THE NEUTRALIZATION OF ITALY—
THE PRINETTI-BARRÈRE ACCORD OF 1902
Early in 1901 Camille Barrère summarized the record of French foreign policy in Italy. Much had already been accomplished; more, however, remained to be done. Barrère noted the repair of the economic rupture, the settlement of Red Sea boundary questions, and the elimination of misunderstandings in the Mediterranean as instances of a new Franco-Italian co-operation. However, Italy was still a partner in the anti-French Triple Alliance. And the Triplice had military clauses that obligated the Italians to assist their allies in case of future war. Still, at this date Barrère could conclude, "France and Italy are not in a state of marriage, but they are in a state of affection."1
During the eighteen months between January 1901 and June 1902, however, the ambassador would capitalize upon the "state of affection" in Franco-Italian relations and eventually pressure from the Italians a secret pledge of military neutrality in case such a of hostilities between France and Germany. Only after the acquisition of this written agreement in the form of an exchange of letters, the so-called Prinetti-Barrère Accord of 1902, would he be convinced that "the two Latin nations were reconciled at heart and in interests."2
One factor facilitating Barrère’s success was the political situation in Rome in early 1901. With a new monarch and a constitutional Left government of headed by Giuseppe Zanardelli, Barrère found political dispositions amenable to improving Franco-Italian understanding. Victor Emmanuel III brought a new mentality to the royal leadership in Italy. Unlike his dynasty-oriented and anti-democratic father, the new king was a nationalist who demonstrated genuine concern with the economic and political development of his nation. He was the first Italian king born in the unified state, and his patriotism made him amenable to other nationalistic causes: irredentism, imperialism, and internal economic development.3 Moreover, being a Savoyard from the northwestern corner of the nation, the monarch exhibited little sympathy for the Austrians.4
Personally, Victor Emmanuel was considered "authoritarian and abrupt,"5 with a mistrust which caused him to dislike all sides. This could make him ambivalent. He told a Russian relative in 1900 that "I no longer want that Triple Alliance; it is suffocating me; I have had enough of it."6 Yet in 1902 the king was eager to renew the Alliance. During a visit to France in 1903, the king spoke of "the happily terminated work of rapprochement" between France and Italy;7 yet several months later, while speaking of Barrère, he told the German foreign secretary Bülow that "I don’t like him, he is a liar and a nasty man."8 Victor Emmanuel admired Germany, but harbored a dislike for its leader Kaiser Wilhelm II.9 Although Barrère admitted that the Italian monarch was "wise, informed, and little inclined to follow the beaten track blindly,"10 he recognized an basic ill-humoredness in him:
I do not want to attach too much importance to his ill humor…. It can be
added, it is true, that he does not like anyone. He is a chauvinist in his
soul; he detests Austria; he does not like England, and he speaks ill of her
and seeks to find support and protection against her. His vanity is in a
delicate condition: all pricks have upon him the effect of a sword blow.11
If Victor Emmanuel’s proclivities were disturbing to proponents of the Triple Alliance, the Zanardelli government, which assumed power in February 1901, was not more reassuring. Liberal, anti-clerical, and irredentist, Zanardelli was especially antagonistic toward the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His cabinet also reflected this political position.12 Almost immediately after taking office, Zanardelli informed Barrère of his desire to strengthen the cordial relations now existing between Italy and France.13
In March his foreign policy intentions were made public in an interview in the New York Herald newspaper. Here Zanardelli explained that the Triple Alliance was peaceful in its intention, that in any circumstances France and Italy ought to remain friends, and that "it is absolutely necessary that it [the Alliance] be dispelled of any suspicion of animosity toward France.14
For France, the most significant personnel change in the new Italian government was the appointment of Marquis Giulio Prinetti to be foreign mininster. Prinetti was a wealthy Milanese businessman whose company Prinetti & Stucchi was an esteemed manufacturer of bicycles, sewing machines, and early versions of three- and four-wheeled motorized vehicles. Prinetti sold his share of the company in 1901.
The new foreign minister was an impetuous man with the personality of an arriviste that made him few friends at home." But he had married well.15 To gain the portfolio of foreign affairs, Prinetti had deserted his old allies of the constitutional Right and joined his political enemies in the moderate Left. In doing so, he alienated many of his former supporters.16
The old Francophiles were not pleased. Visconti Venosta was apprehensive about the new minister.17 And Luzzatti was a political enemy of the foreign minister.18 While Barrère considered Prinetti a personal friend,19 he assessed the new minister as being egoistic, politically-impotent, and unlikely to remain in office very long. As he communicated his evaluation to Delcassé on June 10,
Without proving malevolent for us, he has neither the means, nor the will,
nor the authority that are necessary to treat the question—so grave for the
future of Italy—of the Germanic alliances. He is not free and he knows it;
he is watched and stalked by irreconcilible enemies. His point of view
necessarily has to be subordinate. Thus, it is not without motive that his
presence at the Consulta is preoccupying those who place the interests of
the country above questions of personality and party.20
In Berlin and Vienna a decade earlier, Prinetti’s appeal against renewing the Triple Alliance was not forgotten.21 His appointment as foreign minister was not welcomed there.22 Further, his lack of diplomatic experience made him suspect to supporters of enhanced Franco-Italian cooperation. Soon after assuming office, Prinetti justified criticism of his inexperience when he undiplomatically informed the Bavarian minister, Baron Heinrich Freiherr von Tucher, that the Triple Alliance was a figment of the Crispi era that needed now to be modernized.23
As well as new personalities, the Italian leadership in 1901 produced new policies. One of the king's chief interests was the expansion and strengthening of the national economy24 In his desire to free the Italian state from burdensome interest payments on foreign loans contracted by his late father, the king became a strong proponent of restructuring state bonds. With the capital saved from new, lower interest rates, he hoped to launch a national program of public works, railroad expansion, and industrial development. Victor Emmanuel agreed with Luzzatti in viewing the Paris Bourse as the most attractive market for such financial conversion.
Another goal of the new government in 1901 was to obtain clear approval from the Great Powers for Italian colonial ambitions in Tripolitania. Although by terms of the Triple Alliance Italy’s allies would approve expansion into North Africa once the French disturbed the Mediterranean balance, the Italians rightfully did not think this meant approval for any move initiated by Italy. The Mediterranean Agreement with France in 1900 did not give the Italy the prerogative to decide when to commence an occupation of Tripolitania. Instead, Italian action remained contingent on a French move into Morocco.
With Great Britain, Prinetti began negotiations in late 1901 to gain consent for his imperialistic designs. By March of the following year he had obtained that agreement. Austria pledged to give Italy a free hand in Tripolitania once the Triple Alliance was again renewed. Renewal and Austrian approval for the move into North Africa were realized in June 1902.
Significantly, France gave Italy a free
hand in the Ottoman territory, but only as part of the secret arrangement that neutralized Italy as an anti-French force within the Triple Alliance. After much diplomatic maneuvering in Rome and Paris, this endorsement was accomplished in July 1902.
There is little doubt that Italy's raison d’être for membership within the Triple Alliance had changed radically by the beginning of the twentieth century. Originally, the Italians needed Germany and Austria as counterbalance to their perceived threat from restive French republicanism, ultramontanism, and imperialism. Further, the Central Powers at the time saw Italy, a longtime friend of Great Britain, as an effective link between their own continental strength and the naval and imperial predominance they lacked.
By 1901, however, many Italian political leaders clearly recognized that the new rapprochement with France, as well as the lessening of Italy's dependence on British naval strength,25 had altered the meaning of the Alliance.26 Moreover, with a strong and successful anti-clerical movement now in France, it was generally agreed in Rome that ultramontainism, the threat to restore the territory and political authority of the Papacy, was no longer an issue.27
Although the Italian government did not wish to leave the Triple Alliance, a new interpretation of the arrangement was evidenced in the renewal negotiations which commenced in 1901. Politically, an important advantage of Italy's membership in the Triplice was that it provided leverage to use against Austrian expansionist designs in the Balkans. With a reflourishing of irredentismo after 1900,28 and with reawakened Italian interest in expansion into Albania and other Balkan areas,29 dormant Austro-Italian mistrust was rekindled. Although a myopic statesman such as Bülow could continue to warn Rome of the dangers of radical French potentialities,30 clearer-sighted leaders in Italy realized that only within an alliance with Vienna could the weaker Italian state check the possibility of Austrian aggression in southeastern Europe—and, perhaps, in Italy itself.31
The commercial ties that Italy developed with Germany and Austria by this date were another compelling argument for renewing the Triple Alliance. As a result of the third version of the Alliance signed in 1891, Austria and Germany had negotiated new commercial agreements with Italy. The special treatment afforded Italian exports did much to alleviate the negative effects of the tariff war with France. Especially important for Italy’s wine industry was the preferential tariff, the Clausula, levied on Italian wines entering Austria32. In the decade since 1891, Italian dependency on markets opened in Austria and Germany gave the Central Powers an influential advantage in the young kingdom that would remain strong until 1914.33
The military role of Italy within the Triple Alliance by 1901 was practically invalid. By the German-Italian military agreement negotiated in 1888, the Rome government had pledged six army corps and three cavalry divisions to assist the Germans in Alsace during a war with France. The remainder of the Italian army would be utilized for the defense of the kingdom.34 Almost immediately, the Italian General Staff had doubted the wisdom of this arrangement. The General Staff feared that all available units would be needed to defend Italy against a French invasion, and the monarchy against internal revolution.35 Discussions between German and Italian army leaders were conducted only sporadically after 1888.
In early 1901, however, military talks were resumed at the request of Victor Emmanuel. By March strategists in Berlin concluded that the deployment of Italian troops outside the peninsula should be stricken from German strategic planning.36
By 1902 the German ambassador in Rome could discount the military capacity of Italy, concluding that Germany and Austria should expect nothing from their ally except that the Italians not attack Austria’s rear during a war with France, and that Italian troops would preoccupy a sizable part of the French army along the Alpine border."37
In another year, however, General Count Alfred von Schlieffen, the head of the German General Staff, informed the Wilhelmstrasse that in case of a German war with France, he felt Italy would remain neutral.38 Although the French did not know of the German attitude, the French Ministry of War felt that "no great importance" was being attached in Berlin to the German-Italian military agreement.39
Even before that date, however, Barrère recognized that Italy would be unable to fight a war beyond her frontiers. As he described it to Delcassé in a note written June 10, 1901, “One could even consider that if the Triple Alliance were renewed in the same conditions, it would become a platonic combination for the adequate reason that in case of mobilization Italy would not be ready; and that if she were, she would have to employ her soldiers in the interior and not beyond her borders."40
In a later communique the French ambassador explained that an Italian war against France "would be the signal for revolution" in Italy. He argued that if the Italian army served beyond its own borders, "the monarchy would crumble behind its back."41
Not since the 1880s and the era of Crispi and the pro-Austrian foreign minister, Count di Robilant, had Italian foreign policy been so in flux. Here in the first year in the reign of Victor Emmanuel III, the Italians were compelled to find a new equilibrium in their European relationships. With the disintegration of Bismarck’s effective balance-of-power arrangement (of which Robilant’s system in 1887 had been a subordinate), the Italian diplomatic posture between the Triple Alliance and Great Britain became untenable. To these developments add significant diplomatic developments after 1890 such as the revitalized Franco-Russian Alliance, a growing distrust between Great Britain and Germany, an Austro-Russian understanding in the Balkans that stifled Italian hopes for expansion there, an emergeant Anglo-French understanding, and of course their own détente with France.
These seismic shifts moved Italian diplomatists to speculate on possible new arrangements for the kingdom. Tornielli suggested the French were scheming to convert the Franco-Russian Alliance into a new Triplice that would include either Germany or England. He did not know which of these two nations would join with France and Russia, but he cautioned that "Italy ought not to let herself be found unprepared for the resolutions that could develop."42
Rudini was eager to play matchmaker and involve Italy in an entente between France and Germany; he told Barrère that he was ready to leave immediately for Berlin were he so requested.43 Some Italian officials began to consider a Franco-Russian-Italian alignment as the best guarantee for Italy’s aspirations in the Balkans.44 The inexperienced Prinetti even hoped to link the Franco-Russian and German-Italian alignments in a four-Power bloc that would check Austria and Great Britain.45 Interestingly, Prinetti and his foreign policy advisors seemed not to consider an Anglo-French-Italian arrangement because they unanimously felt the Anglo-French alignment was "a Utopia."46
In 1892 Barrère had observed that French diplomacy in Italy should seek either "to detach her [Italy] from the Central Powers" or "to reduce her to powerlessness" within
the Triple Alliance.47 In the eighteen months between the Mediterranean Agreement and the Prinetti-Barrère Accord, the implementation of French foreign policy in Italy was directed by Barrère and aimed at a realization of the minimal program suggested in 1892: the neutralization of Italy within the Alliance.
Barrère was well-aware of the major shifts in priorities and arrangements that were occurring in international relations at the time. Likewise, he was cognizant of the new emphases in Italian foreign policy since the advent of Victor Emmanuel.48 Within this atmosphere of grande diplomatie, the ambassador maintained a strict control over France’s Italian policy. He used his diplomatic talents to settle potentially-divisive discontents. He performed minor gestures of courtesy toward the Italians. He consistently reminded the Italian leaders of the French desire to see Rome reconcile its obligations toward Germany and Austria-Hungary with the new understanding developing with France. It was this exercise of Barrère’s ambassadorial abilities that the German ambassador in Vienna, Prince Botho von Wedel, called "a system of little and big political attentions and amiabilities."49
The attainment of Italian neutralization was a formidable and demanding task for Barrère. Unlike his previous Mediterranean conversations which undermined an existing Anglo-Italian relationship, the unrealized "second step" in those negotiations involved a written anti-French treaty and the obligations of Italy within it. Moreover, while the Mediterranean Agreement dealt only with colonial matters in North Africa, the neutralization question directly concerned the European balance of power and Italy’s military, political and diplomatic posture on the continent and in the colonial world.
By the terms of the third treaty of the Triple Alliance, Italy was still obliged to assist allies in case of war with France. By Article II, Italy had pledged originally "to lend help and assistance with all…forces" if a war were caused by "any aggression without direct provocation by France against Germany." If Austria and/or Germany were attacked "without direct provocation" by two or more Powers, Italy had promised in Article III to consider the casus foederis effective. By the terms of Article IV, if either Germany or Austria found it necessary to wage war against a nonsignatory nation which "should threaten" her "security," the Italians were bound to observe benevolent neutrality, with the option to join the battle if they "should see fit." Finally, if the peace of one partner were threatened, by Article V the three allies promised "to take counsel together in ample time as to the military measures to be taken with a view to eventual co-operation."
