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of June, 1888, Mr. Hoskier opened negotiations
for this purpose with Mr. Wichnegradski, the Rus-
sian Minister of Finance. In the following December,
after the scheme had been thoroughly dealt with, a
first loan of 500,000,000 francs was issued in Paris,
of the 4 per cent type, at 86 fr. 45 c, which was
subscribed by more than a hundred thousand per-
sons. Other loans followed: in 1889 (700,000,000
and 1,200,000,000 francs), in 1890 (300 millions and
41 milhons), in 1891 (320 milHons and 500 miUions),
in 1893 (178 miUions), in 1894 (454 miUions, 166

^ See Ernest Daudet's Diplomatic History of the Franco-Russian


millions, 400 millions), ir 1896 (400 millions), in 1901
(424 millions), in 1904 (800 millions), in 1906 (1,200
millions). And France thus became Russia's credi-
tor for a sum which may be estimated, with municipal
loans and industrial enterprises, at twelve billions
of francs/ It was a new principle of solidarity
between the two countries, and, from 1889, offered
to political combinations the broad, solid basis of
financial interests.

The French Government resolved to take advan-
tage of it. On his nomination to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, which he held till the 11th of Janu-
ary, 1893, Mr. Ribot resolutely lent his efforts to
the forming of an alliance with Russia. His chief
agent was our Ambassador at Saint Petersburg,
Mr. de Laboulaye, one of the most remarkable of
our diplomatists of the Third Republic, for qualities
of shrewdness, firmness, and tact. Moreover, the
whole Cabinet were in agreement on the subject.
In 1890, Mr. Constans, the Minister of the Interior,
placed a trump card in the Ambassador's hand, by
effecting the arrest of a band of Nihilists that were
manufacturing in Paris bombs intended to serve
against the Czar and his family. At the same date,
Mr. de Freycinet, the Minister of War, rendered
Russia a service of another kind, no less appreciated,
by putting our Chatellerault Arms Factories at her

' To the loans above mentioned must be added the 5 per cent loan
of 1822, quoted on the Exchange, on and after February 22, 1890 ;
the Interior loan, admitted on 'Change June 2, 1894; and, last of
all, the Austrian portion of the 1900 loan, which has remained on
the Paris market.


disposal. Every day the atmosphere grew more
favourable.^ With statesmanlike perspicacity, Mr.
de Laboulaye saw that the time had come for action,
and that only the approval of the people was required
to bring to a successful issue these combinations,
previously conceived in the secret councils of the
two Chancelleries. In the summer of 1890, he or-
ganized the visit of the French fleet to Russia ; but,
for reasons of opportuneness, the project was not
realized until the next year. On the 25th of July,
1891, Admiral Gervais' squadron arrived off Cron-

The memory of this triumphal visit is so recent
that I need not dwell upon it. All Europe was
astounded at the Russian nation's enthusiasm.
All at once, in spite of distance, in spite of a past of
mistrust, in spite of differences of every sort, political,
intellectual, and moral, Russian opinion and French
opinion, breaking a long silence, united in applaud-
ing the act which manifested the rapprochement.
Although the Alliance was not yet made, it was
already looked upon as certain. A few weeks later,
in the Reichstag, the Count von Caprivi, Chancellor
of the German Empire, said in the course of an
Army speech: '^There can be no doubt that a close
rapprochement has come about between France and
Russia. It has been in preparation for a long while.
But to-day, everything, Cronstadt included, seems
to indicate that an alliance is intended." This
Alliance was signed on the 22d of August, 1891, by
^ See Ernest Daudet's book already cited.


Mr. Ribot, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Baron
de Mohrenheim, who was the Russian Ambassador
at Paris. At the end of June, 1892, General de
Boisdeffre, being at the head of the Army Staff,
went to Saint Petersburg, for the purpose of nego-
tiating a military arrangement completing the initial
protocol, and gave the Cabinet's seal to a defensive
pact between France and Russia.^ The two coun-
tries thus abandoned their isolation, and thereby
reestablished the balance of power in Europe.


During four years longer, the signatory Govern-
ments forbore to render their Alliance public ; but,
in the meantime, they determined its character
more precisely. On the 31st of August, 1891, at a
fete given in his honour at Cauterets, the Russian
Ambassador, Mr. de Mohrenheim, said : —

Mr. Prefect, you have just alluded to the mutual current of
sympathy set up throughout Russia and France. . . . There
are many reasons why this should be so.

