Anglo French Agreement 1904
Fierce opposition to the free trade agreement between Cobden and Chevalier multiplied, both in England and in France, but, as William Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Échelier, wrote in an unpublished memorandum: “It was and remains in my opinion that the choice was between the Treaty of Cobden and not certainty, but the high probability of war with France” (qtd. at Dunham 102). The mood was divided — at least in some neighborhoods — across the canal. When the agreement was put on the ground in early 1860, it was rejected by both English invasionists and French protectionists, but the English and French governments quickly ratified the agreement. Opposition to the plan quickly became distracted and the war between England and France, which Gladstone and others feared, never broke out. The Anglo-French agreement guaranteed the flow of materials and goods across the Channel and successfully encouraged trade between the two nations. And, as the Times finally stated in an editorial published on February 25, 1860, “there is no member of the conservative body who has not long ago dreamed of a trade agreement with France as the best thing that can happen to any of these countries” (11). But, as the same editorial acknowledged, the Anglo-French agreement could have prevented the outbreak of military hostilities, but it had only somewhat dampened Gallophobic sentiments in Britain: “A matter of mood, for example, we can all regret that a treaty was signed and that the two governments were not spontaneously in the running to do so, which is even more beneficial for their own people than for their neighbours” (11). The Entente Cordiale was a series of formal political agreements signed in 1904 that negotiated peace between England and France. French for “warm understanding”, the Entente Cordiale of 1904 more immediate disputes between England and France in Egypt, Morocco and elsewhere in Africa.
What is perhaps even more famous is that the series of agreements signed in 1904 contributed to the harmonization of relations between the two countries in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. . . .