What is the Entente Cordiale?
The Entente Cordiale (April 8, 1904) is an Anglo-French agreement that settled a number of controversial matters, ended antagonisms between Great Britain and France and paved the way for their diplomatic cooperation against German pressures in the decade preceding World War I (1914–18). The agreement in no sense created an alliance and did not entangle Great Britain with a French commitment to Russia (1894).
The agreement settled many long-standing issues. France recognized British control over Egypt, while Britain reciprocated regarding France in Morocco. France gave up its exclusive fishery rights on the shores of Newfoundland and in return received an indemnity and territory in Gambia (Senegal) and Nigeria. Britain dropped complaints regarding the French customs régime in Madagascar. The respective spheres of influence were defined in Siam (Thailand).
The Entente Cordiale was the culmination of the policy of Théophile Delcassé, France’s foreign minister from 1898, who believed that a Franco-British understanding would give France some security against any German system of alliances in western Europe.
The agreement was consequently upsetting to Germany, whose policy had long been to rely on Franco-British antagonism.