06 July 2007

1796) The French Yellow Book


Chapter I
Warnings
(1913.)

No. 1.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Jonnart, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, March 17, 1913.

Our naval and military attachés are sending to their respective Ministers reports on the new German military-law. I take this opportunity of drawing the attention of your Excellency to these important documents.

The consideration of the financial expedients by which Germany intends to provide for these military measures is the sole cause of the delay in the publication of the definite proposals of the Govermnent. In spite of the patriotism with which the rich classes affect to accept the sacrifices asked of them, they are none the less, particularly the business circles, dissatisfied with the financial measures which have been announced, and they feel that a compulsory levy imposed in times of peace creates a formidable precedent for the future. On the other hand, the Federal Governments have strongly opposed an innovation which grants to the Empire resources derived from direct taxation. Hitherto, taxation of this kind has been reserved to the Federal States, and the latter see in the surrender of this principle a new declaration of the corporate unity (personalité) of the Empire, constituting a distinct diminution of their own sovereign power.

However this may be, in increasing the strength of the German army the Empire desires to leave nothing to chance in the event of a possible crisis. The German changes have produced a result unexpected by that country, viz., the proposal of the Government of the Republic to re-establish the three years' service, and the manly determination with which this proposal has been welcomed in France. The surprise occasioned by these proposals has been utilised by the Imperial Government for the purpose of insisting on the absolute necessity of an increase of German military strength; the German proposals are represented as a reply to our own. The reverse is the case, since the immense military effort which France is undertaking is but the consequence of German initiative
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