Venice not only paid the costs of the war to the two chief belligerents, but her naval resources also helped to launch the young general on his career of eastern adventure.
When the World War broke out his attitude was favourable to the absolute neutrality of Italy, believing that his country's interests lay in not siding with either group of belligerents, and on the eve of Italian intervention he made an attempt, by using his personal hold over the Parliamentary majority, to upset the Salandra Cabinet, but it was frustrated by an uprising of public opinion in favour of war.
In the instructions drawn up, shortly before his death, for his guidance at Verona, Castlereagh had stated the possibility of the necessity for recognizing the Greeks as belligerents if the war continued.
By additional secret articles it was agreed that, in the event of the Porte not accepting the offered mediation, consuls should be established in Greece, and an armistice proposed to both belligerents and enforced by all the means that should " suggest themselves to the prudence " of the high contracting powers.
The peace negotiations were opened at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the 9th of August, and by the end of the month the belligerents had agreed as to the main points at issue, that Russia should cede the half of Saghalien, annexed in 1875, surrender her lease of the Kwangtung peninsula and Port Arthur, evacuate Manchuria and recognize Japan's sphere of influence in Korea.