XXXVI Hubertushöhe I0/X/1904
In order not to lose time I at once telegraphed to you after having seen Shebeko. I am much touched by all the kind messages you sent me through him and I see by them that your faith in my loyalty is unshaken. It will indeed simplify matters vastly, now that Alexejew has been recalled. One General who has the absolute command and control of all the troops in Mandschuria will I am sure answer better to all the requirements of the war. Kouropatkine is it seems popular with his troops, and they place full faith in him; that is the point most vital for final success.
Shebeko informed me of your intention to send the Black Sea Fleet out also in conjunction with the Baltic Fleet, and asked me to express my opinion about this plan. I confess that long since I have been expecting this plan to be executed. It is a sound military idea and will ensure victory. As to the best manner of proceeding, I have after ripely maturing the question and after having taken information, come to the following conclusion. The best plan would be to silently and quietly prepare the Fleet for its destination, not to breath a word about your intention to anybody and any other Power. Then at the moment you think right, calmly and proudly steam through the Dardanells. The Sultan -- as we both know for certain -- will not offer the shadow of resistance and once you are out, we all shall be vis à vis of a fait accompli, which we all shall quietly accept. I have not the slightest doubt that England will accept it too, though the Press may fume and rage, and their Squadrons steam about a little as they often do in the Mediterranean. But they wont stir in earnest when they see that the rest of the Powers remain quiet. The main point is, that it must happen quite suddenly and unawares and take the whole world by surprise, without letting the secret out beforehand. Here everything shall be kept absolutely mute.
With your approval I shall sign an order appointing Lambsdorff to your suite attached to your person and you will kindly do the same with Shebako.
Ever yours aff-ate
Best love to Alix
- Colonel Shebeko, Russian Military Attaché in Berlin, since December, 1901, was appointed personal aide-de-camp to the Kaiser by the Czar, in the same way as Count Lambsdorff was the Kaiser's representative attached to the Czar's person.
- Recalled October 25th, 1904.