A few days later at Vandeuvre, Mr. de Freycinet,
who combined with his Premiership the Ministry
of War, held in his turn the following discourse : —

Don't let us tire of improving and strengthening our Army.
It is one of the elements, and not the least, of our influence in the
world. It has its share in the events that are a joy to our patri-
otism. Its progress, which Europe sees and France applauds,
inspires some with confidence, others with respect. Such prog-

* See Jules Hansen's book. The Baron de Mohrenheim' s Ambas-
sadorship at Paris.


ress, moreover, proves that the Government of the Republic, in
spite of superficial changes, are capable of long designs, and
that in the accomplishment of national tasks, they manifest a
consistency that is not inferior to a Monarchy's. No one to-day
doubts our strength. Let us show that we are prudent. We
shall know how to maintain, in a new situation, the coolness,
dignity and moderation which, during days of misfortune, pre-
pared our recovery.

Finally, on the 29th of September at Bapaume,
Mr. Ribot, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said : —

After hesitating for some time, Europe has, at last, done us
justice. A Sovereign, who is far-seeing and firm in his designs,
and pacific like ourselves, has publicly demonstrated the deep
sjnmpathies uniting his country and our own. (Enthusiastic ap-
plause. Cries of: 'Long live the Czar! Hurrah for France!
Hurrah for Russia ! ')

The Russian nation have joined their Emperor in giving us
proofs of cordial friendship. (Fresh applause.)

You know how well we reciprocate these sentiments. (Yes!

The events of Cronstadt have had an echo even in our small-
est hamlets, our tiniest villages. ...

From them has resulted, as Justly remarked, a new situa-
tion, which does not mean that a new policy needs to be adapted
to it. . . .

. . . Just at the moment when we are able to practice peace
with more dignity, we are not likely to expose ourselves to its
being compromised. Conscious of her strength and confident
in her future, France will continue to exhibit the qualities of
prudence and coolness which have gained her other peoples'
esteem and have helped to restore her to the rank due to her in
the world.

In other words, to a state of forced peace succeeded
one that was voluntary. Doubtless, the Franco-
Russian Alliance was not an alliance formed for
revenge. Its object was not to give us back Alsace-


Lorraine. But it insured us in Europe a moral
authority which, since our defeats, had been want-
ing to us. It augmented our diplomatic value.
It opened to us the field of political combinations,
from which our isolation had excluded us. From
mere observation, we could pass to action, thanks
to the recovered balance of power.

To prove that such was the character of the
Franco-Russian Alliance, I cannot do better than
quote the Chancellor of the German Empire. Re-
turning from Saint Petersburg to Paris early in
June, 1902, I had the honour of a long interview
with Count von Buelow at Berlin. After speaking
to me of the journey Mr. Loubet had just made, as
President of the Republic, to Russia, he added: —

''The Triple Alliance and the Dual Alliance are the
chief supports of the European balance of power."

This was implicitly admitting that, until the latter
was an accomplished fact, the equilibrium did not
exist, Mr. Jaures, in his sacrilegious letter on the
Triplice, as being a necessary counterweight to
Franco-Russian jingoism, stands alone in ignoring,
despite history and geography, this plain truth.
By uniting their previously isolated forces, France
and Russia had made Europe stable again.

For some years, the two Allies would seem to
have been too exclusively absorbed in contemplat-
ing the fact of their union, and multiplied outward
manifestations that might convince the world at
large of its reality. In June, 1892, the Grand Duke
Constantino came in the Czar's name to Nancy, to


