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June 1909, only a few months after the agreement was signed, the German Government submitted to M. Guiot, representing the French Government, a memorandum in which it outlined the new Franco-German policy in Morocco which it desired to recommend.❜ According to that memorandum all the big undertakings in the Shereefian Empire were to be reserved to certain Franco-German groups. France would be free to open the door to representatives of other nationalities: however, every English or Spanish share in any enterprise was to be inferior to the German one and deducted from the French share. A difficulty arose at that juncture, from Article 107 of the Algeciras Act, which provided that every concession made in Morocco should be made by public awards without differentiating between nationalities. But the German Government thought that Article 107 should not be interpreted in a narrow sense, and it invited the French Government to put aside a fruitless and noxious competition,' suppressing the international equality which Germany had pretended to fight for up to 1909 and was going to claim again at the end of 1911. Morocco was to become a Franco-German hunting-ground.
The history of the negotiations which took place at the beginning of 1911 in connexion with the Moroccan railways gives striking illustration of the practical meaning of the memorandum. It was in February 1911 that the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was then M. Pichon, discussed for the first time with Baron von Schoen, German Ambassador in Paris, the construction of several railways in Morocco. The French proposal was that the Société Marocaine des Travaux-Publics should build two lines: Casablanca-Settat and Udjda-Muluya River, which were of a military character and therefore were not to come under the system of public awards. For every extension of those lines the French Government intended to observe Article 107 of the Algeciras Act, and asked the German Government to see that no German firm should compete in that matter with the Société Marocaine. But the German Government made, on the 2nd of March, a counterproposal of quite a different character. It went so far as to ask that, for every possible railway to be constructed later on in Morocco, French as well as German enterprises should abstain from competing with the Société Marocaine. In other words, Germany wanted to create a railway monopoly in favour of one privileged Franco-German company only, to the exclusion of all foreign and, more especially, English interests. England would have had, naturally, to bear the consequences. In fact, it was the British Government which, having been consulted by M. Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador in London, plainly declared that Germany's proposition amounted to the creation of a Franco* See M. André Tardieu's Le Mystère d'Agadir, p. 28.
German condominium in Morocco. This was on the 14th of March 1911. On the 16th Sir Edward Grey told M. Cambon that such an economic privilege would injure British interests. England could only approve the refusal which France, under these circumstances, finally opposed to the German offer.
Such a profound difference of opinion was bound, sooner or later, to lead to a disagreement between the two countries. The situation was hopeless. On one side was Germany. She had only recognised France's special political interest in Morocco in order to try a new policy; instead of standing aloof and opposing French action without any solid profit for herself, she had made up her mind to induce France to break her general undertaking towards England, and she had meant to enter with France upon a joint economic conquest of Morocco. And on the other side was France, who had no reason whatever for shutting out her best friend, England, from Morocco, and who had thought that Germany would be satisfied with a limited and lawful co-operation. However weak M. Pichon was—for he did not dare to reject bluntly, as he ought to have done, Germany's Memorandum of June 1909-the fundamental contradiction between Germany's hopes and France's intentions could not allow a purely superficial concord to last very long.
The Franco-German understanding might still have lasted somewhat longer if, on the other hand, the French Government's action in Morocco had not been rushed by events. Critics of Mr. Morel's turn of mind have not hesitated to accuse French diplomacy of having deliberately violated the famous Algeciras Act, which Germany was apparently respecting in such an edifying manner. There was no need, so they say, to occupy Udjda and the Shawya with French troops; the siege of Fez was a mere pretence; France had pledged herself to respect the integrity of Morocco and the sovereignty of the Sultan; she had no right to intervene. The same set of people would very likely recommend that England should evacuate Egypt in order to restore there what might be called lawful anarchy. French opinion, indeed, is ready to acknowledge that France might have done better in Morocco; that by reinforcing in time the French military mission in Fez, or by raising, under her own guarantee, a large loan for the Shereefian treasury, she might have enabled the Sultan to fight in a more efficient way the insurgent tribes which nearly overthrew him in the spring of 1911.3 But half measures of that kind would have done nothing but postpone a crisis which was bound to come, if only because the Moorish Government was rotten to the core and was quite unable to reform itself from within. At any rate, the position was becoming each year more critical. It culminated in • See M. André Tardieu, op. cit. Part I. chap. ii.
the siege of Fez, the seriousness of which cannot be denied after reading the confidential reports which have just come to light. The most convincing is perhaps Commandant Brémond's report, dated the 24th of July 1911, which is a mere statement of facts. It shows, among other details, that the Shereefian army had, after the 11th of May (the siege lasted until the 21st), only enough artillery ammunition left for two engagements. The number of deserters was increasing from day to day. The remaining soldiers were plotting to assassinate their French instructors and to capture the foreign consuls. On the 19th of May 'the instructors had to keep apart from each other in order to make their simultaneous assassination more difficult.' We know from recent events that this was not an imaginary danger.
Faced by such a recurrent state of things France had to perform a difficult task. There was, first, the Algeciras Act, which did not expressly prevent her from intervening in the internal affairs of the Moroccan Empire; which even recognised her special interest by giving her a free hand on the Algerian border, and by entrusting to her officers the main share in policing the harbours; which, however, declined to give her the means of establishing order inside Morocco, thus withholding with one hand the very thing it was offering with the other. In the second place, France had assumed, in 1904 with regard to England, in 1909 with regard to Germany, not to mention other countries, a kind of moral responsibility as protector of European lives and interests in Morocco. In the third place, the Sultan was more frightened than anybody else, and was clamouring for help. The inevitable result of such a false situation was easy to foresee. Willing or not, France was to be dragged in. As a matter of fact, her decisive intervention-the expedition to Fez-was decided by men who had a marked preference for international methods as opposed to a policy of a protectorate.
