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Ancien Eleve de 1'^cole Libre des Sciences Politiques

Instructor in Political Science, University

of Wisconsin




Copyright, 1920, by






As the United States is slowly being brought to the
realization that an American policy of isolation is no
longer possible, the fact that European diplomacy has
a fundamental effect upon our own foreign policy is
becoming correspondingly evident. The result has
been a greater interest in foreign politics, and a keener
desire to solve the problem of international relation-
ships. The best hope that we have of avoiding world
conflicts in the future seems to be in a League of Na-
tions, which would not only offer the means of settling
disputes by other methods than that of war, but would
possess the power to compel the employment of these
peaceful methods. But even with a League of Nations,
we must have an intelligent appreciation of the under-
lying causes of national antagonisms, with a view to
remedying them before an acute situation arises, if we
are to have an enduring peace.

"When Bismarck imposed the unjust and humiliat-
ing Treaty of Frankfort upon France, the spirit of the
revanche was born. Instead of trying to come to an
agreement with the neighbor whom she had despoiled,
thereby making a reconciliation possible, Germany de-
pended upon the secret treaties of the Triple Alliance
to overawe France and to maintain her own dominant
position. But France could also make secret treaties.
The Dual Alliance and the Triple Entente were her an-
swer. This created the famous balance of power upon



which the peace of Europe was nicely adjusted. "We
now realize that neither secret treaties nor a balance of
power are of any value in maintaining the world's
peace. A close study of the European situation pre-
ceding the World War makes us wonder that the bitter
rivalries could have been held in leash so long.

To all Americans, the role that France played in
this critical period of the world's history is of par-
ticular interest. In the following study I have at-
tempted to portray impartially the policy of the French
foreign office, from the crisis of Fashoda to the crime
of Serajevo. Before 1898, French foreign policy
seemed for the most part to be merged in her colonial
policy; after the murder of the Archduke Ferdinand,
the foreign policy of France was inextricably mingled
with the foreign policy of her allies. In the critical
intervening period the policy of the Quai d'Orsay
stands forth in clear outline against the cloudy back-
ground of European diplomacy.

The revolutions brought about by the World War
have aided materially in such a survey by bringing
to light secret documents which ordinarily would have
remained hidden in the state archives for generations.
The governments of the leading states of Europe have
also found it to their advantage to break the custo-
mary veil of silence and publish many of their secret

It has been of considerable advantage to me in mak-
ing a study of this period that I was present in Paris
throughout the critical Agadir Affair of 1911, and also
during the year preceding the outbreak of the World


I am particularly indebted to Professor F. A. Ogg
whose assistance has been invaluable to me at every
point in the preparation of the manuscript, and to my
wife for her helpful suggestions and careful reading
of the proof.

University of Wisconsin,
September, 1920.



