XLI Berlin 7/XII/1904
The British Government, as you will have seen in the English press, seems to think the actual moment opportune for an action against the provisioning of your Baltic fleet with coal. Under pretext that it is its duty to maintain stricktest neutrality it has forbidden the German vessels belonging or chartered by the Hamburg-America Line to leave British ports. My fears -- I wrote to you longer ago -- that this would happen have at last come true, and it is now incumbent upon me to take early steps to fix the attitude Germany has to take up vis a vis of this action. It is far from my intention to hurry you in your answer to my last remarks about your proposal anent our defensive treaty. But you will I am sure be fully alive to the fact, that I must now have absolutely positive guarantees from you, wether you intend leaving me unaided or not in case England and Japan should declare war against me, on account of the Coaling of the Russian Fleet by Germany. Should you be unable to absolutely guarantee me, that in such a war you will loyally fight shoulder to shoulder with me, then I regret to assert to be under the necessity of immediately forbidding German steamers to continue to coal your fleet.
Alvensleben is under orders to at once elucidate the Coaling question with Lambsdorff. Best love to Alix.
Ever your most aff-ate cousin and friend
- It was announced at the time that a German ship had been stopped from coaling at Cardiff because its cargo was believed to be destined for the Russian Baltic fleet.