FROM FEBRUARY 15 TO MARCH 15
ADRIATIC QUESTION STILL UNSETTLED
President Wilson Against Plan of Jan. 14.—In a vigorous note to France and Great Britain President Wilson on Feb. 10 stated his opposition to the revised Adriatic proposals as presented to Jugo-Slavia, declaring them a serious departure to the advantage of Italy from the French- British-American proposals of Dec. 9. Taken in sequence, the correspondence and proposals regarding the Adriatic situation may be summarized as follows:
I. Joint British-French-American Memorandum of Dec. 9, which established an independent Albania under Italian protection, a fairly large “ buffer ” state of Fiume and surrounding territory, and a boundary scheme as indicated in the accompanying map. This Italy refused to accept.
II. British-French Revised Proposals of Jan. 14.—The chief differences between this plan and that of Dec. 9 were: (1) That it reduced Albania and gave sections of it to Jugo-Slavia, Greece, and Italy; (2) it did away with the buffer state of Fiume, giving Jugo-Slavia inland territory with a population of 150,000 Slavs, but giving Italy a strip of territory along the coast containing 50,000 Slavs and extending her territory to the city of Fiume. The latter was to become a free city, under League of Nations control, with its own choice of diplomatic representation. These terms were handed to Jugo-Slavia with the statement that if they were not accepted, the Treaty of London would be carried out.
III. President IV Wilson’s Protest of Feb. 10.—Following an inquiry regarding the Adriatic negotiations, President Wilson on Feb. 10 framed a note stating his objections to the terms of Jan. 14 on the grounds: (1) That the cession to Italy of a strip of sea-coast connecting it with Fiume was in violation of accepted principles of the peace settlement; (2) that the creation of Fiume as a small free city under League control paved the way for Italian annexation; (3) that the strip dominated the railway leading north from Fiume; (4) that the new proposals called for the partition of Albania. The note in closing raised the possibility of American withdrawal from the European settlement:
“ The President desires to say that if it does not appear feasible to secure acceptance of the just and generous concessions offered by the British, French and American Governments to Italy in the joint memorandum of those powers of Dec. 9, 1919, which the President has already clearly stated to be the maximum concession that the Government of the United States can offer, the President desires to say that he must take under serious consideration the withdrawal of the treaty with Germany and the agreement between the United States and France of June 28, 1919, which are now before the Senate and permitting the terms of the European settlement to be independently established and enforced by the associated governments.
IV. Premiers’ Reply of Feb. 17.—In a joint note of Feb. 17 the British and French Premiers replied in conciliatory terms to the American remonstrance, and answered at length the objections raised. The note declared that both Jugo-Slavs and Italians were averse to the buffer state of Fiume originally proposed, and that the revised proposals aimed to please Jugo-Slavia as well as Italy, giving to Jugo-Slavia a useful slice of Albania. The note concluded with expressions of surprise and regret at the American threat of withdrawal.
V. The President’s Rejoinder of Feb. 24 —This note defended the President’s earlier position, argued that the consent of Jugo-Slavia as well as Italy should have been sought before altering the terms of Dec. 9, and suggested direct negotiations between the two states primarily concerned.
VI. The Franco-British reply of Feb. 26 agreed to direct negotiations, with renewed discussion by the major powers in the event of failure.
VII. The President’s Note of March 4 dwelt chiefly on the general principles involved in the question. It insisted that no joint agreement between Jugo-Slavia and Italy should disregard the rights of Albania, reiterated the President’s stand for the terms of Dec. 9, and restated the objections to the Treaty of London.
Jugo-Slavia Proposes Modifications.—Having in her first communications raised objections to the proposed Adriatic settlement, Jugo-Slavia on Jan. 22 signified acceptance on the following conditions: (1) The plan for a buffer state of Fiume would be accepted if there were no departure from the “Wilson” boundary; (2) the internationalization of Zara was accepted, on condition that the city should not have choice of diplomatic representatives, which would be “disguised annexation" by Italy; (3) partition of Albania was accepted, though it was considered better that Albania should have independent sovereignty over all her territory; (4) cession of islands to Italy was granted, with the exception of Lissa.
SENATE STILL DEBATES PEACE TREATY
President Opposed to “ Mild Nullification.”—Senate discussion of the peace treaty was renewed in February and March, and the treaty was finally defeated on March 19.
