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Apart from this view of the incident, it is clear that Germany was
pursuing her claim to a "place in the sun," and she did so to the
unconcealed annoyance of nations which up to then had never thought of
her in a rôle she appeared to be aspiring to, that of a Mediterranean
Power. To these nations she seemed an intruder in a sphere to which
she neither naturally nor rightfully belonged. Evidently she had no
political or historical claims in Morocco, while her commercial
interests were less than 10 per cent of Morocco trade.

A narration of the incident may, for the sake of convenience, though
involving some anticipation of the future, be dealt with in three
sections: from the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904, and the Emperor's
visit to Tangier in March, 1905, to the Act of Algeciras a year
subsequently; from the Act of Algeciras to the Franco-German Agreement
of 1909; and from that to the - let it be hoped - final settlement by
the Franco-German Agreement of November 5, 1911.

The Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 gave France a free hand in Morocco
in consideration of France giving England a similar position in Egypt
and the Nile Valley. The state of things in Morocco at this time was
one of discord and rebellion. In the midst of it, the Sultan, El
Hassan, died, and was succeeded by Abdul Aziz, a minor. On coming of
age Abdul Aziz showed his inability to rule, the country fell again
into disorder and Abdul turned for help to France. Meantime England
and France had been negotiating without the knowledge of Germany, and
in April, 1904, the Anglo-French Agreement was signed. It was
accompanied by an official declaration that France had no intention of
changing the political status of Morocco, but only contemplated a
policy there of "pacific penetration and reforms." Thereupon Prince
von Bülow, the German Chancellor, stated in the Reichstag that the
German Government had no reason to assume that the Agreement was
directed against any Power and that "it appeared to be an attempt by
England and France to come to a friendly understanding respecting
their colonial differences."

"From the standpoint of German interests," continued the Chancellor,
"we have no objections to raise to it." No parliamentary reference was
made to Morocco until March, 1905, when the Chancellor spoke of the
approaching visit of the Emperor to Tangier, and it became evident
that the Emperor and his advisers had come to the conclusion that, as
France seemed about assuming a full protectorate over Morocco, as she
had tried to do in Tunis, and that this, in accordance with French
policy, would result in the exclusion of other nationals from commerce
and the development of the country, Germany must take action. Prince
von Bülow explained that "his Majesty had, in the previous year,
declared to the King of Spain that Germany pursued no policy of
territorial acquisition in Morocco." He continued:

"Independent of the visit, and independent of the
territorial question, is the question whether we have
economic interests to protect in Morocco. That we have
certainly. We have in Morocco, as in China, a considerable
interest in the maintenance of the open door, that is the
equal treatment of all trading nations."

And he concluded by saying:

"So far as an attempt is being made to alter the
international status of Morocco, or to control the open door
in the economic development of the country, we must see more
closely than before that our economical interests are not
endangered. Our first step, accordingly, is to put ourselves
into communication with the Sultan."

The visit came off as announced, and the Emperor, on arriving at
Tangier, made a speech which caused a sensation in every diplomatic
chancellery; indeed, in all parts of the world. The Emperor's speech,
which was addressed to the German colonists on March 31, 1905, was as
follows: -

"I rejoice to make acquaintance with the pioneers of Germany
in Morocco and to be able to say to them that they have done
their duty. Germany has great commercial interests there. I
will promote and protect trade, which shows a gratifying
development, and make it my care to secure full equality
with all nations. This is only possible when the sovereignty
of the Sultan and the independence of the country are
preserved. Both are for Germany beyond question, and for
that I am ready at all times to answer. I think my visit to
Tangier announces this clearly and emphatically, and will
doubtless produce the conviction that whatever Germany
undertakes in Morocco will be negotiated exclusively with
the Sultan."

