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Three Emperors’ Treaty with Austria and Russia (June 18, 1881)

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Article III. The three courts recognize the European and mutually obligatory character of the principle of the closing of the Straits of the Bosphorus and of the Dardanelles, founded on international law, confirmed by treaties, and summed up in the declaration of the second Plenipotentiary of Russia at the session of July 12 of the congress of Berlin (Protocol 19).*

They will take care in common that Turkey shall make no exception to this rule in favor of the interests of any government whatsoever, by lending to warlike operations of a belligerent power the portion of its empire constituted by the Straits.

In case of infringement, or to prevent it if such infringement should be in prospect, the three courts will inform Turkey that they would regard her, in that event, as putting herself in a state of war towards the injured party, and as having deprived herself thenceforth of the benefits of the security assured to her territorial status quo by the Treaty of Berlin.

Article IV. The present treaty shall be in force during a period of three years, dating from the day of the exchange of ratifications.

Article V. The high contracting parties mutually promise secrecy as to the contents and the existence of the present treaty, as well as of the protocol annexed thereto.

Article VI. The secret conventions concluded between Austria-Hungary and Russia and between Germany and Russia in 1873 are replaced by the present treaty.

Article VII. The ratifications of the present treaty and of the protocol annexed thereto shall be exchanged at Berlin within a fortnight, or sooner if may be.**

[ . . . ]

v. Bismarck

* The so-called “Protocol 19” of the Congress of Berlin referred to here is located in: Staatsarchiv, vol. 34 (1878) No. 6771.
** The ratification took place on June 27, 1881.

Source of English translation: The Secret Treaties of Austria-Hungary, 1879-1914, vol. I, Alfred Franzis Pribam, ed. Eng. Ed. by Archibald Cary Coolidge, Tr. by Denys P. Myers and J. G. D’Arcy Paul. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920, pp. 37, 39, 41, reprinted in Theodore S. Hamerow, ed., The Age of Bismarck: Documents and Interpretations. New York: Harper & Row, 1973, pp. 279-81.

Original German text reprinted in B. Schwertfeger, Die Diplomatische Akten des Auswärtigen Amtes 1871-1914 [The Diplomatic Files of the Foreign Office 1871-1914], vol. 1, pp. 260ff, and in Ernst Rudolf Huber, ed., Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte [Documents on German Constitutional History], 3rd rev. ed., vol. 2, 1851-1900. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1986, pp. 495-97.

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