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but it gave to the French “the right to catch fish and to dry them on land ” on part of the Newfoundland coast. The exercise of this “right” ultimately became a dangerous source of friction, which more than once brought Great Britain and France within measurable distance of war, the French claiming that it was not a joint but an exclusive right. Five separate sets of negotiations initiated between 1844 and 1885 were abortive; and as the relations between England and France steadily deteriorated in the late eighties under Bismarckian influence, the French asserted their “rights” in their most extreme form, and provoked the Newfoundland Legislature to retaliate by Bait Acts, which drove the French into erecting lobster factories, which opened a fresh controversy. Of late years the most painful feature of the question to Englishmen has been the coercion of the Colony by the Mother Country, which cast disagreeable police work on the British Navy. Happily this horrid chapter in our history is closed once and for all, as under the present Convention the French renounce all rights of landing on the Treaty shore, pecuniary compensation for disturbance being paid by his Majesty's Government. Moreover, as, in the words of Lord Lansdowne's despatch, “the French Government claim with reason that they are required to renounce on behalf of the nation a privilege which cannot be estimated merely at its present pecuniary value . . . we have offered to France at various points concessions of importance to her . . . which can in our opinion be granted without detriment to British interests.” These are (a) a rectification of the Eastern frontier of our Colony of the Gambia, giving France access to the navigable portion of that river; (b) the cession of the Iles de Los, which are of strategic value to French Guinea without being of any intrinsic value to ourselves; (c) a modification of the boundary of Nigeria, giving France an accession of territory and a direct route between her possessions on the Niger and those in the neighbourhood of Lake Chad. Some regret is expressed in Canada that France remains in possession of the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which are of no value to her, but which, if purchased by the United States and used as a naval base, might become a serious menace to Canada. This contingency can hardly have been overlooked by the British negotiators, and it is to be hoped that we have at any rate secured the right of pre-emption should France at any time feel disposed to sell.
By the Déclaration Annexe concerning Siam, Madagascar, and the New Hebrides, the high contracting parties formally disclaim all idea of annexing Siamese territory, and confirm existing Treaties, but they mutually recognise each other's preponderance in the two spheres where it already exists. In other words France recognises British influence in the Western portion of the Menam Valley, while Great Britain recognises French influence in the Eastern portion of that valley. As regards Madagascar, Great Britain gracefully withdraws her protest against the French Customs Tariff, while in the New Hebrides the two Powers agree to appoint a Commission “to settle the disputes of their respective nationals in the said islands with regard to landed property.” Such are in brief the terms of the Anglo-French Settlement, which has the comprehensive character suggested by M. Etienne, the eminent French statesman, in the famous article he contributed to the National Review last summer.” Those so disposed will have little difficulty in picking holes in this transaction or that transaction, and in showing that here we have got too little and there we have given too much. We believe that France has on the whole got the best of the bargain, but we also think that Lord Lansdowne may fairly claim that he has not sacrificed any substantial British interest. After all, it is not easy for laymen to fall foul of a compact which, as regards Egypt, is completely satisfactory to Lord Cromer, as regards Newfoundland has been settled in consultation with the Colonial Government, while Mr. Seddon, a most vigilant guardian of Imperial interests, expresses his approval of the New Hebrides Commission. To those who are anxious concerning our concessions in Morocco, we would venture to commend the remarkable article which we publish this month from the pen of Mr. Walter B. Harris, who for many years has been acknowledged to be a keen and devoted champion of British interests in that country. ‘We trust that our fellow subjects in the various communities affected by this Agreement will regard it in the spirit which finds such generous and large-minded expression in the closing paragraphs of Mr. Harris's article. It augurs well for the future relations of France and Great Britain that “the men on the spot,” who as a rule are exceedingly critical of any arrangements made by Downing Street, are able to express such hearty approval.
* See “The Colonial Controversies between France and England,” by Eugène Etienne, Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, and President of the Foreign Affairs and Colonial Group (Wational Review, July 1903).
. The reception of the Anglo-French Agreement, which has been the principal topic of discussion throughout the Chanceries of Europe during the past month, is a liberal education. We turn as usual for guidance to Berlin, as our German friends are such scientific students of foreign affairs as to be always ready with instructed criticism. Their feelings can best be described by a picturesque phrase they are wont to apply to other people—“in impotent wrath they are clenching their fists in their pockets.” The Anglo-French compact is universally regarded as a stunning blow to the Wilhelmstrasse which has continued to work on Bismarckian principles, but unfortunately without Bismarck's genius. We have had all the contortions of the sibyl, but without the inspiration. The Reichsbote, an influential journal in close touch with Court opinion, pathetically exclaims, “Germany is apparently not taken seriously in the councils of States. Where is Germany's place in the sun ? All that Germany possesses is the friendship of the Pope,” while another important organ, the Rheinisch JWestfälische Zeitung, expresses itself in terms which sound like an echo of Busch : “Bismarck taught that it was in the interests of Germany to set England and Italy by the ears with France. The result of the Entente is a complete change in the international situation, and not to Germany's advantage.” Then follows the naïve suggestion that as Germany is overflowing with people and desires naval bases, while Morocco is a colonisable country possessing naval bases, and “as England is eliminated from the Moorish question, Germany has only France to deal with.” Therefore “the situation is so favourable that even Count von Bülow will have the courage to exploit it. Is the German Michael to get nothing 2 The hour has come when Germany must Secure Western Morocco from the Atlas to the sea.” How are the mighty fallen Count von Bülow has been compelled to listen to similar language in the Reichstag, where Count Reventlow declared that the Anglo-French Agreement concerning Morocco had caused profound depression in Germany, as a source of friction between England and France had been eliminated. The versatile Count von Bülow had endeavoured to meet the storm by the amiable assertion that Germany had “no reason to desire that relations between France and England should be strained, were it only because these strained relations would imperil the peace of the world, the maintenance of which is the object of our sincere endeavours,” to which Count Reventlow replied that he could not agree with this new semi-official doctrine, for he was unable to see how a conflict between England and
France could in any way be a matter for Germany to grieve over. “If it were the business of German foreign policy to diminish Sources of friction, the best plan would be to entrust the management of that policy to the Baroness von Suttner.”
