her Russian ally.  This party, which included the French Ambassador in Berlin,(147) wanted to yield to Germany’s proposal for a conference, even though it meant the humiliation and the probable resignation of Delcassé as Minister of Foreign Affairs.  This also was the feeling of M. Rouvier, the Prime Minister, and eventually of a majority of the Cabinet.

On April 26, M. Rouvier dined with Prince Radolin at the German Embassy, and told him with evident emotion that under no circumstances would he wish to see trouble between Germany and France; that the French people inclined much more to the German than to the English side, though there were foolish irresponsible patriots who preached revanche.  France and Germany must stand together and preserve the peace of the world.  So long as he was at the head of affairs, this would be his purpose.  As far as Morocco was concerned, he guaranteed that there would be no change in the status quo and no limitation on the commerce of foreign nations.  “It is impossible and it would be criminal,” he concluded, with great emotion, “that the two countries which are called to come to an understanding and draw closer to one another should quarrel and that simply on account of Morocco!”  M. Rouvier’s remark had all the more significance from the fact that a few minutes before the dinner, Prince Radolin had been informed by a person in M. Rouvier’s confidence that “the Prime Minister by no means identified himself with Delcassé, since he knew that the English navy did not run on wheels” and, therefore, could not protect Paris.  From all this Prince Radolin gained the impression that M. Rouvier would not be unwilling to sacrifice his Minister of Foreign Affairs.(148)


This hint from Rouvier was sufficient to determine Bülow to work henceforth to overthrow the man whom he regarded as dangerous to Germany and to the peace of Europe.  Not only did he regard Delcassé as the incarnation of French aggressive imperialism and of the revanche spirit, but he believed that so long as he continued at the head of the French Foreign Office, with his intrigues and misrepresentations, there could be no satisfactory relations between the countries on the two sides of the Rhine.(149)

Another party in France, however, made up of a considerable group of newspapers and chauvinists, protested loudly against the German menace.  Delcassé counted on them for support, and made a strong fight for his political life.  The exciting story of this internal French conflict, as witnessed by the German representative in Paris, may now be followed in detail in the new German documents.(150)

Delcassé insisted on holding out against the German proposal for a conference.  He alleged it would put the Sultan under international tutelage, but in reality he feared it would wreck his own program.  Moreover, to yield in the face of German pressure would be an intolerable humiliation for France, as well as for himself personally.  He declared to his colleagues that Germany was “bluffing,” and he wanted to call their bluff even at the risk of war.  He would rather resign than yield.

But meanwhile his position was being undermined both at Fez and at Paris.  At the end of May the Sultan finally rejected the French demands and adopted the German proposal of inviting the Powers to an international conference.  In Paris the German Ambassador maintained a firm and unyielding attitude, and gave the impression that Germany would back up the Sultan with force if necessary.

M. Rouvier was in a most distressing position.  He feared that M. Delcassé was leading France to the brink of war.  Through a confidential agent he sounded Germany further, and gathered that if he consented to drop Delcassé from the Cabinet, and accepted the idea of a conference, the critical situation would be happily relieved and Germany would not make too great difficulties when the conference met.  He therefore finally went to President Loubet, taking M. Delcassé with him, and told the President that he was absolutely opposed to M. Delcassé’s policy.  He said that next day he would hold a Cabinet meeting, and would resign, if a majority of his colleagues did not agree with him.  Accordingly, on June 6, the Cabinet was forced to choose between M. Rouvier and M. Delcassé.  All the Ministers sided with the Prime Minister, according to information conveyed to Radolin.  M. Delcassé resigned, and M.  Rouvier took over his portfolio.

M. Delcassé’s fall did not relieve the tension so much as Rouvier had hoped.  There followed many weeks of difficult negotiations before the two countries could find a formula establishing the basis on which the conference should meet.  Meanwhile England supported every French argument so strongly, and the English Press launched such a campaign against Germany, that the Moroccan question became almost more of an Anglo-German than a Franco-German conflict.  Thanks in part to President Roosevelt’s enjoying the confidence of M. Jusserand and Baron Speck von Sternburg at Washington, he was able tactfully and skilfully to secure first a French acceptance of the conference idea, and then the basis on which it should proceed.

When the conference finally met at Algeciras in January, 1906, there still remained the fundamental clash between the Anglo-French and the German positions.  France and England pulled every possible political wire to secure decisions which would carry out the intention of the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 and give France control.  Germany pulled with equal energy, but less success, to secure equal rights for all nations and the establishment of a control in Morocco which should be genuinely international and not purely French.  In sketching the development of the system of secret alliances, it is unnecessary to go into these Algeciras intrigues.  Suffice it to say that Germany won in principle, but France won in practical results.  The main importance of the First Morocco Crisis lies in the fact that from the outset it strengthened the ties between France and England, and led to new secret understandings between them.

Bülow’s Morocco policy seemed to have resulted in a brilliant diplomatic victory.  The Kaiser, who had had no great share personally in bringing it about nor even full knowledge of its progress, accepted it with pleasure.  He signalized it, not very tactfully as the French felt, by raising Bülow to the rank of Prince the day after Delcassé’s fall, and by bestowing a decoration upon Betzold, the secret go-between in the unofficial negotiations between Rouvier and Radolin.  Bülow had asked that Betzold be given the Order of the Red Eagle, “Third Class”;  the Kaiser ordered it raised to “Second Class,” “because he saved us from war.”(151)

Blissfully oblivious of the psychological effect such a diplomatic humiliation as Delcassé’s fall was bound to have on a proud people like the French, to say nothing of the impropriety of meddling in the internal politics of a Great Power, the Kaiser seems sincerely to have regarded Delcassé’s departure from the French Foreign Office as really opening the way, not only for better relations with France, but even for a new era in the system of alliances.  The French, he believed, had given evidence that they were no longer minded to pursue the revanche policy which Delcassé had personified.  “France,” he wrote to Bülow from Björkö, “refused to take up our challenge.”  And the Tsar had agreed that it was “quite clear that the Alsace-Lorraine question is closed once for all, thank God.”(152)  It opened the way, he hoped, for the success of his Björkö effort for a defensive alliance with Russia, in which France would be included as soon as the Russo-Japanese War was ended.  He and President Roosevelt had already taken energetic steps to bring about the peace negotiations which soon took place at Portsmouth.(153)  The Kaiser, therefore, was in a great hurry to tell Roosevelt of the Björkö meeting, and directed the following telegram to him:

The Emperor and I have concluded an agreement to lend each other mutual help in case any European power should attack one of us, and France is to be cosignatory to it.  In fact Germany enters the dual-alliance—originally concluded against it—as third party.  It being the leading power of the triple-alliance, the latter and the dual-alliance—instead of glaring at each other for [no] purpose at all—join hands and the peace of Europe is guaranteed.  This is the fruit of our understanding with France about Morocco, the fact, upon which you sent me so kind compliments.  I am sure, that this grouping of powers is leading to a general “detente,” will be of great use in enabling you to fulfil the great mission of peace, which Providence has entrusted to your hands for the good of the world.(154)

In reality, however, Bülow’s Morocco policy of 1905 was one of those victories which are worse than a defeat.  In seeking to preserve the independence of the Sultan and the open door in Morocco by his sphinx-like policy of studied silence, which gave the impression of a menace, all the more alarming because of its mysteriousness, Bülow had been striving for the right thing in the wrong way.  In trying to frighten Rouvier into ousting his Minister of Foreign Affairs, he had been egregiously guilty of aiming at the wrong thing in the wrong way.  The incident made a painful impression on the French.  It contributed not a little to the ultimate revival of a new determination on the part of some of her leading men that they would rather risk war than accept another such humiliation.  M. Poincaré, for instance, in his public speeches and his writings never tires of referring to the “brutality” and “odious violence” of Germany’s bellicose diplomatic methods.  More fatal still for Germany, it helped rouse the British Government to enter into those naval and military “conversations” which brought England into the World War and thus made certain Germany’s ultimate catastrophic defeat.


