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Secret Reinsurance Treaty with Russia (June 18, 1887)

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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 two 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 depriving 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 remain in force for the space 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.

Article VI. The present Treaty shall be ratified and ratifications shall be exchanged at Berlin within a period of a fortnight, or sooner if may be. [ . . . ]

* The Reinsurance Treaty was not renewed after the expiry of its three-year period of validity (end of June 1890). Bismarck’s fall and the changes in German foreign policy that took place in conjunction with the chancellor changeover led Germany to reject Russia’s renewal offer.

Secret Protocol

In order to complete the stipulations of Articles 2 and 3 of the secret Treaty concluded on this same date, the two Courts have come to an agreement upon the following points:

1. Germany, as in the past, will lend her assistance to Russia in order to re-establish a regular and legal government in Bulgaria. She promises in no case to give her consent to the restoration of the Prince of Battenberg.

2. In case His Majesty the Emperor of Russia should find himself under the necessity of assuming the task of defending the entrance of the Black Sea in order to safeguard the interests of Russia, Germany engages to accord her benevolent neutrality and her moral and diplomatic support to the measures which His Majesty may deem it necessary to take to guard the key of His Empire.

3. The present Protocol forms an integral part of the secret Treaty signed on this day at Berlin, and shall have the same force and validity.

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. 275, 277, 279, reprinted in Theodore S. Hamerow, ed., The Age of Bismarck: Documents and Interpretations. New York: Harper & Row, 1973, pp. 287-89.

Source of original German text: B. Schwertfeger, Die Diplomatische Akten des Auswärtigen Amtes 1871-1914 [The Diplomatic Files of the Foreign Office 1871-1914], vol. 1, pp. 315ff, reprinted 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. 498-500.

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