Benckendorff misinterpreted the consequences for Russia of the developments of 1907-14 partly because he saw Russia’s position through the eyes of Cambon and Grey, and partly because he had always ignored all but the great powers’ relations. He hoped that fear of an all-European conflagration was a sobering element in all great powers’ policies. The count believed that by tying Russia to the Entente, the convention would contribute to the balance of power in Europe and consolidate Russia’s internal situation at the same time. But, ultimately, his efforts in this direction contributed to an increasingly tense European situation which made it impossible for the two coalitions to negotiate their way out of the Sarajevo crisis in 1914. When his French colleague in St Petersburg, Maurice Paléologue in a similar way opposed all French intents to welcome Germany’s attempts to improve the bilateral relations, his words may have been taken out of Benckendorff’s or Nicolson’s mouth. Paléologue warned that Germany’s friendly moves were attempts to introduce a wedge into the Entente and detach France from Russia: ‘We cannot let Germany into our system which would at once collapse’.1