The lure of greater commercial and financial benefits for Italy in France was a major device utilized by Barrère in his arguments for Italian neutrality. In the years after the commercial accord of November 1898, the ambassador had consistently pressured Delcassé to use his influence to open French markets to more Italian products. Barrère assured the Quai d’Orsay that greater Italian dependency upon French markets would translate into greater French influence over Italy's commercial strength and political orientation.50
Delcassé reminded the ambassador angrily, however, that opening French markets would not guarantee a greater flow of Italian products into France. He reminded Barrère that the commercial relations developed by Italy with the Central Powers had greatly undermined the early predominance enjoyed by France in the peninsula before the tariff war.51 But Barrère was undaunted. He felt that new protectionist demands in Germany and Austria might undermine Italy’s dependence upon its allies. Such an event, he argued, would cause the return of Italian goods to French markets and for such an event France must be prepared.52
By far the most effective economic lever manipulated by Barrère was the promise of French investments and capital placement in the peninsula. The ambassador constantly prompted French capitalists to find in Italy "advantageous placements" which would have "very important consequences for the future of Franco-Italian economic relations."53 Barrère had encouraged the massive manufacturing company, Schneider-Creusot, to invest again in Italian heavy industry. In March 1899 that corporation had opened a smelting plant in Italy, a move encouraged by Barrère who hoped it would lead to French monopolization of smelting operations in Italy.54
He was also eager for French bankers to gain commanding positions in the direction of major Italian banks such as the Banca Commerciale and the Credito Italiano.55 He strongly recommended that the prestigious French banking house Crédit Lyonnaise open branch facilities in Italy.56 When he encountered hesitancy or a lack of cooperation from French officials such as the Minister of Commerce, Alexandre Millerand, Barrère wrote directly to Delcassé complaining, as he did in April 1901, that only through French financial preponderance in the Italian peninsula could German financial influence be withstood:
I cannot repeat too much what advantage we get in occupying in Italy
an economically preponderant situation. The reserve of capital of which
we dispose is a powerful weapon for the conquest of foreign markets. Unfortunately our capital sometimes has unexplainable timidity. Still, it
is not necessary to give an official encouragement to this regrettable
Because he felt that "the financial question is…that which today dominates all the others in Italy," Barrère reasoned that the Italians would eventually seek French capital assistance to convert the interest rate on their outstanding government bonds.58 His optimism was bolstered by Victor Emmanuel’s strong personal desire to see Italy become "the mistress of her own funds."59 As with the other French economic "favors" toward Italy, the ambassador expected to reap political advantage from assisting in an eventual conversion. For this reason, he insisted that the Quai d’Orsay must have the ultimate word in sanctioning Italian flotations on the Paris Bourse.60
But Barrère was unabrasive. He had ways to deliver blunt messages to the Italians without appearing aggressive. In late 1901, for example, the Journal des Débats—the Paris newspaper used frequently by Barrère to plant news stories and influence editorial opinion—blatantly informed the Italians of the political concessions they would have to make in order to gain French assistance in any bond conversion. "If Italy wishes to enjoy the benefits of real change in French feeling toward her, she must…seek an alteration in her policy with Austria-Hungary and Germany. She must revise the Triple Alliance, eliminating all that may disturb French susceptabilities." 61
Several weeks later, when Luzzatti raised with Barrère the question of the conversion, the ambassador was candid:
The day when Italy is ready to make its conversion, it was obvious that
the French government would have no reason to be opposed to this
operation on its market; but on the express condition that to begin with
the Italian government demonstrate that its political positions regarding
other Powers were in harmony with the new relations of friendship
between the two countries.62
Barrère usually avoided involving statesmen of other nations in the conduct of his policy in Italy. Nevertheless, during the first months of 1901, he attempted to urge Victor Emmanuel toward neutralization by bringing the influence of the Prince of Montenegro and the Tsar of Russia to bear upon the young Italian. Prince Nicholas of Montenegro was the father of Victor Emmanuel's bride, Queen Helène. Like many Slavic national leaders in the Balkans, Nicholas was a Russophile. He was also favorable toward France where he hoped to find financial assistance for his underdeveloped nation. With the Prince scheduled to visit Rome in the late spring, Barrère felt that Nicholas might use the occasion to impress upon his son-in-law the advantages of making Italy’s membership in the Triple Alliance compatible with the Franco-Italian rapprochement. He suggested to Paris that this idea be transmitted to Nicholas through the auspices of the Russian Tsar and the French minister in the Montenegran capital, Cetinje.63
In both instances Barrère's plan proved to be fruitless. Although the Russians had recently promised a large subsidy to Prince Nicholas64, they did not trust him. The Russian foreign minister, Count Lamsdorff felt the prince to be too vain to be given any surrogate mission in the name of the Tsar. He, therefore, rejected Barrère's proposal.65
The French were also unsuccessful in direct dealings with Prince Nicholas. Claiming that the Austrians were already suspicious of his relationship with Italy, he informed the French minister that he opposed further Franco-Italian detente.66 And when he finally made his state visit to Rome, rather than impress king, Prince Nicholas alienated him by demanding money and an Italian guarantee to safeguard Montenegro’s independence.67 Instead of respect for his father-in-law’s political opinions, Victor Emmanuel came to consider the prince as "a big joker!"68
Although Barrère was unsuccessful in his this effort, the French did eventually obtain a notable concession from St. Petersburg: the co-operation of the Russian embassy in Rome in attaining the foreign policy goals sought by the Farnese Palace.
Barrère had hoped the Russians would bring pressure upon Italy directly. He was aware of the important influence the Italian king exercised in the Italy’s policy toward the Triple Alliance.69 Conversely, since his first royal reception Barrère recognized the great influence the Russians, and especially the Tsar, might exercise over the monarch.70 Because Victor Emmanuel was personally impressed with Tsar Nicholas II, and because Queen Helène was, herself, "passionately attached to Russia," Barrère sensed that the Russian emperor could "draw upon this disposition for the needs of his diplomacy and, as a consequence, for ours."
Referring specifically to Italy’s obligations within the Triple Alliance, the French ambassador argued that "it depends a lot on the personal action of the emperor of Russia upon the young King of Italy to bring about a modification."71 These observations were seconded by the Russian ambassador to Italy, Alexander Ivanovitch de Nelidoff, who lacked official approval to intervene directly with the Italian king, but still urged his government to exert its pressure in Rome.72
Delcassé reacted favorably to Barrère’s suggestions. He ordered his ambassador in St. Petersburg to approach the Russians with a request for their support in Italy.73 This move, plus the advice coming from Nelidoff, caused the Russian foreign minister to express partial concurrence with the wishes of France. Although he rejected the idea of having the Tsar approach Victor Emmanuel directly, he approved French diplomatic efforts in Italy and promised that Nelidoff in Rome would be ordered to counsel the Italian monarch to meet French demands.74
This gesture of confidence from the Russians pleased Delcassé greatly. He considered it to be "of a nature to satisfy us fully."75 And although it was considerably less than what Barrère had wanted, Nelidoff’s officially-approved assistance proved helpful to Barrère in dealing with the Italians."76
Despite his failure with Prince Nicholas and partial victory with the Russians, Barrère was not discouraged. The involvement of a third nation would only have been supplemental to his own efforts. The ambassador continued to rely upon his personal diplomatic skill. Ironically, in the Toulon naval demonstration in April 1901—only weeks after his suggestions in Montenegro and Russia produced mediocre results—Barrère’s personal efforts realized exceptional success. It is significant that from this time until the conclusion of the Prinetti-Barrère Accord, the ambassador operated directly with the Italians as he had in attaining earlier agreements. Although he continued to urge a closer relationship between St. Petersburg and Rome,77 Barrère no longer factored Russian assistance into his plans for diplomatic success.
The naval demonstration in the French port of Toulon was ostensibly a visit by French President Émile Loubet to the Duke of Genoa, brother of the Italian king. It was explained as a courteous gesture made in return for a visit by the French Mediterranean squadron to the late King Umberto in Sardinia in 1899. The Toulon gesture, however, was more profound than a simple act of reciprocity. The idea for the visit had originated with the Italian government and was quickly approved by Barrère.78 It struck an immediate parallel to the warm French and Russian naval visitations at Kronstadt in 1891 and Toulon in 1893.79 Moreover, for the Italians the event symbolized the achievement of a rapprochement in Franco-Italian relations. Barrère noted this fact when he observed:
The festivities at Toulon will then have for Italy a great importance; in
their eyes, they will take on a somewhat symbolic character…. Moreover,
it is impossible not to be struck with the change which has gradually
overcome public sentiment in regards to France. The Italians themselves
cannot help being surprised by it; and perhaps it goes beyond the desires
of those among them who continue to nourish toward us an incurable
mistrust. They sense that they are in the presence of a current which, if it
runs its course, ought to modify in its essential parts the foreign policy
orientation of the Peninsula. The Italian nature is changeable and strongly
subject to influences which would exercise themselves less strongly upon
people of another temperament.80
To set the mood of cordiality and friendship, Barrère was anxious to please the Italians in the weeks preceding the event. When the former ambassador, Billot, published a series of articles which recalled the tensions and hatreds of the tariff war,81 Barrère complained to Delcassé that "this information can only inspire vivid apprehensions."82 When Luzzatti queried Barrère about the possibility of negotiating a treaty to protect Italian workers in France, Barrère eagerly accepted the idea and noted that "it would produce a great and very favorable impression on public opinion."83 Finally, flattering Victor Emmanuel's love of horses, Barrère exerted considerable energy in arranging for two French stallions to be presented to the king.84
Preparations for the naval demonstrations were closely followed by Barrère. He insisted that "it is necessary to receive…[the Italian squadron] very warmly."85 He felt that it was "indispensable" that Delcassé screen the speeches of local French officials, such as the Mayor of of Toulon, before they were given.86 Barrère also recommended that speeches during the festivities be "very cordial, but not specifically political, and not of alliances, and not more of the past than of the future."87
Press manipulation did not escape his concern. Barrère urged Delcassé to take "whatever measures that will be necessary" to survey the transmission of newspaper stories from French correspondents in Rome which might be unfavorable to Italy.88 To stimulate the interest of Italian journalists, Barrère arranged for a caravan of Italian reporters to receive free railroad transportation in France.89
To expand the impact of the Toulon festivities, he recommended that the French and Italian colonies in Constantinople and Cairo be asked to celebrate the occasion.90 And when a contingent of Russian ships91 unexpectedly appeared at Toulon in early April, Barrère tried greatly, but in vain, to have them removed from the celebrations.92 Principally because of his own efforts, Barrère was enthusiastic on the eve of the visit. As he wrote to Delcassé, "everything is going well. The air is excellent; we are holding the strings, and you know that I am not the man to loosen it. Never in 20 years has our situation here been as strong. Those who come to Italy would no longer recognize it."93
The activities during the Toulon visitation were intended to satisfy Italian public opinion. The Italian squadron arrived at the French Mediterranean port on 8 April. Two days later President Loubet arrived to greet the Italian commander, the Duke of Genoa. The next two days were passed in a series of banquets, military inspections, speeches and warm expressions of Latin sisterhood. Before the festivities were closed on 11 April, Loubet was presented the Order of the Annunziata and the Duke of Genoa received the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor.94
Barrère reported to the Quai d’Orsay that Italian public reaction to events in Toulon was "very great, excellent, in all of Italy."95 The traditionally anti-French Tribuna of Rome published an account that was "full of warmth and sympathy" for Franco-Italian friendship and co-operation.96 The French consul in Sardinia felt the Toulon festivities illustrated how France was "gaining the Italian people little by little."97 Several journals predicted that this was the beginning of an alliance of Latin nations that would also embrace Spain.98 And Barrère, describing Italian reaction as one "almost of joy," reported excitedly to Delcassé:
Prepared and conducted by diplomatic operations whose methodicalness
does great honor to the Department, the Toulon demonstration has
succeeded beyond what we could have wished. By an encounter indeed
rare in foreign affairs, it has had a success as brilliant in political and
official spheres as on the popular level. I have searched in vain for a
dissident note; I have not been able to discover it."99
A note of dissidence was sounded, however, by foes of the Franco-Italian rapprochement. In Rome, the Austrian ambassador, Baron Marius Pasetti-Angeli von Friedenburg, and the German ambassador Count Karl von Wedel, expressed "considerable anxiety" over the implications of the Toulon event. Wedel was especially disconcerted; he told the British ambassador that if England had shown "a little more interest in Italian affairs, the Franco-Italian entente might never have developed."100
He also lamented that French gestures toward Italy, such as that at Toulon, were making Italy a less-complacent ally by "increasing megalomania in certain Italian
circles."101 In Vienna, the Austrian government and the Italian ambassador both depreciated the importance of the demonstration.102 And in Berlin, officials publicly were dismissive in noting that the festivities "do not offend Germany."103 Privately, however, Barrère reported reaction in the German capital as being one of "upsets and visible troubles." Bülow, with another of his marriage-oriented metaphors, told his mother-in-law that "it will indeed be necessary for Italy to decide quickly to choose between marriage and concubinage."104
The naval demonstration at Toulon represented a highpoint for the growing Franco-Italian friendship. As a spectacular public expression of the new rapprochement, it did much to solidify the achievements of Barrère and Italian political leaders since 1898. More significantly, however, Barrère used the Toulon demonstration to launch a concerted effort to realize his hope of the neutralization of Italy vis-à-vis France.
The ambassador felt that the festivities illustrated the incompatibility of Franco-Italian amity and Italy’s participation in the Triple Alliance. He explained to Delcassé that for Italy the Alliance had now "Visibly lost its efficacity as an instrument of war."105 Barrère now argued that the time was favorable to press for the harmonization of that amity with "the clause which obliges Italy to take up the sword if Germany is attacked by France."106
Nevertheless, Barrère had to struggle with Delcassé to have his opinion accepted.
The foreign minister did not embrace his ambassador’s recommendation. He refrained from approaching Count Tornielli with a formal request for harmonization. Instead, as the foreign minister later noted, he did not want to push France’s new advantage with Italy, preferring to relax French policy and thereby out-maneuver those who were saying that France could dispose of Italy at will.107
Barrère, however, had no sympathy with procrastination in Paris. He continued to urge Delcassé to take action. Some historians have correctly discerned that the ambassador was "pushing" the Quai d’Orsay during the weeks immediately following Toulon.108
By late May, Barrère’s pleas to Delcassé intensified. Although he did not know the extent of Prinetti’s cooperativeness with the Central Powers,109 Barrère was aware of pressure being exerted in Rome by the Austrians to force Italy to renew again the Triple Alliance.110 He feared that the Alliance might be renewed before the French could obtain the treaty modifications they desired.
Furthermore, Barrère did not have a high opinion of Prinetti's diplomatic skill in dealing with Berlin and Vienna. He considered the Italian minister to be "a newcomer without diplomatic experience" who, out of "ignorance and fear…follows his allies in place of making an Italian policy."111 Thus, when Prinetti admitted to Nelidoff that he favored renewing the Triple Alliance, Barrère informed Paris that it was "absolutely urgent" that Delcassé make it known to Tornielli that "the French government considers the renewal of Italy's alliances, without any amendments regarding France, as incompatible with the development of ties of friendship and interest between the two countries."112 Several days later he repeated his plea, suggesting that Tornielli also be told that a modification of the Alliance was favored by the respected conservative Italian politicans, Rudini, Luzzatti, and Rattazzi.113
Delcassé finally took action on 5 June. That evening he informed Tornielli "with marked insistence" that Italy should eliminate from the Triple Alliance those clauses potentially offensive toward France.114 Importantly, he implied that Italy had the right to conclude the Alliance for the sake of her security; but he stressed that such evidences of Franco-Italian friendship as the Toulon visit and the great success of Italian bonds on the Bourse necessitated the suppression of "the offensive obligations against France" within the pact.115
Delcassé’s overture was well-timed. Prinetti was scheduled to deliver a foreign policy address in Parliament in early June. Barrère feared that the minister might use
the occasion to announce his intention to renew the Triple Alliance. Such a declaration would have publicly committed the Italians to the renewal, and would have complicated French diplomatic efforts. Delcassé’s conversation with Tornielli, however, "visibly impressed" Prinetti. The Italian foreign minister took care to notify Barrère that his upcoming speech would not deal with the question of the renewal. To prove his good faith, he permitted the ambassador to read part of the speech before it was delivered. In doing so, Prinetti urged that the French press not see in the speech as a declaration of Italy's intention to renew the Triple Alliance without modifications.116
The significance of Delcassé’s conversation with Tornielli, and Prinetti's subsequent statement to Barrère, was that by these actions the French diplomatically established for themselves the right to deal directly with the Italian government on the matters related to the renewal. Before Delcassé’s overture, demands by Barrère upon Prinetti could be considered as simply the ideas of the French ambassador. After 5 June, however, there was no doubt in Rome that when Barrère spoke of the rectification of Italy’s position between of the Triple Alliance and the Franco-Italian rapprochement, he was speaking in the name of the French government.
