1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Goluchowski, Agenor, Count

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

GOLUCHOWSKI, AGENOR, Count (1849- ), Austrian statesman, was born on the 25th of March 1849. His father, descended from an old and noble Polish family, was governor of Galicia. Entering the diplomatic service, the son was in 1872 appointed attache to the Austrian embassy at Berlin, where he became secretary of legation, and thence he was transferred to Paris. After rising to the rank of counsellor of legation, he was in 1887 made minister at Bucharest, where he remained till 1893. In these positions he acquired a great reputation as a firm and skilful diplomatist, and on the retirement of Count Kalnoky in May 1895 was chosen to succeed him as Austro-Hungarian minister for foreign affairs. The appointment of a Pole caused some surprise in view of the importance of Austrian relations with Russia (then rather strained) and Germany, but the choice was justified by events. In his speech of that year to the delegations he declared the maintenance of the Triple Alliance, and in particular the closest intimacy with Germany, to be the keystone of Austrian policy; at the same time he dwelt on the traditional friendship between Austria and Great Britain, and expressed his desire for a good understanding with all the powers. In pursuance of this policy he effected an understanding with Russia, by which neither power was to exert any separate influence in the Balkan peninsula, and thus removed a long-standing cause of friction. This understanding was formally ratified during a visit to St Petersburg on which he accompanied the emperor in April 1897. He took the lead in establishing the European concert during the Armenian troubles of 1896, and again resisted isolated action on the part of any of the great powers during the Cretan troubles and the Greco-Turkish War. In November 1897, when the Austro-Hungarian flag was insulted at Mersina, he threatened to bombard the town if instant reparation were not made, and by his firm attitude greatly enhanced Austrian prestige in the East. In his speech to the delegations in 1898 he dwelt on the necessity of expanding Austria's mercantile marine, and of raising the fleet to a strength which, while not vying with the fleets of the great naval powers, would ensure respect for the Austrian flag wherever her interests needed protection. He also hinted at the necessity for European combination to resist American competition. The understanding with Russia in the matter of the Balkan States temporarily endangered friendly relations with Italy, who thought her interests threatened, until Goluchowski guaranteed in 1898 the existing order. He further encouraged a good understanding with Italy by personal conferences with the Italian foreign minister, Tittoni, in 1904 and 1905. Count Lamsdorff visited Vienna in December 1902, when arrangements were made for concerted action in imposing on the sultan reforms in the government of Macedonia. Further steps were taken after Goluchowski's interview with the tsar at Mürzsteg in 1903, and two civil agents representing the countries were appointed for two years to ensure the execution of the promised reforms. This period was extended in 1905, when Goluchowski was the chief mover in forcing the Porte, by an international naval demonstration at Mitylene, to accept financial control by the powers in Macedonia. At the conference assembled at Algeciras to settle the Morocco Question, Austria supported the German position, and after the close of the conferences the emperor William II. telegraphed to Goluchowski: “You have proved yourself a brilliant second on the duelling ground and you may feel certain of like services from me in similar circumstances.” This pledge was redeemed in 1908, when Germany's support of Austria in the Balkan crisis proved conclusive. By the Hungarians, however, Goluchowski was hated; he was suspected of having inspired the emperor's opposition to the use of Magyar in the Hungarian army, and was made responsible for the slight offered to the Magyar deputation by Francis Joseph in September 1905. So long as he remained in office there was no hope of arriving at a settlement of a matter which threatened the disruption of the Dual monarchy, and on the 11th of October 1906 he was forced to resign.