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league will remain a dead letter, and San Remo upon a compromise of interthe victory over Germany will not ests which was afterward presented to have meant a step forward toward the Turks as the Treaty of Sèvres, and a new era in international good-will. signed on August 10, 1920. But the
treaty has never been ratified and put $ 2
into force. The Italians did not want The nations struggling for the con- it, and said so frankly at the time. trol of Constantinople are Turkey, After Constantine returned to the Russia, Greece, Great Britain, France, throne of Greece, the French deterand Italy.
mined to revise the Treaty of Sèvres. The expulsion of Turkey from Eu Among the Moslems of India, the Britrope was one of the war aims of the En- ish have encountered formidable oppotente powers, as set forth in their reply sition to taking Constantinople away to Mr. Wilson's official request for in- from the Calif of the Faithful. The formation about what they were fight- Turks, fighting successfully against the ing for. Great Britain, France, and Greeks in Asia Minor, making trouble Italy had agreed by a secret treaty, for the French in Syria and the British concluded in 1915, to give Constanti- in Mesopotamia and India, are sure nople to Russia as a part of Russia's that they will keep Constantinople. war booty. But the Petrograd revolu- And now, having recovered from the tion and its aftermath led to a renun- scare of losing the last foothold in Euciation of the claim to Constantinople rope, they boldly tell the world that by the de facto Government in control they insist upon the retention of of Russia at the time of the Turkish Thrace to protect Constantinople and collapse. Consequently, the city was of Smyrna as the port of Asia Minor. occupied by the other Entente powers, If the Turks are driven out of Conjointly. Three years later, British, stantinople, however, the strongest French, and Italians are still there. claimant is Russia. Despair over the
So are the Turks. The sultan goes failure of the adventurers they backed to prayers on Fridays with all the and contempt of Bolshevism have led show of former days. The Sublime statesmen and publicists into the sad Porte functions; at least as well as the error of believing that Russia is elimLeague of Nations is functioning. inated from the struggle for ConstanPolice authority is divided with the tinople. It requires a remarkable Allies, but the Turks still distribute ignorance of the spirit of Russia, of
, the mail and collect the taxes. If one Russian history, of Russia's economic European power were holding Con- needs and latent power, to think that stantinople with the certainty of re- Russia is out of the running in the race maining, the Turks would feel ill at for Constantinople.
As they have three occupying When the Bolshevist régime falls, powers, each hating the others and and Russia "returns to the family of trying to oust the others, why should nations," as Mr. Colby loved to put it, the Turks worry?
the French are going to bring up the It is true that after eighteen months question of the indebtedness of the deof bickering the premiers of Great funct régime. The United States supBritain, France, and Italy agreed at ports France in insisting upon Russia's
recognition of her international obliga- dominant power in the eastern Meditions. The new Russian Govern- terranean. Frenchmen of the old ment will argue that it is a poor sword school and young illuminati alike had that does not cut both ways. If Rus- never forgiven Great Britain for seizsia from 1917 on has been in the hands ing Cyprus and doing France out of of a band of adventurers, branded as the Suez Canal and Egypt. Virtually outlaws, then the disappearance of the without exception, my friends, even Bolshevists restores the status quo of those most in sympathy with the Britthe beginning of 1917. Russia, in her ish, believed that the forte of Great right mind again, will honor her inter- Britain after every war was to reap national obligations, but she will ex- where she had sowed not. Others dispect also what is due her. What is covered and founded new lands, condue her? Constantinople.
quered and developed old lands, and The British Foreign Office, which then, when the peace treaty was signed sees facts as they are, anticipated this after a war,-any war,-the choicembarrassment two years ago. It was est bits were found to have entered bad enough to be blackmailed in a into the joy of the pax Britannica. critical period of the war into promis- After this war it was going to be differing Constantinople to czarist Russia, ent. Canada and India, many islands but it would be a calamity to British and Egypt, were past history. The interests if this strategic position were Near East had been culturally French in the hands of a strong and flourishing since the Crusades. From Saloniki to liberal Russia. Believing that the Beirut, France was determined to Turks could not be maintained, the reign supreme. Palestine represented British, with their usual realism, de the very last concession it was possible cided that the way to checkmate Rus for the French to make. Of course the sia was to give Constantinople to French did not hope to possess ConGreece. Her geographical position stantinople, but they were not going to made Greece a vassal of Great Britain. let the British settle themselves on the With the Greeks in Constantinople, Bosporus, as they had done at Gibralthe British would have no difficulty in tar and Port Said, in Malta and Cypremaining the power behind the throne For this would mean British and using this power to further their domination of the Mediterranean and own commercial interests at the detri- the Black seas, and for British capital ment of the interests of rival nations. and British goods the priority in marThe British regarded Greece as a kind kets which had been traditionally of protectorate, financially and mili- French. tarily under the control of Great Brit- Right up to the time of the armistice ain. This scheme was spoiled by the and afterward, until the collapse of fall of Venizelos and the subsequent Baron Wrangel, France hoped for the serious defeat of the Greek armies in miracle of the rebirth of her old ally. Asia Minor.
