Uk France Agreement 1904

With the Cordial Agreement, the two powers reduced the virtual isolation in which they had retreated – France involuntarily, Britain complacent – while they observed each other on African issues. Britain had no major ally of power except Japan (1902) and it would be pointless for war to break out in European waters; France had nothing but Russia, which was soon discredited in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/05. The agreement was upsetting for Germany, whose policy has long insisted on relying on Franco-British antagonism. A German attempt to control the French in Morocco in 1905 (the Tangier incident or the First Moroccan Crisis) and thus to thwart the Agreement served only to strengthen them. Military talks were quickly initiated between the French and British staffs. Franco-British solidarity was confirmed at the Algeciras conference (1906) and reaffirmed during the Second Moroccan Crisis (1911). [3] The two governments, which are also committed to the principle of commercial freedom in both Egypt and Morocco, state that they are not unequal in the collection of customs duties or other taxes, nor in relation to rail transport charges. The two countries` trade with Morocco and Egypt is treated in the same way during transit through French and British possessions in Africa. An agreement between the two governments regulates the conditions of this transit and determines the entry points. Its 9 Apr 1904 09.29 GMT First publication on Sat 9 April 1904 09.29 GMT FIFTY have passed since 8 April 1904, when France and Great Britain concluded the agreement on Egypt and Morocco, which was the cradle of cooperation between the two countries in international affairs. In the early years of Louis-Philippe, and again during the Crimean War, during the reign of Napoleon III, there had been for a short time a “cordial agreement”; but under the Third Republic, the British and French had never stopped fighting in their African territories, and finally British, Egyptian, French and Ethiopian soldiers came face to face with Fashoda on the Nile.

For four months there was the fear of war in 1898. Theophile Delcassé, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paul Cambon, then ambassador to Constantinople, and Camille Barrére, ambassador to Rome, were certain that a war against the greatest maritime power would be folly for a colonial power like France. True to the tradition of friendship with England, so strong in liberal circles, they insisted on the evacuation of Fashoda and the negotiation of an African agreement. One hundred years ago, in April of this year, Great Britain signed the Cordial Agreement with France. Some observers expressed reservations at the time in what was now denounced as the far-right press of Little England, but such protests were astounded by a wave of enthusiasm for such a staggering diplomatic revolution. The agreement was hailed as a triumph of reason, progress and diplomatic agility. Britain had finally put an end to its ancestral hostility with France, abandoned imperial adventurism and stemmed from its chauvinistic isolationism, which it had imposed itself. Instead, it should adopt a more common spirit of diplomacy with our neighbours across the Channel.

In fact, the Agreement proved disastrous for both Britain and for peace in Europe.

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