Erfurt Convention of 1808

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Erfurt Convention of 1808


a secret agreement between Russia and France that was worked out during negotiations between Alexander I and Napoleon I in Erfurt between Sept. 15 and Oct. 2, 1808. The convention was signed by the foreign ministers N. P. Rumiantsev and J.-B. Nompére de Champagny on September 30 (October 12) and was ratified by both monarchs the same day.

The protracted war in Spain and Austria’s military preparations made it necessary for Napoleon to seek a rapprochement with Russia. The Erfurt Convention confirmed and renewed the clauses of the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) between Russia and France. Napoleon recognized Russia’s claim to Moldavia and Walachia, both of which had been occupied by Russian troops at the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–12. France promised to extend military aid to Russia in the event that Russia and Austria should go to war over the Danubian principalities. Both parties agreed to approach Great Britain with a peace proposal that would call for the latter to recognize the Russian acquisition of the Danubian principalities and Finland, as well as the passing of the Spanish throne to the Bonaparte dynasty.

Napoleon hoped that by making concessions he could ensure Russia’s support in the event of war with Austria. Alexander, however, limited himself to vague promises. Although the Erfurt Convention was to remain in effect for ten years, it did not reduce tensions between Russia and France and became essentially meaningless when Napoleon began preparing to invade Russia.


Vneshniaia politika Rossii XIX i nachala XX v., vol. 4, document 161. Moscow, 1965.


Sirotkin, V. G. Duel’ dvukh diplomatii. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.