As the Franco-Russian Entente of 1891 was followed by a secret Military Convention, so the Anglo-French Entente of 1904 was soon supplemented by momentous but very secret naval and military arrangements, or, as Sir Edward Grey euphemistically calls them, “conversations.”  These lacked, at first, the rigid and binding character of the Franco-Russian Alliance, but they gradually came to be, in fact if not in form, a most vital link in the system of secret alliances.  In spite of the meticulous nicety with which Sir Edward Grey was careful to state that “England’s hands were free,” and that “it would be left for Parliament to decide,” he allowed the French to hope confidently that, in case Germany caused a European war, England would take the field on the side of the French.  He permitted the English and French Naval and Military Staffs to elaborate technical arrangements for joint war action, which became the basis of the strategic plans of both countries.  These came to involve mutual obligations which were virtually as entangling as a formal alliance.  It is always dangerous to allow the military authorities of two countries to develop inter-dependent strategic plans.  They come to make arrangements which, by their very nature, necessarily involve obligations which are virtually binding upon the political authorities.  Here is where Sir Edward Grey’s great responsibility and mistake began.  It is therefore important to note in some detail the origin, character, and consequences of these naval and military “conversations.”  They reach back in part to the time of his predecessor at the Foreign Office, Lord Lansdowne.(155)

In Art. IX of the Anglo-French Convention of 1904, England had promised merely diplomatic support to France in connection with Morocco.  But after the Kaiser’s visit to Tangier, the English Press and the English Government, became obsessed with the idea that Germany was endeavoring to break up the Entente by bullying France.  It jarred the sporting spirit of the British to see France menaced because of her new friendship with England, at a moment when France’s ally was being so disastrously defeated in;  the Far East.(156)  The English were also irritated by the  rapidly growing German navy, as well as by the under-current of political and commercial rivalry which had existed for some years in Africa, Turkey, and elsewhere in the world.  Level-headed observers in the German Embassy at London, like Count Metternich and Freiherr von Eckardstein, who were not at all blinded by Anglophobia, reported the anti-German feeling in the newspapers and in society as dangerously strong.(157)  They found the British Press, in the Morocco question, “more French than the French.”  They warned the German Government that if war arose over Morocco, “there can be no doubt that England will stand unconditionally and actively on the French side, and go against Germany, even with enthusiasm.”(158)

In accord with this public feeling, Lord Lansdowne and M. Paul Cambon entered into discussions for an exchange of notes, by which England should “take a step further,” and offer the French something more substantial than mere diplomatic support.  Mr. Gooch, on the basis of information supplied to him by the British Foreign Office, implies that the initiative came from France,(159) while M. Poincaré, on the basis of Paul Cambon’s reports, implies that it came from Lord Lansdowne.(160)  From these discussions the French gathered that Lord Lansdowne was ready to offer agreement, veiled from Parliament and the public under the form of an exchange of notes, to exchange views in common—an agreement which might lead to a real alliance.(161)  As M. Cambon wrote, later on, in April and September, 1912:

I know that the British Government does not have the right to bind itself without the authorization of Parliament ;  but there is no need of a duplicate agreement, of a treaty drawn up and signed [pas besoin d’un accord en partie double, de traité signé et paraphré];  we could content ourselves with an exchange of declarations.  This is what we would have done in 1905 with Lord Lansdowne, if the resignation of M. Delcassé had not cut short our conversations.(162)

Would it not be possible [said Cambon to Grey] to return, at least partially, to the proposals of Lord Lansdowne, to bind ourselves, for example, to exchange views in common [de se converter] in case of menacing complications and to settle that, in such a hypothesis, we should seek together the means most suited to protect us mutually from the peril of war?  In a word, if, faced with this peril, we judge the best method to be an alliance and a military convention, we will employ it.(163)

Now it is interesting to observe how, on the one hand Lord Lansdowne’s proposal encouraged M. Delcassé’s hopes and were given an extravagant interpretation by him;  and how, on the other, its existence was reported to, or suspected by, the Germans, and then flatly denied by the British.

The Lansdowne-Cambon negotiations seem to have advanced to the point where the notes to be exchanged had already been drawn up and transmitted in written form to M. Delcassé for his final approval.(164)  This was just at the moment when the Morocco Crisis was at its height, and he was fighting to persuade his colleagues to reject the German proposal for an international conference.  He interpreted the Lansdowne proposal as an assurance of a British alliance and armed support.  He used it as an argument to try to persuade President Loubet and the Cabinet to stand by him in refusing the German demands.  But, as we have seen, the Rouvier Cabinet and President Loubet declined to take the risk of war with Germany, and M. Delcassé resigned.(165)

In October, 1905, the Matin published a series of revelations concerning the events of M. Delcassé’s overthrow.  They included the startling assertion, as coming from Delcassé, that he had been promised by the British Government that, in case of a German attack on France, the English fleet would be mobilized to seize the Kiel Canal and would land 100,000 men in Schleswig-Holstein.  The revelations made a sensation at the time, and have remained ever since something of a puzzle to historians, inasmuch as the British have always denied that they made any offer of alliance or armed assistance to France.  Mr. Gooch suggests that Delcassé’s mistakenly wide interpretation of Britain’s attitude may be explained by the probability that King Edward VII, during a visit to Paris, intimated to the French Minister that, in case of need, England would intervene on the French side.(166)  One of the editors of Die Grosse Politik suggests that the offer came, not from Lord Lansdowne, but from Sir Francis Bertie.(167)  This British Ambassador in Paris was certainly strongly pro-French, but it is hardly likely that he would have taken so serious a step without authorization, and there is no convincing evidence that he did so.  Possibly the idea of landing 100,000 men in Holstein came from Sir John Fisher.  It was the kind of strategy which he often urged and commended, and accords with his advice to King Edward in 1908:  “We should ‘Copenhagen’ the German Fleet at Kiel a la Nelson.”(168)  Admiral Fisher’s idea may have been handed on to the French by King Edward, or it may have come to them as a result of the direct naval “conversations” which the French and English Staffs were already carrying on in 1905.(169)  Sir John Fisher was a very lovable old sea dog, with all the freshness of the salt spray which he loved so well, but he had an indiscreet habit of expressing himself promiscuously.(170)  At dinner in December, 1905, he told Colonel Repington that “he was prepared, on his own responsibility, to order our fleets to go wherever they might be required.  He told me that he had seen on paper Lord Lansdowne’s assurances M. Cambon, and that they were quite distinct in their tenor.  He had shown them to Sir Edward Grey, and declared that they were part of the engagements taken over from the last Government, and would hold good until denounced.”(171)  It is not at all unlikely that he conveyed to the French the prospect of British naval support and a British diversion upon the German rear in Holstein or Pomerania.

At any rate, it seems clear that M. Delcassé greatly exaggerated the nature of Lord Lansdowne’s offer, whatever assurances he may have received from other high English sources.  Perhaps, the wish being father to the thought, he really believed that Lord Lansdowne was holding out the offer of a British alliance.  Perhaps he was deliberately overstating its character, in order to persuade his hesitating colleagues to stand firm against Germany.  In either case, here was a dangerous example of the way Frenchmen of his character would misinterpret, either unconsciously or deliberately, proposals contemplating something more than mere diplomatic support.  It should have been a warning to Sir Edward Grey of the danger of permitting the naval and military “conversations,” and of the later exchange of notes with M. Cambon in 1912—the danger of arousing expectations and involving obligations at Paris that England would come in on the side of France in case of a European war.

It is equally interesting to note the German suspicions of an Anglo-French alliance,(172) and the flat denials on the part of the British.  On June 16, 1905, Lord Lansdowne told the German Ambassador that “the news that England had offered France an offensive and defensive alliance was completely fictitious [vollkommen erfunden].  Since Lord Lansdowne rejected the alliance rumor with the greatest decisiveness and without equivocation, as made out of air,” the Ambassador said he would regard the subject as settled.  He did not think that Lord Lansdowne, after such a downright declaration, was capable of trying to deceive.(173)

But a few days later, Count Metternich received further information, apparently coming through confidential sources from M. Rouvier himself, that England had promised naval aid to France.  He therefore asked Lord Lansdowne about it, tactfully saying that he did so unofficially, without instructions from Berlin:

Lord Lansdowne replied that I knew that diplomatic support was assured to the French Government within the corners of the Anglo-French Agreement.  This has the natural result that the questions which the Agreement touched would be discussed by the two Governments in friendly fashion, and the most suitable ways and means would be considered to maintain unimpaired the various points of the Agreement.  The question of an alliance with France, however, had never been discussed in the English Cabinet, nor had an English alliance ever been offered to the French Government either in recent times or earlier.  However, he would not conceal from me that in the eventuality, which he however regarded as wholly out of the question, that Germany should light-heartedly let loose a war against France, one could not foresee how far public opinion in England would drive the Government to the support of France.(174)

Similarly, in October, 1905, Lord Lansdowne’s Under Secretary, Sir Thomas Sanderson, felt obliged by the Matin revelations to reiterate the denial:

The English Government has never held out to the French Government the prospect of military aid.  A possible rupture between France and Germany has never been even discussed by the Government, and the promise of landing 100,000 men in Schleswig-Holstein belongs to the realm of myth. ... [Sanderson said] Perhaps French imagination played some part in this.  One could well imagine Delcassé had said to his colleagues that he was convinced that England would stand beside France in case of a Franco-German war.  This subjective conception, supposing Delcassé had it, was however very different from an English promise or an English offer of assistance.  These had never been made, and, as he had said, the eventuality of a war between Germany and France had never even been discussed on the English side.(175)

In view of the seriousness with which the British Government viewed the Morocco Crisis in the early summer of 1905, it is difficult to believe this last statement of Sanderson that “the eventuality of a war between Germany and France had never even been discussed on the English side.”  Probably these sweeping denials were as correct in letter, and as misleading in spirit, as the similar denials made in Parliament later by Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey after the Grey-Cambon exchange of notes in 1912.

