The Balkan league

I. E. Gueshoff




            Autonomy abandoned - Carnegie Commission - Greek pretensions - Greek procrastinations - Telegram to M. Bobtcheff - Request for arbitration - Russia warns Serbia - Growing tension - Revision of the Treaty - Serbian dilatoriness - Roumania approached - Greek proposals - Intervention of England


By dint of hard work and unwearying patience we succeeded in coming to an agreement with our allies as to the object which the Balkan Alliance was to pursue—ethnic autonomy for the Balkan nations, with all its attending consequences. At the cost of immense sacrifices and through matchless heroism, our armies were able to crush Turkish despotism, the worst enemy of that Balkan ideal. But after its overthrow, during the first month of the Balkan war, we obtained documents and received information in Sofia which disclosed on the part of our allies sentiments and purposes entirely at variance with the object which we had set before ourselves, and with the letter and spirit of our treaties of alliance. It is true that we had no agreement with the Greeks regarding the future delimitation in Macedonia. But our understanding on that subject with the Serbians was as clear as it was categorical. Such being the case, we could not help experiencing a painful surprise when, after the outbreak of the war, we received a copy of the







circular letter of M. Pashitch, No. 5669, dated September 28, 1912 (two days before our mobilisation), by which Serbia was giving her diplomatic representatives abroad entirely false information about our agreement in regard to the future fate of Macedonia, signed barely five and a half months previously. Discussing the proposal of Count Berchtold in favour of decentralisation in European Turkey, M. Pashitch instructed the Serbian diplomatists and consuls to support the cause of reforms in Old Serbia and to demand the following frontiers for that province :


The geographical frontier of this territory must start from Pateritza, on the Turco-Bulgarian boundary, and turn to the south in the direction of the watershed of Vardar, thence continuing towards Babouna, in such a way as to include within the scope of Old Serbia the towns of Prilep, Kitchevo, and Ochrida, together with their surroundings.


In other words, on March 13, 1912, M. Milovanovitch concluded with us a treaty which left the towns of Prilep and Ochrida in the uncontested Bulgarian zone ; while on September 28 of the same year M. Pashitch included both those towns with their surroundings within the frontiers of Old Serbia ! Such conduct was bound to produce on our mind a most disagreeable impression and our protest was proportionately energetic.


Soon after the reception of this document in Sofia, the incredibly rapid advance of our





[ Autonomy abandoned ]


army towards Constantinople and the decisive battles fought with the main Turkish forces sealed the fate of European Turkey. In view of the Turkish collapse, not only our allies, but the Great Powers themselves, began to talk of a final settlement of the problem by a repartition of European Turkey. On October 31, 1912, a member of the British Cabinet told our Minister in London, M. Madjaroff, that European Turkey must be divided, and that he would compliment us on our wisdom and moderation if we contented ourselves with Adrianople and did not ask for Constantinople. Two days later M. Sazonoff was addressing a circular telegram to the Russian Ambassadors abroad, extracts of which were afterwards published in the Russian Orange book (No. 40). In that document he declared that “the territories which the allies have conquered belong to them by right of occupation and should be partitioned by friendly agreement. In that way alone can a lasting peace in the Balkans be assured.” Everybody thought of a lasting peace then, and the idea of creating autonomous provinces was abandoned. The only exception allowed was concerning Albania. The intention of our allies to divide that province between them met with determined opposition on the part of the Triple Alliance. In consequence of this opposition M. Sazonoff wired to us on November 9, 1912, that we Bulgarians,


Who had stood at the head of the Balkan Alliance, must explain to the Serbians that necessity obliges





them not to seek any territorial acquisitions on the Adriatic coast. The Triple Alliance had definitely decided the question, and after our great gains we must not start a fresh war for a harbour. Obstinacy on the part of Serbia might give rise to very serious complications. And we Bulgarians, as wise leaders of events, had more reasons than anybody to prevent words and deeds on the part of our allies which might jeopardise our great victories.


Not long afterwards the Serbians themselves had to bow their heads before the inevitable. But having done this without even informing us, they began to complain that we had not supported them in securing a footing on the Adriatic coast. The truth is that when we conveyed to them the urgent counsels of Russia, we invariably declared that we should do everything humanly possible to perform our duty under the treaty of alliance.