But the rupture with Germany was, therefore, the more threatening. The economic condominium, which the German Government had tried to establish in Morocco after 1909, had fallen to pieces before it had ever worked, owing to the resistance of France, backed up in the matter by England. The political ascendancy of France over Morocco was, per contra, fostered by the events themselves. Germany was disappointed in a twofold way. Hence the crisis. Had French diplomacy been as subtle as Mr. Morel thinks it to be, it would have perhaps avoided the noisy demonstration of Agadir by meeting Germany halfway, and offering to negotiate again over Morocco as soon as the French troops started for Fez. This was at one time the writer's view, and subsequent events have shown that such a course would have been wiser. However, this lack of foresight does not in
any way alter the fact that the Agadir dispute was caused by Germany's disappointed ambition, and had, therefore, from its inception a particularly acute character.
ENGLAND AND THE NEGOTIATIONS
The acuteness of the crisis has been, nevertheless, ascribed by the British admirers of Germany to the selfish intervention of the British Government at the beginning of the negotiations, from the 21st to the 27th of July. According to Mr. Morel, Sir Edward Grey's warning to the German Ambassador and Mr. Lloyd George's speech were useless, for Germany never nourished any dark designs in regard to Morocco. Moreover, the action taken by the British Foreign Office was utterly wicked; France and Germany were both prepared to settle their differences in a friendly tête-à-tête,* and it was through fear of such a result that The Times began pouring oil on the fire. Neither is this all Mr. Morel's contention is that Sir Edward Grey, frightened, of course, by The Times, made the French case, which was already intrinsically bad, even worse by encouraging the French Government to overlook Germany's unquestionable rights in Morocco. Never was a more violent accusation made against 'perfidious Albion' even by the most bitter enemy of England, at the time when Pitt's money was commonly supposed, in France, to be corrupting the whole of Europe.
Now the facts speak for themselves. Sir Edward Grey's action is not only fully justified by the diplomatic events which preceded it, but also by the subsequent development of the Franco-German negotiations.
It is already well known that when Sir Edward Grey gave the German Ambassador to understand, on the 21st of July, that England would not permit Germany to obtain a footing in Morocco, no assurance had yet been given by Germany to England that she would not land troops in Agadir, where the Panther had arrived. on the 1st of July. Did Sir Edward Grey yield to a mere movement of impatience? Is it true that he had no right to suspect Germany's intentions? The Press campaign which was just starting in Germany points to the contrary. On the 13th of July -nine days after Sir Edward Grey's first and vague interview with the German Ambassador, and a week before Mr. Lloyd George's speech-the Cologne Gazette suggested that a partition of Morocco between France and Germany might be a way out of the difficulty. The idea was by no means a new one, for since
• M. Caillaux has been represented by Mr. Morel and others as having contemplated a complete reconciliation between France and Germany at the expense of the Entente Cordiale. Such an amazing statement is sufficiently refuted by M. A. Tardieu and M. Mermeix, and is not even upheld by M. Pierre Albin, who is personally hostile to M. Caillaux.
1904 the pan-German and German Colonial societies had repeatedly claimed a part of the Moroccan coast, and specially Agadir, for their country. The Mannesmann Brothers were, moreover, making a great fuss about Germany's interests in the hinterland of Agadir. The Cologne Gazette's suggestion was at once taken up by the whole Pan-German Press. The Braunschweigische Landeszeitung said, for instance:
Herr von Kiderlen has awakened and enlivened our hopes. We share almost entirely the pangermanistic point of view. He has told us that, although the Kaiser has only recommended him to find an honourable solution, he will persist in claiming part of the south-west of Morocco. 5
There was also a rumour in Berlin-the Post made it widely known-that Herr von Kiderlen and his secretary, Herr Heilbronn, had, in the course of several conversations (among others with Herr Erzberger, member of the Reichstag, Herrn Klaas and Rippler, of the pan-German League), indicated that they intended to find in the Suss (the hinterland of Agadir) Germany's share of Morocco. In a country like the German Empire, where the most violent papers are often in the hands of the Government at the very moment when they appear to be following an independent line, such utterances were to be taken seriously, the more so that the German Ambassador in London did not think it necessary to make any plain and reassuring statement.
But the German Press campaign was not all. The information which Sir Edward Grey received, not from The Times, but through M. Paul Cambon in London, and Sir Francis Bertie in Paris, gave him the best reasons to fear that the Franco-German negotiations, which had lasted for three weeks, were entering critical phase. The beginning of the negotiations had not been especially alarming. As soon as the Panther arrived at Agadir the French Government had informed the British and Russian Governments that France would in no case abandon anything in Morocco, and that she was waiting for Germany to say what she wanted. To this the British Government had assented officially on the 5th of July. Two days after, Herr von Schoen told M. de Selves that Germany did not ask for territorial compensations in Morocco, but that both countries might come to terms over the Congo. This was telegraphed to Sir Edward Grey, who replied the same day that Great Britain did not object to compensations being granted to Germany in Equatorial Africa. Lastly, on the 9th of July Herr von Kiderlen roughly indicated to the French Ambassador in Berlin, M. Jules Cambon, that Germany was prepared to renounce completely her claims in Morocco if she received important colonial compensations elsewhere-in the Congo, for
See also other quotations from newspapers in M. Tardieu's op. cit., p. 429.