1. The Dual and Triple Alliances .... 3

2. Franco-British Relations 12


1. The Franco-British Agreement of March 21,

1899 .19

2. The First Peace Conference at The Hague .

3. France, Germany, and the Boer War . . 37


1- The Cretan Affair 44

2. France Settles with Turkey . . . . .46

3. France and the Boxer Rebellion .... 52

4. Franco-Siamese Relations 71


1. The Franco-Italian Rapprochement ... 77

2. French Relations with the Vatican ... 89


1. France and the Bagdad Railway .... 98

2. Franco-British Accord of April 8, 1904 . . 107

3. The Ratification of the Franco-British Ac-

cord 127

4. The Russo-Japanese "War 132


1. The Internal Condition of Morocco . . . 137

2- The Franco-Spanish Arrangement of October

3, 1904 145

3. German Attitude Towards the French Policy

in Morocco . 156




1. Preparations for the Kaiser's Visit to Tan-

gier 170

2. Germany Forces the Issue 179

3. M. Rouvier at the Quai d'Orsay . . . .192


1. The Drafting and Signing of the Act . . 206

2. The Significance and Ratification of the Gen-

eral Act 220

3. The Application of the Act 227


1. The Second Hague Conference and the

Franco-Japanese Accord 240

2. The Two Sultans of Morocco 246

3. The Deserters of Casablanca 253

4. The Franco-German Accord of 1909 . . .261


1. The Bosnian Crisis and the Triple Entente . 26?

2. The Fall of Clemenceau and Further Diffi-

culties in Morocco 274

3. Failure of the Accord of 1909 . . . .283

4. The Fez Expedition 1 292


1. The German Demands 301

2. French Offers and the Final Settlement . . 316

3. The Settlement with Spain 327


1. The Ministry of M. Poincare 332

2. The Awakening 343

3. Radicalism vs. Patriotism 358

4. Conclusion 373


INDEX . . . 385






SPEAKING of the position of minister of foreign
affairs, an old diplomat once remarked, "II ne
suffit pas d' avoir de genie, I'essentiel c'est de durer."
In the Third French Republic, where there have been
fifty changes of ministry from the promulgation of the
present constitution in 1875 up to the outbreak of the
World War, it would seem that there would be little
chance for a successful minister of foreign affairs, if
durability constitutes success. Therefore the regime
of M. Delcasse, which commenced on June 28, 1898,
and which was destined to endure practically seven
years, would be noteworthy if for no other reason
than that it holds the record by a wide margin for its
sojourn at the Quai d'Orsay. But still more remark-
able is the fact that, though ministries rose and fell,
the guidance of foreign affairs was kept in the hands
of the same man until he was able to carry out the policy
that he had laid out for himself upon taking the posi-
tion a policy of rapprochement with Great Britain.
During the four preceding years the foreign policy


of France had for the most part been under the direc-
tion of Mr. Gabriel Hanotaux, a very able diplomat,
but an Anglophobe in his tendencies. When, on June
28, 1898, M. Brisson formed a new Radical cabinet, and
at the suggestion of M. Joseph Reinach chose M. Theo-
phile Delcasse as minister of foreign affairs, it would
have been only natural to expect that the new foreign
minister, inexperienced and following a minister of
exceptional ability, would attempt to carry out the
policy of his predecessor. Instead M. Delcasse elected
to blaze a new trail, to make a complete volte-face in
the foreign policy of France. While maintaining the
existing alliance with Russia, he was determined to
seek new friendships, and from the day he entered the
foreign office he was resolved that perfide Albion must
be changed into the fidus Achates of France. The
Entente Cordiale of April 8, 1904, which finally re-
solved itself into the Triple Entente, an understand-
ing strong enough to resist the shock of a world war,
will ever remain a monument to the success of his

While a young man, M. Delcasse had been a member
of a group of journalists associated with the "Repub-
lique Francaise," and, like other members of the staff,
was an ardent disciple of that grand old man of Repub-
lican France, Leon Gambetta. In such an entourage it
would have been just as impossible for the young
enthusiast from the Midi to avoid being drawn into
politics as to avoid becoming impregnated with the
doctrines and beliefs of the great tribune. Perhaps
it was then that he first came to consider seriously
Gambetta 's views on French foreign policy; but there


is no doubt that he knew that Gambetta believed that
France would only recover the position that she lost
in 1871, by obtaining the friendship of Russia and
Great Britain. The first part of this program had
been completed several years before M. Delcasse took
charge of the foreign office ; the second and more diffi-
cult part was to be his task, and it is not likely that
France will ever forget that the glorious victory won
at such cost in 1918 was due in great part to the policy
which led to the Entente Cordiale, whose cornerstone
was laid by M. Theophile Delcasse.

In order fully to appreciate the magnitude of the
task to which M. Delcasse set himself when he took the
office of foreign minister, it is essential that we take
note of the situation in which France found herself at
the close of the nineteenth century. In as much as the
Russian Alliance was the key-note to which the whole
foreign policy of France was attuned, let us first con-
sider her position in regard to Russia.

