You have, however, pointed out that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, it might become essential to know whether it could in that event depend upon the armed assistance of the other.
I agree that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, or something that threatened the general peace, it should immediately discuss with the other whether both Governments should act together to prevent aggression and to preserve peace, and, if so, what measures they would be prepared to take in common. If these measures involved action, the plans of the General Staffs would at once be taken into consideration, and the Governments would then decide what effect should be given to them. Yours, &c.,
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London, Nov. 23, 1912.
Dear Sir Edward: You reminded me in your letter of yesterday, 22d November, that during the last few years the military and naval authorities of France and Great Britain had consulted with each other from time to time; that it had always been understood that these consultations should not restrict the liberty of either Government to decide in the future whether they should lend each other the support of their armed forces; that, on either side, these consultations between experts were not and should not be considered as engagements binding our Governments to take action in certain eventualities; that, however, I had remarked to you that, if one or other of the two Governments had grave reasons to fear an unprovoked attack on the part of a third power, it would become essential to know whether it could count on the armed support of the other.
Your letter answers that point, and I am authorized to state that, in the event of one of our two Governments having grave reasons to fear either an attack from a third power, or some event threatening the general peace, that Government would immediately examine with the other the question whether both Governments should act together in order to prevent aggression or preserve peace. If so, the two Governments would deliberate as to the measures which they would be prepared to take in common. If those measures involved action the two Governments would take into immediate consideration the plans of their General Staffs and would then decide as to the effect to be given to those plans.
Government’s Acts Beyond Reproach.
In the House of Commons the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs spoke of France, amid the applause of the members, in lofty and impassioned words, which have already elicited genuine response from all French hearts.