From a telegram of M. Sazonoff, reproduced at the end of this chapter, it will be seen that the Serbian chauvinists began to speak of compensations in Macedonia even before Serbia had definitely renounced her claim on an Adriatic port. At the same time reports began to reach us from various sources, confirming a dispatch from M. Hadji-Misheff, our Minister in Athens, that efforts were being made to conclude, if not a regular alliance within the existing one, at least an understanding directed against Bulgaria. We also learned how badly the Greeks and the Serbians were treating the Bulgarian priests and teachers, old and young





[ Carnegie Commission ]


Bulgarian patriots, in Macedonia. Thoroughly reliable and scrupulously verified information on this subject will be found in the Report of the Carnegie Commission of Enquiry [1] which forms a most valuable compendium



1. Report of the International Commission to inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington, D.C., 1914.—Enquête dans les Balkans. Rapport présenté aux Directeurs de la Dotation par les Membres de la Commission d’enquête. Paris, Centre Européen de la Dotation Carnegie, 24, rue Pierre Curie, 1914.


— It is not without interest to recall the names of the members of this Commission. Placed alphabetically, according to the names of their countries, they are : Austria— Dr. Joseph Redlich, Professor of Law at the University of Vienna. England—Mr. Francis W. Hirst, Editor of The Economist, and Mr. H. N. Brailsford, Publicist. France—Baron d’Estoumelles de Constant, Senator, and M. Justin Godard, Advocate and Member of the Chamber of Deputies. Germany—Dr. Walther Schücking, Professor of the Law Faculty of Magdeburg University. Russia—Professor Paul Miliukoff, Member of the Duma. United States—Dr. Samuel T. Dutton, Professor of Columbia University.


The Commission took special care to verify the excesses committed during the two Balkan wars and proved the emptiness of the accusations charging the Bulgarians alone with cruelty. It also established that the Bulgarian Headquarters and the commanders of the Bulgarian Army were the only ones among the belligerents who had issued orders to their officers to observe the Geneva Convention, and not to tolerate any crime or violation of the laws and customs of war among the troops. M. Miliukoff, in a series of articles published in the newspaper Rietch during second half of last year, more than once lays stress on the fact that in this respect the Bulgarian officers were more farsighted than those of some States of the Triple Alliance, and even of other Powers.





of facts concerning the conduct of the Greek and Serbian authorities in that province. Whoever sits down to write about these matters without first having mastered the contents of that volume lays himself open to the suspicion that the truth is not his strongest preoccupation.


And this truth was in every respect a most lamentable one. While in front of Tchataldja and at Bulair the ranks of our brave soldiers grew thinner, fighting in the cause of the Balkan Alliance against the main Turkish armies, discredited champions of old feuds in Macedonia were trying to fan into flame the ethnic passions we had just laid to rest. Helped, I regret to say, by chauvinists in our own ranks, they gradually created an atmosphere most unfavourable to the consolidation of those feelings of brotherhood and friendship among the Balkan nations which alone could have rendered an amicable settlement of their quarrels possible.


In order not to excite passions which have already wrought so much harm to the Balkan peoples and filled their friends abroad with sorrow, I abstain from quoting even the carefully verified proofs, collected by the Carnegie Commission, about the physical and moral ill-treatment to which the Bulgarians in Macedonia were subjected. Neither do I propose to enter into the arcana of our diplomatic struggle with the other allies over the application of the treaty, regulating the fate of Macedonia, which was opened by the circular letter of M. Pashitch. The full





[ Greek pretensions ]


story of these events cannot be written until all the Governments involved in that quarrel have published the materials bearing on it. In the absence of such data I can only use those documents which have already seen the light, especially the reports and telegrams reproduced in the Russian Orange book and the Roumanian Green book. I shall, in the first place, give one of my own telegrams, addressed on April 26, 1913, to M. Bobtcheff, our Minister in Petrograd. My reason for doing so is that the document in question sums up all those destructive tendencies which were at work among the allies and ended by ruining the alliance itself. Of these negative factors the most important consisted in the extravagant pretensions of extreme nationalists, clamouring for the biggest possible territorial gains. As a sample of these exaggerated claims I may mention the Greek proposal for the repartition of the conquered territories which the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs submitted to M. Hadji-Misheff, our Minister in Athens, on October 25, 1912. According to the estimate of MM. Shoppoff and G. Radeff, two of our most competent judges on Macedonian affairs, the scheme of M. Coromilas reserved to Greece a population of 2,000,000, magnanimously leaving us territories inhabited by only 1,300,000 ! In vain did we try to show the manifest unfairness of such a repartition, and insist that, in the absence of a preliminary agreement, the most elementary rules of justice pointed to the respective





