The Potsdam Accord, 1910.


Germany desired to counterbalance the effect of the Reval meeting. The growth of German influence in Persia after the Persian Revolution threatened Russia's interests. After the expiration of the Russo-Persian Railway agreement in 1910, Russia faced the prospect of Germany's linking the Bagdad Railway with Teheran, before the Russian line, BakuTeheran, was finished. Germany faced the possibility of a competing line from the north, compromising the Bagdad Railway plan.


On November 4, 1910, the Tsar arrived at Potsdam for a 36-hour visit to the Kaiser. At Potsdam and Berlin Sazonoff had long conversations with Kiderlein-Waechter and Bethmann-Hollweg. The negotiations thus begun continued through the winter 1910-11.


On November 10 Sazanoff declared to the Novoe Vremya that the discussions had not involved in any way the stability of the Triple Entente. They had concerned Russian and German interests in Turkey and Persia. Complete consonance had been established.

On December 10 Bethmann-Hollweg, said in the Reichstag that Germany gladly admitted Russia's special interests in Persia. The former mutual confidence had been reestablished. A few months later the understanding reached at Potsdam was translated into a convention, signed at St. Petersburg, August l9, 1911.


The two powers agreed that Russia had special interests in Persia, while Germany had only commercial aims. Germany would seek no concessions in North Persia. Russia undertook to connect the spur from the Bagdad Railway with the railway system of North Persia, by a branch from Teheran, to be built within a specified term of years. Russia would not hinder foreign financial participation in the Bagdad Railway. Both nations would facilitate international traffic without differential treatment on the aforesaid connecting line.


English policy hostile to the Bagdad Railway appeared to have been isolated and discredited. Germany obtained an open door for her trade in Persia. The Sadidjeh-Khanikin branch promised to be very profitable. Russia agreed not to hinder foreign investment in the Bagdad project. German accord with Russia furnished a lever against Austrian unruliness.

Russia obtained recognition of her sphere of influence in North Persia. The Triple Entente was still intact, though weakened so far as Persia and Arabia were concerned. German projects for branches north from Mosul, Nissibin, and Harran were abandoned. The Turkish project for a railway, Trebizond-Erzerum, thence across the Persian frontier to Tabriz, was abandoned. The Bagdad plan was safe from Russian competition. If Germany failed to keep promises, Russia could retaliate by declining to build a connecting link from the future Persian Railway.

Source: Anderson, Frank Maloy and Amos Shartle Hershey, Handbook for the Diplomatic History of Europe, Asia, and Africa 1870-1914. Prepared for the National Board for Historical Service. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1918.

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