This month sees the 110th anniversary of the ‘Entente Cordiale’. The agreement is officially known as the ‘Declaration between the United Kingdom and France respecting Egypt and Morocco’. It was signed in London on 8 April 1904 by the British Foreign Secretary, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, on behalf of the United Kingdom, and Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, on behalf of France.
The ‘Entente Cordiale’ actually consists of three documents, the declaration respecting Egypt and Morocco, which you will find in FO 93/33/201, a convention concerning Newfoundland and West and Central Africa, which is held in FO 93/33/126, and a further document called a ‘déclaration annexe’, which deals with Siam, Madagascar and the New Hebrides, which we hold in FO 93/33/200. The documents were the result of negotiations between Lord Lansdowne and Théophile Delcassé, the French Foreign Minister, following strong support from King Edward VII, who visited Paris in 1903 and helped to pave the way for the diplomats. The documents are an understanding rather than a treaty, as they were designed to remove obstacles to closer negotiation by resolving long-standing colonial disputes in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Continue reading »