forces and sacrifices of the two allies as the best criterion for determining their shares in the profits, as the well-known French economist M. Paul Leroy Beaulieu had proposed. And since we had opposed to the Turks an army of 563,000, as compared with the Greek force of 215,000 (figures established by the Carnegie Commission), while our casualties were three or four times more numerous than theirs, it would have been easy to determine approximately what part of the conquered territories should fall to our share and what part should go to Greece. But M. Coromilas showed himself intractable. He more than once threatened that Greece would never sign a treaty of peace with Turkey so long as we declined to conclude a preliminary agreement on the territorial repartition. As a matter of fact, Greece refused to sign the armistice, the chauvinistic press in Athens greeting this decision with shouts of joy. We only heard on December 1 that the Russian Minister in Athens had at last succeeded in persuading M. Venizelos not to insist on settling the future Greco-Bulgarian frontier before formulating the conditions of Greece for the coming peace negotiations. In London M. Venizelos proposed orally to M. Daneff, our principal peace delegate, a new project for fixing the boundaries. After the failure of the London peace conference, M. Venizelos visited Sofia on February 6, 1913, but on my requesting him to formulate in writing the proposal which he had made to M. Daneff





[ Greek procrastinations ]


as a basis for future negotiations, he promised to do so only after his return to Athens. He, however, delayed matters, probably under the influence of M. Coromilas, in much the same way as, later on, Greece did with other promises, such as the appointment of a delegate to fix the positions of the Greek and Bulgarian armies and the question of demobilisation. The Russian Orange book contains several complaints on the part of Russia in connection with these subjects (Nos. 138 and 183). When at last the Greek proposal arrived, it was discovered that M. Coromilas had once more gained the ascendancy and the frontiers were not those of which M. Venizelos had spoken in London. In April 1913 we offered to send M. C. Sarafoff to Athens in order to negotiate on this question of frontiers, but M. Coromilas did not respond to our suggestion, and in this way powerfully assisted our own jingoes who, in opposition to my opinion and that of the entire National Party in Bulgaria, declared against all idea of arbitration on our dispute with Greece. Finally, the principle of arbitration was adopted by the Cabinet of M. Daneff in which our party had a majority, but as M. Daneff was on the point of starting for Petrograd for the definite settlement of the question, war broke out among the allies and dealt the Balkan Alliance a mortal blow.


After the Greeks came the turn of the Serbians to formulate demands outside the scope of the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. On





January 23, 1913, M. Pashitch first spoke to our representative about some rectification of the frontier fixed by the latter act. At the very beginning of March M. Spalaikovitch handed to me on his behalf a note officially asking for compensations not mentioned in the treaty. Long discussions followed with the Serbian Minister in Sofia on the subject of these new Serbian demands in the course of which he declared that, as we could not agree, the entire question ought to be referred to the arbitration provided by the treaty. In view of the unambiguous terms of our agreement and its secret annex, it appeared to us that no conflict could possibly arise between Serbia and ourselves. But this was not the opinion of Serbian extremists. Russia was the first to condemn their exorbitant claims, and continued to manifest her disapproval of the Serbian policy to the end, as is proved by the numerous telegrams of M. Sazonoff from the middle of December 1912 to the close of June 1913. Even after we had rejected the Serbian demand for a revision of the treaty, M. Sazonoff kept pressing the two sides to give their consent, so that Russia might play her part of arbitrator. These documents, which had not been published when the Carnegie Commission was preparing its report, establish beyond dispute :


1. That after we had accepted the invitation of Russia to submit our dispute to her decision, Serbia continued until the very last moment to insist on revision of the treaty





[ Telegram to M. Bobtcheff ]


for which the latter offered no excuse or justification ;


2. That the Greeks and the Serbians were negotiating an alliance against us, counting on the co-operation of Roumania and Turkey ;


3. That in London they delayed signing the Treaty of Peace with Turkey in order to exhaust and weaken our army, until at last they obliged Sir Edward Grey to offer them the choice between signing the treaty and leaving London.