The result of these unmistakable declarations was that the Sultan
rejected proposals made to him by the French, and shortly afterwards,
on the advice of Germany, came forward with suggestions for a European
conference. M. Delcassé, the French Foreign Minister, opposed the
proposal, and for a time war between France and Germany appeared
inevitable; but France was not in a military position to ignore
Germany's threatening language, M. Delcassé had to resign, the French
Cabinet under M. Rouvier agreed to the conference, and it met at
Algeciras in January, 1906. At the conference Great Britain, in
consonance with the Entente, supported France; Austria adhered loyally
to her Triplice engagements and proved the "brilliant second" to
Germany the Emperor subsequently described her; Italy, on the other
hand, gave her Teutonic ally only lukewarm support.

In fairness, however, should be quoted here the explanation of Italy's
attitude given by Chancellor von Bülow when discussing the conference
in Parliament next year. The impression is general, both in and out of
Germany, that Italy is only a half-hearted political ally. It is based
on the temperamental difference between the Latin and the Teutonic
races, on the popular sympathy between the French and Italian peoples,
and to the supposedly reluctant support lent by Italy to Germany
during the critical time of the conference, the extra-tour, as Prince
Bülow, using a metaphor of the ballroom, termed it, she took with
France on that occasion. Prince Bülow now endeavoured to dissipate or
correct the impression, at any rate, as regarded Algeciras. "Italy,"
he said,

"found herself in a difficult position there. Various
agreements between Italy and France regarding Morocco had
come into existence anterior to the conference, but Germany
was satisfied that they were not inconsistent with Italy's
Triplice engagements; in fact, Germany had, several years
ago, officially told Italy she must use her own judgment and
act on her own responsibility in dealing with her French
neighbour in Africa and the Mediterranean."

When it was settled that a conference should be held, Italy, the
Chancellor continued, "gave Germany timely information as to the
extent to which her support of Germany could go, and as a matter of
fact she supported Germany's views in the bank and police questions."
So far the German official explanation, but the impression of Italian
lukewarmness as a member of the Triplice has lost none of its
universality thereby. How well or ill founded the impression is, it
will be for the future to disclose.

The summoning of the conference had been a triumph for German
diplomacy, but its results were disappointing to her; for while the
proceedings showed that among all nations she could only fully rely on
the sympathy and support of Austria, they ended in an acknowledgment
by Germany of the special position of France in Morocco. The Act of
Algeciras, which was dated April 7, 1906, stated that the signatory
Powers recognized that "order, peace, and prosperity" could only be
made to reign in Morocco

"by means of the introduction of reforms based upon the
triple principle of the sovereignty and independence of his
Majesty the Sultan, the integrity of his States, and
economic liberty without any inequality."

Then followed six Declarations regarding the organization of the
police, smuggling, the establishment of a State bank, the collection
of taxes, and the finding of new sources of revenue, customs, and
administrative services and public works. For the organization of the
police, French and Spanish officers and non-commissioned officers were
to be placed at the disposal of the Sultan by the French and Spanish
Governments. Tenders for public works were to be adjudicated on
impartially without regard to the nationality of the bidder. The
effect of the Act was to give international recognition to the special
position of France and Spain in Morocco, while safeguarding the
economic interests of other Powers.

The attitude taken up by Germany relative to the conference was set
forth in a speech delivered by Prince von Bülow in the Reichstag in
December, 1905. It was based, he explained, on the provisions of the
Madrid Convention of 1880, in which all the Great Powers and the
United States had taken part. The Chancellor claimed that Germany
sought no special privileges in Morocco, but favoured a peaceful and
independent development of the Shereefian Empire. He denied that
German rights could be abrogated by an Anglo-French Agreement, and
pointing out that Morocco in 1880 had granted all the signatories to
the Madrid Convention most-favoured-nation treatment, claimed that if
France desired to make good her demand for special privileges, she
ought to have the consent of the special signatories to the Madrid
pact. Germany had a right to be heard in any new settlement of
Moroccan conditions; she could not allow herself to be treated as a
_quantité négligeable_, nor be left out of account when a country
lying on two of the world's greatest commercial highways was being
disposed of. She had a commercial treaty with Morocco, conferring
most-favoured-nation rights, and it did not accord with her honour to
give way.

