CHAPTER XVIII
THE SECRET TREATY REVEALED

WITTE told me, as follows, the story of how he learned of the existence of the secret treaty and the means he devised for the purpose of invalidating it. "I did not know, neither did I suspect, that the two monarchs had been treatymaking during my sojourn at Portsmouth. It is true that the Kaiser had made an allusion to something they had done, but he did not give me to understand that it was an alliance or any compact of international moment. The exact words he employed as they now come back to me were these: 'I have a pleasant surprise for you. We--I mean your Tsar and I--have taken measures to realise this ideal of ours. If you are again put in charge of the government machine, are you prepared to lend us a helping hand towards making it a practical instrument of international politics?' 'Certainly, I am,' I replied. 'Good, very good,' he answered, 'I am delighted. You will see exactly what is required of you when you are in power again--when you get back to Petersburg--and then you will frame the measures you deem adequate. You know how high I rate your talents as a, statesman.'

"That was all. I confess I never once thought of a secret treaty between the Tsar and the Kaiser, and still less of an alliance against France and England. I could not imagine such a thing.

"On my arrival in Russia, I received at Pskoff this telegram from the Tsar:

"BJÖRKE, 15th September, 1905. Midnight.

"'To SECRETARY OF STATE WITTE,--I wish you welcome on your home-coming from Washington1 (sic) after having brilliantly carried out the mission of first-class State importance which I confided to you. I invite you to come to

____________________
1
We visited Washington only for a few hours.

-354-

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