Théophile Delcassé

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Delcassé, Théophile

 

Born Mar. 1, 1852, in Pamiers; died Feb. 22, 1923, in Nice. French statesman and diplomat.

In 1889, Delcassé was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, where he advanced because of his speeches on foreign policy. From May 30, 1894, through Jan. 13, 1895, Delcassé was minister of colonies, and he was active in broadening French colonial expansion in Africa. From 1898 through 1905 he was minister of foreign affairs. A master of secret diplomacy, Delcassé, in defending the interests of French imperialism, strove to expand the French colonial empire (in particular, the seizure of Morocco) without losing sight of an encounter with Germany, which he felt was unavoidable. With these goals in mind, Delcassé attempted to strengthen the Franco-Russian alliance and expand France’s political ties with Great Britain and, partially, with Italy. Delcassé actively facilitated the conclusion of the Anglo-French agreement of 1904, as well as agreements of 1900 and 1902 with Italy, which in fact detached Italy from the Triple Alliance. At the time of the first Moroccan crisis, Delcassé, an advocate of a hard line with regard to Germany, was compelled to resign (June 1905). From 1911 to the beginning of 1913, Delcassé was maritime minister, but he continued to exert an influence on the foreign policy of France, and in 1912 he signed a Russo-French maritime convention. In 1913, in order to strengthen the Franco-Russian alliance, Delcassé was sent as ambassador to St. Petersburg. At the beginning of World War I, Delcassé was appointed minister of foreign affairs,, but because of differences with members of the British government over general questions of how the war should be conducted he resigned in October 1915 and subsequently played no active political role.

A. Z. MANFRED

References in periodicals archive ?
The first move to upset this uneasy balance came from the French foreign minister Theophile Delcasse (1852-1923) who indentified Morocco as the best (and lowest risk) opportunity for the recovery of France's diplomatic prestige after the climbdown to the British at Fashoda in 1898.
Eventually, Biard d'Aunet's report was fully endorsed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Theophile Delcasse.
Both Alexandre Millerand, the Minister for Commerce, Industry, Posts and Telegraphs, and Theophile Delcasse, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, objected to the clause which extended the authority of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce to all Australian colonies, requesting that it be limited to New South Wales and Queensland, the two colonies under the jurisdiction of the Sydney Consulate General.
On 30 January 1900 Theophile Delcasse sent an ultimatum to the Consul General regarding the geographical limits of the Chamber's sphere of authority, demanding Sydney's submission, once again threatening the withdrawal of the Government's subsidy, this time for the following year.
Regarding the question of nationality, the letter informs Theophile Delcasse that by increasing the number of French members the Chamber had in fact met the Government's guidelines.
His persistence appears to have paid dividends, since the Chamber's Constitution remained unamended and a few months later, on the eve of Federation, Theophile Delcasse endorsed his proposal for the centralisation of French consular services in Sydney.
Andrew on Theophile Delcasse and the French colonialists, of P.
In 1894 the French minister for the colonies Theophile Delcasse hired the explorer Pierre Monteil to place the French flag on the Upper Nile; his expedition was cancelled at the last minute but prompted Sir Edward Grey, British Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to declare in the House of Commons in 1895 that any French expedition to the Upper Nile would be viewed by the British as `an unfriendly act'.