Before giving these documents I will reproduce my telegram of April 26, 1913, to our Minister in Petrograd :



By telegram of the 24th instant, M. Sazonoff informed M. Nekludoff that they are greatly preoccupied with the extreme tension between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia over the question of delimitating the future frontiers ; that they did not wish to admit the possibility of fratricidal strife, and that while addressing urgent counsels of moderation to Athens and Belgrade, they wish to draw our attention also to the incalculable calamities which a conflict among the allies will bring on Bulgaria. There was danger on the part of Roumania and Turkey. Russia had done everything to protect the Bulgarian flanks, but, in the event of a fratricidal war, public opinion in Russia would be against Bulgaria. Russia would remain a passive spectator of the ruin of the Bulgarian cause and would only safeguard her own interests. The Bulgarians were advised not to lose sight of the fact that a conflict with Serbia would render nugatory the treaty of 1912 on which they based their claims to Macedonia. Such an event would also compromise their financial plans by closing the door





for a Bulgarian loan. In conclusion M. Sazonoff presses us to bridle our press and meet M. Pashitch.


Please call on M. Sazonoff and, while conveying to him our gratitude for his continual solicitude on behalf of Bulgaria, express our deep sorrow that he should appear to place us in the same category with our allies as regards the Macedonian crisis. We deny having done anything to bring about the present tension. An impartial inquiry will establish the fact that it was not the Bulgarian press which first began the discussion, but the Greek and Serbian newspapers. M. Sazonoff knows that it was not the Bulgarian Government, but M. Pashitch who, by his letter of March 1, raised the question of a revision of the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. M. Demidoff will tell him that it was not the Bulgarian Government, but M. Venizelos, who after proposing both to M. Daneff in London and to M. Demidoff himself in Athens a definite line of demarcation, now goes back on his word and offers us a vague line, which withholds from us all Greek districts to the west of Cavalla. It was not the Bulgarian Minister of Finance, but the Serbian who solemnly declared in Parliament that there could be no talk of demobilisation so long as the question of the future frontiers remained unsettled. It was not the Bulgarian, but the Serbian Chief of the General Staff who went to Salonica, where Greek and Serbian officers fraternised and visited Monastir by special train, returning to Uskub by way of Tetovo. It was not we, but others who went to seek an alliance against those of their allies who had made sacrifices twice or three times as great as they had done for the common cause. Finally and above all, while we are draining the strength of both nation and army, and unaided are holding back the great Turkish forces behind Tchataldja and Bulair, Greeks and Serbians are massing troops not against the common enemy, but against us. There are seven





[ Request for arbitration ]


Greek divisions round Salonica, two Serbian divisions which recently returned from Adrianople are kept at Pirot ready for a war with Bulgaria, while the remaining Serbian army is concentrating against us from Koumanovo to Monastir. If M. Sazonoff should ask for further proof that we are not responsible for the present acute tension, but are on the contrary sincerely desirous of a peaceful settlement of the dispute, we are in a position to give it him. For this purpose and in order to seek an issue out of the present difficulty, I authorise you to propose to him that, in conformity with article 2 of the secret annex, Russia should settle our dispute with Serbia. The Serbian case will be found stated in the above-mentioned letter of M. Pashitch. We entirely reject the Serbian thesis, and as M. Pashitch wishes to meet us for the same purpose, all interviews are useless, because the Ministerial Council esteems it absolutely impossible to negotiate on such a basis. We insist that the treaty should be carried out. As M. Sazonoff himself knows, our contention that a strict observance of all pledges is necessary for the future of the Balkan nations meets with approval in the highest quarters. There being an open dispute between us and Serbia, and this dispute faffing within the scope of the said article 4, we most urgently request that the Russian Government should undertake its settlement, inviting the two sides to state their cases in order to enlighten the arbitrator. Let me add that when M. Spalaikovitch handed to me the letter of M. Pashitch, he himself admitted, in reply to my declaration that we could not consent to a revision of the treaty, that there was no other way of settling the matter than by recourse to the stipulated arbitration. The prompt announcement that Russia agrees to settle the dispute without any delays will exercise that calming influence on public opinion which M. Sazonoff so much desires. We are now