On December 11, 1905, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman formed a Cabinet, in which Sir Edward Grey replaced Lord Lansdowne at the Foreign Office.(176)  Viscount Grey tells us in his engaging and charmingly written retrospect,(177) no doubt with perfect sincerity, that he accepted the post with reluctance.  It brought no joy to him or to his wife, for it meant exile from his home in the country, from his fishing, from his walks in the woods.  Perhaps his reluctance may unconsciously have been in part owing to his lack of experience, his inability to speak any foreign language, and also to a sense of inadequacy for the exacting work of the Foreign Office.  Perhaps also, in composing his memoirs, his realization of the failure of his long and sincere efforts to preserve the peace of Europe may have led him unconsciously in later years to exaggerate the reluctance with which he took office in 1905.  But, as he tells us, he could not justify to his constituents or to his friends a refusal to take up the work.  He seemed as well qualified as any one in the Liberal Party.

One of the first tasks which claimed his attention was to quiet the fears of the French.  The Algeciras Conference was about to meet.  Germany was thought to be pursuing a threatening policy, and the French were nervous to know whether the new Liberal Government would sustain the assurances of Lord Lansdowne, or go even further.  On January 10 and 15, 1906, Cambon asked Grey the pressing question whether the British Government “would be prepared to render France armed assistance,” in case of German aggression, and whether it would sanction the continuation of the naval and military conversations.  Grey replied that he could not at the moment make any promises, as the Ministers were all dispersed, taking part in the elections.  He could only state as his personal opinion adopting the attitude of Lord Lansdowne, that if France were to be attacked by Germany in consequence of a question arising out of the Morocco Agreement, public opinion in England would be strongly moved in favor of France As to the naval and military conversations which had been going on, the former had been direct between the French and English Naval Staffs.  They were already on a satisfactory basis, having been conducted on the English side by Sir John Fisher.  But the plans for military cooperation were less satisfactory, being at the moment in the hands of an unofficial intermediary.  Between January 10 and 15, however, Sir Edward Grey had managed to see the Secretary for War, Mr. Haldane, at an election meeting in Northumberland.  Mr. Haldane had authorized Grey to say that these military communications might now proceed directly and officially between General Grierson and the French Military Attache, but it must be understood that these communications did not commit either Government.(178)

The story of the new turn now given to the military conversations has been interestingly told by the intermediary in question, Colonel Repington, the military correspondent of the London Times.(179)  Although Anglo-German tension was relaxed at the moment and there seemed to be a prospect of better relations between the two countries,(180) Colonel Repington wrote an alarm article in the Times of December 27, which gave a warning of what he supposed to be Germany’s threatening intentions.  Next day, in response to it, he received a visit from Major Huguet, the French Military Attaché, dined with him, and was told that the French Embassy people were greatly worried about the general situation.  Sir Edward Grey, who had just taken over the Foreign Office, had not renewed the assurances given by Lord Lansdowne, and M. Cambon was at the moment absent in France.  Major Huguet said he knew the British navy was ready, and he trusted it, but he did not know what it would do to cooperate in case of trouble.  The French Army also was ready, but he feared the Germans might attack suddenly, probably through Belgium.  He therefore wanted the British to stiffen the Belgians, if war came.  Colonel Repington at once reported this by letter to Sir Edward Grey.  A couple of days later he discussed the whole situation at dinner with Sir John Fisher, who said he had perfect confidence in the navy and was prepared to order it to go wherever it might be required.  On New Year’s Day Repington received the reply from Grey:  “I am interested to hear of your conversation with the French Military Attaché.  I can only say that I have not receded from anything Lord Lansdowne said to the French, and have no hesitation in affirming it.”(181)  Colonel Repington then dined with General Grierson, Head of the Operations Bureau, who told him that, on the assumption that Germany violated Belgium, England could put two divisions into Namur by the thirteenth day of mobilizations, and the Field Army, such as it then was, into Antwerp by the thirty-second day.  After getting the approval of various officials, including Sir George Clark, Secretary of the Imperial Defense Committee, Colonel Repington saw Major Huguet again, and gave him a short list of questions to be submitted to the French General Staff.  Major Huguet hurried to France and soon brought back a set of interesting and satisfactory answers which he was able to show to Colonel Repington on January 12.(182)  With the authorization of Haldane and Grey these then became the basis for official discussions direct between the French and British military authorities through Major Huguet and General Grierson.

Sir Edward Grey returned to London on January 26 and found M. Cambon anxiously waiting for a more definite statement as to whether France could count upon British assistance.  After talking further with Haldane and the Prime Minister, but without accepting the latter’s suggestion that the statement to be made to Cambon should be approved in a meeting of the whole Cabinet, Grey gave Cambon his momentous answer on January 31.  The long summary of it which he sent to Bertie in Paris shows clearly enough its double character.  With one hand he held out what he withdrew with the other.  He encouraged the French to expect aid, if needed; but he made no promises of armed support and reserved liberty of action.  He told M. Cambon encouragingly that since their last interviews on January 10 and 15,

A good deal of progress has been made.  Our military and naval authorities had been in communication with the French, and I assumed that all preparations were ready, so that, if a crisis arose, no time would have been lost for want of a formal engagement. ... I had taken an opportunity of expressing to Count Metternich my personal opinion, which I understood Lord Lansdowne had also expressed to him [Cambon] as a personal opinion, that, in the event of an attack upon France by Germany arising out of our Morocco Agreement, public feeling in England would be so strong that no British Government could remain neutral.(183)

Sir Edward Grey also pointed out to M. Cambon the possible disadvantages to France of making a more formal statement of Anglo-French relations:  at present, under the Agreement of 1904, France had an absolutely free hand in Morocco, with the promise of English diplomatic support;  but, if England extended her promise beyond this, and made a formal alliance which might involve her in war, he was sure the British Cabinet would say that England must from time to time be consulted with regard to French policy in Morocco, and, if need be, be free to ask for alterations in French policy to avoid war.  Was not the present situation so satisfactory that it was better not to alter it by a more formal engagement ?

M. Cambon was not convinced by this.  He pointed out that if the Conference broke up, and Germany placed herself behind the Sultan, “war might arise so suddenly that the need for action would be a question not of days, but of minutes, and that, if it was necessary for the British Government to consult, and to wait for manifestations of English public opinion, it might be too late to be of use.”(184)

To M. Cambon’s request for “some form of assurance which might be given in conversation,” Grey replied that he could give no such formal assurance,

without submitting it to the Cabinet and getting their authority, and that were I to submit the question to the Cabinet I was not sure that they would say that this was too serious a matter to be dealt with by a verbal engagement but must be put in writing.  As far as their good disposition towards France was concerned, I should have no hesitation in submitting such a question to the present Cabinet.  Some of those in the Cabinet who were most attached to peace were those also who were the best friends of France;  but, though I had no doubt about the good disposition of the Cabinet, I did think there would be difficulties in putting such an undertaking in writing.  It could not be given unconditionally, and it would be difficult to describe the conditions.  It amounted, in fact, to this; that, if any change was made, it must be to change the “Entente” into a defensive alliance.  That was a great and formal change, and I again submitted to M. Cambon as to whether the force of circumstances bringing England and France together was not stronger than any assurance in words which could be given at this moment.  I said that it might be that the pressure of circumstances—the activity of Germany, for instance —might eventually transform the “Entente” into a defensive alliance between ourselves and France, but I did not think that the pressure of circumstances was so great as to demonstrate the necessity of such a change yet.  I also told him that, should such a defensive alliance be formed, it was too serious a matter to be kept secret from Parliament.  The Government could conclude it without the assent of Parliament, but it would have to be published afterwards.  No British Government could commit the country to such a serious thing and keep the engagement secret.(185)

When M. Cambon, in summing up, dwelt upon Greys expression of personal opinion that “in the event of an attack by Germany upon France, no British Government could remain neutral,” Grey was careful to point out that “a personal opinion was not a thing upon which, in so serious a matter, a policy could be founded,” and added:  “Much would depend as to the manner in which the war broke out between Germany and France.  I did not think people in England would be prepared to fight to put France in possession of Morocco.  They would say that France should wait for opportunities and be content to take time, and that it was unreasonable to hurry matters to the point of war.  But if, on the other hand, it appeared that the war was forced upon France by Germany to break up the Anglo-French ‘Entente,’ public opinion would undoubtedly be very strong on the side of France. ... If the French Government desired it, it would be possible at any time to reopen the conversation.  Events might change, but, as things were at present, I did not think it necessary to press the question of a defensive alliance.”(186)

