On 26 January 1870 die Marquis de La Valette, French ambassador to London, read to the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Clarendon, ‘a long and able letter’ from Count Daru, the French Foreign Secretary. In this letter Daru suggested that Clarendon recommend to the Prussian Government some measure of reciprocal French and Prussian disarmament. Daru's proposal was immediately taken up. Clarendon wrote to the queen the same day informing her of his intention to do so and to his friend Lord Lyons, the British ambassador at Paris, saying that Count Daru could be sure he would do everything possible ‘to meet his views’. As one might expect from so easy a reception the idea of disarma- ment, especially of Franco-Prussian disarmament, was not a new one to Lord Clarendon. In his letter to Lord Lyons he described it as a subject he had ‘long had at heart’; and he informed Lyons that during the previous summer, whilst he and the Russian Foreign Secretary Gortchakoff had been at a German watering place, he had unsuccessfully proposed that Gortchakoff take up die matter with Prussia. But one must note straightaway that, however warmly Clarendon accepted the idea that he suggest disarmament to Prussia, he did not expect to be successful, i.e. he did not expect Prussia to make any move to disarm in any measure. In his letter to the queen Clarendon says that he feels failure is certain with the king of Prussia. He has some faint hopes with the Crown Prince, Queen Victoria's son-in-law, but he does not dwell on them. In his letters both to Lyons and to the queen, Clarendon says, in almost identical phrases, that while the king of Prussia does not desire war,’… far from it, his army is his idol and he will not be an iconoclast’. It is most unlikely, he continues, that the king will countenance any proposal to reduce the size of his army or to alter the Prussian system of recruitment.