In an extended letter to Senator Hitchcock, dated March 8, the President expressed willingness to accept purely explanatory reservations,' but declared again that any reservation that weakened Art. X “ cut at the very heart and life of the covenant itself” and made it “ hardly more than a futile scrap of paper.” The acceptance of Art. X, according to the President, constituted a renunciation of all ambition on the part of the powerful nations with whom we were associated in the war .... Throughout the sessions of the conference in Paris it was evident that a militaristic party, under the most influential leadership, was seeking to gain ascendency in the counsels of France. They were defeated then, but they are in control now. [This statement was later the subject of diplomatic inquiries on the part of the French Ambassador in Washington.] The letter was throughout an appeal for unqualified ratification as essential to the establishment of better international relations. The letter closed thus:
"I need not say, Senator, that I have given a great deal of thought to the whole matter of reservations proposed in connection with the ratification of the treaty and particularly that portion of the treaty which contains the covenant of the League of Nations, and I have been struck by the fact that practically every so-called reservation was in effect a rather sweeping nullification of the terms of the treaty itself.
"I hear of reservationists and mild-reservationists, but I cannot understand the difference between a nullifier and a mild nullifier. Our responsibility as a nation in this turning point of history is an overwhelming one, and, if I had the opportunity, I would beg everyone concerned to consider the matter in the light of what It is possible to accomplish for humanity, rather than in the light of special national interests.
"Hon. Gilbert M. Hitchcock,
“ United States Senate.”
Reservations Adopted.-In the course of Senate debate, reservations similar to those proposed at the time when the treaty was first before the chamber were again one by one approved by majority votes, including the reservation against votes for British commonwealths within the empire Regarding this reservation, Mr. N. W. Rowell, President of the Canadian Privy Council, made the following statement on March 11:
"If the American Senate should continue and adopt the reservations now before the Senate and the President should approve them, a situation would arise where the question of the United States coming in or not might depend upon the action of Canada.
“It is a grave responsibility for us to say that under those serious conditions, recognizing what the situation is in Europe and elsewhere we would not give the necessary consent in order to permit them to come in. But because we believe that it goes to the very basis of Canada’s whole national future, that her future depends upon it, we could not possibly give consent, because on the one hand we are neither prepared to cut the tie that binds us to the mother country nor are we prepared on the other hand to go back to the old colonial relation. That is the alternative we have to face.
Views expressed by both sides in Parliament sustained the Government’s stand.
On March 13 Senator Lodge proposed a slightly revised reservation on Art. X, somewhat milder in language than the one which he had previously insisted upon.
Minor Powers Join League of Nations.—On March 10 it was announced that Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Holland, or all but two of the thirteen neutrals invited to join the League of Nations, had definitely accepted. In reply to an inquiry from Norway, Lord Cecil, British representative of the League, expressed the opinion that membership of the League implied no duty to keep up military forces.
Of the remaining neutrals, Salvador and Venezuela, Salvador addressed a preliminary note to the United States for further definition of the Monroe Doctrine. The reply being acceptable, Salvador on March 12 joined the League of Nations. Venezuela also became a member.
Definition of the Monroe Doctrine.—Washington. March 1.—A reply has been made by the United States Government to the recent request of Salvador for an interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine.
The reply refers to what President Wilson said on that subject in an address he delivered in Washington on January 6, 1916, before the Pan American Scientific Congress.
In the speech referred to President Wilson declared that “the Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by the United- States on her own authority”; that “ it has always been maintained, and always will be maintained, on her own responsibility,” and went on to say that the doctrine “demanded merely that European governments should not attempt to extend their political systems to this side of the Atlantic,” adding, however, that “ it did not disclose the use which the United States intended to make of her power on this side of the Atlantic.”
Doubts and suspicions that had arisen on this point must be removed, President Wilson declared, asserting that America “must establish the foundations of amity so that no one will hereafter doubt them.”
He hoped this could be achieved, and suggested the following means by which this might be accomplished :
“It will be accomplished, in the first place, by the states of America uniting in guaranteeing to each other absolute political independence and territorial integrity,” he said. “ In the second place, and as a necessary corollary to that, guaranteeing the agreement to settle all pending boundary disputes as soon as possible and by amicable process ; by agreeing that all disputes among themselves, should they unhappily arise, will be handled by patient, impartial investigation and settled by arbitration; and the agreement, necessary to the peace of America, that no state of either continent will permit revolutionary expeditions against another state to be fitted out on its territory, and that they will prohibit the exportation of munitions of war for the purpose of supplying revolutionists against neighboring governments.”—N. Y. Times, March 2.
Easier Treaty Terms.—London, March 12.—A new Hungarian Peace Treaty has been definitely agreed upon by the Peace Conference and placed in the hands of a Drafting Committee, which has gone to Paris. It is expected that the treaty will be completed within a week.