Further, Delcassé’s statement to Tornielli formally introduced France's desire for the harmonization of Italy's obligations and interests. Although Barrère had broached the question of the attunement of Franco-Italian relations during his Mediterranean conversations with Visconti Venosta, Delcassé now lent the full weight of the Third Republic to the point. Originally, Visconti Venosta considered harmonization to be part of a premature "second step." But now in June 1901, Barrère’s initiative revived discussions on the possibility of taking that step.
Barrère was extremely pleased with Delcassé’s action and its consequence. He considered it "perfect and [it] responds exactly to the needs of the situation."117 Still, he pushed Delcassé to meet again with Tornielli again, this time to express official satisfaction with Prinetti’s speech. He suggested, further, that the Paris newspapers be urged to interpret the Prinetti discourse as a eulogy to Franco-Italian friendship while leaving open the question of the renewal of the Triplice.118
It is interesting that until this time, Barrère was not looking for a written statement—such as he eventually gained in the Prinetti-Barrère Accord—that would affirm Italy's neutral stance toward France. Instead, he expected to be allowed to read the applicable texts in the Triple Alliance. And if Prinetti would not show it to him, Barrère felt confident that friends such as Rudini and Luzzatti, would do so.119
The first indication that a precisely written document might be needed arose from the Italian demand for a definition of the term "offensive" as used by Delcassé on 5 June. Tornielli was unclear about what Delcassé meant by the word. The Italian ambassador did not consider the Alliance to be aggressive since Italy was not obliged to assist the Germans if Germany initiated belligerent actions against France.120
Barrère recognized the importance of Tornielli’s point, therefore, he suggested that Delcassé explain to the Italian ambassador exactly what he meant by "offensive."
Barrère, however, gave the foreign minister the definition to be communicated
that in speaking of the suppression in the Germanic treaty of all offensive
clauses, you indeed have meant to anticipate that which obliges Italy to
bring her military support to Germany if we were to declare war, even
though Italy is not attacked…. Such a disposition is offensive to the
highest degree for it permits Germany, as in 1870, to provoke war
without having declared it.
To avoid any Italian equivocations over the meaning of the word, Barrère urged Delcassé to accept this definition and stick to it.121 That Delcassé cooperated with his ambassador is shown by the similar definition of "offensive" eventually written into the Prinetti-Barrère Accord a year later.
Prinetti’s budgetary speech was delivered before the Chamber of Deputies on 14 June. When coupled with his pledge to Barrère to avoid any pronouncement on renewing the Triple Alliance the speech was of major significance for the French. So cordial were Prinetti’s words about the Italian commitment to the Triple Alliance that his speech was well- received in Berlin122 and Vienna.123
Nevertheless, his references to Franco-Italian friendship were important. Prinetti spoke of Toulon, Latin sisterhood, and the resolution of all differences between the two nations. He also proclaimed that "the most intimate relations with France are perfectly compatible with the Triple Alliance."124
Barrère was pleased with the words, but he was excited about the implications of the speech. Now, he claimed, Prinetti was publically committed and could not avoid accepting the French demand for neutralization.
In engaging himself not to pronounce upon the renewal, Prinetti in reality
opened the discussion with us on the character of the Alliance with regard
to France. In saying that our press would be wrong to see in his words the intention to contract again the same obligations toward the Germanic
Powers, he took a new step in the same direction. After warm assurances
for France contained in his speech, after he stated that there was no longer
any cause of conflict between them, it will be very difficult for Prinetti to maintain that the obligation for Italy to take up arms against us—in a cause
that would not be her own—is compatible with the relations of interest and
friendship that presently exist between Paris and Rome.125
Although his speech was praised by the France and the Central Powers alike, Prinetti’s presentation was not overwhelmingly popular among Italian legislators. His budget passed the Chamber of deputies by a thirty-vote margin, 205-175. This was only accomplished with strong support from the left-of-center parties, those most hostile to Italian participation in the Triple Alliance. According to the London Times, the leftist deputies voted for Prinetti’s budget not from moral conviction, but from fear of provoking another cabinet crisis.126 Prinetti must have recognized the tarnished circumstances in which his budget was accepted. Barrère assessed the minister's victory in the most pessimistic terms:
As a minister, Prinetti will do what the cabinet will do. A minister who has
only a majority of eight voices behind him, and who was saved only by the
voices of the revolutionary party, is discredited for the rest of his ministerial
days and maybe for a still longer time. The conservative party has definitely
taken a holiday from him, and I scarcely see the Chamber party with which
he could sit in the future without being received with more than mediocrity.
It is the fate of politicians who detach themselves without conserving
attachments with their base. Prinetti did not know the 1’art des transitions
well enough before entering the Consulta.127
Barrère skillfully decided that during this unstable stage of Prinetti’s career, it was now was the most advantageous time to revisit the matter of neutralization. And in the period of turmoil and personal distress which followed his budget crisis, Prinetti made verbal promises to Barrère that one commentator has ranked in importance with the Mediterranean Agreement.128 Whether he was depressed, absolutely sincere, or expecting a fall from office, Prinetti on 25 June, made two promises which totally pleased Barrère. Noting that the Triple Alliance was not due to expire for two years, Prinetti first pledged not to renew the Alliance during that period. His second promise was the declaration of neutrality demanded by Barrère:
in supposing that new lines of alliance are later formed with the Germanic powers, I could not conceive of, nor admit to, these treaties containing any disposition of a nature to menace directly or indirectly the security of France, to arouse anxieties, or to wound susceptibilities.129
Barrère was understandably delighted. As he explained later to Delcassé, "You can easily understand that I did not look for other explications that would have weakened
the weight of the ministerial declarations."130
Prinetti’s promises of 25 June constituted an important step toward the letters exchanged a year later. Nonetheless, these promises were only verbal pledges of an inexperienced foreign minister who lacked solid political support among the Italian Deputies. Although pleased to have the pledges, Barrère did not foresee that these promisess would form the basis of the future written agreement.
Instead the ambassador was still hoping to read the Triple Alliance treaty once it was renewed. Nelidoff in late July, assured Delcassé that if the Alliance were not renewed during the period of summer vacation, he was certain that Barrère would be allowed to see it. Moreover, it seemed to the French that a renewal was rapidly materializing when Tornielli clarified Prinetti’s remarks, informing Delcassé that the promises of 25 June did not mean that Italy would not renew the Alliance for two years.131
During the summer 1901 France became embroiled in a diplomatic incident with the Ottoman Empire, the Lorando-Tubini affair, that called into question the nature of the Franco-Italian understanding in North Africa. To placate national and international criticism of Italian impotence during the affair, the Rome government demanded and received the right to make public the essence of the Mediterranean Agreement of 1900.
The difficulties between France and Turkey involved the collection of loans made to the Porte by two French bankers, Lorando and Tubini.132 To this private financial problem, Delcassé attached political questions involving French influence in the Ottoman Empire. These included the rights of French schools, hospital, and missions to be recognized throughout the Ottoman lands; and the confirmation and investiture of a French favorite to become Patriarch of Chaldea. In August, when the financial matter was in dispute, the French withdrew their ambassador and severed diplomatic ties with Constantinople. Although the pecuniary claims were soon settled, Delcassé high-handedly put forward the political questions as compensation for his trouble.
Furthermore, to enforce the political demands, Delcassé on 31 October ordered the occupation of Mytilene on the isle of Lesbos, and the seizure of the customs office. As was usually the case in such acts of Great Power bluster, the French political demands were accommodated the day after the landing.
In Italy the Franco-Turkish imbroglio was greeted by a chorus of consternation. Newspapers predicted that the Mytilene landing was the forerunner of a more grandiose imperialistic design involving the French occupation of Tripolitania."133 Government leaders did not understand Delcassé’s intentions. As early as April they had received reports from their agents in North Africa that the French military in Tunisia was preparing a movement into the Tripolitanian hinterland.134
Statesmen in Rome tended to discount reports of a planned invasion. But they feared that the enthusiasm of a French colonial or military official might trigger such an occupation. Still, they held back in early November when the Ottoman government requested that the Italian fleet visit Constantinople.
Prinetti believed that revealing the Tripolitanian clauses of the Mediterranean accord was the only way to appease public opinion and defend his own policy. On 31 October he requested from Barrère the right to publish the agreement.135 He hoped to tell Parliament that despite French intervention in the eastern Mediterranean, the French and Italian governments had clearly and satisfyingly exchanged views on their respective positions in the area; and France had assured Italy that, as stipulated in the Anglo-French agreement of March 1899, France would stop her colonial expansion at the frontiers of Tripolitania.136
Prinetti had made a similar request in July.137 On that occasion, however, Delcassé curtly refused to co-operate, noting that it was "absolutely inopportune, at least at the present time" to reveal that France had negotiated a free hand in Morocco.138 Correctly, the French foreign minister feared that disclosure of his designs on the North African territory would embitter relations with Morocco, Spain, Turkey, and other European nations having interests in the Mediterranean. And since Morocco was an independent country, not a sandy and neglected Ottoman backwater, the international implications of a French occupation were politically consequential.
Although Barrère flattered Delcassé for “the prompt solution of the [Mytilene] incident, the fashion in which it has been managed on our part leaves a good impression and strengthens us abroad,” the ambassador did not praise him for turning a minor commercial disagreement into a diplomatic confrontation.139 Perhaps Barrère was more in harmony with Paul Cambon who wrote privately to his son about Delcassé’s actions. Commenting on newspaper reaction in Great Britain, the French ambassador in London informed Henri Cambon that it "is not favorable to Delcassé because from the beginning he has not had the air of knowing what he wants."140
Barrère had learned to adapt to Delcassé’s occasional colonial impositions and to work through them. Now, in the midst of the Lorando-Tubini confrontation, he was more concerned with what he called “the strange mistrust” felt by Prinetti and some others in Rome regarding a potential French movement into Tripolitania. Barrère had already insisted that Delcassé order French military chiefs to do nothing in the Ottoman province.141 Thus, he disagreed with Delcassé’s refusal to accommodate Prinetti on the matter of publicizing the Mediterranean accord.
Barrère had been in agreement with Prinetti since July that French disinterest in Tripolitania could be made public without mentioning the free hand in Morocco and without arousing a hostile reaction in Constantinople.142 In October, moreover, Barrère began urging Delcassé to accept a "comprehensive formula" which would not only solidify French disinterest in Tripolitania, but would also eliminate Mediterranean questions from Franco-Italian relations. What he wanted was an Italian declaration that "there is no longer a Mediterranean question between France and Italy." Such a formula, he asserted, would show that France was not interested in Tripolitania, would avoid mentioning the free hand in Morocco, and "would thus recognize tacitly that Italy could no longer contract an alliance against France since the sole motive of these alliances has been our antagonism in the Mediterranean."143
Barrère’s proposal of a "comprehensive formula" was strengthened on 13 November when Prinetti informed the ambassador that the Italian monarch also desired disclosure of the Mediterranean Accord. Linking the Tripolitanian matter to the renewal of the Triple Alliance, Prinetti noted that Victor Emmanuel "approves of all that I have said," and that permission from the Quai d’Orsay to reveal the Mediterranean accord was “indispensable" to the attainment of France's demands when the Alliance is renewed. In a letter to Paris the following day Barrère requested Delcassé’s urgent approval of the Italian request.144
Delcassé finally yielded to the pressure of Barrère, Prinetti, and Victor Emmanuel. On 17 November he telegraphed Barrère the text of a statement which he would permit the Italian minister to make public. He refused to publish the actual letters of December 1900. Delcassé’s proposal was a reiteration of earlier declarations that France would honor the limits placed upon her by the Anglo-French Accord of 1899.145
Characteristically, Barrère warmly applauded Delcassé’s decision, but suggested amendments to the text which made it more specifically a declaration of French disinterest in Tripolitania.146 Once again, Delcassé was seduced and accepted the advice of his ambassador.147
Prinetti revealed the Franco-Italian agreement on North Africa during an interpellation in the Chamber of Deputies on December 14.148 His declaration contained only the ideas he had expressed to Barrère one month earlier.149 But it lacked the "comprehensive formula" desired by Barrère. Instead, it was agreed that Delcassé would confirm Prinetti’s public declaration during the French budgetary discussions in late December.150 Delcassé, however, was unable to deliver his address because of delays in the consideration of his budget. Therefore, in his New Year's Day speech Barrère, on his own initiative, corroborated Prinetti’s public statement. Speaking before the French colony in Rome, the ambassador praised the accomplishments of Franco-Italian diplomacy.
The consequences of the beautiful and noble method are appearing with a
luminous clarity. In a little more than four years the two governments have
succeeded in eliminating all causes of discontent, discord, and mistrust.
They have regulated the question of the Tunisian capitulations; they have approached the difficult question of re-establishing commercial relations,
and have resolved them for the good of the great commercial interests of
France and Italy; they have fixed the frontiers of their possessions in the
Red Sea. And finally, in order to complete this fruitful work, they have set
aside all cause of misunderstanding between the two nations in the
The era of Franco-Italian misunderstanding, on the level where their vital
interests are at stake, belongs henceforth to the past; and there no longer
exist any Mediterranean questions between France and Italy. It is the most
certain guarantee that the future reserves for the two Latin nations a long
and fruitful period of fraternal friendship and peace. I do not believe myself
mistaken, gentlemen, in thinking that the year which was finished yesterday
has turned a new page in the relations between France and Italy.151
The public displays of Franco-Italian friendship manifested in the speeches of Prinetti and Barrère were received heartily in Italy, The Prinetti declaration generally was interpreted as another demonstration of Latin cordiality, and even the pro-Crispi journal Patria expressed satisfaction with the Mediterranean accord.152 Barrère reported that the only discordant notes were struck by organs of the opposition which take orders from Sidney Sonnino," and those personally antagonistic toward Prinetti.153
Barrère's speech magnified the reception given to the Prinetti declaration. It came, moreover, as a favorable surprise to Italian public opinion. Barrère described the reaction in Italy as one of "lively satisfaction by the great majority of the country."154
Prinetti’s speech did not disconcert leaders of the Dual Alliance. They had been notified of the Mediterranean Agreement several days before Prinetti spoke and by the time of Prinetti’s public revelation they had already adapted to the new development. The Austrian ambassador, Baron Pasetti, received his briefing on 11 December with "visible astonishment." The next day Wedel seemed dismayed when reporting his interview with Prinetti.
