Franco-Italian Agreement 1902

2020 December 9

Such a plan, which seems to be based on the adoption of a global victory of fascism (which is now promoted as an exportable article), does not give much of a promotion to France with the conviction that an agreement with Italy could be easy to obtain, especially if such an agreement is to be based on armament parity. It is true that even before the advent of fascism, Italy demanded the equality of naval forces with France. It is also true that, at the Washington conference, the French representatives, while reserving for their own country the right to set the strength of their naval forces according to real needs, did not challenge Italy`s request. What is the best proof that France`s idea was to reach an agreement with Italy? But we cannot speak of an “Italian-acquired right” of a general principle of parity that applies to all their military and naval forces. The agreement signed by the representatives of France recognizes such a “right” as only on dreadnoughs. It was ratified by the French Parliament with the express reservation that it applied only to dreadnoughs. Italy`s policy towards France over the past eight years has shown that the generalization of such a “right” would have been one of the most dangerous commitments that France could have undertaken. The French expert replied that the only agreement that France could envisage until 1936 was a pre-ordering programme for vessels of the same number, if not in tonnage, and that the tonnage margin could not be changed without reasonable warning. This proposal was rejected by Italy at the end of September. The Great Fascist Council voted on 9 October in favour of French recognition of the principle of equality. Here we are today. I do not see how the French government can be criticized in this episode.

The idea and the first proposal for a triangular treaty between France, Italy and Yugoslavia came from Rome in 1923, when fascism was already in power. The proposal was never reduced to certain conditions. It was further advanced towards the end of 1925, for example by Mr. Nintchitch, then Belgrade`s foreign minister, and a cordial maquisard among The Serbs of the policy of friendship and diplomatic cooperation with Italy that I had engaged in 1920 and 1921 with the Rapallo Treaty and the anti-Hapsburg agreement. This time, the Paris initiative was taken. But the Fascist government, which did not seem hostile at first, quickly began to oppose it and concluded by proposing to Belgrade to propose a formal alliance that would exclude all other powers. The result was quite predictable: fearing that it would be “isolated”, Jugoslavia began to negotiate at the same time as Paris and Rome. She found it easy in Paris, although the formal signing of a treaty by Mr. Briand was delayed by the courteous desire to wait for developments in Rome. With an Italo-Jugoslav agreement looming, Mr. Briand has simply begun to draw up his documents that the Fascist government may be the first to sign and sign a formal treaty. The informal signing of the treaty in France was repeated three times in 1926 and 1927 to allow the Rome cabinet to soften the difficulties that were constantly occurring on the way to its agreement with Belgrade.

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