When M. Ribot, on June 10, 1895, formally announced
the Franco-Russian Alliance, he was merely giving
official sanction to an arrangement which was either
known or suspected in all the chancellories of Europe.
The acclamation with which the French squadron was
received on its visit to Cronstadt in 1891, the equally
enthusiastic reception given to the Grand Duke Con-
stantine upon his visit to France to pay his respects
to President Carnot in 1892, the ovation given to the
Russian squadron at Toulon in 1893, were such clear
indications of a rapprochement, that the announcement
of the fait accompli caused scarcely a ripple of surprise.
From its inception the alliance was popular in France,

and there is little question that the French nation as a
whole looked upon it as ' ' an understanding which war-
ranted great hopes." In plainer terms, it was the
means to an end, and the end was the revanche for
never since the debacle of 1870 was the hope absent
from the hearts of the French that some day, somehow,
the Treaty of Frankfort would be torn up and Alsace-
Lorraine restored. The feeling that the alliance was
the ' ' dawn of a policy of reparation, ' ' that it was offen-
sive as well as defensive in its nature, persisted until
1898, when the French gradually began to perceive
that a mariage de raison between an autocracy and a
democracy was not conducive to the vigorous progeny
of a warlike spirit. In fact now that France no longer
felt isolated, there was a tendency to relax, to forget
the crisis of 1875, to indulge in internationalistic ideal-
ism, to banish the thought of the perpetual menace
.which had long lain like a black, ominous cloud -athwart
the eastern frontier. Socialism became rampant, the
army became honeycombed with intrigue, a " Dreyfus
Case" was rendered possible, the glorious soul of
France itself became enervated. M. Emile Faguet de-
clared that the Russian Alliance was the beginning of
the moral and patriotic degradation of France; M.
Millerand, who later was to prove himself one of the
greatest ministers of war that the Third Republic has
produced, arose in the Chamber and asked if France
had not made "un marche de dupes." 1 M. Jean
Jaures summed up the sentiment of a large group when
he declared that it was "a sort of seal placed upon the
misfortunes of France."

i Annales de la Ckambre, Vol. 54i, p. 574.


When in 1898 the Czar announced his intention of
issuing a call for an international conference for the
limitation of armament and for the purpose of the
maintenance of peace upon the basis of the status quo,
France felt as though the keystone of her arch of hope
had been withdrawn. Yet even with the feeling of
disillusionment came the realization that the appeal
for disarmament and peace must be made upon the
basis of the status quo, if made at all, and for the great
ideal of world peace France was willing to make the
sacrifice of her lost provinces. As a ''Times" corre-
spondent aptly expressed it, "The Czar has sown in
the teeth of a driving Gallic wind the germs of pacifism
in France. ' ' 2 Yet even if the Kussian Alliance had
drawn in its wake a feeling of disillusionment, it was
realized that without it France would not have been
free to follow her policy of colonial expansion, which
was now more than ever essential to maintain her posi-
tion in the ranks of the great powers. Furthermore,
by providing a counterweight to the Triple Alliance,
France was enabled to draw closer to Italy, who was
not entirely content with her position in the Triplice.

It was a matter of common knowledge that Italy
had joined the Triple Alliance as much through fear
of Austria as through hostility towards France, al-
though France, by taking Tunis in 1881, had aroused
the passionate jealousy of the Italians, who still saw
the Carthage of Hannibal in the Tunis of to-day, and
looked forward to a renaissance of the imperial city
in all its ancient glory. With the disaster of Adowa
in 1896, which brought about the final fall of Crispi,

zFullerton, "Problems of Power," p. 31.


the principal trouble-fete between the two Latin
nations, an opportunity was made for a Franco-Italian
rapprochement. Three months before he became min-
ister of foreign affairs, M. Delcasse visited Rome, and
in addition to consulting with M. Barrere, French am-
bassador to Italy, he had interviews with the Marquis
di Rudini and with the Marquis Visconti-Venosta, min-
ister of foreign affairs, and both showed a willingness
to discuss a Mediterranean policy which should be more
favorable to the two countries.

"There is plenty of room for our two countries on
the Mediterranean," declared M. Delcasse; "the same
thing which has separated us is able to reunite us. " 3
The seed did not fall upon barren soil. One of the
first acts of M. Delcasse after becoming foreign minis-
ter was to bring about a treaty of commerce between
France and Italy. 4 This was to prove a veritable god-
send to Italy financially, and was destined to pave the
way to a political arrangement a few years later. So
although sixty years before M. Delcasse came into office,
Mazzini had declared northern Africa to be Italy's
inheritance, the Pyrenaean was enabled to outline and
carry through a Mediterranean policy which recog-
nized the interests of France in both Tunis and Mo-

To understand Franco-German relations at this same
period, it is necessary to go back to the Franco-Russian
alliance. This alliance, coming so soon after Kaiser

aReynald, "L'Oeuvre de M. DelcassS," p. 30.