For his part, Prinetti was not shy with information. He had informed his allies not only about the agreement, but also about the free hand in Morocco negotiated by Barrère. When pressed to explain Italy’s silence toward her allies on this matter, Prinetti feigned amazement and claimed that he thought Visconti Venosta had long ago informed Berlin of the agreement.155
The Germans, however, did not accept Prinetti‘s act. Wedel blamed the Italian "indiscretion" on Barrère.156 Foreign secretary Richthofen and the ambassador to England, Wolff-Metternich, assailed the British for de-emphasizing their Mediterranean policy, thereby forcing Italy to seek new arrangements in the Mediterranean.157 Holstein, however, directed his criticism directly at the Italians, attacking them for treating the Triple Alliance as "an institution created for the exclusive profit of Italy."158
If the disclosure of the Franco-Italian agreement in the Mediterranean tarnished the integrity of the Triple Alliance, an interview with Delcassé published in Sonnino’s
Giornale d’Italia published 3 January 1902 raised new issues. The article envisioned the destruction of the Alliance. In the interview with the journalist Ugo Ojetti, the French foreign minister spoke favorably of future Franco-Italian co-operation in the Balkans; and he intimated that Russia might be willing to support Italian aspirations in the Balkans between Macedonia, Serbia, and the Adriatic.159
Delcassé quickly and strongly denied the validity of the story.160 But the question of its truth still remains. Although the Austrian foreign minister accepted Delcassé’s disclaimer,161 the Germans did not.162 Barrère was not noticeably upset when he reported Italian reaction to the article.163 Delcassé later admitted to Tornielli that he had been tricked into such candor by Ojetti. According to the minister, the Italian reporter presented himself as an author and art critic who, carrying with him a book on Albania, wanted to exchange "a few significant words" about that Balkan nation.164
Nevertheless, Barrère was at this time in practical charge of French policy in Italy. Although the thought of removing Italy from the Triplice may have existed in his
Delcassé’s mind, nowhere in his ambassador’s private and professional correspondence does he discuss such a possibility in early 1902. With what has been shown of Delcassé’s personality, it seems likely that Ojetti simply caught Delcassé unguarded in his speech and impractical in his ideas.
To offset growing speculation about the future of the Triple Alliance in these new circumstances, Bülow delivered his famous "tour de valse" speech on 8 January. Speaking before the Reichstag he espoused a liberal interpretation of the Alliance. He noted that any ally was free at any time to reduce its military strength. He remarked, moreover, that the Franco-Italian accord in the Mediterranean was not incompatible with the defensive character of the Alliance. In another of his familial homilies, he reminded critics of the Triple Alliance that "in a happy marriage the husband should not get his head in a whirl if his wife takes an innocent spin on the dance floor [tour de valse] with another."165
Except to popularize the marriage metaphor,166 Bülow's speech was not an accurate reflection of the true feelings toward Italy held in Berlin and Vienna. Demonstrations of Franco-Italian intimacy as seen in the speeches by Prinetti and Barrère, plus the Ojetti interview, propelled statesmen of the Triple Alliance into an effort to renew the Alliance and reaffirm its international raison d'être.
The political aspect of the treaty of the Alliance was due to expire in May 1903. The Austro-Italian and German-Italian commercial treaties associated with it did not expire until end of that year. The Central Powers considered the political and commercial arrangements as separate matters. Leaders in Berlin and Vienna felt that renewal of the political treaty was of paramount importance; they claimed that new commercial treaties could be negotiated later. The Germans and Austrians were conscious of the criticism of the Triplice in light of the new intimacy between France and Italy. For that reason, they insisted that “not one iota" of the Alliance should be modified.167 Both Bülow and Holstein felt that any alteration would be considered a French diplomatic victory.168
Furthermore, the Germans suspected that Prinetti’s requests for modifications in the Alliance actually came from Barrère.169 Rather than accommodate the Italians, or actively seek a reconciliation of the differences with their ally, the Germans remained intransigent and unsympathetic. Bülow later described his policy at this time in familiar terms: he admitted that he treated the Italians "like many pretty women [who] would remain faithful the more readily if everything were avoided that looked like brute force or even too-binding a connection."170
The emboldened Italians sought to make the Alliance compatible with their new diplomatic situation. They requested four important concessions from the Central Powers. Prinetti demanded that the political and commercial treaties be renewed simultaneously. He also sought to make the Alliance a tool for Italy’s policy in the Near East by requesting German and Austrian pledges to maintain the status quo in the Balkan peninsula. To appease the French, he requested that the Alliance be divested of its anti-French characteristics. Finally, he insisted that Germany and Austria grant Italy a free hand in Tripolitania, and that such a pledge be integrated into the text of the political treaty.
The Central Powers had already determined not to modify the Alliance. Although Prinetti eventually realized part of his demands, nothing in the treaty was altered when the renewal was transacted in June 1902. Importantly, however, the dogmatic manner in which Bülow and Austrian Foreign Minister Count Agenor Goluchowski treated Prinetti during the months of negotiations actually assisted the French. For more than four months Prinetti vainly pressed for acceptance of his demands for renewal. It was only after great exasperation that he finally capitulated and agreed to renew the unmodified Alliance.
Throughout this period, however, Barrère exploited Prinetti’s distress. Operating with a velvet glove the French ambassador maintained a consistent pressure for his own demand: the political and military neutralization of Italy vis à vis France. The historian, Luigi Albertini, fully understood Prinetti’s frustration and Barrère's deft diplomatics. Although the historian painted Barrère in Satanic colors, the essence of his analysis was correct.
Well knowing the temperament of Prinetti, the present writer has several
times asked himself whether the man would have concluded the agreement
of 30 June 1902 with France, had Berlin and Vienna allowed him to boast
of having his proposals, more formal than substantial as they were, accepted
in the renewal of the alliance. Having before one's eyes the vision of the man
with his outbursts, his rages, his wild utterings, one can measure the resentment
that must have remained in his spirit after being obliged to bow to refusals, so
intolerable to him, inflicted by Bülow and Goluchowski. These refusals played
into the hands of Barrère, the tempter standing by his side, who had acquired a
considerable ascendency over the Italian minister and took advantage of it at a
favourable moment to induce Prinetti to sign an agreement of great scope and
Since 1901 the Italians had made it clear that they wanted to renew the commercial treaties when the political Alliance was renewed.172 The commercial treaties established a list of Italian commodities receiving low tariff rates when entering Germany and Austria. Especially important to the Italian economy was the preferential tariff, the Clausula, for wine exports entering Austria.173 With the appearance of new protectionist pressures from German agriculturists and Hungarian wine producers, the Italians were apprehensive about losing their privileged position. Although they intended to renew the Alliance, Victor Emmanuel and his economic advisors insisted that it is possible to make commercial treaties without political treaties, but…not…a political arrangement without a commercial accord."174
When Prinetti approached his allies with the Italian demands in December 1901, he encountered intransigence. Goluchowski informed Prinetti that he could never renew the commercial treaties as they existed. He felt the Italians were not seriously thinking of abandoning the Triplice and were, therefore, only looking for the best deal.175 He maintained, moreover, that "in no condition" could the Clausula be retained.176 Bülow’s argument was more academic, but equally negative. The German chancellor claimed that since the Reichstag dealt with all commercial treaties, he was unable by the German constitution to promise passage of a new agreement.177
Prinetti’s demand for a commitment on the commercial treaties became less specific as he encountered resistance in Berlin and Vienna. He had originally declared that the political and commercial treaties had to be renewed simultaneously.178 By 18 January he was demanding "at least certain moral guarantees" of a new commercial pact.179
Several days later the Italian minister retreated. Now he requested only "a declaration containing an engagement or a promise" of renewal.180 Continuing to meet an uncompromising attitude among his allies, by late February Prinetti maintained that it was "absolutely important" that Italy be granted "a protocol relative to the renewal of the commercial treaties."181
And one month later Prinetti again backed down, expressing now his desire for an exchange of notes182 or a verbal promise of renewal.183 That the minister was under great strain was evidenced on 15 April, when, with "tears in his eyes," he reiterated Italy's inability to renew the Triple Alliance without a guarantee for the commercial treaties.184
Neither the Germans nor the Austrians would provide the formal promise demanded by Prinetti. Bülow continued to ask the Italians to trust in the "good faith" of the Central Powers.185 And Goluchowski went only so far as to pledge that "the Austrian government seriously had the intention to renew the treaty of commerce with Italy."186 When the Triple Alliance was finally renewed, it was without a guarantee on the commercial matters. It is interesting that new commercial arrangements between the three nations were not concluded until 1906. This achievement followed years of unsuccessful negotiations and emergency prolongations of the original commercial arrangements.187
The Central Powers also were unaccommodating to Prinetti's demand that the Triple Alliance be extended to guarantee the status quo in the Balkan peninsula. The
realization of such a demand would have checked the threat of Russian, Austrian, and even German expansion in the area. It would also have secured the Balkan peninsula until Italy was strong enough to grab its share on the eastern shore of the Adriatic. The fact that Prinetti failed again to gain approval for his demand illustrated the limited applicability of the Triple Alliance to Italy's new reality.
By Article VI of the Alliance of 1891, the Germans had pledged with Italy "to forestall, on the Ottoman coasts and islands in the Adriatic and the Aegean Seas, any territorial modification which might be injurous" to either of them. The Austrians, however, had only consented to reach an agreement "upon the principle of reciprocal compensation" should either Power decide to change the territorial situation in the Balkans. Although the Germans told Prinetti that they would "probably" approve any Austro-Italian accord on the matter, they clearly informed the Italians that Germany would not promise general support for the status quo, Wedel argued that, traditionally, it was not the German policy to make such a commitment in the Near East.188 Richthofen felt that such a posture would make the Triple Alliance primarily on anti-Russian arrangement, thereby playing into the hands of France by restrengthening the Franco-Russian Alliance.189 And Bülow claimed that making the Alliance the "guardian of the Bosphorus" was actually Barrère's idea and should therefore be rejected.190
On the Balkan demand, Prinetti asked two concessions from the Austrians: to join with Italy and Germany in opposing "all attempts by third Great Powers to modify the
territorial status quo in the Orient," and to guarantee the future autonomous development of the Balkan states. Goluchowski, however, strongly rejected the idea. He contended that the Italian request would alter the defensive character of the Alliance and cause its tenor to become "obscure and complicated."191 He also claimed that a commitment on the autonomous development of the Balkan states was "premature."192
Nevertheless, Prinetti continued to press for acceptance of his Balkan requests. He encountered only an exasperating intransigence in Berlin and Vienna. Following a fruitless conference with Bülow at Venice in late March, and from Goluchowski an ultimatum on 15 April requiring Italy to renew the Alliance within threee weeks, Prinetti finally capitulated.193 A "profoundly beaten man,"194 he recognized that the Triple Alliance could not be made a vehicle to support Italy's policy in the Near East.
Prinetti also met with stubborn refusal in his third demand: fulfillment of his promise of 25 July 1901 that the renewed Alliance would contain nothing aggressive toward France. It is significant that German and Austrian intransigence on this matter drove Prinetti into the arms of France where he ultimately fulfilled promise by concluding the secret Prinetti-Barrère Accord.
The Italian minister was not adverse to publishing the Triple Alliance. Still, he confessed to the Germans and Austrians that difficulties lay in the way of publication. Therefore, he requested that a publishable preamble be drafted to quell French apprehensions.195
Prinetti was being candid with his allies. He informed Bülow of the promise he made to Barrère. Incredibly, he seems to have believed that the Central Powers would honor his promise.196 Bülow, however, quickly brought the Italian minister back to the realities of the Alliance.197 Officially, he rejected the demand on the grounds that his speech of 8 January had already emphasized the defensive quality of the Triplice, and that it would be superfluous to make special mention of this fact within the text of the Alliance.
In private Bülow was less dispassionate. He felt that the Alliance was more important to Italy than to the Central Powers. He was certain that Prinetti would eventually renew the treaty in spite of his rejected demands.198 He also criticized the proposal for a new preamble as the work of Barrère. The German chancellor, who came to see Barrère as "our principal adversary if not equally our direct adversary,"199 countered Prinetti with a request that Italy declare that she "had not concluded with other states any accord of a nature to compromise the defensive effectiveness of the treaties of the Triple Alliance."200
The result was stalemate. By late January the Italian minister had, in Wedel's words, "definitively abandoned" the idea of a preamble. Prinetti informed his allies that he would reassure the French in a future public declaration.201
The only Italian demand the Central Powers accepted was Prinetti’s request for German and Austrian declarations of noninterference with Italian activities in
Tripolitania. This represented only a partial victory for Prinetti since the declarations were not integrated into the text of the Triple Alliance. Bülow had already approved this demand. He pointed out that by Article IX of the Alliance, Germany already afforded Italy a free hand in North Africa.202 Article IX, however, did not give the Italians a free hand; it still obliged Italy to undertake a mature examination" with Germany, and reach "a formal and previous agreement" with her before taking action in North Africa, Prinetti, therefore, sought a less restrictive commitment from Germany.203 He met again with German intransigence and eventually had to accept Bülow's original argument.204
The Austrians were not more magnanimous in handling Prinetti. Austria was not mentioned in Article IX. They agreed on 6 February, however, to accommodate Prinetti if such a declaration would be a separate protocol that in no way would oblige Austria to participate in a war against France.205 Despite their early acceptance of Prinetti’s request, the Austrians did not agree to the terms of the declaration until April. Even then, Goluchowski used the promise as a lever. He informed the Italians that a written protocol would only be given Italy after the Alliance was renewed.206
Coming as it did in the wake of Goluchowski’s ultimatum of 15 April, and having the renewal as its quid pro quo, this Austrian concession lost most of its salutary quality. On 28 June the Triple Alliance was formally renewed; two days later the Austrians gave Prinetti the desired declaration.207
Throughout the negotiations to renew the Triple Alliance, Barrère skillfully labored to attain the political and diplomatic neutralization of Italy. He was not seeking
Maneuvered to neutralize the Triplice, for, as he had written to Delcassé earlier:
My position is that France, without at all contesting the right of Italy
to contract engagements that she judges conforming to her interest, is
justified to expect that the latter put her engagements in harmony with
the relations of amity established lately between the two peoples and
the moral obligations that such imposes upon them.208
To accomplish this goal, the ambassador exercised upon Prinetti and the Italian government a combination of sympathetic gestures and constant diplomatic and personal pressure to honor the promise of 25 June. While Prinetti’s allies were driving the minister to emotional exhaustion with their implacable refusal to accommodate his demands, Barrère was implementing his "system of little and big political attentions and amiabilities"209 to render Prinetti more amenable to French desires. From this period of anger, distrust, and frustration in Italy's relations with the Central Powers, Barrère masterfully obtained from the Italians the secret exchange of letters in June 1902 by which the entente sought since 1898 was effectively concluded.
One of Barrère’s most effective means of pressuring Prinetti and the government was by using the Italian press. Although it is impossible to prove conclusively that Barrère fostered the press campaign calling for the harmonization of Italy's foreign relations, there is evidence of the ambassador's encouragement of this appeal to Italian public opinion. Italian and German leaders had long suspected Barrère of exercising a determining influence upon the peninsular press. As early as January 1899, Pelloux and Canevaro were convinced that Barrère was bribing moderate and republican newspaper editors.210 Nigra was fearful of the potentially explosive influence which the French ambassador had over the Italian press.211 And Count Lanza, the Italian ambassador in Berlin, explained "the important influence of Barrère which is felt…upon numerous Italian newspapers," as being the result of the dispersal of "important funds."212
The Germans also criticized Barrère and the Italian journals. Bülow had complained earlier that the switch in editorial policy of the once pro-Germany Opinione to a pro-France posture was caused by "French money."213 In early 1902, he was again certain that Barrère was at the center of the press campaign calling for Franco-Italian harmonization of interests.214 Wedel also blamed Barrère and added that personal pressure by the French ambassador on the editor of the prestigous Popolo Romano had caused that journal to discard its pro-Germany orientation and adopt a posture pleasing to the France.215
The height of the press campaign was reached in January. It was fed in part by speeches from Prinetti and Barrère, and Delcassé’s infamous interview. In the midst of
the campaign, Barrère was convinced that the Triple Alliance had now lost its "irresistible character" for Italy.216 However, he remained quick to critique any development which might embitter Franco-Italian relations. When on 21 January, for example, Delcassé delivered an uninspiring Senate speech which failed to mention the great cordiality in Franco-Italian relations since the Toulon festivities, Barrère quickly tried to reassure the Italians. He candidly informed Delcassé that the speech had caused unfavorable comments in Italy. He described these critical comments as being like "a cold-water shower for those who had placed great hopes on the coming together of France and Italy."217 He "urgently" ordered Delcassé to assert through the major French journals, and in a "very optimistic and very affirmative manner," the concordance of his ideas with those set forth in the speeches of Prinetti and himself.218
Barrère was not satisfied with the attitude of the French press. In late March, he criticized the Paris papers for failing to vigorously support the French diplomatic
position. He assailed the "indifference" of the press, and admitted that it was worrisome." He was irritated, especially because the press in France was giving Italian public opinion the impression that the French were undoing "with one hand what we are doing with the other."219
Barrère also obtained the support of the major Francophile leaders. Luzzatti and his newspaper, La Perseveranza of Milan, pointed up the need for harmonization.