pay his respects to President Carnot. In the ensu-
ing September, Messrs. Ribot and de Freycinet
had a meeting, at Aix-les-Bains, with Messrs. de
Giers and de Mohrenheim. In November, the
Grand Duke Vladimir was Mr. Carnot's guest.
In October, 1893, Admiral Avellan's sailors were
boisterously feted at Toulon, and afterwards in
Paris. In September, 1895, Prince Lobanoff, Min-
ister of Foreign Affairs, and General Dragomiroff
paid us a visit in their turn. In October, 1896, the
Czar and Czarina, amidst extraordinary ovations,
made a stay in France, which was terminated by
the admirable Chalons review. Then came, in
1897, Count Mouravieff's journey to Paris as Prince
Lobanoff's successor, and Mr. Felix Faure's visit
to Russia; in 1899, Mr. Delcasse's journey to Rus-
sia, and that of Count Mouravieff to Paris; in
1901, Admiral Birilev's call at Villefranche with
his squadron, Mr. Delcasse's second visit to Saint
Petersburg, and the Czar and Czarina's stay at
Compiegne; lastly, in 1902, Mr. Loubet's journey
to Russia, that of Count Lamsdorf to Paris; and,
more recently (in 1906 and 1907), the two stays
in our Capital of Mr. Isvolski, appointed, on
Count Lamsdorf's retirement, Minister of Foreign

That all these official comings and goings, accom-
panied by an abundant exchange of telegrams, in-
creased the practical value of the Alliance, is not so
certain as some have maintained. At most, may it
be said, that Mr. Felix Faure's journey to Russia, fur-


nished the Czar and himself with an auspicious oc-
casion to define publicly the ties subsisting between
their two '^friendly and allied" countries. With
that exception, these frequent meetings, amid much
ado, produced no result of immediate utility. A
policy of parade may satisfy vanities; it can also
offend them; rarely does it serve interests. And
I am inclined to share the opinion expressed to me
by Count Witte, when he said to me one day : —

"For ten years you have been making Franco-
Russian manifestations, in season and out of season."

I have seen the principal of these manifestations
close to. I was at Compiegne in 1901, at Tsarskoie-
Selo in 1902. And the impression they have left
upon me is, that it is neither necessary nor profitable
to celebrate alliances with the help of protocol and
ceremonial. One is exposed in so doing to incidents
comical or painful. Was it indispensable to Franco-
Russian politics for the Czarina Alexandra to hear
at Compiegne, — without any pleasure, — the re-
peated, "Oh! oh! c'est une imperatrice^' with which
Mr. Edmond Rostand had thought fit to greet her?
Was it opportune to offer a certain Russian diplo-
matist, at the time belonging to the Russian
Embassy at Paris, the occasion to behave discour-
teously towards the Republican Government, and
then to put ourselves forward in order to secure him
a pardon that was not justified? Ought we to have
given our guests the spectacle of ridiculous quarrels
between the wives of our Ministers and those of our
Ambassadors? And later, could it be thought an


edifying sight, when a Secretary of the French Em-
bassy at Saint Petersburg, — who claimed to possess
President Loubet's entire confidence and that of
Mr. Delcasse, — entered into open conflict with his
hierarchic superior, the Marquis de Montebello?
A Republic never finds it advantageous to measure
itself with a Monarchy on the ground of protocol
observance. The lack of habit therein leads to
errors, on this or that side of the mean, to omissions
or excess-commissions of zeal. Thence results for
the Democratic regime, thus induced to lavish
complaisances of somewhat servile character, an
embarrassed and, as it were, subaltern situation,
which creates a factitious inequality between two
governments called upon to treat political questions
on the same footing. Too many fetes — too many
flowers, might one say — have been loaded upon
the Franco-Russian Alliance. Neither on the one
hand nor on the other have they yielded matter for

Between 1893 and 1902, the combined action of
the two allied countries was wanting in intensity and
consistency. Each of them looked after their own
affairs, while profiting by the moral credit which the
Alliance brought, yet without developing the credit
by a methodical cooperation. Thanks to the assist-
ance afforded by French capital, Russia was able to
carry out her Railway programme and her conver-
sions, to construct the Trans-Siberian, and to
devote herself more and more exclusively to ques-

^ The same thing may be said of Franco-English relations.


tions interesting her in the Far East. France, after'
giving herself up for three years to the Dreyfus
Affair, managed to paralyze her activity through
religious struggles. A few years later, Russia found
herself engaged with the armies of Japan; France
with the diplomacy of Germany. Manchuria in
the one case, Morocco in the other; such were the
assets of the Alliance. How had it been possible
for such consequences to issue from a right prin-
ciple ? How was it that the pact of 1891, instead of
protecting its signataries from reverses and humilia-
tions, had left the way open to this double and
astonishing set-back?


