DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR
probably be settled by a friendly arrangement, but such an agreement would not remove for any length of time the dangers which were threatened by the aggressive policy of Germany. The result of such an agreement would only mean the postponement of the war for three or four years. France was fully aware that in any case she would be forced into war. France, as well as her allies, was of the opinion that, even at the cost of great sacrifices, it was necessary to postpone the war for some time—that is to say, until 1914 or 1915.
While Poincaré was President in 1912, he told Iswolski: "The outlook of France is definitely peaceful, and she neither seeks nor desires a war. But Germany's attitude against Russia would change her point of view immediately," and he felt sure that in such an event Parliament and public opinion would approve unanimously the determination of the Government to support Russia with force of arms. At the same time he strengthened this statement by what he told the Russian Ambassador: in the course of conversation Poincare said to Tittoni that if the Austro-Serbian antagonism led to a general war, Russia could count with absolute certainty on the armed support of France.
During the Balkan War (1913) the Russian Ambassador to London, Count Benckendorf, who was a competent and disinterested witness, reported to his Government: "De toutes les Puissances, c'est la France seule qui, pour ne pas dire qu'elle veut la