Luzzatti stressed that view to a Russian journalist in December.220 He reiterated it in January in his own journal.221 And in April he told Le Temps of Paris that harmonization was not an "insoluable"222 problem. Visconti Venosta also lent his assistance to the press campaign. In March his views favorable to harmonization were published in the Perseveranza.223 In April he repeated them for a Figaro reporter, emphasizing that "time had exercised its influence" and that the Triple Alliance "ought then to submit to the effects of this evolution in the general situation in which it existed."224
Barrère also received the help of sympathetic politicians in dealing directly with Prinetti. In Rudini and his "confidant and intimate friend,"225 Luzzatti, the French ambassador possessed two powerful former parliamentary ministers who encouraged Prinetti to accommodate France. Rudini, who hoped to succeed Zanardelli as prime minister, fully supported Barrère’s opinion that it was now time to broach frankly the question of reconciling the Alliance and the rapprochement. Rudini admitted that he would prefer to communicate the Alliance to Barrère. He expressed his desire to speak loyally and candidly with the Germans, declaring to them that "we no longer fear France, we have a very great interest in conserving her friendship, and you ought to aid us if you are our friends." Rudini’s views did not carry much weight since he was not in power. Nevertheless, Barrère felt that the former prime minister would cooperate with Prinetti.226
In his opposition role in the Chamber of Deputies, and through his personal contacts with the Consulta, Luigi Luzzatti pressed for the French cause. He was especially attracted to France because of her potential for financial and commercial assistance in the economic development of Italy. In Chamber debates throughout December 1901 Luzzatti had urged the Zanardelli government to begin an internal program of local debt conversion and railroad expansion.227
By February 1902 the former Minister of the Treasury had reconciled political differences with Prinetti and was privately encouraging him to withstand German pressure.228 In April Luzzatti was instrumental in arranging for the foreign minister and Zanardelli to meet with Visconti Venosta to discuss the direction of Italian foreign policy. Significantly, when Barrère entered into secret negotiations in May with the Italian leadership to formulate the Prinetti-Barrère Accord, Luzzatti participated in the highly-secret discussions.
In seeking his goal, Barrère was also able to exploit two pressing issues which troubled the Zanardelli government in spring 1902, Tripolitania and bond conversion.
Since the Mytilene occupation Italians had been discussing the possibility of occupying Tripolitania. In March and April public interest in expansion was intensified by press reports of munitions shipments to Africa and the preparation of troops for a landing.229 These reports were openly debated in the Chamber of Deputies. Although as prestigeous a journal asNuova antologla discredited the rumors,230 speculation continued. Prinetti was compelled in mid-April to assure the nation that the government was not thinking of occupying Tripolitania, but that it was actually acting to prevent any change in the Mediterranean status quo.231
Privately, however, Prinetti was seeking approval from the Great Powers for an eventual expansion into the North African territory. The Ottoman Empire, he felt, was "on the eve of one of the gravest crises it has had to face in recent times."232 The pressure of public opinion only intensified his desire for a free hand in Tripolitania.
By April he had succeeded with the British and was approaching success with the Germans and Austrians. To attain French approval, however, Prinetti knew that he would have to fulfill his promise of 25 June 1901. Barrère had made it known since late 1900 that if Italy wanted a free hand from France, she would have to take that "second step" to neutralization.
The importance of French capital to Italian financial transactions in 1902 was epitomized by a peninsular deputy who wrote in March 1902 that "Decidedly, the Paris market has retaken its place as the great banker of Italy."233 This development was due in part to the commercial and financial "invasion" of the Italian economy which Barrère fostered. A contributing factor was that German international finance had been in decline since the 1890s. The decline resulted in diminished capital investment abroad. In the resultant void French investors made significant strides in regaining financial predominance in Italy.234 Barrère now believed that with the German crisis "never has the moment been more favorable" for further French financial penetration.235
In the spring the Italian Parliament approved the flotation of a 3.5 percent bond; it was not to be a new debt, but rather a preparatory step toward the free conversion of the older 4 percent rente. When Barrère was approached in October 1901 about the possibility of floating such a bond on the Bourse, as his price he had demanded the neutralization of Italy. Again in June 1902 when Prinetti inquired about the availability of the Paris money-market for the handling of the 3.5 percent bond, Barrère repeated that the transaction could only be admitted after Italy and France signed the comprehensive settlement of Mediterranean matters that was under discussion.236
To appreciate the calculated nature of this gesture it is important to note that Barrère confined his237 approval to the 3.5 percent issue. At this point in the financial discussion he declined consideration of the much more sizable 5 percent bond the Italians proposed for conversion in Paris. As Barrère confided to Delcassé, "in effect, we still have considerable political profit to draw from the final conversion of the five percent."238
Besides employing Italian newspapers, pro-French governmental leaders, and the pressing issues of Tripolitania and bond conversion, Barrère achieved a closeness to Prinetti which undoubtedly assisted the ambassador in his negotiations with the minister. This was evidenced during the Italian-Swiss war scare of in the spring of 1902. The crisis emanated from overly acrimonious complaints by the Italian minister in Berne about the Swiss policy of harboring Italian anarchists. Especially upsetting to the government in Rome was the newspaper, Il Risveglio, which boldly called for the assassination of King Victor Emmanuel. As tensions mounted between the two nations, the French military attaché in Berne reported in early April that the Swiss had plans to occupy Milan in hopes of provoking a revolution in Italy and establishing a provisional republican government.239
Barrère was sympathetic to the monarch's fear of the anarchist threat, especially because his father, King Umberto I, had been assassinated less than two years earlier.240 The ambassador kept closely in touch with Prinetti throughout the weeks of tension until the crisis was settled through German good offices on 30 July. Although neither Barrère241 nor Delcassé242 favored French diplomatic intervention during the crisis, the fact that Prinetti personally expressed his preference for French good offices is illustrative of the personal and diplomatic closeness Barrère had achieved with the Italian foreign minister.243
Barrère had not broached with Prinetti the question of neutralization since his New Year's Day speech. In late February, however, he found a pretext for reopening the question when Prinetti, in apologizing for the exclusion from a royal discourse of a warm mention of Franco-Italian amity, reaffirmed his promise of 25 June 1901. Barrère felt that with this unexpected opening, the French should now proceed to place official pressure on the foreign minister to fulfill his pledge. He immediately urged Delcassé to make the formal step of informing Tornielli of the hope of the French government that Prinetti's declarations would be realized.244
On 12 March, Delcassé carried out Barrère’s suggestion.245 One week later, in a Senate speech, read and approved by Barrère ahead of its delivery,246 Delcassé strengthened his official demands. In contrast to his discourse two months earlier, Delcassé’s the speech of 20 March contained warm affirmations of Franco-Italian friendship and stressed themes expounded by Barrère on 1 January. Delcassé concluded his remarks on Italy with the poignant reminder: "in order to assure to their new relations a long and full future, they [France and Italy] have only to persevere in the direction in which their general policy will be more and more put in harmony with the spirit which presided over their rapprochement."247
While Delcassé was making the official gestures in Paris, Barrère was preparing his campaign in Rome. With the announcement of Prinetti’s plans to meet the German foreign secretary in Venice in late March, the ambassador sensed that now "the moment is becoming decisive and serious."248 Barrère and his supporters in Rome felt that Prinetti’s upcoming rendezvous afforded them an excellent opportunity to press the foreign minister once again for the realization of his promise. Louis Jezierski, the personal friend and intermediary between Barrère and Delcassé, was in Rome at this time. His description of the planning underway at the Farnese Palace reveals the calculated nature of Barrère’s approach to Prinetti:
Even here around our friend Barrère the Italians—at least those who
are collaborating in the Franco-Italian rapprochement—feel the need
to drive a new nail in order to wall-in the Triple Alliance negotiations.
The Bülow voyage could be the occasion. From this point of view, it
would be excellent if Prinetti follows through with his idea to meet him.
But we must supply him with energizing provisions to make it a
necessity for him to cross the Rubicon…. They feel that the time has come
to press the movement. And that can only suit us if we can give France,
as an electoral gift, the Triple Alliance officially stripped of its [sword] point against us.249
Prinetti was under great pressure as he prepared to meet Bülow in northern Italy. The Germans and Austrians were not pleased with his procrastination in renewing the
Triple Alliance. He, himself, was exasperated with the inflexibility of his allies. At home, Prinetti’s political critics—Sonnino, Luzzatti, Rudini, and Visconti Venosta—
feared that his diplomatic inexperience would be disasterously revealed at Venice, and that he would conform to Bülow's will. Luzzatti, in fact, urged him to meet with Visconti Venosta in Milan for a last minute briefing on how to handle the German foreign minister. In the Chamber of Deputies, moreover, the Extreme Left was preparing an interpellation of the minister upon his return to Rome. It was in this tense atmosphere that Barrère met with Prinetti on the eve of his departure.
Barrère did not know specifically the text of the Triple Alliance, nor he did know that the German General Staff eliminated Italian troop participation from German war planning.250 Barrère believed that the anti-French provisions of the Triple Alliance were embodied in a military protocol annexed to the text of the Alliance. In reality, the German-Italian military protocol of 1888 was separate from the Alliance. The item which Barrère was seeking to neutralize was in Article II of the treaty of Alliance which stated the mutual obligation of Germany and Italy to assist each other in case of war with France.
Prinett made no effort to clarify Barrère’s misconception.251 In fact, he confessed to Wedel that he did not know the terms of the military protocol, and that he wanted to remain ignorant "in order to say unreservedly that he knew nothing of such."252
Although Barrère was unclear about the exact terms of the Alliance, he felt that Italy’s obligations toward Germany had become a "dead letter." He noted that the Italian role in the Triplice had become only "a moral question; but that it was a matter that needed resolution. The concessions Barrère sought in Rome would adequately resolve any confusion over the military protocol and the text of the treaty. Barrère demanded the "pure and simple" neutralization of Italy vis-à-vis France.
It is noteworthy that the ambassador’s demand was not couched in the dogmatic style of Germany and Austria. Instead, Barrère approached the exasperated Prinetti with a dispassionate argument.
Italy appears to me to be in the situation to be able thus to maintain her
relations with France without renouncing the advantages of her
political and commercial relations with Germany. I cannot believe that
her allies would not appreciate the precise guarantee for them of her
neutrality. I cannot believe that they would ask her to sacrifice relations
and interests of the prime rank in exchange for an almost-platonic
satisfaction. I can hardly believe, therefore, that they would despise the
guarantee that the neutrality of Italy allows their security.253
Prinetti obviously was distressed when he spoke with Barrère on the eve of his departure. He reaffirmed his commitment to two ideas already rejected in Berlin and Vienna: the hope of communicating the Alliance to Barrère, and the desire to establish Italy's neutrality toward France within the text of the treaty. Prinetti also persisted in the confusion over the wording of the Alliance, reassuring Barrère that he felt the anti-French annexes of the treaty "ought to fall and disappear." He promised, however, to sign nothing in Venice "that France could consider as contrary to the lines of friendship that unite us, or as a direct or indirect menace to her security." Prinetti added a significant extension to his pledge when he told Barrère: “If we renew the Triple Alliance, I will give you and I will give the Parliament assurances that will leave no doubt in your mind and in public opinion of the character and scope of that act."254
Prinetti and Bülow met on 27 March. But if Prinetti expected any compromise from his German counterpart, he was resoundly discouraged. Although their conversations touched upon the problems impeding a renewal of the Triple Alliance, Bülow conceded nothing.255 In his Memoirs, Bülow portrayed his disposition accurately: "I took up the standpoint maintained by the Jesuit general of the eighteenth century when a reform of the Order was demanded of him: Sint ut sunt aut non sint. ["Let them be as they are or not at all"]."256
This intransigence was followed on 12 April by Bülow’s statement to the Italian ambassador in Berlin that "it was high time" to renew the Alliance.257 Three days later, an Austrian ultimatum on renewal left Prinetti no room to maneuver with his allies.
France was the beneficiary of the Venice conference. The unbending attitude and narrow-mindedness that Bülow exhibited toward Prinetti left the harrassed Italian with no alternative but to meet the wishes of his allies. This, in turn, forced Prinetti to accommodate the French demands outside the Alliance. Thirty years later Barrère derisively pointed out that because of his intransigence at Venice, "Bülow had actually been my collaborator" in materializing the secret agreement with Prinetti.258
If Prinetti was beleaguered upon returning from Venice, he found no solace in at home. Barrère reported that the reaction of the Italian press to the conference had been lively. All the major journals, he noted, devoted lengthy articles to the meeting. Prinetti, however, emerged as the bete noire in these articles. Sensing the vulnerability of the Italian foreign minister in this period of l depression and public scorn, Barrère pushed Delcassé. He wrote that it was "urgent and indispensible" that the Quai d’Orsay reiterate to Tornielli with "clearness and absolute precision" what France expected from the Italian leader.259
Although Delcassé unexplainably failed for three weeks to respond to the urgency in Barrère‘s message, the efforts of the French ambassador were energetically supported by Luzzatti and Visconti Venosta. Luzzatti persuaded Visconti Venosta agreed to come to Rome to visit with Prinetti and Zanardelli. The former Italian foreign minister prepared a plan which he hoped to have the Italian government adopt. Significantly, the four-point program expounded by Visconti Venosta would be largely realized in the Prinetti-Barrère Accord two months later.