The reply to this question is easy. If the Alliance
had become sterile, the reason was, that Russia's
wilful blindness and France's weakness, had allowed
it to deviate from its aim. Instead of keeping
Europe for its sphere of action, it had gradually
drifted towards Asia. So that, finally, instead of
reminding our Allies, for their good and our own,
of the respect they owed to the fundamental pact —
respect of the letter and respect of the spirit — we
had, with sheeplike docility, made ourselves the
accomplices of their imprudence.

On the day when Mr. Witte, by modifying the
track of the Trans-Siberian, directed Russia's money,
Army and Navy, towards the seas of China, France '
ought to have protested. And this she did not do.
In 1895, she joined Russia and Germany, in order jT


to stop Japan on the threshold of victory, in the
name of the Chinese Empire's integrity. Two years
later, with singular incoherence, she violated this
integrity — again imitating these two powers —
by seizing Kouang-Tcheou-Ouan, as Germany had
taken the Chantung, and Russia, Port Arthur/
In 1900, during the negotiations that followed the
Pekin expedition, she passively accepted Russia's
lead. In 1901, she made no attempt to show the
Russians the mistake they were committing in
neglecting the Japanese Alliance which the Marquis
Ito had come to offer them. Last of all, in 1902,
when Japan had turned to England and had signed
the Treaty of the 30th of January, 1902, she was"^
rash enough to reply to this treaty by the declara-
tion of the 19th of March, which, if it had any
meaning, extended to the Far East the action of
the Dual Alliance.

This declaration was thus conceived : —

The allied Governments of France and Russia, having re-
ceived communication of the Anglo-Japanese Convention of
the 30th of January, 1902, concluded with a view to assuring the
status quo and general peace in the Far East, and to maintain the
independence of China and Corea, which should remain open to
the commerce and industry of all nations, were fully satisfied
to find therein affirmed the essential principles which they them-
selves have on several occasions declared to constitute and to
remain the basis of their policy.

The two Governments deem that the respecting of these
principles is at the same time a guarantee for their special inter-
ests in the Far East. However, being themselves obliged to
provide for the case in which either the aggressive action of

^ See Rene Pinon's book. The Struggle for the Pacific.


third Powers, or new troubles in China, raising the question of
the integrity and free development of this Power, should become
a menace for their own interests, the two allied Governments
reserve to themselves the right eventually to provide means for
their preservation.

A few days afterwards, Mr. Delcasse, Minister
of Foreign Affairs, denied in the Chamber that, in
signing the above text, he had intended or accepted
an extension of the Alliance to Eastern Asia. But
then, what was the meaning of the declaration?
Was it a mere surface manifestation for the purpose
of make-believe? Such kinds of '^ bluff" are re-
doubtable snares, in which those who have recourse
to them are usually caught. The joint note of the
19th of March misled Russian opinion by allowing
it to count on France's eventual aid. It irritated
Japanese opinion by leading it to dread a double
European hostility. It accustomed everybody to
the idea of a war by opposing to one another the
two groups, Japan and England, Russia and France.
At the very least, it was an encouragement to the
Russian colonial party, who, through greedy specu-
lation or ignorance of the facts, refused to perceive
the inevitable issue of the movement towards
Corea. It favoured the plans of men like Bezo-
brazoff ^ and other risk-alls, who precipitated Russia
into the war of 1904.

France, who, in 1902, had not foreseen the danger,

* Mr. Bezobrazoff had succeeded in interesting a number of big
manufacturers in the Yalu Company. His intrigues were one of
the causes of the war. See Kouropatkin's revelations (McClure's
Magazine, September, 1908).


continued her scepticism until the day when it
burst. Three months before the war, while all our
agents in the Far East were declaring it to be un-
avoidable, Mr. Dele ass e asserted that it was im-
possible. Instead of listening to our ministers and
consuls, who said, ''Japan means war," he paid
attention only to the Czar, whose language was, ''I
desire peace." When it was still time to restrain
our Allies on the eve of a rupture, and to say to
them, ''You are not ready," he allowed himself to
be the dupe of certain civil or military personages,
who, having staked their whole career on the Alli-
ance, were to him the Leboeufs of this second Sedan,
and guaranteed that everything would be ready,
even to the last gaiter-button. Instead of reminding
Russia, that her contribution to the Alliance was her
strength in Europe, we let her sacrifice at once her
pledges and her interests.

