By Michael Hughes
This evaluation of the transformation of ecu international relations which came about at the start of the twentieth century makes a speciality of the British and Russian diplomatic institutions throughout the years 1894 - 1917 so that it will illustrate either the heterogeneity and intricate nature of the previous international relations. a sequence of case reviews is integrated to demonstrate either the advantages and the pitfalls of generalizing a couple of complex means of transformation that had a variety of social, political, administrative and mental dimensions.
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Extra resources for Diplomacy before the Russian Revolution: Britain, Russia and the Old Diplomacy, 1894–1917
Above all, the Cabinet's attention was focused on issues of immediate salience. The Anglo-French entente was extensively discussed at the end of 1903 and early 1904, once it was up and running as an important issue of current policy, but there does not seem to have been much prior collective discussion about the wisdom of embarking on such a course of action. The same pattern was evident when British policy towards Russia was under review by the Balfour Cabinet. The subject was apparently seldom discussed in much detail by the full Cabinet in 1903 - not even towards the end of the year when tentative negotiations began about improving the relationship between St Petersburg and London.
While Lord Salisbury's preferred style of working helped to shape the Foreign Office in the years before 1900, it was not the only factor constraining the influence on policy of permanent officials. 14 At the beginning of the twentieth century, most documents were still copied by hand rather than typed; since Second Division clerks were not allowed to carry out work deemed to be diplomatically sensitive, the task normally fell to the junior diplomatic clerks. J. 16 This regime of red-tape became indelibly and perhaps unfairly associated with the name of Sir Thomas Sanderson, who served as Permanent Secretary from 1894 to 1906.
He failed to understand the extent to which the 'Balfour doctrine' on Russia commanded widespread support in London - namely, that geography gave Russia a huge advantage in central Asia that could only be countered by a combination of cautious diplomacy and careful military planning. Although Curzon was not in principle opposed to establishing some kind of understanding with Russia, he tended in practice to react negatively to any concrete proposals. 59 Since the Viceroy's forthright views were at odds with most of the Cabinet, there was always a danger of a conflict developing between the British and Indian governments over policy towards Russia.