The Act of Algeciras, however, proved to have brought only temporary
relief to European tension. Disturbances continued in Morocco, French
subjects were murdered at Marakesch in 1907, and France occupied the
province of Udja with troops until satisfaction should be given. Owing
to riots at Casablanca in 1908, in which French as well as Spanish and
Italian labourers were killed, she decided to occupy the place, and
sent a strong military and naval force thither. A French warship
bombarded the town, and by June, 1908, the French army of occupation
numbered 15,000 men. Meanwhile internal commotions and intrigues had
led to the deposition of Abdul Aziz and his replacement on the throne
by his brother, Muley Hafid, with the support of Germany. France and
Spain refused to recognize the new ruler unless he gave guarantees
that he would respect the Act of Algeciras. Muley gave the required
guarantees, and in March, 1909, France "declared herself wholly
attached to the integrity and independence of the Shereefian Empire
and decided to safeguard economic equality in Morocco." Germany on her
side declared she was pursuing in Morocco only economic interests and,
"recognizing that the special political interests of France in Morocco
are closely bound up in that country with the consolidation of order
and of internal peace," was "resolved not to impede those interests."

The German idea of not impeding French special political interests in
Morocco was disclosed little more than two years later by the dispatch
of the German gunboat _Panther_ (of "Well done, _Panther_!" fame) on
July 3, 1911, to the "closed" port of Agadir on the south Moroccan

It was as dramatic a coup as the Emperor's visit to Tangier and caused
as much alarm. The fact is that the march of French troops to Fez,
which had taken place a few months before, convinced the Emperor and
his Government that France, relying on the support of her Entente
friend England, was bent on the Tunisification of Morocco. The
Emperor, Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, and Foreign Secretary
Kiderlen-Wæchter met at the Foreign Office on May 21st, and it was
decided to send a ship of war, as at once a hint and a demonstration,
to Agadir or other Moroccan port. Germany, of course, in accordance
with diplomatic strategy, did not disclose the real springs of her
action, though they must have been patent to all the world. She
notified the Powers of the dispatch of her warship, explaining that
the sending of the _Panther_, which "happened to be in the
neighbourhood," was owing to the representations of German firms, as a
temporary measure for the protection of German protégés in that
region, and taken "in view of the possible spread of disorders
prevailing in other parts of Morocco."

In France, on the other hand, it was asserted that the step was not in
conformity with the spirit of the Franco-German Agreement of 1909, in
which Germany resolved not to impede French special interests, that
there were no Germans at Agadir, and that only nine months previously
Germany had angrily protested at the calling of a French cruiser at
the same port. The reference was to the visit of the French cruiser
_Du Chaylu_ in November, 1910, when the captain paid a visit to the
local pasha. The German Foreign Secretary eventually said Germany had
no objection to France using her police rights even in a closed port,
and the admission was taken as a fresh renunciation on the part of
Germany of any right to interference. Feeling ran high for a time both
in France and Germany, while the German action added to the sentiment
of hostility to Germany in England, and English political circles
perceived in it a design on Germany's part of acquiring a port on the
Moroccan coast. The word "compensation," which afterwards was to prove
the solution of Franco-German differences was now first mentioned by

After England's determination to support France had been made plain by
ministerial statements, the entire Morocco episode was closed by the
Franco-German Agreement signed on November 5, 1911, as "explanatory
and supplementary" to the Franco-German Agreement of 1909. The effect
of the new Agreement was practically to give France as free a hand in
Morocco as England has in Egypt, with the reservation that "the
proceedings of France in Morocco leave untouched the economic equality
of all nations." The Agreement further gives France "entire freedom of
action" in Morocco, including measures of police. The rights and
working area of the Morocco State bank were left as they stood under
the Act of Algeciras. The sovereignty of the Sultan is assumed, but
not explicitly declared. The compensation to Germany for her agreement
to "put no hindrances in the way of French administration" and for the
"protective rights" she recognizes as "belonging to France in the
Shereefian Empire" was the cession by France to Germany of a large
portion of her Congo territory in mid-Africa, with access to the Congo
and its tributaries, the Sanga and Ubangi.

