Björkö Treaty

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Björkö Treaty

 

an agreement between Russia and Germany, signed on July 11 (24), 1905, by William II and Nicholas II in Björkö near Vyborg. The Björkö Treaty never went into effect. It was signed after the British-French Agreement of 1904 had been concluded and under conditions in which Russia had an alliance with France. The treaty expressed Germany’s desire to prevent Russia’s rapprochement with Great Britain and to nullify the effectiveness of the Russian-French alliance. The negotiations were conducted directly by the two emperors and kept secret from V. N. Lamsdorf, the Russian minister of foreign affairs.

According to Article 1 of the Björkö Treaty, each party pledged, in the case of an attack on the other party by a European power, to help its ally in Europe with all available ground and naval forces. According to Article 2, the two parties pledged not to conclude a separate peace with a common enemy. Article 3 stated that the treaty would go into effect after the conclusion of a peace between Russia and Japan and would remain in effect until denounced by one party, with a warning period of one year. According to Article 4, Russia pledged not to notify France about the treaty until its implementation; only after it went into effect would Russia have the right to present the appropriate information to France, with the view to prompting the latter to join as an ally. The commitments assumed by Russia were contrary to the allied relations that bound Russia to France and to the military convention concluded between them in December 1893. Influenced by Lamsdorf and S. Iu. Witte, who strongly opposed the Björkö Treaty, Nicholas II informed William II in a letter of Nov. 13 (26), 1905, that he considered it necessary to supplement the treaty with a bilateral declaration on the inapplicability of Article 1 in the case of a war between Germany and France and that Russia would observe its commitments to France until the formation of a Russian-German-French alliance. The declaration of Nicholas IL was equivalent to an abrogation of the Björkö Treaty. This was definitively confirmed in August 1907.

REFERENCES

Feigina, L. B’orkskoe soglashenie. Moscow, 1928. (Text of agreement is in the appendix.)
Istoriia diplomatii, 2nd ed., vol. 2. Moscow, 1963. Pages 575-77.

L. A. FEIGINA