This long and critical interview, which we have tried to summarize without bias or essential omissions, is significant for several reasons.  In the first place, it reveals Sir Edward Grey’s very strong sympathy with France, his evident desire to go as far as possible in giving her diplomatic support, but at the same time his unwillingness to make any formal engagement, written or verbal, which might bind England to go to war.  Such an engagement must be sanctioned by Parliament, but it was very unlikely that Parliament would assent.  Moreover, it would greatly increase the irritation between England and Germany.  He gave France as much encouragement as he could, without going to the point where he thought he ought to inform the Cabinet and Parliament.  He was satisfied in his own mind that he had avoided changing the Entente into a formal alliance.  As he wrote to his wife next day, in a letter which she was never to read on account of the carriage accident which caused her sudden and tragic death:  “I had tremendously difficult talk and work yesterday, and very important.  I do not know that I did well, but I did honestly.”(187)

In the second place, Sir Edward approved and confirmed the official military and naval conversations between the British and French Staffs.  He assumed, as he told M. Cambon, “that all preparations are ready.”  As will be indicated; further on, Haldane at once set very actively to work to reorganize the British Army and prepare for its cooperation with the French.  These preparations continued right down to the outbreak of war in 1914, and inevitably came to involve England in increasingly binding obligations of honor to support France in case of a European war arising out of any question whatsoever—not merely one arising out of the Morocco question—provided that France did not appear to be the active aggressor.  Probably Sir Edward;  Grey did not at the time see the full implications and danger of these “conversations.”  But his Prime Minister saw them.  For we know that Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman wrote to Lord Ripon on February 2, a couple of days after Grey’s talk with Cambon:  “Cambon appears satisfied.  But I do not like the stress laid upon joint preparations.  It comes very close to an honorable undertaking, and it will be known on both sides of the Rhine.  But let us hope for the best.”(188)  He showed a true prophetic instinct, but it was submerged and lost to sight under the secret activities of the military authorities and the Foreign Secretary’s strange silence or ignorance in regard to them for the next five years.  It was not until 1912 that circumstances caused the military and naval “conversations” to be revealed to the whole Cabinet, and not until Grey’s speech on August 3, 1914, that Parliament and the British public had any inkling of them.

In the third place, neither Sir Edward Grey’s statement to M. Cambon, nor his approval of the naval and military conversations, was made with the knowledge and sanction of the Cabinet.  The Prime Minister had written him on January 21:  “Would you like the answer to the French to be confirmed by a Cabinet before it is given?”  He suggested the 30th, the 31st, or the 1st of February.  Viscount Grey in his memoirs says he has no recollection or record of any answer to this question.(189)  His only explanations of why no Cabinet sanction was given are rather feeble:  the Ministers were dispersed seeing to the elections, and the earliest date suggested by the Prime Minister was January 30, and “the French had been kept long enough waiting for a reply.”(190)  But, as his interview with Cambon did not take place until the 31st, this is hardly a satisfactory explanation.  Moreover, a Cabinet meeting was actually held on this very day.(191)  It would have therefore been perfectly easy for him to have pursued the proper course of consulting the Cabinet before talking with Cambon, or at least of informing his colleagues immediately afterwards of what he had said to the French and of the naval and military conversations which were already going on.  But he did not do so.  Why ?  One can only conjecture as to this strange aspect of his psychology.  Possibly he felt that his talks with Campbell-Bannerman and Haldane after reaching London gave sufficient sanction.  Possibly he considered that he was merely continuing Lord Lansdowne’s policy, and that a continuation of policy in a matter like foreign affairs, which is not ordinarily supposed to be radically altered by change in parties, did not need to be brought before a new Cabinet.  Perhaps he feared that the more cautious and pacifically inclined members of the Cabinet, like Mr. Morley and Lord Loreburn, and even the Prime Minister himself, would not be willing to go as far as he himself did in encouraging the French and in making joint military preparations.  Throughout his memoirs and in his dealings with the Germans, as revealed in the new German documents, one finds that Sir Edward Grey had a very strong undercurrent of sympathy with the French and a correspondingly strong suspicion of Germany’s intentions.  Probably therefore he preferred to be free to give Cambon his personal friendly views, in a way that he might not have been able to do, if a Cabinet had discussed the subject and adopted a formal statement of policy which would have tied his hands.

At any rate he concealed the matter from the majority of his colleagues in a way which seems hardly to accord with the seeming honesty and frankness of his memoirs.  He entered upon that slippery path of thinking that he could encourage the French with joint military preparations, and yet keep his “hands free”—a fatal double policy which he pursued for eight years.  After the War, with more experience and with a realization of the seriousness of the criticisms of men like Lord Loreburn, he admits in his memoirs, rather sadly and regretfully, “I think there should have been a Cabinet.”(192)  In this he is right.

Lord Haldane has left an account of these secret preparations for military cooperation with France.  He has told how, in the midst of the General Election of January, 1906, he “at once went to London, summoned the heads of the British General Staff, and saw the French Military Attaché, Colonel Huguet, a man of sense and ability.  I became aware at once that there was a new army problem.  It was, how to mobilize and concentrate at a place of assembly to be opposite the Belgian frontier, a force calculated as adequate (with the assistance of Russian pressure in the East) to make up for the inadequacy of the French armies for their great task of defending the entire French frontier from Dunkirk down to Belfort, or even farther south, if Italy.  should join the Triple Alliance in an attack.”(193)  He began therefore at once to organize a British expeditionary force which should cooperate with the French to solve this problem.  Impressed with the importance of high morale and quality in modern warfare, he believed that even a small force, if sufficiently long and closely trained, added to French and Russian troops, would be able to, defeat any German attempt to invade and dismember France.  A close investigation showed that it was not possible under the existing conditions to put in the field more than about 80,000 men, and these only after an interval of over two months.(194)  The French naturally pointed out that so slow-moving a machine would be of little use to them;  they might be destroyed before it arrived.  In their interests, therefore, Haldane had to make “a complete revolution in the organization of the British Army.”  He accomplished this by the end of 1910.  He made it possible “rapidly to mobilize, not only 100,000, but 160,000 men;  to transport them, with the aid of the navy, to a place of concentration which had been settled between the Staffs of France and Britain;  and to have them at their appointed place within twelve days.”(195)

In view of Lord Haldane’s own statements of how he saw Colonel Huguet, personally authorized the direct negotiations between the French and British Staffs represented by Huguet and Grierson, and at once reorganized the British Army for coöperation with the French, a sinister light is thrown on the obliquity of the British secret preparations and the denials of their existence, by a statement which Lord Haldane himself made to the German Ambassador in London.  It was occasioned by a French deputy who had inconsiderately interpellated M. Clemenceau as to the existence of an Anglo-French military convention.  M. Clemenceau had replied evasively, seeming to admit a naval but not a military, convention.  This had naturally roused German fears and suspicions, especially in view of Sir John Fisher’s sweeping reorganization of the British Navy, his beginning of the building of dreadnoughts,(196) and the threatening speech of one of the civil Lords of the Admiralty, Mr. Arthur Lee, that the British Fleet would know how to strike the first blow before the other party had read the news in the papers.  When questioned by Count Metternich in regard to Clemenceau’s declaration, Lord Haldane made a sweeping denial which it is difficult to reconcile with the facts.  Taken in conjunction with the secret Anglo-French “conversations” and preparations which had been going on for more than a year, it made an impression in Berlin which may be seen from the Kaiser’s marginal notes.  According to Count Metternich’s report:

Mr. Haldane replied most definitely that a military convention between France and England did not exist, and had not existed;  and also that no preparations had been made for the conclusion of one.  Whether non-committal conversations between English and French military persons had taken place or not, he did not know [Kaiser: “Impudence!  He, the Minister of a Parliamentary country, not supposed to know that!  He lies!”].  At any rate, no English officer has been authorized by the English Government [Kaiser “Indeed !  He did it himself !”] to prepare military arrangements with a French military person for the eventuality of war.  It was possible that a General Staff Officer of one country might have expressed himself to the General Staff Officer of another country as to war-like eventualities.  He, the Minister of War, however, knew nothing of this [Kaiser: “Magnificent lies!”].(197)

In the course of these Anglo-French joint military preparations, British and French Staff Officers thoroughly reconnoitered the ground upon which their armies were to fight in Belgium and in France.  Sir Henry Wilson, Director of Military Operations, spent his holidays going all over it on his bicycle.  The whole wall of his London office was covered by a gigantic map of Belgium, indicating the practicable roads which armies might follow.  “He was deeply in the secrets of the French General Staff.  For years he had been laboring with one object, that, if war came, we should act immediately on the side of France.  He was sure that war would come sooner or later.”(198)