Visconti Venosta’s plan called for: (1) an acceptance by the Germans, as the price for renewing the Triple Alliance, of the modifications or interpretations necessary to consecrate Franco-Italian friendship; (2) an official declaration to France that Italy was in no way obliged to wage war against her on the continent or at sea; (3) the request from France of a similar declaration of neutrality vis à vis Italy; and (4) the demand, as compensation from France, of the free hand in Tripolitania not granted in the Mediterranean Accord of 1900.260
Throughout April, Prinetti attempted to avoid submitting to the Austrian ultimatum. He did not want to renew the Triple Alliance until after his ministerial budget was discussed in the Chamber of Deputies because he felt embarrassing questions would be raised if the Alliance were renewed without the modifications he had been seeking since January.261 To delay renewing the pact, the foreign minister continued to demand textual alterations. He threatened resignation if his ideas were not accepted.262 And he suggested that the Alliance be renewed for three years instead of six years.263 This delaying action did not win friends among the Germans and Austrians. Bülow became angered with the minister,264 and Baron Pasetti was reported near exhaustion in searching for a satisfactory resolution.265
Prinetti also felt pressure from the Francophile side, After weeks of prodding by Barrère, Delcassé on 23 April spoke to Tornielli . He repeated French demands, but his argument had a strength and precision absent from such declarations in the past.266 Luzzatti visited Prinetti in late April to urge the minister to meet the French requests. This action prompted Wedel to remark that "Luzzatti shows that he is a good disciple of my French colleague."267
Barrère quickly followed up Delcassé’s overture. On 26 April he repeated to Prinetti his desire to have Italy renounce the anti-French clauses of the Triple Alliance. Prinetti replied with the usual protestations of powerlessness with his allies, but fidelity to the Franco-Italian rapprochement. The minister, however, was nearing a decision to renew the Alliance without modification. Therefore, suggested that he and Barrère "ought to have conversations" later to consider the French position. Moreover, when Barrère suggested that the question of provocation was at the basis of their disagreement, and the Germans could provoke France to declare war and then insist upon Italian support against the French aggressor, Prinetti was apparently impressed. He repeated his future intention "to explain myself to you and to arrive at conclusions" on the matter of provocation.268 Perceptively, Barrère suggested that this was "perhaps the departure point for secret accords," urged Delcassé to keep these statements secret, even from Tornielli.269
The Italian decision to renew the Triple Alliance without alterations was tentatively accepted during a meeting of Prinetti, Lanza, and Victor Emmanuel on 29 April.270 Following a conference with Zanardelli on 1 May, Prinetti officially informed the Germans of this decision.271 Six days later the Italian intention was made public when Goluchowski announced it at the opening session of the Austro-Hungarian parliament, the Delegations.272
Prinetti anticipated Barrère’s reaction to the decision. He had met with the French ambassador to disclose Italy's intention to continue the Alliance. To appease the French, however, Prinetti reiterated that "it will be necessary that we have meetings on the future of our relations in regard to this treaty."273 This overture officially opened the secret conversations between Barrère, Prinetti, and Luzzatti that drafted and exchanged the notes of 30 June 1902, the Prinetti-Barrère Accord.
Barrère wasted little time in responding to Prinetti’s gesture. On 8 May he was able to present the positions he wanted the Italian government to accept. The ambassador anticipated a bilateral protocol defining the relationship and reciprocally-pacific positions developed in earlier Franco-Italian contacts. He wanted a mutual pledge of nonaggression and a common promise to discount as aggressive the initiation of warfare by either party when such actions was precipitated by "the manifest provocation" of a third Power. Finally, Barrère wanted a renunciation by the Italians of military protocols and "other dispositions of the same sort" which foresaw war with France. "If we can arrive at this result," he wrote to Delcassé, "we will have obtained all that we could hope for and desire."274
Secret negotiations began in the third week of May. Prinetti and Luzzatti represented the Italian government; Barrère maintained the French position. Significantly, the ambassador appears to have conducted the talks with carte blanche.275 Delcassé had left France on 14 May for a two-week state visit to Russia; he did not again confer with Barrère until 28 May in Paris.276 A lull in the flow of correspondence between Rome and Paris during this period also attests to the great latitude exercised by Barrère. Moreover, French interpretations dominated the negotiations. The "Proposed Bilateral Declaration" that emerged from these secret conversations in Rome contained those positions espoused by Barrère on 8 May. The only discrepancy was an addition to the proposal of a free hand for Italy in Tripolitania.277
Both sides offered minor textual modifications during the following months. The wording of only one clause, however, caused confusion: that dealing with the necessity
of one party to remain neutral in case the other were provoked into a declaration of war upon a third Power. Barrère had touched upon this issue on 8 May, and Delcassé felt it was "the capital of the proposal."278 By 28 June, however, Prinetti and Barrère had agreed upon the final phrasing:
In the case where France [or Italy] would be the object of direct or
indirect aggression on the part of one or several Powers, Italy [or France]
will maintain strict neutrality. It will be the same in the case where
France [or Italy], because of a direct provocation, would be found reduced
to taking the initiative in a declaration of war for the defense of her honor
To avoid semantic confusion over the term "direct provocation" Prinetti and Barrère agreed verbally that historical examples of "direct provocation" were the Fashoda incident, the Ems despatch, the refusal of Wilhelm I to receive Benedetti, and the Schnabele incident. Indirect provocation, a matter not mentioned in the declaration, was typified by the Hohenzollern candidature question.280
The French, however, permitted a major revision in the form of the agreement. Barrère had originally desired a common protocol; there had been a subtle shift in the 24 May proposal of a bilateral declaration. But in late June, at the request of Victor Emmanuel, the French agreed to an exchange of letters as in the Mediterranean Agreement of 1900. The Italian monarch felt that with the imminent renewal of the Triple Alliance, a bilateral declaration signed by the two foreign ministers would give the impression of being a countertreaty. To avoid a potential national embarrassment, it was agreed that Prinetti would submit to Barrère a letter incorporating the wording of the proposal of 24 May. In return, Barrère would give the Italian minister a letter binding France to a similar position toward Italy.
This modification in form was an important compromise. The French gave up the bilateral declaration and accepted an exchange of letters between a foreign minister and an ambassador which, on the scale of diplomatic arrangements, held less import. But, in proposing the alteration the Italians agreed to submit the first letter. This initiating gesture, Barrère argued, "still more engages the responsibility" of the Italian government.281
On 28 June the Triple Alliance was renewed. It was agreed not to reveal this action until a later date. Nevertheless, within hours Bülow provided the details to a news
agency. The disclosure was an arrogant action by the German foreign secretary who was convinced that the announcement would generate favorable publicity for the Alliance. Bülow was confident, too, that the disclosure would constitute a first step in convincing the Italian public that "the exclusive collaboration of Italy with France against the Triple Alliance…had been a useless experience."282
Two days later, however, Bülow’s assessment of Franco-Italian collaboration was belied by the signing and exchange of secret letters by Barrère and Prinetti. These letters were supplemented by an exchange of notes defining the term "direct provocation." Double copies of the four letters were drafted; the first set was dated 10 and 11 July, and the second set was dated 1 and 2 November. The second group was predated out of respect for Victor Emmanuel’s distaste for exchanging the letters closely behind the renewal of the Triple Alliance. Prinetti and Barrère agreed that if they both remained in their respective offices until November, the second set of letters would become official.
If either man died or resigned before that date, the documents of 10 and 11 July would enter the archives.283
The Prinetti-Barrère Accord was the culmination of four years of intense and dedicated diplomatic activity. It was, moreover, the crowning achievement of Barrère’s
tenure at the Farnese Palace. By the patient and consistent application of pressure upon an Italian government that was hesitatingly entering a new era of national and international life,284 Barrère achieved the minimal program—the reduction of Italy to military impotence vis à vis France—which he had suggested a decade earlier for French foreign policy. Given what was diplomatically possible, the pledge of military and political neutrality by Italy was definitely, in Barrère’s words, "all that we could hope for and desire."285
The international significance of the Accord lies on two levels. Militarily, the promise of neutrality gave reassurance to French military strategists who had discounted the Italian threat and had concentrated their efforts upon defeating the Germans. Since 1893 the French General Staff had abandoned plans to assume the offensive in the Alps in a war with the Triple Alliance. The development of the Italian army, a successful network of Alpine fortifications in Italy, and improvements in the Italian plans for mobilization had convinced French planners that an attack into Italy would be too costly. Instead, they planned to remain on the defensive in the Alps while transporting a portion of the Alpine troops to face the Germans on the northeastern front.286 Variations on this strategy, including the naval transport of troops from North Africa to France, were contained in the several plans drawn up in the twenty years before the Great War.
The actual text of the Accord was not presented to the French General Staff for several years. In the aftermath of the Bosnian crisis in1908 it was communicated to General Brun and to the Russians and the British.287 Nonetheless, the military essence of the Accord had been revealed as early as 1903 when Barrère informed then Chief of Staff, General Delanne. Delanne considered the promise of neutrality to be of "enormous importance."288 General Brun used it to further justify his plans to send the French XIV and XV Corps to the German front during the first days of hostilities.289 Military satisfaction with the neutralization of Italy was expressed candidly in the Bases du plan of the French Plan XVII: "Everything leads to the belief that she [Italy] will stay expectative in the beginning, and will keep herself ready to intervene after the first emergencies, on the side where she will feel able to satisfy her desires of conquest."290 It is significant that such a thought could not have been official French military policy were it not for French diplomatic accomplishments in Italy during the period 1898-1902.
Several writers have doubted the political significance of the Prinetti-Barrère Accord. According to historian Jacques Droz,291 the Accord was continually overestimated by the French. He criticized Barrère's contention that the agreement in 1902 "eliminated all equivocations on the defensive character of the Triple Alliance."292 Droz wrote that because there was no formal definition of "provocation" in the Accord, the Italians had kept their options free, and France had no guarantee of future security. He also claimed that because of this situation, close political surveillance of Italy was a diplomatic necessity for France during the years before the Great War.
The Italian historian Brunello Vigezzi293 contended that when the war did begin in 1914, the Prinetti-Barrère Accord only "minimally influenced" the Italian decision to remain neutral. As a criticism of the agreement, he argued that Italian neutrality was motivated by disappointment over Austria's unilateral invasion of the Balkans rather than by the upholding of the spirit and letter of the Prinetti-Barrère Accord.
Because they gave the Accord of 1902 the same weight as the Triple Alliance, these critics misinterpreted the political significance of the compact. Certainly,
Barrère invoked agreement during the hectic days in 1914 before Italy officially declared its neutrality.294 And Italian neutrality was significant for as Barrère described it to Delcassé in late August 1914, "You know what has happened on the subject of neutrality. I do not believe that they [Italian leaders] looked for pretexts to overthrow the Accord of 1902; in any case, the proclamation of neutrality embraces it [the Accord]. I have done the possible and the impossible to insure the result which permitted us to assist ourselves with a part of our African forces, and to assure ourselves of the mastery of the seas."295
The exchange of notes in June 1902 was never anything more than a formalized, written recognition of the diplomatic harmony which now typified Franco-Italian relations. It was a tangible expression of the political and military neutralization of Italy toward France. It was not, and could not be construed as, a political commitment ranking with the Triple Alliance or the Franco-Russian Alliance. Barrère recognized this by the constant attention he continued to give to Franco-Italian friendship, even to the point of abandoning thoughts of accepting another ambassadorial appointment in Russia or elsewhere.296
The Prinetti-Barrère Accord defined the special diplomatic feelings which had been carefully and patiently developed over four intense years. Despite the fact that both France and Italy remained members of rival international alignments, the Accord was evidence of the special relationship between the two Latin states. By formally pledging not to wage war upon each other as a result of their other international commitments, the French and Italians were affirming that the understanding nurtured since 1898 had eliminated the need for mutually-threatening political and military alignments.
The Prinetti-Barrère Accord did not destroy the Triple Alliance. It did, however, effectively undermine the applicability of the Alliance to Italy in a German war upon France.297 Even if the German and French military planners had discounted Italian military involvement, the exchange of letters safely closed the question of Italy’s actions in case of a future Franco-German conflict.
It did this not by subterfuge, but by the political facts of life which it reflected. At peace in the Mediterranean basin, enmeshed commercially and financially, and tolerant of their respective forms of government, France and Italy by 1902 had no reasons to confront each other militarily, either now or as long as such harmony existed. Foreign minister Tommaso Tittoni publicly attested to this situation when, voiding the Triple Alliance of any anti-French obligations for Italy, he wrote in 1904:
The Triplice is what it was, what it is, and what it will be: a purely
defensive pact, limited to certain specific cases, which allows a
maximum of liberty of action to the contracting parties…. The Triplice is,
consequently, only a guarantee against war—probably between the same
allies—and this impedes Franco-Italian intimacy all the less….298
If there was deception, it was self-delusion on the part of the Central Powers. How could Germany or Austria-Hungary expect Italy to make war on a neighboring nation with which it had a constructive and completely peaceful relationship? In 1905, Bülow incredibly could say of the Triple Alliance: "The reasons which originally brought
the three great states together are still in existence; nothing has happened to work a change in them…."299 As late as 1912, the signature by Italian military leaders on new military and naval conventions with the Central Powers could bolster spirits in Vienna and Berlin.300 And when the guns of August 1914 were being mobilized for the outbreak of warfare, some within the Germanic nations could still expect Rome to comply with Austrian demands that Italy loyally "fulfill her duties as an ally."301
What the leadership in Austria and Germany overlooked was the interdependence and cordiality in Franco-Italian relations—an interdependence epitomized in the commercial agreement of 1898 and the Mediterranean Agreement of 1900, and a cordiality made manifest by the Prinetti-Barrère Accord of 1902. These settlements had destroyed a pillar of the Triple Alliance: the incompatibility of France and Italy. The Triplice of 1914 did not resemble the consortium created in rage in 1882. Instead, when the Great War erupted, there existed only the Franco-German, Anglo-German, and Austro-Russian rivalries. The Franco-Italian rivalry that was so integral to the Triple Alliance had been dissolved by 1902.
1 Supra, Chapter III, note 121.
2 Camille Barrère, "La chute de Delcassé," Revue des deux mondes, 1 August 1932, p. 609.
3 Gioacchino Volpe, Italia moderna (Florence, 1944), II, p. 90.
4 Serra, Camille Barrère, p. 104, note 9.
5 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 8 December 1900; MAE, Allemagne, NS 19. The Marquis de Reverseaux, the French ambassador in Vienna, reported the general Austrian assessment of Victor Emmanuel: "His personality, scarcely sympathetic to Austria, does not seem of the nature to smooth away the difficulties of the proximity and the hostility of the two peoples. His authoritarian and abrupt character, and his nationalistic tendencies, which could be a contribution to the irredentist claims, inspire a great distrust. A high functionary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told me that he is too Italian not to detest the Austrians."
6 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 November 1900; DDF, I, xvi, #347
7 Pribram, op. cit., II, p. 134, note 1.
8 Quoted in English in Note from Bülow, 9 May 1903; GP, XVIII, ii, #5775.
9 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 November 1900; PDF, I, xvi, #374.
10 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #168.
11 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20.
12 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 2 March 1901; DDF, II, i, #120.
13 Barrère to Delcassé, 18 February 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
14 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 April 1901; DDF, II, I, #168; Serra, op. cit., pp. 155-156; Augusto Torre, La politica estera dell’Italia dal 1896 al 1914 (Bologna, 1960), p. 171
15 Prinetti, a bourgeois businessman, had married an aristocratic woman related to the French Duc de Choiseul-Praslin. According to Barrère, the marriage was a re-edition of Charles Ohnet’s sentimental play from 1882, Maître de Forges: "it has incarnated again the so-respectable marriage of labor, capital, and nobility." Barrère to Delcassé, 20 February 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16. (This portion of Barrère’s despatch was omitted when the letter was published in the DDF). The reknown British journalist and publisher, Henry Wickham Steed, considered Prinetti to have been "violent and unbalanced." See Wickham Steed to Serra, 29 April 1955, in Serra, L’intesa mediterranea, pp. 246-249.
16 Barrère to Delcassé 20 February 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
17 Visconti Venosta to his brother, 24 February 1901; in Serra, Camille Barrère p. 108.
18 Barrère reported in late 1901 that Prinetti and Luzzatti were "at drawn knives with each other;" Barrère to Delcassé, 31 October 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
19 Barrère had known Prinetti since he came to the Farnese Palace in 1898. Prinetti was dining at the French embassy on the evening his appointment was announced: Barrère to Delcassé, 20 February 1901; DDF, II, i, #92.
20 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 June 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20.
