Incubation of normal human plasma with low amounts of sulfatides resulted in the initiation of intrinsic coagulation and the appearance of kallikrein activity. The optimal initiation of procoagulant and kallikrein amidolytic activity was dependent on the presence of factor XII, high molecular weight kininogen, and prekallikrein. Since the activated partial thromboplastin clotting times in prekallikrein- deficient plasma approach normal values upon prolonged incubation with kaolin, this phenomenon of autocorrection was studied and found to be even more pronounced in the presence of sulfatides. Autocorrection was essentially completed in 5 min in the presence of sulfatides, whereas a preincubation of 15–20 min was required in the presence of kaolin. The limited proteolysis of 125I-factor XII in plasma during incubation with activating material or during clotting was determined. Cleavage of factor XII was more rapid and more extensive in the presence of sulfatides than in the presence of kaolin. In prekallikrein-deficient plasma, factor XII cleavage was completed within 5 min in the presence of sulfatides and within 15 min in the presence of kaolin. Thus, the appearance of factor-XII-dependent coagulant activity correlates with the limited proteolysis of factor XII when normal or prekallikrein- deficient plasma is activated by sulfatides or kaolin.