Not only the French, but the Russians also, soon came to count upon Haldane’s Expeditionary Force as a certain and essential part of their strategic plans in case of a war against Germany.  This is significantly indicated, at least as early as 1911, in the secret report, since published by the Bolshevists, of the annual conference between the heads of the French and Russian Staffs.  In August, 1911, at Krasnoe Selo, General Dubail was able to assure his Russian colleagues, as a matter of course, “that the French army would concentrate as quickly as the German army, and that from the twelfth day it would be in a position to take the offensive against Germany, with the aid of the English army on its left wing,” that is, on the Belgian frontier.(199)


An Anglo-Russian Entente, settling the long-standing sources of friction between the two countries in the Middle East, was an obvious complement to the Anglo-French Entente.  It appears to have been discussed between King Edward VII and M. Izvolski during the Russo-Japanese War, and to have been warmly received by him and some of the Russian Liberals, though not by the Tsar and the Russian reactionaries and militarists.(200)

Izvolski, though occupying at the time the comparatively unimportant diplomatic post at Copenhagen, waw already ambitiously counting upon promotion to a more important position, either as ambassador at one of the great capitals of Europe, or as Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.  He was naturally flattered to be made the recipient by King Edward of a proposal of such far-reaching possibilities.  Henceforth he made it one of the cardinal aims of his policy.  He saw that Russia was greatly weakened by her war with Japan (which he declares he had tried to avert), and that the Franco-Russian Alliance had consequently lost weight in the balance as compared with the Triple Alliance.  Both Russia and the Franco-Russian combination needed the strengthening which would come from closer relations with the greatest sea-power in the world.

Izvolski believed that Russia was subject to two serious dangers.  One was a possible renewal of trouble with Japan, who had made humiliating demands at Portsmouth and was suspected of preparing for a new struggle in the Far East.(201)  Russia needed long years of peace to recover from the effects of the war, and the only method to assure it was to make certain that the Japanese would remain quiet.  The best way to accomplish this was to come to an understanding with them by a virtual partition of interests in Manchuria by a secret treaty, though publicly both were pledged to an observance of the “open door.”  The natural bridge between Russia and Japan was England, Japan’s ally since 1902.  A rapprochement with England would facilitate a sincere reconciliation with Japan, fortify Russia’s position as an ally of France, and give a new and more solid basis to the somewhat weakened Franco-Russian Alliance.

The other danger for Russia was that trouble might develop with England as a result of the long-standing conflict of interests in the Near and Middle East.  Men still remembered the Crimean War, the strained situation when the British Fleet threatened the Dardanelles in 1878, and the Pendjeh incident which nearly led to war between the two countries in 1885.  More recently the Dogger Bank Affair and other incidents of the Russo-Japanese War had inflamed popular feeling in both countries.  But a conflict with England would throw Russia into the arms of Germany, and this would endanger the Franco-Russian Alliance which was the foundation rock of Russian policy, in spite of the disappointments which both allies had suffered in connection with it.  On the other hand, if Russia could wipe the slate clean of her rivalries and quarrels with Great Britain, this would greatly strengthen her own international position.  It would allow her to return to an active forward policy in the Balkans after being checkmated in the Far East.  It would also be welcomed by France, who would be glad to see her ally and her new friend on better terms with one another.  An Anglo-Russian Entente and a reconciliation with Japan might tend toward the formation of quadruple combination which would quite outmatch the Triple Alliance and could hold in check Austrian ambitions in the Balkans and German ambitions in Turkey.  This therefore was the program which Izvolski determined to carry out upon taking up his new position of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs in May, 1906.

King Edward and Sir Edward Grey were also favorable to an understanding with Russia.  The first Morocco crisis and the growing German navy had filled them with suspicions of Germany’s intentions and with the desire to remove the danger of Russian enmity in case of possible trouble with Germany.  Sir Charles Hardinge was another ardent advocate of a rapprochement with Russia.  He had been British Ambassador at St. Petersburg since 1904, but was recalled in the fall of 1905 to become Permanent Under Secretary in place of Sir Thomas Sanderson.  He took pains to explain in St. Petersburg and London that his recall would afford him an opportunity to work with further success for close Anglo-Russian relations.(202)  Henceforth he was to exert a strong pro-Russian influence on Sir Edward Grey in the direction of creating the group of Powers which came to be known as the Triple Entente.  In this he was actively seconded by Sir Arthur Nicolson who went to St. Petersburg in his place.(203)

Within a few months after Izvolski took over the Foreign Office from Count Lamsdorf, the Anglo-Russian negotiations were well under way.  In passing through Berlin on October 29, 1906, Izvolski admitted that, owing to fears of Japan’s aggressive intentions, he was compelled to seek an understanding with England concerning Tibet, Afghanistan, and Persia.(204)  Grey and Nicolson worked out draft proposals.(205) These provided for the partition of Persia into spheres of influence.  This idea at first met with no approval in St. Petersburg.  Russian imperialists demanded that Persia come entirely under Russian influence, and that Russia must build a trans-Persian railway and press on to the Persian Gulf.  But Izvolski believed such an aggressive policy was impossible of realization and likely to lead to a conflict with England.  So the English proposal for a partition of Persia into English and Russian spheres of influence was adopted.(206)  In March, 1907, the visit of a Russian fleet to Portsmouth foreshadowed the coming Anglo-Russian agreement.  Upon King Edward’s invitation, a deputation of Russian officers and sailors visited London, were entertained as guests at the Admiralty, and given a special show in their honor at the Hippodrome.  After a banquet in the evening, there was a gala performance for them at the Alhambra, attended by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir John Fisher, and Sir Edward Grey.  “It has certainly never happened before,” commented the German Ambassador, “that an English Minister of Foreign Affairs has gone to a variety theatre to greet foreign guests.”(207)

But, as in the case of the Franco-Russian negotiations two decades earlier, the divergence in political ideals on the Seine and the Neva had delayed an understanding, so now the divergence between English liberalism and Russian autocracy hampered the conclusion of a settlement.  The Russian reactionaries and militarists, and also the Tsar, were at first opposed to a rapprochement with England.  Izvolski later told Sir Edward Grey that he eventually had great difficulty in getting it accepted.(208)  In England likewise the criticism in the Liberal Press of Russian pogroms, the oppressive character of Tsarist absolutism, the suspension of the Duma, and the misunderstanding and friction caused by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s phrase, “La Duma est morte;  vive la Duma!”, did not facilitate the work of Grey, Hardinge and Nicolson.(209) Nevertheless, the gulf was eventually bridged, owing apparently more to the eagerness and pressure of the British, rather than the Russian, Foreign Office.(210)

Another cause of delay was the English desire that Russia should come to a satisfactory reconciliation with Japan.  Grey held it important that the Russo-Japanese and Anglo-Russian negotiations should proceed simultaneously and be concluded practically pari passu.(211)  As it happened, the Russian agreement with Japan was finally signed on July 30, 1907, a month before that with England.  It included a mutual declaration to respect the status quo and the rights of one another in the Far East, and a recognition of the independence and territorial integrity of China and the principle of the “open door.”(212)  These laudable clauses were made known to Germany, but there were evidently secret supplementary clauses, because the secret Russo-Japanese Treaty of 1910 speaks of the demarcation of spheres of interest in Manchuria “as defined in the supplementary article to the Secret Treaty of 1907.”(213)  And in reality an astonished and disillusioned world, which had counted upon Russo-Japanese rivalry to see to it that the “open door” was preserved in Manchuria, soon discovered that the two empires which had so recently engaged in deadly struggle, had found it convenient to pool their interests in exploiting Manchuria to the practical exclusion of third parties.  In various underhand ways, and in virtual defiance of their public declarations in favor of the principle of equal commercial opportunities for all, they practically partitioned Manchuria between themselves.(214)  The Russo-Japanese Treaty of July 30, 1907 had been preceded by an agreement (215) settling commercial and fishery questions arising out of the Treaty of Portsmouth between the two countries, and also by a treaty between Japan and France, providing for their mutual interests in the Far East.(216)  These treaties of Japan with Russia and France, together with her alliance with England, renewed in 1905, established a basis for friendly cooperation in the Far East on the part of the three Western Powers who were soon to form the so-called Triple Entente.  Germany felt diplomatically isolated.  She put out some feelers to President Roosevelt for an Entente with the United States for the preservation of China and of their mutual interests in the Far East.  But these feelers were not successful.(217)

Finally, on August 31, 1907, there was signed the Anglo-Russian Agreement dealing with the Middle East—Tibet, Afghanistan, and Persia.(218)  Both contracting Powers recognized the territorial integrity of Tibet under the suzerainty of China, and agreed not to interfere with the country’s internal concerns or attempt to secure special concessions there.  The land of the Lamas was to remain a barrier between the Russian bear and the British lion in India.