The territorial terms against which Hungary protested so vigorously remain unchanged, but various economic concessions have been granted.
It is stated that in re-framing the economic clauses, particularly regarding the reparations to be demanded, the Conference took a much more lenient attitude than prevailed in Paris.—N. Y. Times, March 13.
Proposed Economic Concessions.—Paris, March 5.—France has neither signed nor approved the declaration regarding the economic situation of Europe which the Allied Supreme Council has proposed to make, according to statements made here to-day.
The original text of the Allied declaration, it is stated, begins by setting forth that the small nations bordering on Russia must be obliged to make peace with the Russian Soviet Government in order that the economic revival may begin.
It follows with the statement that Germany must be provided with the means of resuming industrial activity, and that, since the prosperity of Europe depends upon the prosperity of all countries, it is proposed that a loan be made to Germany guaranteed by German assets in priority to reparation payments, the loan payments to be controlled by neutral commission.
It is stated that instructions are being sent to Ambassador Cambon in London that he sign the declaration with the following reservations:
First—France will not join in any pressure upon the small countries along the Russian border to oblige them to make peace with the Soviet.
Second—France will not consent to giving any priority over reparations on any assets of Germany pledged for that purpose.
Third—France will not consent to the control of German payments on any loan Germany may make by any other organization than the Reparations Commission.—N. Y. Times, March 6.
Holland Again Refuses Surrender of ex-Kaiser.—In a note of March 5 Holland again declined to turn the former German Emperor over to the Allied powers, declaring that she had taken, and would continue to take, measures requisite to subject the freedom of the former Emperor to necessary limitations.
Reactionary Coup a Failure.—On March 13 the Ebert Government was overthrown in Berlin and a reactionary government was set up. The new Ministry as announced included Dr. Kapp, chancellor, and Major General Baron von Luettwitz, Minister of Defense.
The military coup was executed without bloodshed, control of troops being secured by their fear of disbandment under the Socialist regime. The new government gave protection to foreigners and gave its promise to fulfil honorably the Treaty of Versailles. Before he withdrew President Ebert called on the workingmen of Germany for a general strike as the only way of defeating the new government. This threat led quickly to the restoration of Ebert’s control.
Soviet Peace Proposals.—Renewed peace proposals to the United States and other powers were made by the Soviet Government of Russia on Feb. 24. According to press reports the proposals gave assurances of democratic government, payment of 60 per cent of Russia’s foreign debt with arrears of interest, and guarantees in the form of economic and mining concessions, on condition that other countries would abandon intervention in Russian affairs. The letter to the U. S. State Department appeared in the press from foreign sources, but was not given out in Washington. It contained no specific terms.
Allies Will Encourage Trade.—On Feb. 24 the Council of Allied Premiers issued a statement of Russian policy embodying the following points.
1. The Allied governments “cannot accept the responsibility of advising border states to continue war with Russia, but will help them defend their legitimate frontiers if attacked.”
2. “ The Allies cannot enter into diplomatic relations with the Soviet Government, until they have arrived at the conviction that the Bolshevist horrors have come to an end.”
3. “ Commerce .... will be encouraged to the utmost degree possible without relaxation of the attitude described above.”
4. The Allies suggest that the Council of the League of Nations send a commission to Russia.
Polish Negotiations Broken Off.—In February Poland framed terms on which she would make peace with Russia, and submitted these terms for the approval of the Allies. They included demands for indemnity, recognition of the independence of the Baltic states, guarantees against propaganda, and self-determination for all territory west of the old Polish frontier of 1772. The Poles, however, refused a preliminary armistice before negotiations, and afterward defeated an offensive undertaken by Soviet forces.
In March an agreement was concluded with the U. S. Shipping Board and Liquidation Commission by which Poland secured a large quantity of military equipment, rolling stock, and food stuffs.
League Council To Send Commission to Russia.—At the third meeting of the League of Nations Council, held in Paris on March 13. the question was taken up of sending a commission of inquiry to Russia, as suggested by the Supreme Council.
Sultan to Stay in Constantinople.—During February discussion of Turkish treaty terms progressed to the point where it was decided that the Sultan should retain his court in Constantinople, but that the Straits should be placed under international control. Turkish retention of Constantinople was favored by France and accepted by Great Britain in deference to the sentiments of the Mohammedan population under British rule. It was decided on March 2 that Turkey should be entirely deprived of a navy-. Her former population of 30 million will be reduced to 6 million by the treaty terms. The preliminary draft of the Turkish treaty was completed on March 11, and a copy sent to President Wilson for his consideration.
