Carnegie Endowment for International
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars
Constitution and character of the Commission
These words, truth, independence and disinterestedness, are not vain words, Men of great worth and of the sincerest good will, have been ready to suspend the occupations of their ordinary life, in order to respond to our appeal, and have made their investigations in exceptional conditions of impartiality and authority, and with untiring courage. They did not allow themselves to be baffled by fatigue or difficulties of any kind, numerous as these were; not even by cholera, nor were they led astray by the least illusion. Before leaving Paris, each one of them knew that owing obedience to no one, to no word of command, to no party or government, to no journal, to no representation, Balkan or European; expecting no decoration, no reward of any sort, neither thanks nor compliments; coming after the brilliant scouts of the great press of all the great countries, after the prejudiced or sensational information seekers; serving, in a word, no particular interest, but a very general interest; that they would give full satisfaction to none, and would displease everybody more or less.Each one of them deliberately placed himself above suspicion, above
criticism, truly even above inevitable attack. It would be impossible to question the disinterestedness of the Commission, no member of it being remunerated, and the expenses of travel,-very modest indeed,-being publicly administered. But the Commission had to expect that objections would be made in refusing to acknowledge or in disqualifying some of its members. We knew all that. We took our precautions, not to avoid attacks, merely that they might be proved unjustifiable, and this is how I came to constitute our Commission. An ungrateful task, for which I have felt well rewarded, when I saw our work, in spite of troublesome presages and natural enough anxieties, coming none the less to a successful issue.
First, I consulted the men in Paris whom I consider to be masters of the question, Victor Berard to begin with, whose experience and knowledge are equal to his devotion; and that is no small thing to say. I should have liked him to be one of us, and I have in any case to thank him for much advice of which we took advantage. I would also have liked to be able to add to our number our admirable and regretted F. de Pressense and those of our valiant comrades of the struggle of 1903, of whom I have spoken. On his side, our friend President Nicholas Murray Butler is surrounded by men of generous sympathy, who form a phalanx, in the United States, of combatants always ready for the crusades of our own day, and he keeps us in constant touch with their views, aspirations and opinions.President Butler's collaborator, appointed to go to the Balkans, was Mr. Samuel T. Button, Professor at Columbia University, to whose impartiality and high moral integrity, I can pay no better tribute than by saying that he was not only a valiant fellow worker but an arbiter as well.I could say the same of Mr. Justin Godart, Deputy of Lyons, a politician of energy, accuracy and determination, whose rectitude can never be called in question even by his adversaries. The services rendered us by Mr. Godart were innumerable. Aside from the valuable part he took, like Mr. Dutton, in drawing up the report, he consented during the long journey through the Balkans to fulfil many other functions equivalent to those of president of the itinerary,-because the admirably united Commission over which I presided from Paris, had not thought it necessary to designate a vice president during its journey,-secretary general, treasurer, and reporter. Mr. Godart was all this and more, the trusted friend in whom every one could place reliance.
Two of our friends in Germany responded to our invitation, Professor Paszkowski of Berlin University, and Professor Schuecking of Marburg, both proved and excellent men, as impartial as they are enlightened. The former, just at the moment of his departure, was unfortunately refused the necessary permission by the University authorities. The latter was stopped at Belgrade, and was, I am bound to say, totally misled, owing to circumstances of which I will add a word or two later.
Austria contributed in default of Professor H. Lammasch, our great and generous friend, whose health kept him at home, Professor Redlich, whose cooperation both in Vienna and Paris, has been invaluable.
Mr. Francis W. Hirst of England, editor of the Economist, well known fo his noble campaigns for international conciliation, and the high integrity o his character, together with his distinguished colleague, Mr. H. N. Brailsford was constantly present at our preparatory meetings in Paris. Mr. Brailsford was appointed with Messrs. Dutton, Schuecking and Godart, to make one of the subcommittee which we decided to send to the scene of war.
From Russia, our friend Professor Maxime Kovalevsky and others were unsparing in their assistance. They were, in Europe, as Messrs. Root and Butler in the United States, the guarantors of the independence of the Commission. All our Russian friends were of the same opinion as ourselves in considering that the man best able to represent them, was Professor Paul Milioukov, member of the Douma, who gladly responded to their pressing invitation, as he did to ours. Professor Milioukov adds to his political authority the distinction of being a scholar who not only knows the Balkan nations thoroughly, but their languages as well. He has been reproached for this, and so has Mr. Brailsford. Professor Milioukov was at once denounced as being violently hostile to the Servians, Brailsford as not less hostile to the Greeks, It is true that by way of balance I was represented as an impenitent Philhellene, Hirst as a Sectarian, and Kovalevsky as something still worse. Godart and Dutton alone escaped all criticism.
