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these illusions as their basis, will disappear gradually like a dream; and measuring possibilities by more modest but more real standards, the progress which is actually open to them will be regarded by them in its true light-that is to say, as a series of substantial conquests, instead of as conquests so small as to resemble exasperating defeats in an attempt to realise conditions which are beyond the limits of possibility. The object of education, as understood by the Bishop of Birmingham, appears to be the enlargement of the claims and expectations of all to the utmost extent possible. May I venture to call his attention to the words of another prelate whom, in this respect, at all events, I should regard as the wiser man. The first object of education,' said the late Bishop Creighton, of London, is to teach each of us the knowledge of his own limitations.'
A few final words still remain to be said as to that cause of contemporary unrest to which, in these few pages, I called attention first. I refer to the unrest which has for its chief cause the modern facilities for travel. With regard to unrest of this kind, which is common to all classes alike, I would observe that the richer classes, and not the poorer only, are here still undergoing an experience strictly analogous to that which the poorer are undergoing as a consequence of popular education. They are still perturbed by the novelty of the experiences open to them and I would add that in time such novelty will wear itself out; that much which is now distracting will become unexciting and commonplace; and that the present restlessness may not indeed turn into apathy, but subside into a healthy activity from which the symptoms of fever may have disappeared.
W. H. MALLOCK.
VOL. LXXI-No. 424
THE TRUTH ABOUT
THE FRANCO-GERMAN CRISIS OF 1911
THE year 1911 was indeed a romantic one. Not only has Europe suffered from a new Franco-German crisis which nearly involved England and France in a great war, but-what is still worse-she has had to put up with a frightful accumulation of speeches and of magazine and newspaper articles, contributed by men who all professed to know the truth, though they were in fact contradicting each other in the most shocking way.
It is interesting to note that England has not been spared in that respect more than France herself. Some extravagant stories have been told by serious English papers about several French statesmen, whose secret intentions they apparently knew better than those statesmen themselves. But the most curious instance of that kind of literature is certainly Mr. E. D. Morel's recent book on Morocco in Diplomacy; a subject on which he has also written recently in this Review. Although Mr. Morel's unfriendliness to France has been well known since he ruthlessly attacked the French Congo, while dealing with the undoubted evils existing in the Belgian Congo, his new appearance as a kind of German Siegfried is of a highly comical order. For now we hear from a British moralist that not only is France a wicked country, but that England herself behaved in a shameful way during the Franco-German negotiations: Germany alone was guiltless of any unfriendly design; she alone stuck to her treaty obligations; she never thought of doing anything unfair; in one word, she alone deserves to enter Mr. Morel's diplomatic heaven.
Such a pious indictment is bound to impress the public mind so long as no definite statement can be made as to what actually happened behind the scenes. It is only by setting forth the facts themselves that one can prevent reasonable people from wondering whether Sir Edward Grey did not really act as he did because he was afraid of The Times, or whether M. Caillaux did not make up his mind to sell France to Germany. Fortunately the facts are now available. Three books have just been published in Paris
1 'The National Interest in the Franco-German Dispute,' November 1911, and, The True Story of the Morocco Negotiations,' February 1912.
which supply nearly all the secret evidence that was still wanted. One has been written by the foreign editor of Le Temps, M. André Tardieu, and is entitled Le Mystère d'Agadir. The two others, Le Coup d' Agadir, by M. Pierre Albin, and Chronique de l'an 1911, by M. Mermeix, are from the pen of distinguished writers. Their respective value is, of course, a matter open to discussion. M. André Tardieu, for instance, is considered by Mr. E. D. Morel as a kind of Mephistopheles, whose sinister influence has been perverting not only France but also the British Foreign Office, ever since he once crossed the Channel. His book, which is, without any doubt, the ablest and the most considerable of the three, will therefore be represented by some as a mere collection of lies. To this it can, however, be answered that the three writers have written the history of the Franco-German crisis from three different and sometimes opposite points of view, and in these circumstances every reader is in a position to make a critical comparison between them in order to form his own judgment. In the second place, most of M. Tardieu's contentions are based on existing documents which he has been able to publish for the first time, and it is open to any serious student to check his quotations. As a matter of fact, the truth, or rather the approximate truth-for nobody except, perhaps, Mr. Morel can boast of being in possession of the absolute historical truth-appears in a fairly precise shape to anyone who has had the patience to peruse those three books. All the more so that M. Tardieu, not to speak of the others, has made a thorough effort to present the German case in an unbiased way.
What, then, are the disclosures brought out by such an inquiry? Does Europe still stand out as in Mr. Morel's book-on one side Germany entirely white; on the other, France and England equally black, with the possible exception of a few white spots which correspond to the Congo Reform Association and Messrs. John Holt and Co., of Liverpool? Put in those terms, the question is scarcely interesting enough for a Hyde Park open-air meeting. But without taking too seriously Mr. Morel's German propaganda, there are two important points on which the British public is bound to ask for more light.