While the ground-idea of Germany's policy of economic expansion, and
the source of all her trouble with England, is her insistence on her
"place in the sun," the difficulty attending it for other nations is
to determine the place's nature and extent, so that every one shall be
comfortable and prosperous all round.

The alterations in conditions among civilized nations during the last
half-century, more especially in all that relates to international
intercourse - political, financial, commercial, social - makes it
reasonable to suppose that changes must follow in the conduct of their
foreign policies. The fact also, recognized by no country more clearly
than by Germany, that the profitable regions of the earth are already
appropriated makes an economic policy for her all the more advisable.
An economic policy, moreover, is, notwithstanding her apparent
militarism, most in harmony with the peaceful and industrious
character of her people. Unfortunately, the stage in progress where
the political and commercial interests of all nations have become
defined and adjusted has not yet been reached, though the numerous
agreements between the Great Powers of recent years go far towards
clearing the way for so desirable a consummation. Unfortunately, too,
it is in the very process of finding bases for such agreements that
international jealousies and misunderstandings arise; and hence in
securing peace, governments and peoples are at all times nowadays most
in jeopardy of war. This consideration alone might very well be used
to justify nations in keeping their military and naval forces strong
and ready. Perhaps some day such forms of force will not be wanted,
though admittedly the great majority of people still refuse to believe
that the changes which have occurred have altered the fundamental
attitude of countries to each other, and remain firmly convinced that
to-day, as yesterday and the day before, great nations are moved by an
irresistible desire to add to their territories and in every way
aggrandize themselves, by diplomacy if possible, and if diplomacy
fails, by force.

It is, of course, impossible to say with certainty what the real
designs of the Emperor and his Government in this regard were during
the Morocco episode, or are now. Some believe that their designs have
always aimed, and still aim, at depriving Great Britain of her
position of superiority in respect of territory, maritime dominion,
and trade. Others hold that they seek and will have, _coûte que
coûte_, new territory for Germany's increasing population, and look
with greedy eyes towards South America and even Holland. Others yet
again represent them as incessantly on the watch to seize a harbour
here or there as a coaling station for warships and a basis of attack.
But an unbiased survey of the annals of the Emperor's reign hitherto
does not bear out any of these assertions. A policy of territorial
expansion as such, mere earth-hunger, cannot be proved against him.
Prince Bismarck was no colonial enthusiast, though he passes for being
the founder of Germany's present colonial policy; and even to-day
the colonial party in Germany, though a very noisy, is not a very
large or influential one. Samoa - East Africa - Kiao-tschau - the
Carolines - Heligoland - the Cameroons: how can the acquisition of
comparatively insignificant and unprofitable places like these be used
for proving that the might of Germany is or has been directed towards
territorial conquest?

What, it may however be asked, of the Morocco adventure? Of the speech
at Tangier? Of the sending of the _Panther_ to Agadir? Of the demand
for compensation in Central Africa? Until the Morocco question arose,
all the quarrels amongst the Powers regarding territory were caused by
the territorial ambition of France, or Russia, or Italy - not of
Germany; and it was not until France showed openly, by sending her
troops to Fez, and thus ignoring the Act of Algeciras, that Germany
put forward claims for territorial compensation in connection with
Morocco. The visit of the Emperor to Tangier in 1905, a year after the
Anglo-French Agreement, was doubtless an unpleasant surprise for both
England and France. And not without good cause; for England and France
are naturally and historically Mediterranean Powers - the one as
guardian of the route to her Eastern possessions, the other as the
owners of a large extent of Mediterranean coast; while England, in
addition, was justified in seeing with uneasiness the possibility of a
German settlement at Tangier or elsewhere on the Morocco seaboard. But
the Tangier visit and all that followed it was the consequence, not of
an adventurous policy of territorial conquest, but of a legitimate,
and not wholly selfish, desire for economic expansion.