This would have solved the Constanti
nople question for France. As long as § 3
Venizelos was in power in Greece the Before the peace conference opened, French did not despair of preventing the French aim was to become the Greece from becoming infeodated to
Great Britain. Although seriously the frontiers of Mesopotamia and Palembarrassed in Cilicia and Syria by estine, but by agreeing to back the the attacks of the Turkish National- French in some new demand upon ists, the French held off from espousing Germany. The Treaty of Sèvres itthe cause of Turkey with the idea that, self is the result of one of these comfailing Russia, Greece at Constantino promises. ple might prove the means of relaxing The French are beginning to see, the increasing stranglehold of the Brit- however, that they have sacrificed ish. This hope died with the return of their ambitions in the Near East withConstantine, whom the French will out the compensation of gaining what never forgive or trust.
they wanted in Europe. Especially But another factor was at work in do they see that they have been led to the Franco-British rivalry in Constan- allow the British to become the continople and the Near East the impor- trolling factor in Constantinople. It tance of which was decisive. This factor looks like another Egypt, but in a far has complicated the French atti- more aggravated form. Alive to the tude toward the future of Constanti- peril of having to abandon Constantinople and the realization of French nople to the British, because France dreams throughout the Near East. cannot afford to oppose Great Britain, From April, 1919, until June, 1921, the French diplomacy is now determined aspirations of France in the eastern to restore the status quo ante bellum. Mediterranean have had to be subor- English and American writers, who do dinated to the more important consid- not understand the character of the eration of coercing Germany. With French and the motives of French forsuccessive French premiers Mr. Lloyd eign policy, attribute all this astonishGeorge has played a skilful game. Heing change of attitude to the fear has balked every time France has France has of Turkish intrigue in Syria wanted to speak firmly to Germany, and to the resentment of the French balked on the Rhine occupation, the against the Greece that has welcomed Saar Valley, the entry into Frankfort, back Constantine. These are unthe taking over of the Ruhr Basin, the doubtedly factors that have he to upper Silesian settlement, the amount win a popular approval in France for and method of payment of the Ger- the Near Eastern policy of the Govern
man indemnity, the trial of war pris- ment, but the real reason why France oners, and enforcing German disarma- espouses the Nationalist cause is the ment. Much of his opposition was determination to get the British out of sincere and based on common sense, Constantinople. but every time he gave in to the French I am not conjecturing. The trend he did it on the basis of do ut des, and of the French press, inspired by the one after the other the French aims in Government, leaves no room for doubt the Near East suffered diminution at as to what is prompting France to the expense of British aims. It was send arms and money to Kemal Pasha not through intrigues and a skilful and to insist that the Supreme Council working out of policies in the Near disapprove the military plans of King East that the British gradually gained Constantine. To cite only one of a control of Constantinople and extended number of significant editorials, the
Paris "Temps" of June 11 said that
$4 straits in order to have free access to Italy has been watching with dissouthern Russia and the oil-wells of gust and alarm the doings of France the Caucasus. The "Temps" asserts and Great Britain in the Near East. that Great Britain's policy "is prima. To the Italian it seems preposterous rily dictated by the desire that a govern- that either France or Great Britain ment which is under her control should should aspire to dominate the Medibe in power at Constantinople. France terranean. Great Britain is in the and Italy seek, on the other hand, to Mediterranean only by right of conobtain the freedom of the straits by quest, while France has a wide Atlannegotiation between the two belliger- tic outlet. Both Great Britain and
France have colonies all over the Returning to the charge two days world. Italy, on the other hand, is a later, the “Temps” declared that if Mediterranean state, the only one of the Greeks were given a free hand the great powers which is Mediterand won a victory over the Turks, ranean. She has virtually no colonial Constantinople would become Greek. possessions in comparison with those Then, asks the "Temps,” “Quis custo
of her allies. She is the nearest power diet ipsos custodes?”