I am aware of course from experience that in the Balkans as in some other countries, that I know of, it is impossible to avoid the reproach of a party, if one does not take sides with it against the others, and conversely. Milioukov was perfectly just to the Bulgarians when we in Europe were all unanimous in praising and upholding them. Later on he blamed them, as we all did. He censured the fault of the Servians when censure was unanimous, as he denounced the offenses of the Turks and of the Greeks. But he also paid sincere tribute, to their merits, as he did to the merits of the Greeks and the Turks. His only sin, in the eyes of each, was his perfect impartiality. He was nobody's man, precisely what we were looking for. Brailsford, on the other hand, had been frankly partisan, but for whom? For the Greeks. He took up arms for them and fought in their ranks, the true disciple of Lord Byron and of Gladstone; and in spite of this fact, today Brailsford is held to be an enemy of Greece. Why? Because, passionately loving and admiring the Greeks, he has denounced the errors that bid fair to injure them, with all the heat and vigor of a friend and of a companion in arms. This did not seem to be a sufficient motive for demanding his resignation. As we could not condemn Brailsford for being at one and the same time, both the friend and the enemy of Greece, we kept him, and have been very fortunate in so doing.
At last our Commission was constituted, advised on all points, and ready to start on its journey. Before its departure, I notified the Turkish Ambassador of its existence and of its purpose, and also the three ministers in Paris of Bulgaria, Greece and Servia, formerly among my most distinguished colleagues. Only the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the beginning, made some reservations to which I replied, concerning the choice of Brailsford, accused of being a Bulgarophile.
Thus prepared, we were assured that our inquiry, even if it did not please everyone, could not be regarded with suspicion, nor, in any case, stopped by anyone. The instructions accepted both by the sedentary members of the Commission and those delegated to go to the Balkans, are summarized in the following extract of the letter I wrote August 21, to Mr. Justin Godart and his companions:
CREANS, August 21, 1913.
MY DEAR COLLEAGUES,
* * * Sceptics will ask you what you expect to do? You can reply that you intend to obtain some light,-a little light,-and this will be much. A little light means appeasement and progress.
Your mission has as much economic as moral significance. When you return and publish your opinions, which I hope will be unanimous and which will certainly have the greater authority in that they are exceptionally disinterested, you will contribute to the better understanding in both hemispheres, of a very simple truth. That is, that these unhappy Balkan States have been up to the present, the victims of European division much more than of their own faults. If Europe had sincerely wished to help them in the past thirty years, she would have given them what makes the life in a country, that is, railways, tramways, roads, telegraphs and telephones, and in addition, schools. Once these fertile countries were linked to the rest of Europe, and connected like the rest of Europe, they would of themselves become peaceful by means of commerce and trade and industry, enriching themselves in spite of their inextricable divisions.
Europe has chosen to make them ruined belligerents, rather than young clients of civilization, but it is not yet too late to repair this long error. You are the precursors of a new economic order, exceedingly important for each one of the governments; you will be, because you claim no such distinction and because of your disinterestedness, the auxiliaries of their salvation. After having verified the evil which is only too evident, you will assist each government in repairing it, by making known by your report the real aims and resources of the country. And thus you will reassure the public which never likes to despond, and which will not admit that even a small part of Europe must lie fallow, when it can share the general progress which is going on feverishly everywhere else.
I hope that you will be able to suggest these views when you are conversing with such personages as you have occasion to meet. It is to the interest of each government that prejudicial legends should not be spread abroad. You will be able to confer a great benefit upon each of them.
Our Commission will upon its return, publish both in Europe and in America, a report which will be translated, widely circulated and commented upon. This report will contain, not the recital, but the confirmation and correction of facts already published. We are inclined to add to this a brief statement of the situation, drawn up by those specially interested in regard to the past, the present, and the future.
The impartial juxtaposition of these diverse statements in the same international document, will be a powerful means of serving the truth and of disproving the accusation of injustice on our part.
Our conclusions will
then follow, and these conclusions can not be anything but one more effort
to reduce the disorders from which all the world suffers, and to establish
confidence where at present there is only discouragement and anxiety.
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