XXXIV Berlin 6/VI/1904
Your kind letter which Kroupensky delivered to me two days ago has greatly touched me. In these days which are of course trying to you, your army and the country it is doubly kind of you to give up so much time to me, but on the other hand it beeing so, I felt the more proud as I may infer from this fact that you count upon me as your real friend as you rightly express it. So it is! And I can assure you that nobody follows all the phases of the war with greater interest and assiduity than I do. Your remark about Kouropatkin1 was a perfect revelation to me! I am most astonished at his shortsightedness in not implicitly obeying your commands. He ought all the more to have followed your counsels, as you had been to Japan yourself, and therefore were a much more competent judge of the Japs than him. Your warnings were quite right and have been fully borne out by the facts. I only hope to goodness the General wont jeopardise the final success of your Forces by rashly exposing them to an "êchec" before the whole of his reserves have joined him, which are as I believe still partly on the way. The old proverb of Napoleon I still holds good "la victoire est avec les gros Bataillons"; one can never be too strong for the battle; especially respecting the artillery; an absolute superiority must undoubtedly be established to ensure victory.
I had an interesting conversation about the war with the French Milit.Attaché2 who, on my remarks that I thought it most astonishing that the French as your "Allies" did not send their Fleet down to keep Port Arthur open till your Baltic Fleet had arrived, answered that it was true, but that they had to reckon with other Powers! After many hints and allusions I found out -- what I allways feared -- that the Anglo-French agreement had the one main effect, viz: to stop the French from helping you! Il va sans dire, that if France had been under the obligation of helping you with her Fleet or Army I would of course not have budged a finger to harm her; for that would have been most illogical on the part of the Author of the Picture "Yellow Peril" !
I am sure England will by times renew her efforts to make proposals to you about mediation -- it is in fact the special mission of Harding3 as I know -- though you have allready so strongly repudiated it, and which is most presuming in the extreme on her part, seeing that the war has only just begun she is afraid for her money, and wants to get Tibet cheaply--; I shall certainly try to dissuade Uncle Bertie4 as soon as I meet him from harrassing you with any more such proposals. Should in the course of events mediation seem advisable to you, it is clear that the first wish for it must come from you; and you may be sure that I shall also allways be at your disposal! I may compliment you on the bravery and gallantry of your soldiers and sailors who deserve all praise and who have fought very well! I have thought over your suggestion about the Com. Treaty5 and talked the matter over with the Chancellor. We have no special interest respecting the place where the negociations should be concluded, but as you kindly offer to send Witte over here, we will welcome his arrival, and the sooner you invest him with your powers to negociate the better for our two Countries. I have selected major Count Lambsdorf, my personal aide-de-camp, as Milit.Attaché. He is instructed by me to consider himself as attached to your person solely as it was in the days of Nicolai I and Alexander II. He is only responsible in his reports to me personally, and is forbidden once for all to communicate with anybody else either the Gen. Staff, or Foreign Office, or Chancellor. So you may entrust him with any message, enquiry, letter etc. for me and make use of him in every respect as a direct link between us two. Should you like to send me one of your suite who enjoys your full confidence, I will receive him with pleasure, for I think it highly necessary during these grave events, that you should be able to quickly communicate with me, without the lumbering and indiscreet apparatus of Chancelleries, Embassies etc. I wonder what I am going to hear from Uncle Bertie at Kiel, at all events I shall keep you informed. Now good bye dearest Nicky best love to Alix and your Mama and God protect you all, that is the sincerest wish of
Ever Your most aff-ate friend and cousin
1. At this time the advance of the Japanese on Port Arthur was reported to have greatly increased the dissension between Admiral Alexeiev and General Kuropatkin. The Admiral insisted that Port Arthur must be saved as a base for the fleet. Kuropatkin, on the other hand, declared that he had not enough men for a forward movement and consequently he must leave Port Arthur to defend itself.
2. The Marquis de Laguiche, Chef d'Escadron d'Artillerie.
3. Count Lamsdorf, the Russian Foreign Minister, gave a banquet in Petrograd on June 2nd in honor of Sir Charles Hardinge (now Viscount Hardinge), the British Ambassador.
4. King Edward of England. The meeting between the King and the Kaiser took place at Kiel on June 26th, 1904.
5. Count Witte arrived at Norderney to confer with Bülow on the Commercial Treaty on July 12th, 1904. The conclusion of the treaty on the 28th constituted a great personal triumph for Count von Bülow.
6. Lambsdorff, the Kaiser's aide-de-camp, not to be confused with the Russian Foreign Minister, Lamsdorf.