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ment soucieux de la sécurité de ses populations de ne pas laisser par des demi-mesures le mal s'aggraver davantage, et de tâcher de le couper dans sa racine?
En soumettant les considérations qui précèdent à la bienveillante appréciation de Lord Derby, vous voudrez bien lui signaler surtout ce dernier point avec tous les développements qu'il comporte.
HAVE received your telegram.
Constantinople, August 30, 1877.
I shall hasten to submit it to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan. Meanwhile, please express to Lord Derby the thanks of the Sublime Porte for the friendly counsels which he is good enough to give us, and state that we are happy to consider them as a further proof of the benevolent interest which the Government of Her Britannic Majesty takes in the Ottoman Empire. The Cabinet of Athens does not cease to give us assurances of its desire to maintain friendly relations with us. I have formally to state to you that the Imperial Government is, on its part, very sincerely animated by the same desire, and that it has no hostile intention with regard to Greece. Unhappily, the facts do not correspond with the pacific assurances of the Greek Government. Thus, the bands which have crossed the frontier have not yet been recalled. Their ringleaders are still unpunished; fresh bands are allowed to be organized and formed; volunteers continue to be secretly recruited wholesale from among our population, which constitutes a flagrant breach of international law; the revolutionary Committees are agitating with an everincreasing activity, and yet the Greek authorities, who are perfectly aware of what is going on, do not make use of the right conferred upon them by the constitution of the country itself to deal vigorously with the intrigues which directly affect the common interests of the two States; and finally, although the liberty of the press in Greece secures complete independence for the newspapers, the official organs of the Cabinet permit publications in the papers without saying a word against their flights of language which over-excite public feeling. As long as this state of affairs lasts, the Imperial Government will consider the tranquillity of its border provinces to be seriously menaced, and cannot, consequently, let the matter pass unnoticed. At a moment when the Empire is engaged in a struggle with a strong and powerful enemy, it is certainly not the Sublime Porte who will provoke fresh complications; but when under its very eyes an attempt is being made to take advantage of the situation, and every device is resorted to to stir up a country which enjoys order and tranquillity, is it not a sacred duty for a Government, anxious for the security of its populations, not to allow the evil to become still more aggravated by the employment of half-measures, but rather to try to strike at its root?
In submitting the above considerations to the kindly appreciation of Lord Derby you will be good enough to lay stress on this last point with all necessary details.
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Wyndham.*
Foreign Office, September 3, 1877, 3:15 P.M. I HAVE received a telegram from Mr. Layard, stating that he has been requested by the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs to ascertain whether the Greek Government have given any distinct assurances to Her Majesty's Government that Greece will not attack Turkey or endeavour to cause her embarrassment by conniving at attempts to raise the Greek population, and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government will authorize Mr. Layard to make an official communication to that effect to the Porte.
Mr. Layard adds that he has stated to Server Pasha that the last accounts from Her Majesty's Minister at Athens lead him to believe that there is much less danger now than there was a short time ago of an attack on Turkey.
I have to instruct you, with reference to Mr. Stuart's despatches of the 24th and 25th ultimo, to ask the Greek Government if they will authorize Her Majesty's Government to give assurances in their name to the Porte that they will not attack Turkey, or connive at attempts to stir up insurrection in the Greek provinces.
Substance telegraphed, and repeated to Constantinople.
I am, &c.
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Layard,
In a previous interview, of which I have given an account in my despatch to your Excellency of the 28th ultimo, I had told Musurus Pasha that, in my opinion, his Government would be justified in taking precautions against hostile action on the part of Greece, and watching vigilantly the proceedings of that Power, but that I advised them to avoid, as far as possible, anything tending to provocation.
Upon the present occasion, after reading the telegram communicated to me, I said I was ready to bring the complaints of the Porte before the Greek Government, and to impress upon the latter the expediency of maintaining an attitude of neutrality.
I am, &c.
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Wyndham.
Foreign Office, September 3, 1877.
I TRANSMIT to you herewith copies of two despatches which I have addressed to Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople,+ together with the communications from the Turkish Government referred to therein, complaining of the conduct of the Greek Government, who, it is alleged, while giving assurances of their pacific and friendly intentions, do nothing to repress the agitation against Turkey which prevails in Greece, or the inroads which are made across the Greek frontier upon the neighbouring Turkish provinces.
I have to request that you will bring the substance of the statements contained in Server Pasha's telegrams to the knowledge of the Greek Government, and that you will impress upon them the expediency of maintaining an attitude of strict and impartial neutrality. As one of the Powers who have guaranteed the independence of the Greek kingdom, and who have rendered themselves responsible for the Greek debt. Great Britain has a right to expect that King George's advisers will not be induced by the desire of national aggrandisement to involve the country in a ruinous conflict, and that Greek subjects will be restrained from provoking the Porte to measures of hostility by acts of unauthorized and private warfare.