As to Afghanistan, in return for an English promise not to occupy or annex it so long as the Ameer fulfilled his obligations, Russia declared the country to be outside her sphere of influence;  she withdrew her diplomatic agents from Herat and agreed to deal with the Ameer only through the British authorities.  Afghanistan therefore was no longer to be a field for Russian intrigue against India, and the English were freed from a great bugbear that had worried them for a century.

Persia was by far the most important subject of their Agreement.  Though the preamble piously declared that the two Great Powers mutually agreed to respect the “integrity” and “independence” of Persia, the Agreement went on to divide Persia into three regions:  the northern and largest region, bordering on Russia and comprising the richest and most populous parts of Persia, was to be a Russian sphere of influence, in which Great Britain would not seek for herself, or any third Power, any concessions of a political or commercial nature.  The southern region, largely barren desert but containing roads leading to India, was in like manner to be a British sphere, in which Russia would seek no concessions.  Between these two lay a central neutral region, including the head of the Persian Gulf, in which neither Great Power was to seek concessions except in agreement with the other.  In all this the Shah was not consulted in the least.  A cartoon in Punch hit off the arrangement aptly enough:  the British lion and the Russian bear are seen mauling between them an unhappy Persian cat;  the lion is saying to the bear, “Look here!  You can play with his head, and I can play with his tail, and we can both stroke the small of his back”;  while the poor cat moans, “I don’t remember having been consulted about this.”(219)

In his memoirs Viscount Grey argues, but unconvincingly, that England had the better of the bargain:  “What we gained by it was real—what Russia gained was apparent.”(220)  In fact, the reverse was true.  Though England gained peace of mind in regard to the Indian frontier, she also lost much.  She lost her independence of action in Persia.  Hitherto she had been free to protest and object to the encroachments of the Russian imperialist steamroller crushing southward upon defenseless Persia.  Henceforth she found herself involved as an accomplice in the destruction of the financial and political independence of the Shah’s empire.  Sir Edward Grey soon found himself drawn along in the wake of Russian aggression and intrigue, in a way most embarrassing to him when questioned on the subject in the House of Commons.  He protested frequently against the activities of Russian agents in Persia.  He even hinted he would resign.  “Persia,” he says, “tried my patience more than any other subject.”(221)  Russian unscrupulousness and double-dealing in the Middle East continued to be a recurrent source of annoyance to him almost up to the outbreak of the World War.  One of President Poincaré’s objects in visiting St. Petersburg in July, 1914, was to smooth this discord in the harmony of the Triple Entente.(222)  But Grey was helpless to make his protests effective, because his distrust of Germany made him unwilling to take a really stiff attitude to Russia, or to recede from the Agreement of 1907, lest he should thereby endanger the solidarity of the Triple Entente.  The Russians were quite aware of this, and took advantage of it.  Sazonov put the situation in a nutshell in a significant letter to the Russian Minister in Teheran :

The London Cabinet looks upon the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 as being important for the Asiatic interests of England;  but this Convention possesses a still greater importance for England from the viewpoint of the policy which is being pursued by England in Europe. ... The English, engaged in the pursuit of political aims of vital importance in Europe, may, in case of necessity, be prepared to sacrifice certain interests in Asia in order to keep a Convention alive which is of such importance to them.  This is a circumstance which we can, of course, exploit for ourselves, as, for instance, in Persian affairs.(223)

Though the Anglo-Russian Convention was all made public, included no obligations of military or diplomatic support, and did not at once lead to a closely knit diplomatic partnership, it did nevertheless complete the circle for a closer political cooperation between Russia, France and England.  The Press of these countries began to talk of the new “Triple Entente.”

122. Cf. Tardieu, pp. 170ff;  Bourgeois et Pagès, pp. 307 ff.;  Viscount Grey reiterates this belief in at least four passages, Twenty-Five Years, I, 51, 69, 75, 99; cf. also 108 f. So for instance p. 51:  “In British minds, certainly in my own, the Anglo-French Agreement was not regarded as more than I have described it. It was the subsequent attempts of Germany to shake or break it that turned it into an Entente. These attempts were not long in coming. The German Emperor made a visit that was like a demonstration at Tangier, and in 1905 the German Government forced the French, by what was practically a challenge, to dismiss M. Delcassé (their Minister for Foreign Affairs who had made the Franco-British Agreement) and to agree to an international conference about Morocco”.

123. Kaiser to Bülow, beseeching him not to resign, Aug. 11, 1905;  G.P., XIX, 497 f.

124. Cf. G.P., XI, 67-92;  XIV, 559 f. marginal note 2, XIX, 303-350;  435-528; and XX, passim. According to Kuropatkin’s Diary, Nov. 17, 1902 (Krasnyi Arkhiv, II, 10), the Kaiser at maneuvers in 1896 or 1897 had discussed with General Obruchev how desirable would be a Franco-Russian-German Coalition as a means of dictating to England. Obruchev had mentioned it to President Faure who thought it “worth being studied”.

125. 125 Cf. my article, “The Kaiser’s Secret Negotiations with the Tsar, 1904-05”, in the Amer. Hist. Rev., XXIV, 48-72 (Oct., 1918). This may now be supplemented by G.P., XIX, passim (especially 435-528);  A. Izvolski, Memoirs, ch. ii;  E.J. Dillon, The Eclipse of Russia, chs. xvi-xviii;  H. von Moltke, Erinnerungen, p. 325 ff.;  Witte, Memoirs, pp. 415-430;  A. Savinsky, “Guillaume II et la Russie”, in Rev. des Deux Mondes, Dec., 1922, 765-802;  the Russian documents in “Russko-germanskii dogovor 1905 goda, zakliuchennyi v Bërke” [Russo-German treaty of 1905, concluded at Björkö], in Krasnyi Arkhiv, V, 5-49 (1924), also in German translation in KSF, II, 453-500 (Nov., 1924);  and A. Savinsky, Recollections of a Russian Diplomat, London, 1927. Cf. also Taube, pp. 45-84.

126. G.P. XIX, 458-465. The quoted passages are in English in the original, as the Kaiser was evidently giving as nearly as possible the Tsar’s exact words. English was the language which “Willy” and “Nicky” regularly used to one another.

127. G.P., XIX. 497 f.

128. Nicky to Willy, Oct. 7, 1905;  G.P., XIX, 512.

129. Willy to Nicky, Oct. 12, 1905; G.P., XIX, 513-514.

130. For the details of the fate of the treaty, see G.P., XIX, 515-528.

131. Radolin to Bülow, March 23, 1904; G.P., XX, 5-7; cf. also 266 ff., 329 f., 396. Delcassé to Bihourd, the French Ambassador in Berlin, March 27, 1904, Livre Jaune: Afaires du Maroc, I, 122; cf. 167 f., 196 f., 202 ff.

132. G.P., XX, 12 (April 9).

133. Affaires du Maroc, I, 127.

134. Holstein’s Memoir of June 3, 1904;  G.P., XX, 207-9;  cf. also Bülow to Radolin July 21;  G.P., XX, 210-214.

135. G.P., XX, 7-33, 195-234, especially 215ff.

136. Kühlmann to Bülow, Nov. 9, 1904; G.P., XX, 232.

137. G.P., XX, 222-230.

138. Kühlmann to Bülow, Nov. 28, 1904;  G.P., XX, 237 ff. For the detailed aims of the Taillandier Mission, see Affaires du Maroc, I, 178-184.

139. G.P., XX, 246 ff.

140. G.P., XX, 243.

141. Bülow to Kaiser, Mar. 20, 1905; G.P., XX, 262.

142. G.P., XX, 263 ff. Baron Schoen, who accompanied the Kaiser, gives a good account in his Memoirs of an Ambassador, pp. 19-26.

143. As the speeches were informal, and in the midst of a large and somewhat noisy assemblage, the reports of what he said vary considerably in the accounts of Schoen (G.P., XX, 286), Kühlmann (Schulthess, Europäischer Geschichtskalender, 1905, p. 304), and Cherisey, the French representative (Affaires du Maroc, I, 205).

