Delcassé’s First Months in Office

  • Christopher Andrew


THE great issue with which Delcassé had to deal during his first year in office was the Fashoda crisis, the worst crisis in AngloFrench relations since Waterloo. His first two or three months as foreign minister, however, were occupied with quite different issues. Almost a month after taking office he told his wife that he was engaged in

three or four great questions to which a happy solution would strengthen our influence and enlarge our prestige. Their solution will require three or four months. If we fall from power afterwards, I shall have made good use of my term of office. And that will be enough to satisfy me.1


Foreign Policy Foreign Minister Great Question Commercial Agreement Parti Colonial 
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  1. 2.
    C. Braibant, Félix Faure à l’Èlysée: souvenirs de Louis Le Gall (Paris, 1963), 138. Hanotaux had remained interested in the possibility of an eventual French mediation (DDFi, XIV, nos. 208, 212) but there is no evidence to show that he would have stood up to Faure any more firmly in July 1898 than in the previous April.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    R. de Caix, ‘Un inventaire’, BCAF, Jan. 1900. During the early years of the twentieth century the danger of an American protectorate in Liberia was to become a common theme in the BCAF.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Speech by Ferry in July 1885: cited by G. Chapman, The Third Republic in France. The First Phase, 1871–1894 (London, 1962), 254. In the 1880’s Delcassé had still believed it possible for Marianne, and not Britannia, to rule the waves. In an article in Le Paris (10 Jan. 1888) he had demanded that France become the master of both the North Sea and the Mediterranean. As under-secretary of colonies he had regarded the French fleet in the Far East as an indispensable aid for French expansion (particularly useful for intimidating the Siamese) and had himself taken the initiative in ordering the construction of two gunboats for use in Asian waters (Porter, op. cit., 79).Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    A. J. Marder, British Naval Policy 1880–1905: The Anatomy of British Sea Power (New York, 1940), 274–6. Speeches by Delcassé to the Chamber, JO (Chambre), 12 Dec. 1896 and 1 Feb. 1898.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    R. Millet, Notre politique extérieure de 1898 à 1905 (Paris, 1905), 177.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    M. Paléologue, Journal de l’affaire Dreyfus, 1894–1899 (Paris, 1955), 144.Google Scholar
  7. Gen. Legrand-Girarde, Un quart de siècle au service de la France (Paris, 1954), 180.Google Scholar
  8. R. de Caix, ‘Un inventaire’, BCAF, Jan. 1900.Google Scholar
  9. K. W. Swart, The Sense of Decadence in Nineteenth Century France (The Hague, 1964), 140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Christopher Andrew 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Andrew
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUSA

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