21 Torre, op. cit., p. 171.
22 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 2 March 1901; DDF, II, i, #120, A Deuxième Bureau report was suspicious of Prinetti; "Prinetti is an opportunist in politics as in commerce. A great fabricator of automobiles and bicycles, he is not the man to hold himself to a single model, and he seeks to assimilate new processes. Just as he set aside the old models of motors which no longer assure the sale of his products, he will without sorrow cast aside his old political discourses. Like merchant, like minister." Deuxième Bureau report, 18 February 1901; AMA, Italie, carton 19, #685.
23 Barrère to Delcassé, 21 February 1901; DDF, II, i, #97. Although Prinetti told the Chamber of Deputies that the Tucher report was a "fantasy," the Bavarian minister, a long-time friend of Barrère, confirmed to the Frecnh ambassador that first reports of his interview with Prinetti were correct : Barrère to Delcassé, 20 March 1901; DDF, II, i, #150
24 Serra, L’intesa mediterranean, p. 45; and by the same author, "Vittorio Emmanuel III diplomatico," pp. 428-436. Helen Zimmern, "Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy," The Fortnightly Review, January- June 1901, pp. 492-502.
25 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 December 1901; DDF, II, i, #556.
26 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 June 1901; DDF. II, i, #277.
27 Visconti Venosta admitted that the argument that France was desirous of reestablishing Papal temporal power in Italy was so futile that it cannot go far. No, it is not temporal power which can estrange Italy from France; the causes of entente or hostility between us are in the Mediterranean. Barrère to Delcassé, 10 May 1900; MAE, Italie, NS 15. Prinetti considered such suspicions of France to be "ridiculous"; he added, moreover, that Austria should actually be feared: "The heir apparent does not have the worthless spirit and weak will supposed of him. He is an absolute clericist; he has the passion and the ideas." Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; DDF. II, i, #311. Barrère, who fully understood "the abnormal conditions in which Italian sovereignty is exercised, the co-existence of two Powers in one capital," nevertheless felt that "in France there is not a government which could last twenty-four hours on such a program." Barrère to Delcassé, 20 November 1901; DDF. II, I, #525; Barrère to Delcassé, 10 May 1900; MAE, Italie, NS 15.
28 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 November 1900; DDF + I, xvi, #374. Legrand to Delcassé, 19 August 1901; DDF, II, i, #365; Deuxième Bureau report, 26 December 1900; AMA, Italie, carton 19, #1469.
29 Starvo Skendi, The Albanian National Awakening 1878-1912, (Princeton, 1967), pp. 249-252. As allies, the Italians and Austrians had succeeded in agreeing to respect the
Balkan status quo; by Article VII of the Alliance treaty they were pledged to "use their influence to forestall any territorial modification" in the peninsula; in 1897 Goluchowski and Visconti Venosta exchanged promises to respect the status quo in the Balkans; and in December 1900 and February 1901, the two foreign ministers exchanged notes embodying the promises made three years earlier.
30 Lanza to Canevaro, 16 April 1899; DDI, III, ill, #232; Bülow to Eulenburg, 9 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5713.
31 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; DDF, II, i, #311,
32 For the terms of this special tariff, see Pribram, op. cit. , p. 116, note 253
33 Milza, op. cit., pp. 31-70
34 Moltke to Bismarck, 23 January 1888; GP, VI, #1307, annex.
35 Italian Military Memoire, 20 March 1888; GP, VI, #1313.
36 Schlieffen to Bülow, 12 March 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5987.
37 Wedel to Holstein, 15 January 1902, Rich and Fisher op. cit., IV, p. 249
38 Giuseppe de'Luigi, II Mediterraneo nella. Politica europea (Naples, 1925), p. 432.
39 Military Conventions of the Triple Alliance, 8 May 1901; DDF. II, i, #227.
40 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 June 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20. This important assessment has been censored from the published version of the despatch in DDF.
41 Barrère to Delcassé, 26 March 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17. Again, this assessment was censored from the published version of the despatch in DDF.
42 Tornielli to Prinetti, 12 December 1901; AMAE, Francia, 01805, pac. 57, posiz. 9.
43 Barrère to Delcassé, 4 June 1901 and 10 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #268 and 277.
44 According to one report, "The Italians are beginning to discover Russia and envision the eventuality of another triple alliance: France, Russia, Italy. This simple fact would have been monstrous here a year ago, and it shows what work is developing in their minds." Deuxième Bureau report, 12 March 1901; AMA, Italia, carton 19, #786.
45 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; DDF. II, i, #63.
46 Salvemini, op. cit. p. 135.
47 Supra, Chapter I, note 46.
48 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #57.
49 Wedel to Bülow, 17 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5836.
50 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 April 1900; MAE, Italie, NS 15.
51 Delcassé to Barrère, 21 April 1900; MAE, Correspondance commerciale, Italie, 45.
52 Barrère to Delcassé, December 1900; MAE, Correspondance commerciale, Italie, 45.
53 Barrère to Delcassé, 26 December 1901; DDF. II, i, #579.
54 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 January 1899 and 19 March 1899; MAE, Italie, NS 22.
55 Ibid.; Barrère to Delcassé, 25 December 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 24; Barrère to Delcassé, 30 December 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 22.
56 Barrère to Delcassé, 27 March 1902; MAE. Italie, NS 24.
57 Barrère to Delcassé, 16 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #192.
58 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 April 1901; MAE. Italie, NS 22
59 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 December 1901; DDF, II, i, #556.
60 Ministry of Finance Note, 22 November 1899; ANF, F30, 309.
61 Cited in London, The Times, 25 September 1901.
62 Barrère to Delcassé, 31 October 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
63 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 March 1901; DDF, II, i, #132.
64 Souhart to Delcassé, 24 February 1901; DDF. II, i, #105.
65 Montebello to Delcassé, 5 April 1901; DDF. II, i, #176.
66 Souhart to Delcassé, 10 May 1901; DDF, II, i, #235.
67 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 July 1901; MAE, Montenegro, NS 4.
68 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20.
69 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 March 1901; DDF, II, i. #118.
70 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 December 1900; DDF, I, xvi #374.
71 Barrère to Delcassé, 18 December 1900; MAE, Allemagne, NS 19.
72 Barrère to Delcassé, 24 February 1901; DDF, II, i, #104.
73 Delcassé to Montebello, 20 March 1901; DDF, II, i, #148.
74 Montebello to Delcassé, 5 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #176.
75 Delcassé to Barrère, 10 April 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20.
76 It is interesting to compare the latest scholarship on Delcassé’s foreign policy which claims that the French and Russian ambassadors in foreign capitals were not cooperative:
Andrew, op. cit., p. 232; cf. Ibid., p. 219, note 1. Significant of the close relationship
between Barrère and Nelidoff is the fact that when the Russian lost his post in Rome because of an imbroglio with the Italian government, Barrère successfully pressured
for his appointment as ambassador to France. See Laroche, op. cit., p. 69.
77 Barrère was instrumental in bringing Nelidoff and Luzzatti together to begin discussions toward establishing a Russo-Italian commercial accord: Barrère to Delcassé, 16 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #193. This accord, however, was not concluded until 28 June 1907.
78 The idea originated in late 1901 when the Francophile press in Italy learned that Loubet would visit Nice in the spring; this press demanded that the Italians use this
visit as an opportunity to repay the gesture made by the French to Umberto two years earlier: Barrère to Delcassé, 17 November 1900; MAE. Italie, NS 15.
79 London, The Times, 22 March 1901.
80 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #168.
81 Billot, op. cit., pp. 500-533, 740-774.
82 Barrère to Delcassé, 29 March 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
83 Barrère to Delcassé, 6 March 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
84 Barrère began negotiating the gift of the horses with Delcassé and the Ministry of Agriculture in January 1901; the stallions were presented to Victor Emmanuel III on 31 March: Barrère to Delcassé, 5 April 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
85 Barrère to Delcassé, 11 March 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
87 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 March 1901; MAE. Italie, NS 16.
88 Barrère to Delcassé, 18 March 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
89 Deuxième Bureau report, 18 March 1901; AMA, Italie, carton 19, #822.
90 Barrère to Delcassé, 31 March 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
91 The Russian contingent consisted of one cruiser and three torpedo boats: DDF, II, i, p. 205n.
92 Barrère wanted the Russian sailors removed from Toulon because it might dilute the Franco-Italian character of the demonstration. The Russian visitors were not acting on orders from St. Petersburg, but rather on orders from their commander. Admiral Biriloff; Barrère to Delcassé, 12 March 1901; DDF. II, i, #134. The French were unable to remove the Russians without insulting the Russian government; Delcassé therefore wired Barrère: "Do not insist any longer on the departure of the Russian ships. The effect in France, now that their presence is known, would be troublesome." Delcassé to Barrère, 2 April 1901; MAE. Italie, NS 16.
93 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 April 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
94 The Germans obviously lacked the understanding of the Italian temperament which Barrère possessed. Wedel proudly reported that he considered the "little gifts'1 from France of no great importance to the Italian king: Wedel to Bülow, 31 March 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5831.
95 The Tribuna discarded its pro-Crispi editorial position in late 1900 when it was purchased by Roux, an intimate of Giolitti: Barrère to Delcassé, 12 November 1900, DDF, I, xvi, #373.
96 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #185.
97 Bernard to Delcassé, 17 April 1901; MAE. Italie, NS 16.
98 Deuxième Bureau report, 16 April 1901; AHA. Italie, carton 19, #931. The Russian newspaper Sviet went as far as suggesting an alignment of France, Russia, Italy, Spain,
Bulgaria and Montenegro: Boutiron to Delcassé, 14 April 1901; MAE. Italie, NS 16.
99 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 April 1901; DDF. II, i, #201.
100 Currie to Lansdowne, 14 April 1901; BD, I, #352.
101 Wedel to Holstein, 12 April 1901; Holsitein Papers, IV, p. 221.
102 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 13 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #187.
103 Noailles to Delcassé, 14 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #190.
104 Barrère to Delcassé, 16 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #194.
105 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #201.
106 Barrère to Delcassé, 12 April 1901; DDF, II, i, #185.
107 Annotation by the minister, Barrère to Delcassé, 30 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #57.
108 Serra, Camille Barrère, p. 118; Salvatorelli, op. cit., p. 243.
109 Prinetti at this time was trying to obtain a renewal of the commercial treaties with Germany and Autria. As a bargaining lever he informed the German ambassador that he and the king were both decided to renew the Triple Alliance ahead of time: Wedel to Bülow, 15 May 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5706.
110 Barrère to Delcassé, 25 May 1901; DDF, II, i, #249.
111 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 May 1901; MAE, Chine, Politique exterièure: Relations avec I'ltalie 1898-1906, NS s.n.
112 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 May 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20; Barrère to Delcassé, 30 May 1901; DDF, II, i, #258.
113 Through these three Francophile governmental leaders, Barrère was able to bring pressure upon the Zanardelli government and the monarch to accommodate the French desire for the harmonization of the Alliance with the Franco-Italian rapprochement. As a former prime minister, Rudini had a great influence with Zanardelli; Luzzatti had influence with the Minister of the Interior; and Urbano Rattazzi, a royal advisor, exercised an influence upon Victor Emmanuel: Barrère to Delcassé, 3 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #267. Years later, Barrère publicly thanked these three men for their assistance during this stage of his statecraft in Rome: Barrère, op. cit., p, 609. See also: Laroche, op. cit., pp. 21-22.
114 Tornielli to Prinetti, 5 June 1901; AMAE, Francia, 01805, pac. 57, posiz. 9.
115 Delcassé to Barrère, 7 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #273. For an interesting discussion of the amazing recovery of Italian issues on the Bourse after 1898, see: Maggiorino Ferraris, "Il progresso della finanza italiana," Nuova antologia, 16 January 1903, pp. 342-363.
116 Barrère to Delcassé 9 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #275.
117 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 June 1901; MAE, Allemagne, NS 20.
118 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 June 1901; DDF. II, I, #275.
119 Barrère to Delcassé 10 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #277.
120 Tornielli to Prinetti, 7 June 1901; AMAE, Francia, 01805, pac. 57, posiz. 9.
121 Barrère to Delcassé, 15 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #284. That the Italians might equivocate over the definition of "offensive" was seen in an interview between Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and Nelidoff. The Prince reported that Victor Emmanuel assured him that "there was no aggressive character" to the Triple Alliance. Nelidoff quickly retorted: "That is to play on words, I indeed think that in the ccords it is not a question of attacking France, but I know that one clause obliges Italy to furnish, in case of a war between France and Germany, a considerable military contingent in the Alps. It is this stipulation that France considers with good reason as aggressive, and she will never allow the maintenance of it." Barrère noted to Delcassé that "The lesson of this despatch shows once again the necessity of not allowing the Italian government any latitude 1to play on words' as Nelidoff says and to pretend that the treaty of the Triple Alliance does not affect our interests and susceptibilities because it does not contain an aggressive clause against France": Barrère to Delcassé, 20 June 1901; MAE. Allemagne, NS 20.
122 Noailles to Delcassé, 24 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #298. #294.
123 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 21 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #294.
124 For a portion of Prinetti’s budgetary speech, see DDF, II, i, p. 340n.
125 Barrère to Delcassé, 21 June 1901; DDF, II, i, #293.
126 London, The Times, 17 June 1901.
127 Barrère to Delcassé, 21 June 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 10.
128 Maurice Paleologue, op. cit., p. 42n.
129 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 July 1901; DDF, II, i, #311.
131 Delcassé to Barrère, 20 July 1901; DDF, II, i, #332.
132 Herbert Feis, op. cit., pp.. 151-152.
133 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 November 1901; DDF, II, i, #490.
134 Ministry of War to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 April 1901, as discussed in Volpe, op. cit, pp. 82-83.
135 Barrère to Delcassé, 31 October 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
136 Barrère to Delcassé, 14 November 1901; DDF, II, i, #504.
137 Barrère to Delcassé, 21 July 1901; DDF. II, i, #334.
138 Annotation by Delcassé. Ibid.
139 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 October 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I, #137.
140 Cambon to son, 13 November 1901, in Paul Cambon, op. cit., II, pp. 62-63.
141 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 November, 1901, DDF, II, i,
142 Barrère to Delcassé, 21 July 1901; DDF. II, i, #334.
143 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 October 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I. In a later communique Barrère noted that "We have everything to gain by it [his "comprehensive formula"] by the defiances which we will disarm, and by the fact that Italy will publically tie her hands concerning the Mediterranean. I do not see what we would lose by it": Barrère to Delcassé, 11 November 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I
144 Barrère to Delcassé, 14 November 1901; DDF. II, i, #504.
145 Delcassé to Barrère, 17 November 1901; DDF. II, i, #508.
146 Barrère to Delcassé, 18 November 1901; DDF. II, i, #510.
147 Delcassé to Barrère, 19 November 1901; DDF, II, i, #514.
148 The projected text is in Barrère to Delcassé, 3 December 1901; DDF, II, i, #549.
149 , note 137.
150 Barrère to Delcassé, 1 December 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
151 Barrère to Delcassé, 4 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #5.
152 Barrère to Delcassé, 16 December 1901; DDF, II, i, #565.
153 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 December 1901; MAE, Italie, NS 16.
154 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 January 1902; DDF, II, i, #57.
155 Wedel to Bülow, 12 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5834. Barrère was overly trustful of Prinetti at this date. The ambassador wrote to Delcassé one week later that
"As for betraying in London or Berlin the secret of our accord concerning Morocco, I believe him incapable of it; first, because this betrayal would hold no interest for him; then, because it would be a foolish act, and one can think what one wants of Prinetti, except that he is a fool. I add, despite the dreadful denunciations of his adversaries, that I believe him loyal and true in our regard.…The revelation of this arrangement would have only one result: to compromise Italy vis à vis England and Germany, without touching us. For how could we be reproached for accepting what they offered us?" Barrère to Delcassé, 19 December 1901; MAE, Delcassé MSS, XII.