Her Majesty's Government have received with satisfaction the explanations and assurances on this subject offered by M. Tricoupi to Mr. Stuart. They trust that there will be no want of good-will and energy on the part of the Greek Government in acting up to the intentions which they have avowed.
I am, &c.
Mr. Layard to the Earl of Derby.-(Received September 6.)
Therapia, August 24, 1877. THE Grand Vizier, whom I saw this morning by appointment, spoke very indignantly of the conduct of Greece. His Highness said that the Hellenic Government, whilst constantly giving assurances that it had no hostile intentions against Turkey, was making preparations with the avowed object of attacking her. The Porte had received information from Athens, upon which it placed entire reliance, that arms had been received from Russia and elsewhere to be supplied to bands now being formed for the invasion of the Turkish territory, two of which had already crossed into Thessaly. As they had been defeated, the Hellenic Government pretended that they were brigands.
but it was known that they had been sent to raise the populations of the border provinces.
The Hellenic Government had made no secret of its intentions, as it was increasing its army, and had obtained votes from the Chambers for the purpose. It was placing troops on the Turkish frontier, pretending that they were required for defence, as if Turkey could possibly be suspected of any intention to attack Greece! The tone recently assumed by the Hellenic Government had, moreover, satisfied him that it was seeking a cause of quarrel, of which it would avail itself whenever the favourable moment came for throwing off the mask. In fact, the present Hellenic Government was pledged to attack Turkey, and it was upon this understanding alone that it received the support of the nation.
Under these circumstances, the Grand Vizier declared, it was absolutely necessary that the Porte should take some measures to meet the danger that threatened it, and obtain some valid guarantee that Greece would abstain from attacking Turkey.
Mr. Layard to the Earl of Derby.-(Received September 6.)
Therapia, August 28, 1877. THE Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke yesterday very seriously to the Greek Minister respecting the attitude of Greece. His Excellency pointed out that for some time past the Hellenic Government had been openly making preparations to attack Turkey. There had been no disguise in the matter, as the Chamber had voted funds with that object, and the arrival of arms and ammunition from Russia for the purpose of arming the Greek volunteers was publicly announced. Recently an armed band, consisting of a considerable number of men, had crossed the frontier into Thessaly. They were fortunately defeated and driven back by the Turkish troops. The Hellenic Government now pretended that they were simple brigands; but the Porte had evidence that they were sent over by the Greek authorities in order to get up a rising of the Greek population in the province.
The Porte, his Excellency said, had repeatedly brought these proceedings to the notice of the Hellenic Government, and had asked for explanations. It was invariably met with assurances that "for the present" Greece had no intention of attacking Turkey. This meant simply that Greece was not yet prepared to do so, but that as soon as she was ready, and could fall upon Turkey with a prospect of success, she would make an unprovoked aggression upon her.
The Turkish Government, his Excellency declared, could no longer remain indifferent to this state of things. It required something more than vague assurances. It must have same guarantee that Greece would pursue a friendly and neighbourly policy, and would abstain from attacking Turkey under any circumstances. If such a guarantee were not forthcoming, Turkey would be under the necessity of taking such measures as she might deem fit for her own protection. She could not permit Greece to complete her preparations with impunity, and with the avowed' intention of making use of them whenever the suitable time came. The Porte was determined to hold the Greek Government responsible for any bands that might cross the Turkish frontiers from Greece.
M. Coundouriotti replied to Server Pasha that he would immediately inform his Government of his Excellency's communication.
I received from both yesterday evening an identic account of what had passed between them. Server Pasha spoke as if the Turkish Government were determined to act with vigour and decision in dealing with Greece.
Server Pasha to Musurus Pasha.-(Communicated to the Earl of Derby by Musurus Pasha, September 6.)
Constantinople, le 4 Septembre, 1877. VEUILLEZ exprimer à Lord Derby les remerciments les plus vifs de la Sublime Porte pour des démarches qu'il vous a promis de faire à Athènes, et nous espérons qu'elles produiront un effet salutaire sur le Gouvernement Hellénique. Les assurances que le
Cabinet d'Athènes a données tant à la Sublime Porte qu'au Gouvernement Britannique ne sont malheureusement pas faites pour nous tranquilliser complètement. Elles se manifestent, en effet, sous une forme équivoque, M. Tricoupi n'oubliant jamais d'ajouter dans ses déclarations des mots tels que "maintenant" ou "pour le moment," qui dénotent une arrière-pensée chez le Gouvernement Hellénique.
D'autre part, les préparatifs militaires en Grèce sont toujours poussés avec la plus grande activité. Nos dernières informations portaient qu'avant la fin de ce mois l'armée Hellénique atteindra le chiffre de 32,000 hommes environ. Toutes ces forces seront réparties entre les points principaux de la frontière où des officiers du génie ont été déjà chargés d'élever des ouvrages de fortifications.