* Arrangement announced by letters exchanged between M. Delcasse"
and the Italian ambassador M. Tornielli Nov. 21, ratified by France Feb.
2, 1899, and by Italy Feb. 11, 1899. Archives Diplomatiques, Vol. 68,
p. 333.


William II had dropped his great pilot, Bismarck,
necessitated very careful diplomacy on the part of the
Emperor. He quickly determined to enter into more
friendly relations with France, as the most feasible way
to neutralize the new force which might counterbalance
the weight of the Triplice. In 1891 he arranged the
voyage of the Empress Frederica to Paris, but this
visit was ill-advised, and failed completely to promote
more friendly relations between the two powers. Nev-
ertheless the Kaiser in a personal way continued to
show his neighborly intentions. In 1893 it was a letter
of condolence to the widow of ex-President McMahon
who had fought against Germany in 1870, the follow-
ing year a similar telegram of sympathy to Madame
Carnot, and thereafter every year he found occasion
to impress upon the minds of the French his personal
good will. 5 At one time it seemed as though the
Dreyfus Affair might embitter the relations between
the two countries, but the French wisely decided
to circumscribe this scandal within the borders of
France. 6

The German government also sought various oppor-
tunities to enter into political relations with France.
On March 15, 1894, there was signed a convention of
delimitation of territory between the Congo and Came-
roons and a mapping out of spheres of influence in the
region of Lake Chad. 7 The following year Germany
induced France to join with her and with Russia to
force a revision of the Shimoneseki Treaty in favor of

5 "Kaiserreden," Klausman (ed.), pp. 37-62.

eDebidour, "Histoire Diplomatique de 1'Europe (1878-1904)," p. 205.

7 Text in British and Foreign State Papers (1894), p. 974.


China, though it was made to appear in this case as
though the initiative came from Russia. 8 In January,
1896, Baron Marschall von Bieberstein suggested to M.
Herbette, French ambassador in Berlin, the possibility
of a Franco-German entente against Great Britain to
save the independence of the South African Republics,
which seemed about to be swallowed up in the maw
of the British lion. Incidentally it was pointed out
to France how detrimental British ambitions were to
the reciprocal interests of the two powers in Africa.
This conference was followed two days later by the
famous Kruger telegram from the Kaiser, which pro-
voked such hostility towards Germany throughout
England that the German government, realizing that
France might prove undependable in case of serious
difficulties, quickly steered the imperial ship of state
back into the haven of strict neutrality. 9

The final effort made by Germany to reach a friendly
understanding with France brings us to the appoint-
ment of M. Delcasse as French foreign minister.
Early in 1898 it was rumored that Great Britain
wished to make a loan to Portugal, with a lien upon
the Portuguese colonies in Africa as security. Portu-
gal, being in dire financial straits and fearing a quarrel
with Great Britain over the award of the arbitral tri-
bunal in the Delagoa Bay Affair, asked Germany for
her protection, suggesting as compensation that she
might have the right of preemption over the African
colonies of Portugal. The German government auth-
orized Count Minister, German ambassador to Paris,

M4vil, "De la Paix de Frankfort a Algdsiras," p. 4.

Mfivil, op. cit., p. 8.


to solicit the cooperation of the French. On June 19,
Count Miinster handed a note to M. Hanotaux calling
his attention to the danger of allowing Portugal to
compromise her sovereign rights in order to procure
money from Great Britain, and urged economic re-
prisals, or at least financial pressure. As the Meline
ministry had already fallen, the whole question was
turned over to M. Brisson and M. Delcasse. M. Andre
Mevil, whose authority can hardly be questioned, says
that M. Delcasse investigated, and finding the fears of
Germany wholly without foundation, let the matter
drop. 10 However, three years later, March 20, 1902,
when M. Gotteron interpolated M. Delcasse in the Sen-
ate on this subject, the Minister of Foreign Affairs de-
nied the whole affair categorically, declaring :