Taken, then, as a whole, the Emperor's foreign policy has been, as it
is to-day, almost entirely economic and commercial. The same might, no
doubt, be said in a general way of all civilized Occidental
governments, but there never has yet been a country of which the
foreign policy was so completely directed by the economic and
mercantile spirit as modern Germany. The foreign policy of England has
also been commercial, but it has been influenced at times by noble
sentiment and splendid imagination as well. The first question the
German statesman, in whose vocabulary of state-craft the word
imagination does not occur, asks himself and other nations when any
event happens abroad to demand imperial attention is - how does it
affect Germany's economic and commercial interests, future as well as
present? What is Germany going to get out of it? The manner in which
on various occasions during the reign the question has been propounded
has excited criticism bordering on indignation abroad, but it should
be recognized that it has invariably been answered in the long run by
Germany in the spirit of compromise and conciliation.

However, all civilized nations nowadays see that war is the least
satisfactory method of adjusting national quarrels, and the tendency
is happily growing among them to pursue a commercial, an economic
policy, a policy of peace. This is true Weltpolitik, true
world-policy. Time was when wars were the unavoidable result of
conditions then prevailing; but conditions have greatly altered, and
war, as there is abundant evidence to show, is to-day, in almost every
case, avoidable by all civilized peoples. Formerly war deranged and
disturbed at any rate for the time being, the commerce and industries
of the countries engaged in it; to-day, as Mr. Norman Angell
demonstrates, it deranges and disturbs commerce and industry all over
the world. The derangement and disturbance may, it is true, be only
temporary; but there is, as always, the loss of life among the youth
of the countries engaged in war to be remembered. Granted that it is
pleasant and honourable to die for one's country. Let us hope the time
is coming when it will be equally pleasant and honourable to live for

We have done with Morocco, but to round off the record for 1905
mention should be made of an incident in the Emperor's life which was
a source of great pleasure to him after his return from his journey
thither. The marriage of his eldest son, the Crown Prince, took place
in the Chapel Royal of the Berlin palace on June 15, 1905, to the
young Duchess Cecile of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, whose character has been
alluded to elsewhere and whom all Germans look forward with pleasure
to seeing one day their Empress. The marriage naturally was attended
by rejoicings in Berlin similar to those shown when the Emperor was
married in 1881. Their chief popular feature, now as then, was the
formal entry into the capital, and its chief domestic feature a grand
wedding breakfast at the Emperor's palace. On the occasion of the
latter, the Emperor, rising from his seat and using the familiar _Du_
and _Dich_ (thou and thee), addressed his newly-made daughter-in-law
as follows: -

"My dear daughter Cecilie, - Let me, on behalf of my wife and
my whole House, heartily welcome you as a member of my House
and my family circle. You have come to us like a Queen of
Spring amid roses and garlands, and under endless
acclamations of the people such as my Residence city has not
known for long. A circle of noble guests has assembled to
celebrate this high and joyful festival with us, but not
only those present, but also those who are, alas, no more,
are with us in spirit: your illustrious father and my

"A hundred thousand beaming faces have enthusiastically
greeted you; they have, however, not merely shone with
pleasure, but whoever can look deeper into the heart of man
could have seen in their eyes the question - a question which
can only be answered by your whole life and conduct, the
question, How will it turn out?

"You and your husband are about to found a home together.
The people has its examples in the past to live up to. The
examples which have preceded you, dear Cecilie, have been
already eloquently mentioned - Queen Louise and other
Princesses who have sat on the Prussian throne. They are the
standards according to which the people will judge your
life, while you, my dear son, will be judged according to
the standard Providence set up in your illustrious

"You, my daughter, have been received by us with open arms
and will be honoured and cherished. To both of you I wish
from my heart God's richest blessings. Let your home be

Online LibraryStanley ShawWilliam of Germany → online text (page 21 of 31)