This is but a fragment of the work that the author had planned, covering the period of his activities as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1906-1910) and Ambassador to France (1910-1917). It was to consist of three volumes, the first treating of the events following the granting of a constitutional charter to Russia; the second revealing many unpublished details of the negotiations between Russia and Austria in relation to the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ensuing formation of the Triple Entente. The third was to deal with the Balkan Wars and finally the Great War and the causes which led to it.
The year of illness and anxiety for the future of his beloved country, preceding his death in August last, interfered with his literary work and prevented the completion of even the first volume. The consequent loss to history is difficult to estimate, but a careful reading of these memoirs, as far as they go, will give some measure of what that loss means, for every page testifies to the honesty, exactitude, and insight with which he records the important events and portrays the characters of the men who figured in them during the period covered by these few chapters.