144. G.P., XX, 256 ff. J.B. Bishop, Roosevelt, 1, 467 ff.

145. Mr. W.B. Harris, G.P., XX, 261 ff. See also Harris’ own memoirs.

146. G.P., XX, 293 ff.

147. Cf. Bihourd’s reports, Affaires du Maroc, I, 202 ff., 215 f., 240.

148. Radolin to Bülow, April 27, 1905;  G.P., XX, 344. This telegram, according to a letter of Paleologue’s in the Paris Temps of March 15, 1922, was deciphered by the French during the war. Its publication by Paléologue gave rise to a lively discussion in 1922, as to whether the German Government had demanded the head of Delcassé, or whether it had been offered to them. Mr. O.S. Hale, of the University of Pennsylvania, in an unpublished study, indicates that there is no truth in the commonly repeated legend, based on an article in Le Gauloas, June 17, 1905, that Prince Henckel von Donnersmarck was sent on a special mission by the German Government to demand the resignation of Delcassé. On internal and other evidence Mr. Hale thinks the report in Le Gaulois is apocryphal. This confirms the present writer’s conclusion that the “Donnersmarck Mission” was a product of French journalistic imagination.

149. Cf. G.P., XX, 393 ff. for a list of half a dozen cases in which Bülow believed Delcassé guilty of misrepresentations and broken promises.

150. G.P., XX, 344-409. Cf. R. Pinon, France et Allemagne (Paris, 1913), which is, on the whole, favorable to Germany and critical of Delcassé; A. Mevil, De la paix de Francfort à la conférence d’Algésiras (Paris, 1909), which takes the opposite point of view. Tardieu La Conférence d’Algesiras, as usual, is strongly nationalist.  The French Yellow Book, Afaires du Maroc, is singularly barren on this important aspect of the Moroccan affair;  it contains nothing at all on the critical week of Delcassé’s final fall. The material in the recent German documents on Björkö, Delcassé, and the Morocco Crisis of 1905 is summarized by E. Laloy, in Mercure de France, CLXXXVI, 594ff.;  CLXXXVII, 564ff.;  CLXXXIX, 293 ff.;  CXC, 568 ff.;  CXCII, 72 ff. (March-November, 1926);  and by R.J. Sontag, in Amer. Hist. Rev., XXXIII, 278-301 (Jan., 1928).

151. G.P., XX, 409.

152. G.P., XIX, 460.  A few weeks later the Kaiser appears to have made a similar remark to Izvolski at Copenhagen; Memoirs of Alexander Izvolski, p. 78;  cf. also Izvolski’s letter in the Paris Temps, Sept. 15, 1917, quoted in my Amer. Hist. Rev. article on the Björkö meeting, note 48.

153. For the Kaiser’s initiation and Roosevelt’s carrying out of mediation between Russia and Japan, see G.P., XIX, 529-630;  J.B. Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt and His Time (N.Y., 1920), I, 374-424;  H.C. Lodge, Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge (N.Y., 1925), II, 130-192;  and A. Hasenclever, “Theodore Roosevelt und die Marokkokrisis von 1904-1906,” in Archiv f. Politik und Gesehichte, VI, Heft 3, 184-245 (1928).

154. GP., XIX, 466. The telegram was not sent, because Bülow objected that the arrangement with the Tsar was strictly secret, and might leak out prematurely in Washington;  but it is highly interesting, as indicating the Kaiser’s interpretation of the Björkö Treaty, and his close relations with Roosevelt at this time.

155. The secrecy and subtleties of diplomatic language in which these conversations were carried on has given rise to a wide literature of apology and accusation. From the English side the most authoritative apologias are:  Grey, Twenty-Five Years, I, 48ff., 59-118; II, 1ff., 39ff., 310ff.; H.H. Asquith, The Genesis of the War, pp. 92-110, 142-216;  Lord Haldane, Before the War, passim; J.A. Spender, Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, II, 245-268;  C.A. Repington, The First World War, ch. i;  and W.S. Churchill, The World Crisis, I, 1-191. The most noteworthy criticisms of Grey’s policy are:  Lord Loreburn, How the War Came, passim; E.D. Morel, Ten Years of Secret Diplomacy; G.P. Gooch, Camb. Hist. of Brit. Foreign Policy, III, 338 ff., 438 ff; J.A. Farrer, England under Edward VII, passim; G.L. Dickinson, The International Anarchy, 1904-1914, pp. 127 ff., 375 ff.; and the indictment, drawn with a lawyer’s skill, by J.S. Ewart, The Roots and Causes of the Wars, chs. v, xxii.
      From the French side, besides the volumes of Pinon, Mevil, and Tardieu mentioned above in note 150, see R. Poincaré, Les Origines de la Guerre, p, 72 ff., Au Service de la France, I, 146-235, and the criticisms of his policy in the volumes of Fabre-Luce, Judet, Pevet, Victor Margueritte, Morhardt, and Demartial.
      From the German side there is abundant material in G.P., XX-XXV, XXVIII-XXXI, passim;  cf. also H. Herzfeld, “Der deutsche Flottenbau and die englische Politik”, in Archiv. für Politik and Geschichte, IV, 117 ff. (1926);  H. Lutz, Lord Grey and der Weltkrieg (Berlin, 1927, English trans., N.Y., 1928);  and A. von Tirpitz, Politische Dokumente:  I, Der Aufbau der deutschen Weltmacht (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1924), passim.
      American accounts, severely critical of Grey and Poincaré, may be found in H.E. Barnes, The Genesis of the World War, ch. viii;  and E.F. Henderson, The Verdict of History:  The Case of Sir Edward Grey (privately printed, 1924).

156. Looking back six months later, the German Ambassador in London summed up the situation:  “The impression here is that ‘Germany has been acting as a bully’, and that because we felt ourselves to be the stronger, we wanted to force measures upon the French”;  Metternich to Bülow, Dec. 20, 1905; G.P. XX, 689; cf. also, XXI, 46 f.

157. G.P., XX, 601 ff., 618 ff., 627 ff., 647 ff., 669 ff., 685 ff.

158. Metternich to Bülow, May 1, 1905;  G.P., XX, 607, 618.

159. “In the middle of May, the French Ambassador complained to Lord Lansdowne of the general attitude of the German Government, which was seeking in all parts of the world to sow discord between France and Great Britain. ... Lord Lansdowne replied that the moral seemed to be that each Government should continue to treat the other with the most absolute mutual confidence, should keep it fully informed of everything which came to their knowledge, and should, so far as possible, discuss in advance any contingencies by which they might in the course of events find themselves confronted”;  Gooch, Camb. Hist. of Brit. For. Policy, III, 342.

160. “In the month of April, 1905, Lord Lansdowne had appeared disposed to take one step further, and had proposed to M. Cambon a general formula for an Entente. ...”; Poincaré, Les Origines de la Guerre (Paris, 1921), p. 79. That M. Poincaré is correct seems to be indicated by Mr. Spender, who says that on April 25, 1905, Sir Francis Bertie informed M. Delcassé, on Lord Lansdowne’s instructions, that the British Government would join the French in opposing Germany’s acquisition of a port on the coast of Morocco, and hoped to be given a full opportunity to concert with the French Government the measures which might be taken to prevent it. The French were pleased. A month later, after further conversations, on May 25, Lord Lansdowne suggested “that the two Governments should treat one another with the utmost confidence and discuss all likely contingencies”;  J.A. Spender, Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman II, 248.

161. M. Poincaré says in his recent memoirs (Au Service de la France, I, 187, 221);  “The Conservative Government had been able to contemplate an alliance in 1905.”  “M. Paul Cambon had written me that at the time [1905] an agreement of this kind [for an exchange of views in common] would have been only a beginning on the part of Lord Lansdowne. ... The forced resignation of M. Delcassé had perhaps made us lose in 1905 an opportunity for a veritable alliance with England”.

162. Paul Cambon to Poincaré, April 18, 1912, Au Service de la France, I, 174.

163. Paul Cambon to Poincaré, Sept. 21, 1912; Au Service de la France, I, 218 f.

164. Both M. Delcassé and M. Chaumié, Minister of Justice at the time, appear to leave no doubt on this point. M. Delcassé, in a letter published in the Figaro of March 24, 1922, says:  “Le 6 juin je n’avais que depuis quarante-huit heures l’offre anglais de contours”. M. Chaumie, in notes on the decisive Cabinet meeting of June 6 made at the time and later published by his colleague in the Ministry of Justice, M. Bienvenu-Martin, in the Temps of March 19, 1922, says explicitly:  “Ces ouvertures ne sont pas bornées a de simples pourparlers;  des notes écrites ont déja été echangées”

165. On June 7, Flotow, the German Charge d’Affaires in Paris reported (G.P., XX, 623-5) information coming from the owner of the Matin that “a regular offer of an offensive and defensive alliance with an anti-German aim has been made here”, but not yet accepted, partly on account of the effect on Russia, and partly because a majority of the Cabinet hoped still for a satisfactory settlement with Germany. On the same day, Flotow was able to sound M. Rouvier through their mutual confidential agent, and the French Premier had declared positively that an Anglo-French alliance was out of the question. It is quite possible that Delcassé, after his fall, may have given Paris newspaper editors a hint of the English proposals—both to justify his own policy, and with the idea that the news would be passed on to Germany and further irritate Anglo-German relations;  cf. G.P., XX, 623 note, and 631 note.

