By G. P. Gooch

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Extra resources for Before the War, Studies in Diplomacy

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The French Government, replied the Ambassador, had no desire to bring about a premature liquida­ tion, but they wished by an agreement to diminish the chances o f it becoming necessary. Lansdowne gave no encourage­ ment, and a rebellion in Morocco at the close o f the year led him to fear that the French might take advantage o f a catastrophe and renew their overture for an arrangement. British policy at'this moment was defined in a memorandum drawn up for Kaid Maclean. The Sultan proposed that Great Britain, with or without Germany, should guarantee the integrity o f Morocco for seven years,— the guarantee to lapse if the Sultan did not thoroughly reform the administration and develop the resources o f his country.

But they too, being compelled to envisage the possibility o f aggressive action by other Powers or o f fresh troubles in China jeopardising the integrity or the free development o f that Power, would in case o f need consult one another as to safe­ guarding their interests. In handing the note to the Foreign Secretary, Paul Cambon expressed his personal regret that the treaty diminished the prospect o f a good understanding which he had at one time thought might be established between Great Britain and Russia.

This opinion was shared by his chief, who was far more favourable to participation than his cautious words to Metternich in March appeared to suggest. “ It would be a great misfortune ” , he wrote a month later in a minute, “ if this railway were to be constructed without British participation. The line will be a most import­ ant highway to the East with a diboucbi on the Persian Gulf. ” He had made inquiries in the G ty and had learned that the finanders were not likely to come forward unless the Govern­ ment showed its confidence in the enterprise by material support.

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