On 3 September 1898, the Russian Foreign Minister Count Mikhail Muraviev issued a call in the name of the young Tsar Nicholas II for a conference to exchange "ideas in furtherance of national economy and international peace in the interests of humanity." In popular perception it was to be a conference to promote disarmament, but the Russians had a more modest aim. The conference was only "to put an end to the constantly increasing development of armaments." It was not to disturb the current level of armaments or upset the balance of power.
Hawkins, William R.
"Captain Mahan, Admiral Fisher and Arms Control at the Hague, 1899,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 39
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol39/iss1/7