XXX Berlin 3/I/1904
These lines are meant to reach you on your Xmas Eve and will I hope find you well and happy with Alix well again at your side and the merry little company1 romping around you in the glimmer of the light of the Xmas tree. I once more wish you every blessing of Heaven on all your ways, may your precious life be spared to us all as well as of all those dear to you. May your plans meet with full success: if in peaceful ways, softly as a rippling brook; if by the decision of the arms, may they be victorious and your Standards wave enwreathed with fresh laurels.
Many thanks for your kind letter from December 20th which is a new testimonial of your confidence so precious to me. We only shall have to be careful lest the scheme,2 so auspiciously started, should get wrecked on some question of detail. When I parted from your dear old Grandfather the King I was under the impression that the subject occupied his mind, and that he was meditating, in order to find the form best suited to the requirements of his country. As base for our conversation, I used some Danish Newspaper Articles about Danish neutrality. As their comments appear to have attrackted a good deal of attention in Denmark, I enclose a short extract of them, which may serve as help to show you the nature of the difficulties that the king seemed to foresee and to apprehend from his people at home. Hence it becomes evident that the King, as the party most concerned in the issue of the question, is doubtless first of all entitled to an expression of his views, and to have them worded and drawn up by somebody possessing his absolute confidence. It therefore struck me as the next step to be taken in this matter would be the best, if you were to write to your grandfather to submit the proposals to us as soon as they have attained a form acceptable to him; and that we look forward to his giving us the full scope of his ideas concerning the question of the Danish neutrality. Considering the bygone days of '64 it is clear that the Danes still look a little askance at us and therefore they will view a proposal relating to their destiny with more favour if it comes from you; who are so nearly related to their King and who are the son of a Princess passionately adored by them. I send you enclosed some interesting articles. One about our Navy and Russia's Policy from the 19th Century; one about your Commercial Fleet. 2 English Paper cuttings from a penny Newspaper3 which is daily read by thousands in the streets of London and elsewhere in England. It is to show you with what stuff and in what a tone this Press is feeding its readers for many weeks all ready, and how they are blowing at the flames were they can. To us here on the Continent this hypocrisy and hatred is utterly odious and incomprehensible! Everybody here understands perfectly that Russia following the laws of expansion must try to get at the Sea for an iceless outlet for its commerce. By this law it is entitled to a strip of coast where such harbours are situated (Wladiw,4 Port Arthur) their "Hinterland" must be in your power so as to allow your building the Railways which are to carry the goods to the ports (Mandschuria) Between the two ports is a tongue of land which may -- in one adversaries hand -- become a new sort of Dardanells. That is impossible for you to allow. These "Dardanells" (Korea) must not threaten your communications thereby hampering your commerce. That is allready on the "Black Sea" and that is not what you want to the Far East for! Therefore it is evident to every unbiassed mind that Korea must and will be Russian. When or how that is nobody's affair and concerns only you and your country. That is the opinion of our People here at home and therefore there is no exitement or "emballement" or war roumors or anything of that sort here. The sure end that Korea will once be yours is a foregone conclusion here like the occupation of Mandschuria, hence nobody troubles themselves about it here!
The new years cards will amuse you, they were taken at your arrival at Wiesbaden! a little souvenir of the happy days. A happy new Year and Weidmannsheil also for "Big game"5
from your devoted cousin and friend
best love to Alix.
1. The Czar's four daughters, aged from two to nine.
2. The reference is to the effort to obtain Denmark's adherence to a Russo-German alliance. On December 17th, 1903, King Christian IX. visited Germany. The Kaiser prophesied to him that in the event of a Russo-Japanese war the British fleet would undoubtedly attack the Russian ports of the Baltic and that the German fleet would defend Danish waters, but that Denmark "ought to defend its neutrality" against England. The "dear old grandfather, the King" is the father of Maria Feodorovna, the mother of Nicholas II., who was a Danish Princess.
3. This may refer to "The Morning Post" of December 31st, 1903, which printed the following in its leading editorial: "Japan's whole policy and prospects are threatened by the Russian policy in the Far East, so that Japan is in the position of feeling her national existence challenged.... Great Britain is absolutely bound to help Japan in case Russia should find an ally. But the best way to prevent Russia from finding an ally is for Great Britain to make plain at once that she will assist Japan and that she is able and ready to do so."
4. Wladiwostok or Vladivostok.