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By G. P. Gooch

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Extra info for Before the War, Studies in Diplomacy

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Whether it might ultimately increase a little too much to suit British interests was a question that only the future could decide. Statesmen cannot look too far ahead. A t the opening o f the century the immediate task was to avert Russian domination in the Far East. In defending the treaty in the House o f Lords against Spencer’s argument that strong reasons were needed to justify a departure from the policy o f isolation, Lansdowne explained the spirit in which he worked from beginning to end o f his * U /g o f S ir A ticbatl H icks Beach, II, 362.

Petersburg, which Downing Street found very difficult to understand. The negotiations in London, how­ ever, had advanced too far to be wrecked, and when Ito reached London at the opening o f 1902 he was won for the project o f an alliance. Lansdowne pointed out that the agree­ ment was likely to arouse sharp criticism, for it was an entirely new departure. Our policy had been to avoid entangling alliances, and if it was to be cast aside we must receive a sub­ stantial price in return. The Japanese proposals asked a good deal more than they gave, an observation which Ito made no attempt to contest.

French financiers took shares in 1899, but German efforts to secure British assistance were unavailing. On January 1,1902, the Company received a concession for ninetynine years to build a railway from Konia to the G ulf with a kilometric guarantee. A s the security was not specified and no terminus was selected, the document was merely a sketch; but it appeared to the Foreign Secretary that the time had come to explain the position o f the British Government. D. II, cfa. P. X V II, ch. 114. VENEZUELA AND THE BAGHDAD RAILW AY *9 not regard the project with unfriendly eyes.

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