156 Wedel to Bülow, 17 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5836.
157 Richthofen note, 17 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5708: Lansdowne to Lascelles, 19 December 1901; BD, II, #94.
158 Holstein note, 31 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii , #5844
159 Quoted in part in DDF. II, ii, p. lln.
160 Delcassé to Montebello, P. Cambon, Noailles, and Constans, 7 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #8.
161 Eulenburg to Bülow, 14 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5717.
162 Richthofen to Wedel, 25 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5722; Holstein to Radolin,
3 November 1902; Holstein Papers, IV, pp. 266-267.
163 Barrère to Delcassé, 7 January 1902, DDF. II, ii, #9.
164 Tommasini, op. cit., I, pp, 116-117.
165 Quoted in part in Noailles to Delcassé, 9 January 1901; DDF, II, ii, #17.
166 Statesmen on both sides picked up the marriage metaphor. Visconti Venosta suggested that Bülow should see more than a "flirt" in the Franco-Italian relationship: Barrère to Delcassé, 30 January 1902; DDF. II, ii, #58. Wedel likened the new Italian policy unto a "plain girl [who], suddenly being ardently wooed by a brilliant lover, finally comes to believe that she must be more beautiful than she had thought hitherto." Wedel to Holstein, 15 January 1902, Holstein Papers, IV, p. 250. Count Morra di Lavriano, the Italian ambassador to Russia, teased the French military attache in St. Petersburg by remarking: "Ah, well! It seems that we have made a "tour de valse" together. As for me, I was charmed, and I hope that we will dance more than one." Moulin to Ministry of War, 14 January 1902; AMA, Russie, carton 10, #2040.
167 The words are those of Muhlburg, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in Pribram, op, cit., p. 118.
168 Diary entry, 15 January 1902 and Memorandum, 9 February 1902, Holstein Papers, IV, pp. 247-248 and pp. 251-252; Bülow to Wedel, 24 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5727v
169 Bülow to Wedel, 9 January 1902; and Bülow note, 12; January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii , #5712 and 5715; Diary entry, 11 January 1902, Holstein Papers, IV, p. 246.
170 Bernhard von Bülow, Memoirs of Prince von Bülow. (Boston, 1931), IV, p. 665.
171 Albertini, op. cit., I, p. 127.
172 Pribram, op. cit., pp. 116-117.
173 The financial details of the Clausula may be found in Pribram, op. cit., p. 116n.
174 Tommasini, op. cit., p. 123. Barrère to Delcassé, 31 May 1901; DDF, II, i, #262.
175 Eulenburg to Bülow, 14 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5717.
176 Eulenburg to Bülow, 5 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5723.
177 Bülow to Wedel, 13 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5742.
178 Eulenburg to Bülow, 1 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5710.
179 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5718.
180 Eulenburg to Bülow, 23 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5721.
181 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5728.
182 Pribram, op, cit., p. 127.
183 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 March 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5737.
184 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5743.
185 Bülow to Wedel, 13 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5742.
186 Botho von Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5747.
187 Pribram, op. cit., p. 137; Tommasini, op. cit., pp. 279-283.
188 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5718.
189 Richthofen to Wedel, 25 January 1902; GP. XVIII, ii, #5722.
190 Bülow to Alvensleben, 23 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5726. Bülow to Wedel, 24 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5727.
191 Eulenburg to Bülow, 5 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5723.
192 Pribram, op. cit., p, 128.
193 Goluchowski informed Nigra that Austria demanded that Italy commit herself to renew the Triple Alliance without any revisions or promises of passing new commercial treaties He wanted the Italian response before 6 May, the day set for the opening of the Delegations. See Wedel to Bülow, 16 April 1902; GP. XVIII, ii, #5744.
194 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5744195Wedel to Bülow, 5 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5711.
195 Pribram, op. cit., p. 118, note 260.
196 Wedel to Bülow, 5 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5711.
197 Pribram, op. cit., p. 122, note 268.
198 Bülow to Wedel, 9 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5712.
199 Bülow to Wedel, 24 February 1902; GP. XVIII, ii, #5727.
200 Bülow note, 12 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5715.
201 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5720.
202 Bülow to Wedel, 9 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5712: cf, Holstein to Bülow, 26 February 1902; Holstein Papers, IV, p. 254.
203 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 January 1902 and 26 February 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5720 and 5728.
204 Pribram, op. cit., p. 129, note 290.
205 Ibid., p. 124.
206 Wedel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5747.
207 A text of this declaration is in Pribram, op. cit., I, P. 233.
208 Barrère to Delcassé, 24 February 1901; DDF, II, i, #104.
209 Supra. endnote 49.
210 Pelloux to Canevaro, 28 January 1899; DDI. Ill, iii, #146.
211 Eulenburg to Bülow, 12 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii. #5716
212 Richthofen note, 17 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5708
213 Lanza to Canevaro, 16 February 1899; DDI, III, iii, #159.
214 Bülow to Wedel, 9 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5712.
215 Wedel to Bülow, 26 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5842. It may not be coincidental that the Popolo Romano was the first newspaper to release the story of the Franco-Italian Mediterranean Agreement; this story appeared two days before Prinetti's speech of 14 December: Wedel to Bülow, 12 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5834.
216 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #19.
217 Barrère to Delcassé, 23 January 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17 (Telegraph no. 32).
218 Barrère to Delcassé, 23 January 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17 (Telegraph no. 34).
219 Barrère to Delcassé, 23 March 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17.
220 Wedel to Bülow, 26 December 1901; GP, XVIII, ii, #5842.
221 Barrère to Delcassé, 8 January 1902; DDF, II, ii, #13.
222 "A Conversation with Mr. Luzzatti," in Le Temps, 17 April 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17.
223 Barrère to Delcassé, 29 March 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17.
224 "Interview with the Marquis Visconti Venosta," in Le Figaro, 24 April 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 17.
225 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 February 1902; DDF, II, ii, #76.
227 London, The Times, 14 December 1901.
228 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 February 1902; HDF, II, 11, #76.
229 For an interesting discussion of the history of this popular clamor for expansion into Tripolitania, see the booklet "La question de la Tripolitaine," AMA, Italie, carton 81.
230 Lombroso, op. cit., pp. 721-725.
231 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #210, annex.
232 Barrère to Delcassé, 9 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #191.
233 Fiamingo, op. cit., p. 187.
234 A good gauge of French financial strength in the Ital ian economy is the amount of coupon payments made abroad by Italians, The following figures are for the year 1900-1901:
France: 29,592,141.43 lire
Germany: 10,777,328 lire
England: 4,745,485.56 lire
Austria: 164,442 lire
Figures are from, Legrand to Delcassé, 13 July 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 22.
235 Annex to Barrère to Delcassé, 27 March 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 22.
236 Supra, note 62.
237 Barrère to Delcassé, 26 June 1902; DDF, II, ii, p. 604n.
238 Barrère to Delcassé, 15 July 1902; MAE, Italie, NS 22. Italian desire to convert the 5 percent bond was expressed to the French several times until it was finally converted in July 1906 by an international group of bankers. See Ministry of War Bordereau, "La conversion de la rente," 8 February 1904; MA, Delcassé MSS, XI; and various despatches from Barrère in MAE, Italie, NS 23.
239 De Kerraoul to Ministry of War, 7 April 1902; MAE. Suisse, NS 5.
240 Barrère to Delcassé, 13 April 1902; MAE, Suisse, NS 5. In this letter, Barrère noted that Victor Emmanuel hardly spent a day without receiving a packet of anonymous letters which predicted his imminent death.
241 Barrère to Delcassé, 6 July 1902; MAE, Suisse, NS 5.
242 Delcassé to Barrère, 22 June 1902; MAE, Suisse, NS 5.
243 Barrère to Delcassé, 20 June 1902; MAE, Suisse, NS 5.
244 Barrère to Delcassé, 23 February 1902; DDF, II, ii, #99.
245 Delcassé to Barrère, 13 March 1902; PDF, II, ii, #133
246 Barrère to Delcassé, 19 March 1902; DDF. II, ii, #143
247 Meeting of 20 March 1902; Journal officiel de la Republique francaise, Senat, p. 508.
248 Barrère to Delcassé, 23 March 1902; DDF, II, ii, #158.
249 Jezierski to Delcassé, March 1902; MAE, Delcassé, MSS, I.
250 The latest military Intelligence on Italian war plans was prepared for the Quai d’Orsay by the Deuxième Bureau of the Ministry of War. This secret document still foresaw the employment of several Italian army corps in Alsace. See "Emploi des forces italiennes en cas de guerre, " 16 May 1902; MAE. Italie, NS 17. Cf, Andrée to Delcassé, 2 August 1902; DDF. II, ii, #355
251 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #194
252 Wedel to Bülow, 5 January 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5711.
253 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 April 1902; DDF, II, il, #194.
255 Barrère to Delcassé, 2 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #180.
256 Bülow, op. cit., p. 665.
257 Bülow to Wedel, 13 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5742.
258 Camille Barrère, "Les responsabilitées du Prince de Bülow," Revue des deux mondes, 1 May 1931, p. 1014
259 Summations of this meeting can be found in Barrère to Delcassé, 2 April 1902, and 20 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #182 and 209. Bülow to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 March, 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5739.
260 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #193
261 Wedel to Bülow, 30 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5757
262 Wedel to Bülow, 20 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5748.
263 Wedel to Bülow, 24 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5753.
264 Bülow to Wedel, 22 April 1902; GP. XVIII, ii, #5749.
265 Wedel to Bülow, 5 May 1902; GP, XVIII, ii , #5763.
266 Delcassé to Barrère, 24 April 1902; DDF. II, ii, #218.
267 Wedel to Bülow, 30 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5758. Prinetti was being dishonest with Wedel when he claimed that he rejected Luzzattifs implorations because t!it was not his intention to place Italy in a position of neutrality." The frustration of the Germans was evident when Wedel and Bülow agreed that Germany could, only gain by Prinetti’s acceptance of "the modification desired by Luzzatti, for we have already demonstrated that we know how to defend ourselves alone against France, while for Italy the demonstration still remains to be made."
268 Barrère to Delcassé, 30 April 1902; DDF, II, ii, #225,
269 Barrère to Delcassé, 28 April 1902; DDF, II, ii, #223
270 Wedel to Bülow, 30 April 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5757.
271 Wedel to Bülow, 2 May 1902; GP. XVIII, ii, #5759 and #5760.
272 Reverseaux to Delcassé, 8 May 1902; DDF. II, il, #236.
273 Barrère to Delcassé, 8 May 1902; DDF, II, ii, #235.
275 Serra, Camille Barrère, p. 134n.
276 On 10 May, Delcassé wrote to Barrère: "I will be in Paris the 27th in the evening. I will receive you the 28th." Delcassé to Barrère, 10 May 1902; MAE. Italie, NS 17.
277 "Projet de declaration bilaterale elaborée par MM Barrère et Prinetti, avec
1’assistance de M. Luzzatti concernant les relations genèrales de la France et 1'Italie," 24 May 1902; DDF, II, ii , #263.
278 Delcassé to Barrère, 18 June 1902; DDF. II, ii, #291.
279 Barrère to Delcassé, 28 June 1902; DDF. II, ii, #310.
280 Barrère to Delcassé, 29 June 1902; DDF. II, il, #312
281 Barrère to Delcassé, 22 June 1902; DDF. II, ii, #303.
282 Bülow to Wedel, 28 June 1902; GP, XVIII, ii, #5774.
283 Barrère to Delcassé, 10 July 1902; DDF, II, ii, #329. According to DDF, II, ii, p. 391n, the November letters became official and the July letters were destroyed. Nevertheless, the July letters exist at present in the MAE. Moreover, although Prinetti’s letter defining "direct provocation" did not contain the historical examples he had cited earlier, Barrère recounted these instances in Barrère to Delcassé, 20 July 1902; DDF, II, ii, #340. Aside from the copies of the Accord which are to be found in MAE, a copy exists in ACS, Luzzatti MSS, busta II, fasc. 4.
284 The historian Gioacchino Volpe has, in a sense, pointed out the significance to Italian history of Barrère’s accomplishments. Suggesting that "foreign policy is a day-to-day creation," Volpe contended that the period of the Triple Alliance in Italian history ended in 1902. From that date, he argues, Italy entered a new phase, "neither of isolation, nor of exclusive union: it was, perhaps, the policy more adapted to a nation not of great size nor of great strength…." Volpe, op. cit. , p. 114.
285 Barrère’s words; Supra, note 274.
286 Meeting of the Conseil Superieur de la Guerre, 21 December 1893; France, Ministère de la guerre, État-major de 1'armee, Service historique; Les armées francaises dans la grande guerre (Paris, 1919-1922), I, annexes,'#1,
287 Penciled notation on the text of the Prinetti-Barrère Accord found in MAE, Italie, NS 17. Compare Laroche, op. cit., p. 225; Paleologue, op. cit., p. 319.
288 Delanne to Barrère, 5 December 1925; MAE, Barrère MSS, I.
289 J. C. Joffre, Memoirs du marechal Joffre (1910-1917) (Paris, 1932), I, pp. 104-105.
290 Service historique, Les armées francaises, I, pp. 18-19.
291 Jacques Droz, "La France et 1’Europe," in L’Europe du XIXe et du XXe siècle (1870-1914), Problemes et interpretations hi storiques, Max Beloff, et al., eds., (Paris, 1962), III, p. 522.
292 Barrère to Poincaré, 10 March 1912;DDF, II, pp. 692-699.
293 Brunello Vigezzi, L’Italia di fronte alia prima guerra mondiale (Milan, 1966), I, pp. 23-32.
294 Barrère reminded the Italian foreign minister of the applicability of the Accord of 1902 to the situation in which Italy found itself in 1914; see Barrère to Viviani, 2 August 1914; DDF, III, xi, #580. On Barrère’s actions, see also: Albertini, op. cit., III, pp. 342-343.
295 Barrère to Delcassé, 31 August 1914; MAE, Delcassé MSS, I.
296 Laroche, op. cit., pp. 52-53.
297 The argument has been raised, especially among Italian scholars, as to the moral and legal implications of the Prinetti-Barrère Accord and the Italian declaration of neutrality in 1914. For an excellent summation of the major contributors to this argument, see Francesco Cognasso, "Osservazioni sulla politica estera del ministro Prinetti secondo le recente pubblicazioni documentarie," Atti della reale academia delle scienze di Torino, May-October 1936, pp. 282-306. See also Serra, Camille Barrère, p. 143.
298 Tittoni ("XXX"), op. cit., p. 156.
299 Quoted in Pribram, op. cit., n, p. 138.
300 "These agreements were negotiated by the Italian military, which had always
remained loyal to the Triple Alliance despite the achievements of Barrère, The conventions had no effect upon Italian foreign policy which was in the hands of civilians. Therefore, the "appearance of military solidarity in the Triple Alliance was…to a large extent deceptive": Seton-Watson, op. cit., pp. 403-404. Compare the attitude of General von Schlieffen in 1912 as described in Gerhard Ritter, The Schlieffen Plan. Critique of a Myth (London, 1958), p, 170.
301 Berchtold to Merey, 2 August 1914, in W. Henry Cooke and Edith P. Stickney, eds., Readings in International Relations since 1879 (New York, 1931), pp. 408-409.
Return to Chapter 4
Continue to Conclusion