The first one relates to the immediate causes which led to the sending of the Panther to Agadir. As England chose to stand by France, she has a right to know whether all the responsibilities for such a crisis were on the side of her friend. Was Germany totally innocent of the failure of the Franco-German agreement of 1909? Was the expedition to Fez and the French military interference in Morocco quite unjustified?
The second point is even more important, from a British point of view. Was Sir Edward Grey, were the members of the British
Cabinet justified in adopting a strong attitude in regard to the action of Germany as soon as the Panther had gone to Agadir? Would it have been safer for England-not taking the interests of France into account-to let things go their way, or even, as Mr. Morel suggests (Morocco in Diplomacy, p. 141) to insist a treatment of Germany commensurable with Germany's legal position and with Germany's unquestionable rights?'
The facts which are now for the first time revealed to the public seem to throw on these two points a new and perhaps decisive light.
THE CAUSES OF THE CRISIS
There is not much doubt that the main reason for the violent way in which Germany intervened after the Fez expedition was that she was bitterly disappointed by the results of the FrancoGerman agreement of February 1909. That agreement had provided that in order to facilitate the execution of the Algeciras Act' both Governments' chercheront à associer leurs nationaux dans les affaires dont ceux-ci pourront obtenir l'entreprise'; France undertook to safeguard the principle of economic equality in Morocco, and Germany recognised that the special political interests of France in that country were closely bound up with the consolidation of order and internal peace.' In consequence of this, both Governments gave their support to a number of Franco-German enterprises, which were started not only in Morocco itself, but also in other parts of Africa. The Union des Mines and the Société Marocaine des Travaux-Publics-two societies which were of international character, but in which France and Germany held the largest shares-represented the new policy in Morocco. It seems equally well established now, by a letter written by M. Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the 5th of June 1909, that the French Government thought soon after of extending the Franco-German co-operation to the Congo. The idea was launched of bringing together the Sud Kamerun Gesellschaft and a French society, the 'N'Goko Sangha,' in order to form a Franco-German consortium, which would end, once for all, a number of disputes relating to the frontiers of the Kamerun and the French Congo. Later, at the beginning of 1911, both Governments tried to come to terms over a railway which would have crossed the German Kamerun and the French Congo from the South Coast of Kamerun as far as the Ubanghi. In short, during the two years which followed the agreement of February 1909 Germany was supposed to have given up her opposition to the extension of French political influence in Morocco, and France was supposed to be ready for any kind of industrial co-operation with Germany in Africa.
Unfortunately every one of the Franco-German economic schemes failed. The Union des Mines was paralysed from the beginning. The Société Marocaine des Travaux-Publics was never allowed to build either a road or a railway. The only benefit Germany secured took the shape of a sum of 600,000 francs, which was paid by the Maghzen to Herr Renschhausen, and of another sum of 6,000,000 francs, paid for the work done in the harbour of Larache. The Franco-German Congo consortium was equally unsuccessful, and so was the Franco-German Equatorial railway. It would be unfair to deny that the French Government was responsible for a number of those failures. Such was specially the case with the Franco-German consortium in the Congo. The scheme provided for the investment of German capital in a large part of French territory; it included the payment of a considerable compensation to a French company. It was bitterly attacked, in a more or less direct way, by several parliamentary groups, mainly by Mr. E. D. Morel's French friends. The French Cabinet did not feel strong enough to resist those attacks, and dropped the scheme after the Germans had been led to believe, for a whole year, that the matter was satisfactorily settled. Under those circumstances it is not surprising that the Germans should have thought they were being cheated. They had already found French diplomacy in their way in the Bagdad railway question, where France stood by England and Russia, and also in the Ouenza affair in Algeria, which has been at a standstill for many years owing to parliamentary opposition. They had, it must be confessed, certain good reasons to be dissatisfied with the working of the economic side of the 1909 agreement.
They would, however, in no case have been fully satisfied. Here comes in a disclosure, the importance of which cannot be over-estimated. Not only has the German Government been equally responsible with France for the failure of certain FrancoGerman enterprises (such as the Union des Mines, for instance, which found the Brothers Mannesmann in its way), but its general responsibility lies much deeper. Germany interpreted, from the first, the 1909 agreement as if France had bound herself to give to the Franco-German interests in Morocco a kind of monopoly from which every other nation, not excepting England, was to be totally excluded.
This has, of course, to be proved. When France and Germany agreed to associate their nationals in affairs for which the latter might obtain a concession,' it was generally understood in France, as in England, that neither country meant to infringe the economic equality established by the Algeciras Act. However, the way in which German diplomacy is used to interpret an arrangement of that sort was soon made clear. On the 2nd of