"No proposition from Germany concerning the
Portuguese colonies and for a decision about them
with France was addressed to my predecessor in June,
1898. I add that as far as I am concerned it has been
absolutely impossible for me to decline the proposals
for the peremptory reason that no proposals were made
to me." 11

Whether definite proposals were made or not, the
question did come up in some form or other, 12 and if
M. Delcasse had nothing to do with it, the inference
is that from the very beginning of his term of office,
he was determined not to be a party to any arrange-
ment with Germany which might tend in any way to
increase the tension in the already strained relations

10 MSvil, op. cit., p. 19.
iiAnnales du SSnat, Vol. 61, p. 598.

!2 See Le"monon, "L'Europe et la Politique Britannique," pp. 152-3;
also Fortnightly Review, March 1, 1902,


between France and Great Britain. 13 His sails were
trimmed to the steady winds from across the Channel
rather than to the fitful gusts from across the Vosges.


When M. Delcasse entered upon his duties as minis-
ter of foreign affairs at the Quai d'Orsay, he is said
to have remarked: "I do not wish to leave here, I
do not wish to leave this armchair, until I have re-
established a friendly understanding with England." 14
Inasmuch as he made this purpose the framework of
his whole foreign policy, it is necessary to resume
briefly the relations between the two powers just be-
fore he became foreign minister. Such a summary will
show the magnitude of the task which the new incum-
bent of the French foreign office had mapped out for

Ever since M. Waddington, the French representa-
tive, had returned from the Congress of Berlin in
1878 with Tunis in his pocket, as he phrased it, Great
Britain, who had been the first to suggest this as com-
pensation, began to look askance at the colonial am-
bitions of France. But with men like Gambetta and
Jules Ferry leading the way, the Third Republic
marched steadily ahead in its colonial enterprises, and
at the beginning of 1898 it had practically doubled the

is Directly after this an arrangement was concluded between Great
Britain and Germany regarding the Portuguese colonies (see Lemonon,
op. cit., p. 186), but according to Prince Radziwell, representing the
German emperor at the funeral of Felix Faure, "Nothing in this ar-
rangement is in opposition to a rapprochement between my country
and yours." Liberte", Feb. 26, 1899, quoted by Fullerton, op. cit., p. 55

i* Be"rard, "La Politique Francaise," Revue de Paris, July 1, 1905.


territories of France. During the period when M.
Hanotaux was in charge of the French foreign office
a period when the colonial ambitions of France were
especially conspicuous Great Britain and France
found themselves at odds in every part of the globe
where their colonial interests were neighboring.

In Tunis, awarded to France by the kindness of
Beaconsfield and Salisbury, the treaty of Kassar-Said,
which established the French protectorate in 1881,
recognized the validity of previous treaties entered
into with European countries. Such capitulations
giving these countries jurisdiction over their nationals,
and granting them the most favored nation clause
in all their commercial arrangements, interfered seri-
ously with the policy of the French Colonial Office,
M. Hanotaux took upon himself the task of trying to
obtain the renunciation by the powers of these capitula-
tions, and a revision of the commercial treaties to the
advantage of France. By his astute and delicate
handling of the situation, M. Hanotaux obtained new
and satisfactory arrangements with all the powers ; but
Great Britain was the last to give her consent, and
then only after imposing irksome conditions.
* The situation was even less satisfactory in Morocco,
which, owing to its long frontier bordering upon
Algeria, the French have always considered a natural
prolongation of their sphere of influence in northern
Africa. At the court of the Sultan we find two English-
men in high esteem, a Mr. MacLean, formerly an
officer of the garrison at Gibraltar, and a Mr. W. B. H.
Harris, correspondent of the London " Times," both
of whom had been conducting a campaign of British


propaganda based upon jealousy and hatred of France.
France, although not strongly desirous at this time of
destroying the power of the Sultan and of annexing
Morocco, could not permit any other power to obtain
preponderant interests there. For if, as Jules Ferry
declared, with France possessing Algeria, Tunis is the

Online LibraryGraham H. (Graham Henry) StuartFrench foreign policy from Fashoda to Serajevo (1898-1914) → online text (page 1 of 28)