Both morally and materially, the Alliance risked
wreck in this storm. The French pubhc, who for
twelve years had been accustomed to count on Russia,
were deeply disappointed by her repulses and were
not able to hide their sentiments. That the war would
necessarily be long and diflB.cult at such a distance;
that there would be huge obstacles in the way of
provisioning the army, which had been transported
to the front at a great expense; that the Staff in
command had not been suitably prepared for their
task, — all this was known and expected. What
was not foreseen, was the continued series of re-
verses, the implacable development of an irre-


mediable inferiority, the demonstration of strategic
incapacity, surpassed only by administrative care-
lessness — a misreckoning cruel for the Eussians,
and almost as cruel for the French, who had put
their faith and sense of security in the Alliance.

Then those who, from the outset, had been op-
posed to our pledging ourselves to Russia, began to
cast up accounts and strike the balance, with the
most unfavourable interpretation possible. The
three loans of 1890 were passed in review, the two
loans of 1891, those of 1893, 1894, 1896, 1901, 1904.
To these were added the municipal loans and
Finlandese loans, the sums invested in metallurgic
mining, manufacturing or transport undertakings,
the whole totalling nearly twelve billions, that is
to say, nearly a fourth of the French capital invested
abroad; and, while doing justice to the Czar's
Government for its exact punctuality in paying
dividends and coupons, the doubt was expressed,
as to whether the services rendered by Russia were
worth the price paid for them, as to whether the
Alliance, so useful to Russia for her conversions,
the redemption of her railways, the equilibrium of
her budget, and the construction of the Trans-Si-
berian, had given France an equivalent in return,
especially after the Asiatic adventure, , which, on
the Manchurian soil or in the Chinese seas, engulfed
the men, ironclads, and millions intended, as we
hoped, for the safeguarding of European peace.

This impression was put into words with some-
what bad taste. Mr. Combes, the Prime Minister,


made blunt statements to journalists, which a
Russian diplomatist characterized in an interview
with me : —

"It is disagreeable/' he said, "when we ask you
for nothing, to hear your Premier proclaim from the
housetops that you don't intend to give us any-

I remember being one evening, after a Russian
defeat, at the Russian Embassy, where I met the
German Ambassador, who, prompter or shrewder
than the French Government, had come to convey
to his colleague the expression of his sympathy.
Such things as these were only failures in tact;
but, under the circumstances, they were deeply
felt by Russia. They were all the more regrettable,
as they caused us to lose the benefit of our alto-
gether correct attitude in the question of neutrality.
Not only were we assuring to our allies our financial
help, as in the past ; but, immediately after the North
Sea or Dogger Bank incident, Mr. Delcasse success-
fully intervened to prevent the conflict that threat-
ened to embroil them with England. A few weeks
later, through the facilities — legitimate indeed in '
French Law — which we afforded Admiral Rodjest-
vensky's squadron at Madagascar and in Indo-
China, we exposed ourselves to the gravest diffi-
culties with Japan. None the less, there was a
general impression — and against impressions dis-
cussion is useless — that the Alliance was growing
cooler, that its bonds were loosening and coming
undone. The moral impetus which had animated


its first years of existence, seemed to be checked for
long to come.

Materially, the detriment was still more severely
felt. For Russia, there was not only the disastrous
end to her dream in Asia; there was her military'
disorganization besides, coinciding with domestic •
troubles. For France, there was the annihilation
of the guarantee that had been gained in 1891.,
In September, 1904, the Russian forces succumbed!!
at Liao-Yang. In March, 1905, they were crushed:,
at Mukden. It was in the same month of March
that the Emperor William, disembarking at Tan-
gier, played check to the mission of Mr. Saint- Rene
Taillandier at Fez ; check also to Mr. Dele ass e's
policy. If, to make use of the Chancellor's ex-
pression, German diplomacy had been a deductive
one, it was in 1904 that the objections raised in
1905 to our treaty with England and our Moroc-
can projects would have been put forward. But
being, and flattering itself on being, an opportunist
one, it had waited until the war in Manchuria and
the paralysis of the Alliance, should place France
within reach of its attack.^

For having allowed their Alliance to be turned
aside from its proper object, both Russians and
French suffered jointly for their joint mistake.
Military defeats on the one side, diplomatic defeats
on the other, demonstrated a contrario the necessity
of a pact which had become useless only by reason
of its having been tampered with. Would the

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