Entente Cordiale Established
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on April 8, 1904, between Great Britain and France. They eliminated all the significant areas of friction between the two countries in different parts of the world.
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 7, 1904, an Anglo-French agreement was signed that eliminated all points of friction between the two countries. The convention served as the basis of an Anglo-French alliance.
The agreements between the two countries covered three crucial areas. First, the French recognized British interest in Egypt while Britain recognized French interests in Morrocco. The agreement also reaffirmed the right of free passage through the Suez Canal.
The second aspect of the agreements called on France to renounce claims to the western coast of Newfoundland in return the British gave up some territory in the area that became Senegal and Gambia.
The third aspect of the agreement related to the interests of both countries in Thailand. There the British recognized the French interest in the eastern part of the country while the French recognized the British interest in the Western part of the country. Both countries renounced their intention to annex the land.
While the Entente Cordiale was not an alliance, but eliminating all of the areas of friction between the two countries, it provided a basis for the future partnerships that would tie the two nations together.