If Count von Bülow rejoices over the Anglo-French Agreement A Happ as he told the Reichstag, he ought to be one of the happiest men in Europe, as no one, not even his own Sovereign, has contributed more to its consummation than the German Imperial Chancellor. Count von Bülow can hardly have forgotten his celebrated confession of December 12, 1900, when expounding the policy of the Krüger telegram to the Reichstag : I am guilty of no diplomatic indiscretion when I say that this telegram had at any rate the good effect, by virtue of the reception with which it met, not in Germany but outside Germany—it had the merit of making the situation so far clear to us that its reception obviated all possibility of a doubt that in the event of a conflict with England in Africa we should have had to rely solely upon our own strength. From the perception of this fact a conscientious Government was bound to draw its own conclusions, and we drew our conclusions. As the Times Berlin correspondent truly points out, this admission that the Krüger telegram of January 1896, which had been discounted in England as the impulsive and inconsequent act of the Emperor, was followed by a deliberate diplomatic campaign in Europe by the German Government, with the object of ascertaining whether a combination could be formed to challenge our Supremacy in South Africa, has been a material factor in that reconsideration which British foreign policy has recently undergone. We have no hesitation in saying that had it been generally known in England at the moment of Fashoda that Germany had made such an overture to France, and that that overture had been rejected, the Marchand episode would have passed off in a very different manner, and without leaving any soreness behind on either side of the Channel. Unfortunately, mainly owing to our own stupidity and ignorance, the German Emperor had been able, in the interval between the Krüger telegram and Fashoda, to retrieve his position in this country, and events had also to some extent played into his hands in Europe. Moreover our Press was not yet alive to the duty of educating British opinion as to the true character of German policy.
Outside Germany the Anglo-French Agreement appears to , , ..., have excited general approval. The United
*: .*sū. naturally had no objection to offer to an atement, arrangement which scarcely affected her interests, while both Austria-Hungary and Italy could not be otherwise than pleased, seeing that they gave us a lead, the first by making a direct deal with Russia regarding the Balkan Peninsula, the second by her wise entente with France concerning the Mediterranean, while Japan, who was said at one time to be apprehensive at the growing friendship between England and the ally of her enemy, accepted the situation with her usual good sense, realising that by no possibility could her interests suffer through an arrangement which would make France more disinclined than ever to interfere in the Far Eastern War. Germany counted, however, on the indignation of Russia, which she had been endeavouring to inflame for many months past by sensational articles on the “disloyalty” of France to her ally. Here again there has been a surprise and a disappointment. The Russians are growing weary of the Honest Broker of Berlin, to whom for many years they have paid heavy commissions for cheap services; and although it would be idle to pretend that Russia entertains very warm feelings towards Great Britain at the present moment, she observes the growing isolation of Germany without dismay, and from this point of view the Anglo-French Agreement is not unwelcome in St. Petersburg. It is somewhat unfair of Englishmen who suffer from Russophobia, to attribute the Anglophile articles which have recently appeared in certain Russian organs to the military and naval difficulties in which Russia is now involved. There has long been a party in Russia, including some of the most intelligent members of the Diplomatic Service, who have worked under great discouragement for an understanding with England, and it is only natural that they should be to the fore at the psychological moment of the Anglo-French Settlement. M. de Nelidoff, the Russian Ambassador in Paris, has taken the very unusual step of allowing himself to be interviewed by a correspondent of the Temps, to whom he expressed his hearty approval of the new development, of which he had been kept informed by M. Delcassé. He declared it would cause no surprise in St. Petersburg, but on the contrary would give lively satisfaction. Although our relations with Russia are undoubtedly complicated at the present moment, the following declaration of M. de Nelidoff, which derives additional importance from having been made with the knowledge and sanction of Count Lamsdorff (the Russian Foreign Minister) has caused no little satisfaction in England :
The Russians will be delighted for two reasons. We are the friends and allies of France, and we rejoice at any piece of good fortune for you, such as this arrangement is. As your allies, we are equally pleased at this fresh guarantee of force and security accruing to you from this agreement. . . . Your entente with England deprives you of many anxieties and embarrassments, and