|France and Great Britain had been colonial rivals for much of the previous two centuries. Their last great confrontation had been over the control of Fashoda in the upper Nile region. France, however, realized that if it was to withstand German expansionism, it needed Great Britain as an ally. From the turn of the century, it became the quiet French policy to seek reconciliation with Great Britain. The British were initially cautious.
In 1903, when it was clear that no alliance with Germany was possible, King Edward broke the ice by making a state visit to France. After a return visit to Britain by French President Loubet, serious negotiations were instituted. These negotiations took nine months and covered every area of the globe where the French and the British might came into possible conflict.
On April 7th 1904, an Anglo-French agreement was signed that eliminated all points of friction between the two countries. The agreement served as the basis of an Anglo-French alliance.