to the eastern Mediterranean. Greece During the war one of the telling in- is her neighbor and rival. The grain dictments against Germany was her of southern Russia is essential to her friendship for and alliance with Turkey existence. Invoking the historic after when the Armenians were being massa- the geographical, economic, and strate cred. Germany was held responsible gic arguments, Italy has a better for the massacres on the ground that claim to be the predominant power in she could have stopped them had she the Near East than France or Great used her influence with her ally. This Britain. French and English get as was true; but is it not equally true well as give in their diplomatic tiffs. now that France must bear the oppro- Italy feels that she is frozen out altobrium, and in a measure the responsi- gether. Only two of the great powers bility, of the Armenian and Greek have any real claim on Constantinople, massacres of 1920 and 1921? A and those two are decidedly not Great French general negotiated with the Britain and France. Italian public Nationalists in Cilicia without stipu- opinion is willing to concede the realating that the massacres should cease. sonableness of the Russian claims, but French diplomats have negotiated if these are not granted, considers that with the Angora government of Kemal Italy is the next heir to the Ottoman Pasha, conniving at the massacres of Empire. Italy was at Constantinople Armenians and Greeks. The sole before the Turks came. If any Eurothought of the Germans during the peans return, why not the Italians, war was to use the Turks and not to whose Galata Tower still rises by the run any risk of offending them by Golden Horn? protesting against the massacres. This Italians understand to perfection is exactly what the French are doing the principle of whacking up, and the now.
treaty of 1915 shows that they entered
the war with the idea of sharing its with those of her allies, Italy has to spoils. But for them the spoils have keep quiet. She can take no active not been forthcoming. Wherever it part in the struggle for Constantinowas a question of their share, they ple, and can only hope that the Turks were confronted with the ideals of the will smash the Greeks in Asia Minor war, and were told that the principle and that Great Britain and France will of self-determination must prevail. come to blows. The state of mind in
. As an example of this cynicism, they Italy as a result of the game Mr. Lloyd cite Mr. Wilson's Fiume declaration, George has been playing with successwritten in the same week that Shan- ive French premiers is well illustrated tung was handed over to Japan. by the Turin "Stampa," the organ of And since the peace conference it has Signor Giolitti. Says the "Stampa," been explained to them that Egyptians apropos of the British concessions to and Moroccans have not the right to France in Germany in return for a free self-determination, but Albanians have. hand to be given to Great Britain in At Paris, when Signor Orlando was Constantinople and the Near East: pleading for Smyrna, he answered the
In both camps it would be the triumph argument of injustice to Turkey and
of an Imperialist policy which would fosGreece by asking the English how they
ter new wars and end in rendering illujustified their presence in Hong-Kong.
sory the very agreement between the “That was long ago," was the an
contracting parties. . . It is not necesswer. M. Clemenceau assented. Sig
sary to point out, besides, the injury to nor Orlando quickly got back at him. Italy, to Germany, to Turkey, and even
"But do you not base your right to to Greece (really reduced in that case to Alsace-Lorraine on the ground that a British vassalage) implied by this hypotitle won by force cannot plead pre
thetical division in zones of influence of a scription?”
vast world stretching from the Rhine to The Italians have learned since 1918
the Euphrates, from Cologne to Bagdad. that to British and French statesmen there is only one law, the law of might,
$ 5 and only one title, the title of conquest. American newspapers and magaItaly, not being strong, has had to bow zines have been full of stories of fricto her more powerful allies. Italy, tion between British, Italians, and not having any conquests worth while, French in upper Silesia. The facts are has not been able to make swaps, as indisputable. General Lerond, obeythe French and British have done. ing orders from Paris, has helped on So Italy's Near Eastern ambitions are the insurrection, and has tried to pronot being realized. Thoughtful Ital- tect the Poles at every point. Italians ians feel that within the next genera- have been killed, and most of the Brittion Italy will be compelled to fight for ish officers have resigned and gone the control of the eastern Mediterran- home, disgusted at the unfairness of ean, with Greece certainly, and prob- the French. The League of Nations ably also with France and Great has done nothing, following the deplorBritain, or remain permanently an able example of inertia or impotence economic slave in her own ocean. given in the cases of Fiume and Vilna.
Because her navy is unable to cope The faith of the blindest optimist in