Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Negotiations: first round

Versailles, 31st October 1713

Leisure days were over. It was time to start peace negotiations.

The Catalan dignitaries were invited to a large reserved room inside Versailles itself, where half a dozen French senior officials and military high officers were already waiting. Princess Elisenda didn't know any one of them, but she then noticed Marquis of Vilana greeting timely a couple of them --and this reassured her a bit, in spite of the absence of any member of the House of Bourbon...

...or so she believed; for, in fact, some unadverted personality was watching the meeting from behind a false mirror.

It was unnecessary to start from zero, because conversations between Imperial and French legacies at Rastatt had already outlined the agreement broader sides, but those would not sustain a treaty by themselves --highly detailed issues ought to be clarified too, and such was their mission. And it wouldn't be easy by any means.

Preliminaries run pretty smooth though: as a sign of goodwill, both sides agreed to a prisoners exchange. The men of Girona town urban militia (=Coronela), who were imprisoned in Perpignan awaiting trial, would be exchanged for the French troopers held by the Catalans at Montjuïc castle. Such exchange would be performed immediately, regardless of this meeting outcome.

But then it came the chapter of guarantees. Things were complicated as the French representatives listed their own requirements:

--A military alliance will be henceforth signed, by which Catalan assistance should be provided whenever required by His Majesty King Louis --one stated.

--Assuming such assistance is mutual, and restricted to the Peninsula only --Princess Elisenda sharply answered--. Please recall that our Nation is also bond to Emperor Charles, not just to King Louis. So we would dislike the most to be thrown into a war against an ally of the Emperor.

--Not less than we would dislike to be thrown into a war against King Louis' grandson as well, my Princess --the official smiled.

Marquis of Vilana had nothing said yet. He was apparently distracted in his own thoughts, but the man suddenly raised head and suggested:

--Listen, it would be best a diaphanous treaty offering no fissures for misinterpretations. Let it be an agreement of mutual defence, restricted to eventual common enemies as well as to a precise geographical area. Might it be the Spanish Peninsula and Western Mediterranean? Wouldn't it offer good enough a shelter for the "belly of France" too?


abdul666 said...

Not disheartening, at least...

Then, the French diplomacy would not have agree to start the process if not wishing for a mutually satisfying conclusion. But it's 'the Holy Game of Poker'....

Rittmeister Krefeld said...

nasty little pickle. What about neutrality? A mediteranean switzerland, with a guarantee of independence agreement with both France AND Austria, so have two protective godfathers :) with free trade agreements with both. that way you don't have to pick sides in case of conflict, yet stay protected in case of war. And do what catalonia does best, trade :)

Soldadets said...

Hi men,

Well, I believe diplomacy must consist of something similar to a mutually satisfying result --provided each side will try to obtain the most profitable to himself agreements of it, as long as the other side 'satisfaction perception' keeps him happy...

About neutrality. Hum, from the French point of view, they're dealing with a non-neutral counterpart, who're still considering themselves as subjects of Emperor Charles.

When posting about Lady Elisenda's stay in Vienna, which lead to her appointment as Princess of her homeland by Emperor Charles, I omitted writing about any similar agreement detailed negotiation because I supposed it as implicit.

The Austrians had it easier, for Catalonia was already an ally to them. I'm now trying to guess what approach would the French do to obtain a similar result --with the added difficulty of doing so with a former enemy.

As if there were two mutually neutralizing treaties, I mean.

Jeroen72 said...

The French-Spanish relationship is another complicating factor me thinks ;)

Salvador said...

If the French diplomacy is negotiating with a far reached view, they can anticipate a no-so-faithful behaviour by Philip d'Anjou regarding the Spanish lost territories in Italy, moreso with the Duc d'Orleans casting his own shadow over this affair, contemplating as he may be his own ascendance to regency if as is easy to guess, Louis XIV is not far from the grave.

A neutral "foothold" would be welcome if not else just for the case the new Spanish monarch chooses to keep Spain's bid for first class power instead of playing French semi-puppet.

Military access, a similar compromise to the Swiss one with the French army (for Mountain Fusileers units?), the right to gain the crown if the Catalan head of state dies without direct offspring (if the Principality is to be ruled by a prince or a princess, a duke or a duchess, etc.) or something in the likes could all be options to take into account.

Anyways, a (more or less) friendly, or just a collaborative, Galatan Principality could be a nice asset to project more control over the Western Mediterranean, whichever power France had to fight against over it.

And last but not least control over the coast from the Ebre to Genoa, Corsica, and maybe in the future, Sardegna and Sicily, could prove very threatening for British interests. And Britain is not present in these negotiations, a good chance to gain an advantage...