In Parliament, on Feb. 26, Premier Lloyd George defended the Turkish settlement as follows:
The influence which had decided the Peace Conference to retain the Turks in Constantinople, the Premier continued, had come from India. The two peace delegates of India in Paris, neither of whom was a Mohammedan, had declared that unless the Allies retained the Turks in Constantinople their action would be regarded as a gross breach of faith on the part of the British Empire.
Without the aid of India, Mr. Lloyd George pointed out, Turkey could not have been conquered, and nothing could be more damaging to British prestige in Asia than the feeling that Great Britain did not keep her word. He promised, however, that when the peace terms were disclosed they would be found drastic enough to satisfy Turkey’s bitterest foe.
Let us examine our legitimate and main peace aims in Turkey” the Premier went on “The first is the freedom of the Straits. The second is the freeing of all non-Turkish communities from the Ottoman army. The third is the preservation for the Turks of self-government in communities which are mainly Turkish, subject to two most important reservations.
Mr. Lloyd George explained that the freedom of the Straits would be assured because all of Turkey’s forts would be dismantled, she would have no troops within reach and would not be permitted to have a navy, while the Allies would garrison the Straits. The only alternative, he said, was an international military government of Constantinople and all the surrounding territory, which would be very unsatisfactory and costly to the Allies.
Massacres in Asia Minor.—According to a French official report 5000 Armenians were massacred in the Marash region of central Asia Minor during February. The French garrison of occupation in the city of Marash was besieged by Turkish forces for a month, and was forced to evacuate on February 11. Massacres in Cilicia continued throughout the month.
Pressure on Constantinople had little effect, since all Asia Minor is controlled by the Nationalist party under Mustapha Kemal, with headquarters at Angora. On March 10, the new Turkish Grand Vizier, Sali Pasha, announced a cabinet of a stronger Nationalist tendency than that which resigned on March 7.
Punitive Measures Adopted.—On March 8 it was stated that there were 16,000 French troops in Constantinople and that England would send 34,000 more. A strong Allied naval force occupied the Dardanelles. In the official communique of the council meeting in London on March 10 it was stated that “If the remnant of the Armenians should suffer further, some responsibility must fall also on the nation which, associated with this problem by very fine traditions, is for such a purpose (protection) strongest and freest of all.”
London, Thursday March 11.-The disciplinary occupation of Constantinople, as it may be called to distinguish it from the ordinary occupation which followed the conclusion of the armistice, has been definitely ordered by the Allied Powers and will be carried out at once For the present it will consist in posting Allied contingents at strategic points of the city on both sides of the Golden Horn. For this purpose there are troops enough on the spot, and more can be brought up in a few days Any question of further measures will be answered according as this unsensational demonstration is or is not effective in bringing home to the Turkish Government and the people the determination of the Allies that provincial disorders shall cease and the terms of the Peace Treaty be executed scrupulously.—N. Y. Times, March 13.
No American Objection to Coercion of Turks.—It is understood that the measures decided upon by the Supreme Council in dealing with Turkey are purely coercive, and, as the American attitude heretofore has persistently been one of benevolent interest in the fate of the Armenian and other peoples oppressed by the Turks, it is scarcely expected that any opposition will be offered by the State Department to the execution of the Council’s program.
According to information received here, the representations to be made to the^ American Government by the Entente include recommendations that American naval strength in the Turkish waters be largely augmented.
Military forces now in Turkey, according to official intelligence, include 33,000 British, 18,000 French, 16,000 Italian and 100,000 Greeks. The Turkish Regular Army of 43,000 men is disposed with 9000 men in Europe and 34,000 in Asia. About 60 per cent of the Asiatic forces are said to be pro-Nationalist.
China Divided on Negotiation with Japan.-—Washington, Feb. 19.— The resignation simultaneously of Lou Tesng-Tsiang, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, and also of Chen-Lu, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, is attributed to pressure exerted by the Anfu party in Peking, the conservative party now in control of the Central Government, as a result of the Foreign Minister’s opposition to direct negotiations by China with Japan over the Shantung question.
I he resignation of these two officials under existing circumstances is expected to cause a strong reaction throughout China by reason of the strong popular feeling in all parts of the country against the Anfu policy of submitting the Shantung settlement to direct negotiation with Japan. The present situation will add to the already bitter anti-Japanese feeling which is being demonstrated by the boycott in China against Japanese products.—N. Y. Times, Feb. 20.
Japanese Trade Monopoly in Pacific Islands.—It is reported that, in the South Pacific Islands under Japanese mandatory, the Japanese have not only taken over former German trade but have almost completely superseded the British, whose business there formerly amounted to over 1400,000.