Des armes de toute espèce, des munitons de toute nature, parviennent continuellement au Gouvernement et aux Comités comme ceux de la "Fraternité," du " Centre Crétois," et du " Gréco-Slave," qui, ainsi que leurs noms l'indiquent, ne travaillent certes pas dans un but favorable à la Turquie. J'attends avec impatience la réponse que le Cabinet d'Athènes donnera aux nouvelles démarches de Lord Derby.
Constantinople, September 4, 1877. PLEASE express to Lord Derby the most sincere thanks of the Sublime Porte for the representations which he has promised you to make at Athens, and we hope that they will produce a salutary effect upon the Greek Government. The assurances which the Cabinet of Athens have given to the Sublime Porte as well as to the British Government are, unhappily, not such as completely to reassure us. They are given, in fact, in an equivocal form; for M. Tricoupi never forgets to include in his declarations such words as "now," or "for the moment," which denote a reservation on the part of the Greek Government.
On the other hand, the military preparations in Greece are being pushed on with the greatest activity. Our latest information is to the effect that before the end of this month the Greek army will reach the number of about 32,000 men. The whole of this force will be distributed among the principal points on the frontier, where engineer officers have already been entrusted with the duty of raising fortifications.
Arms of all kinds, munitions of every description, are continually arriving for the Government and the Committees, such as the "Fraternity," the "Cretan Centre," and the "Greco-Slav," which, as their names indicate, are certainly not working in the interests of Turkey. I await with impatience the answer which the Cabinet of Athens may give to Lord Derby's further representations.
Mr. Layard to the Earl of Derby.-(Received September 7.)
Therapia, September 7, 1877. I HAVE received from Mr. Wyndham copies of his telegrams to you of the 4th instant,* but I shall make no communication to the Porte in reply to its questions referred to in my telegram of the 1st instant+ until I receive your instructions. I fear that answers of Greek Government will be considered far from satisfactory.
Mr. Stuart to the Earl of Derby.-(Received September 8.)
Athens, August 27, 1877. I AM informed that M. Tricoupi has addressed a somewhat indignant answer to the Ottoman Minister here, refuting the accusations which the latter had made against the Hellenic Government in two official notes, respecting the encounters which had recently occurred in the neighbourhood of the frontier.
M. Tricoupi expresses his conviction that no Greek band had crossed the frontier into Turkey, and believes that the affair near Tricala was between a Greek and a Mussulman village, in which brigands may have taken part.
The Greek troops at once arrested and imprisoned those who escaped into Greece, and restored the captured cattle to the Turks.
The Hellenic Government appears to be most anxious not to give any just cause of offence to Turkey at present; and unless the Porte wishes to provoke a quarrel between the two countries, the Turkish authorities would do well to inquire more carefully into the facts of any case before assuming that this Government has connived at incursions into Turkish territory, or committed acts of hostility upon the frontier.
I have, &c.
P.S.-I have communicated the above information to Mr. Layard.
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Layard.
Foreign Office, September 10, 1877.
I RECEIVED on the 7th instant your telegram of the same date,* stating that you had abstained from communicating to the Porte the substance of Mr. Wyndham's telegram of the 4th instant, as you considered that the assurances which the Greek Government authorized Her Majesty's Government to give on their behalf were not satisfactory.
I have this day informed your Excellency by telegraph that Her Majesty's Government agree with you that the answers given by the Greek Government to Mr. Wyndham are not likely to be considered satisfactory by the Turkish Government, and that you need not communicate them,
I am, &c. (Signed)
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Wyndham.†
Foreign Office, September 10, 1877.
Sir, I RECEIVED on the 5th instant your telegram of the 4th, stating, in answer to my telegram of the 3rd instant, that the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs had informed you that Her Majesty's Government might assure the Turkish Government that Greece would not attack Turkey at present; but that he did not mean by this declaration to give a pledge for the future, as Greece, like every independent State. must always reserve her liberty of action according to circumstances. M. Tricoupi added that the Greek Government would pledge itself not to connive at insurrections in the Turkish provinces, but would not undertake to discourage them, though he added that they were doing so at present, and intended to do so as long as it was in their interest to follow that policy.
On the 7th instant I learnt from Mr. Layard that he had received the above telegram from you. but that he feared that the answer of the Greek Government would be considered far from satisfactory by the Porte, and that he should not communicate it to the Turkish Government without instructions from home. Mr. Layard had been confidentially informed that, although hopes were still entertained at Constantinople that the difficulty with Greece might be overcome, strong measures would be resorted to unless some guarantee were given that she would not attack Turkey.
In communicating to you Mr. Layard's observations, I instructed you by telegraph to state to the Greek Government that the assurances which they had authorized Her Majesty's Government to give on their behalf to the Porte were likely to be considered so unsatisfactory, in consequence of the qualifications which accompanied them, that Her Majesty's Government felt that it would be of no advantage to communicate them to the Turkish Government as they stood. You were to add that they consider it very important that the Greek Government should reassure the Porte as to their intentions. I am, &c. (Signed) DERBY.
* No. 33.
+ Substance telegraphed.
‡ See No: 40.