166. Gooch, l.c., p. 343. Eckardstein, III, 105.

167. A. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, in Wissen and Leben, Feb. 1, 1925, cited by Dickinson, The International Anarchy, p. 129, note 1.

168. Cf. Fisher, Memories and Records, I, 22, 47 ff., 188, 207, 211, 233; II, 176, 208 ff., 218f., 225,ff.

169. Grey, I, 74;  II, 2. Sir Alfred Beit and the Kaiser, in an interesting conversation soon after the Matin revelations, assumed that the idea came from Fisher;  G.P., XX, 694. Fisher, Memories, p. 49, in connection with this conversation, says:  “The German Emperor did say to Beit that I was dangerous, and that he knew of my ideas as regards the Baltic being Germany’s vulnerable spot, and he had heard of my idea for ‘Copenhagening’ the German Fleet. But this last I much doubt. He only said it because he knew it was what we ought to have done.”

170. For example, upon the news of Tirpitz’s dismissal, he addressed him a letter which got into a London newspaper:  “Dear old Tirps:  Cheer up, old chap ! ... Yours, till Hell freezes, Fisher”;  Memories, p. 45. To a Russian Grand Duchess, who had written him of a picnic, pleasant except for the gnats biting her ankles, he telegraphed:  “I wish to God I had been one of the gnats”;  ibid, p. 231. Winston Churchill (The World Crisis, pp. 72-79) paints a brilliant picture of Fisher and of his indiscretion in the “Bacon letters affair.”

171. Repington, First World War, p. 4.

172. G.P., XX, 494, 615f., 623 ff., 634f., 638 ff., 662 ff., and Flotow’s report of June 7 (see above, note 165).

173. Metternich to Bülow, June 16. 1905; G.P., XX, 630. Cf. also Gooch, l.c., p. 342f.

174. Metternich to Bülow, June 28, 1905; G.P., XX, 636.

175. Metternich to Bülow, Oct. 9, 1905; G.P., XX, 663.

176. Spender, Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, II, 188 ff. 245 ff.

177. Twenty-Five Years, I. 59-66.

178. Grey to Bertie, British Ambassador in Paris, Jan. 10, 15, 1906;  Grey, 1, 70-74.

179. Repington, The First World War, ch. i.

180. Metternich to Bülow, Dec., 4, 20, 1905; G.P., XX, 681, 685.

181. Repington, p. 4.

182. Repington’s questions and the French replies, printed ibid, pp, 6-10.

183. Grey to Bertie, Jan. 31, 1906; Grey, I, 76. For Grey’s conversation with Metternich, here referred to, see Grey, I, 80, and G.P., XXI, 45-5;  and for Lansdowne’s statement to Metternich, which Grey now adopted as his own, see above at note 174.

184. Grey to Bertie, Jan. 31, 1906; Grey. I, 77.

185. Grey to Bertie, Jan. 31, 1906; Grey, I, 77-78.

186. Grey to Bertie, Jan. 31, 1906;  Grey, I, 78-79.

187. Grey, I, 79.

188. Spender, Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, II, 257.  In spite of his just misgivings, the Prime Minister appears, however, to have acquiesced in the military conversations, provided they “were not talked about” and “should not commit either Government”, if we are to believe the statements of Haldane (Before the War, p. 162), and Repington, (p. 13).

189. Grey, I, 84.

190. Grey, I. 84.

191. Loreburn. How the War Came, p. 80f.

192. Grey, I, 84, and again, p. 96:  “I have always regretted that the military conversations were not brought before the Cabinet at once:  this would have avoided unnecessary suspicion.”

193. Haldane, Before the War, p. 30;  see also pp. 28-35 and 156-182.

194. Haldane, p. 32. If Haldane is correct, General Grierson’s assure antes to Repington, referred to above at note 182, appear to have been unduly optimistic.

195. Haldane, p. 33.

196. Fisher, Memories and Records, II, 65 ff., 128-153.

197. Metternich to Bülow, Jan. 31, 1907;  G.P., XXI, 469. On German fears and suspicions of British naval and military intentions, 1904 to 1907, see G.P., XIX, 351-380, “The First German-English War Scare”;  XX, 599-698;  XXI, 421-521;  and Tirpitz, Politische Dokumente:  Der Aufbau der deutschen Weltmacht, 14ff.

198. Churchill, The World Crisis, p. 53.

199. Protocol of the seventh annual Franco-Russian Military Conference, Aug., 31, 1911;  L.N., II, 421;  M.F.R., p. 698. As early as the annual conference of 1908, the Anglo-French connection had become so close, that the French officers persuaded the Russians to agree to mobilize, all their forces even in case of a German mobilization against England. A. Zaiontchkovski, Les Alliés contre la Russie (Paris, 1926), pp. 20-21.

200. The Memoirs of Alexander Iswolsky (London, 1920), pp. 20, 35, 81 ff.;  Ph. Crozier, “L’Autriche et l’Avant-guerre”, in Revue de France, April 1, 1921, pp. 275-277. According to Witte (Georges Louis, Carnets, Paris, 1926, II, 63f.;  Dillon, Eclipse of Russia, pp. 350-353;  Witte, Memoirs, pp. 432-434), Edward VII sent to him, Witte, on his way back from Portsmouth, N.H., in Sept., 1905, the draft of an Anglo-Russian accord. This may be the basis for “Nicky’s” letter to “Willy” of Nov. 10/23, 1905 (G.P., XIX, 523):  “England is trying hard to get us round for an understanding about Asiatic frontier questions and this directly after the renewed Anglo-Japanese alliance!  I have not the slightest wish to open negotiations with her, and so it will drop of itself”. Sidney Lee, King Edward VII, II, 308f., mentions only an invitation from Edward, VII to Witte to visit England, but says nothing of the draft of an Anglo-Russian accord. For King Edward’s urging upon Izvolski an Anglo-Russian Entente in a conversation at Copenhagen in April, 1904, see ibid, II, 284 ff.

201. G.P., XXV, 25, 28, 53 ff., 233 f.

202. G.P., XXV, 3, 10.

203. Grey. I, 155 ff,

204. G.P., XX, 39 ff.;  XXV, 233 f.

205. Grey to Nicolson, Nov. 6, 1906;  Grey, I, 156.

206. Russian Ministerial Council of Feb. 1/14, 1907;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 474 ff.

207. Metternich to Tschirschky, Mar. 28, 1907;  G.P., XXV, 32 note.

208. Grey, I, 177. Cf. also Grey to Nicolson, Nov. 6, 1906 (Grey, I, 156):  “Of course, I understand M. Izvolski’s difficulty with the military party”;  and G.P., XXV, 40ff.

209. Grey, I, 149 ff.; G.P., XXV, 21 ff.

210. This, at any rate was the impression of German observers;  cf G.P., XXV, 5, 21, 27, 54, 67.

211. Grey to Nicolson, April 1, 1907;  Grey, I, 158.

212. See the text in A.M. Pooley, The Secret Memoirs of Count Tadasu Hayashi (London, 1915), pp. 224-238, 327-328. Cf. also G.P., XXII, 67;  and XXV, 53-64.

213. Siebert-Schreiner, p. 17.

214. Ibid., pp. 8-43. G.P., XXXII, passim. T.F. Millard, America and the Far Eastern Question (New York, 1909), chs. xv-xx. S.K. Hornbeck, Contemporary Politics in the Far East (New York, 1916), ch. xv. O. Franke, Die Grossmächte in Ostasien (Hamburg, 1923), pp. 308-343;  Tyler Dennett, Americans in Eastern Asia (New York, 1922).

215. July 28, 1907;  cf. Pooley, l.c., pp. 229 ff.

216. June 10, 1907;  ibid, pp. 212-223, 325-6;  and G.P., XXV, 53 ft, 67 ff.

217. G.P., XXV, 67-99.

218. For the text see British Foreign and State Papers, vol. 100, pp. 555 ff.

219. “The Harmless Necessary Cat,” Punch, CXXXIII, 245, Oct. 2, 1907.

220. Grey, I, 155.

221. Grey, I, 164. Cf. Siebert-Schreiner, p. 550 (where Grey’s irritation and talk of resignation were due to Russia’s “Potsdam agreements” in 1910-11), and p. 615 (where they were due to Russian action in Persia).

222. Poincaré, Les Origines de la Guerre, p. 201 f. Cf. K.D., 52.

223. Oct. 8, 1910;  Siebert-Schreiner, p. 99. The dismal and disgraceful story of how Russia did this may be read in Siebert-Schreiner, pp. 49-141, and in the engaging personal narrative of the blunt financial American adviser who tried—in vain—to rescue the Persian cat from the deadly grasp of the Russian bear:  W. Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia (New York, 1913).