examining our dispute with Greece, and I shall soon wire to you in what sense you must speak to M. Sazonoff for the settlement of that question also. We most urgently request M. Sazonoff to reassure both Serbia and Greece with respect to our intentions and to induce them to stop the massing of troops and to abstain from all acts which might have fateful consequences for the Balkan nations.





I will add that a month after the date of this telegram we agreed to the meeting with M. Pashitch which M. Sazonoff had recommended, and I saw the Serbian Prime Minister on June 1, 1913. In the course of the interview, I asked in the first place that our treaties with Serbia should be published, so as to enlighten public opinion in Serbia, which had been misled by the spreading of false reports regarding their contents. Serbia, however, refused to comply with my request. Nothing was said on this occasion about the revision of the treaty. On that subject we replied by our note of June 18 and in the Memorandum of June 25, part of which will be found at the end of the present volume.


I now propose to reproduce the Russian and Roumanian documents to which reference has already been made and which will be found in the Russian Orange book (Nos. 131, 13S, 138, 140, 141, 160, 161, 163, 166, 181, 233, 235, 241, and 253) and in the Roumanian Green book (Nos. 107, 116, 130, 134, and 137).





[ Russia warns Serbia ]


The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Belgrade



December 16, 1912.


In his conversation with our Ambassador in Paris, M. Novakovitch said that in the event of non-compliance with the Serbian demand for sovereign ownership of an Adriatic port, Serbia would be forced to look for compensation beyond the frontiers fixed by the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. On the other hand, our latest information speaks of a considerable change in the tone of the Turkish plenipotentiaries, thus indicating the danger which might result from disagreements among the allies.


We think that the vital interests of Serbia and of all the allies demand the speediest conclusion of peace.


It is equally important that complete unity should continue to reign between Bulgaria and Serbia. A violation of the territorial understanding between the two countries, which has been attained at the cost of so much labour, can find in us neither sympathy nor support.


We consider that it is in the interest of the allies not to raise the subject of the delimitation so long as the principal question with reference to the negotiations in London remains unsettled.



The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Belgrade



March 10, 1913.


Referring to my telegram to our Minister in Sofia, of March 8, we cannot help regretting that, without waiting for the conclusion of peace, the Serbian Government should raise a question with which





we can have no sympathy, because it is in contradiction to the obligations assumed by the Serbian Government.





The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Belgrade



April 17, 1913.


The Bulgarian Minister, acting on instructions from the Sofia Cabinet, has drawn our attention to the dangerous under-currents which threaten the existence of the Balkan Alliance. For instance, not long ago the Serbian Finance Minister asked for supplementary military credits for a period from the conclusion of peace until the final repartition of the conquered territories among the allies. The Greek and Serbian armies are being reinforced against the Bulgarian troops. Besides, it appears that special negotiations have been opened between Serbia and Greece, it being seriously rumoured that an alliance between those two countries has been concluded. Please point out to the Foreign Minister how serious and regrettable are all these measures, which can only lead to a disruption of the Balkan Alliance.





From the Russian Minister in Sofia


April 19, 1913.


The enmity between Bulgarians, on one side, and Greeks and Serbians, on the other, assumes threatening proportions. The Serbians are fortifying themselves at Monastir and are massing troops at Veles. The Greeks have sent reinforcements towards Negrita and other places. The Bulgarian press, especially the Opposition newspapers, are





[ Growing tension ]


full of accusations and attacks upon the allies. People openly talk of an inevitable conflict with them, and confidence is expressed that the Bulgarians will in a few days defeat the allies, taking Salonica and southern Macedonia. The Bulgarian Headquarters are taking measures in the event of the outbreak of a fratricidal war.





The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Ministers in Belgrade and Sofia



April 30, 1913.


The daily growing tension in the relation between Bulgaria and Serbia fills us with the most serious apprehensions.


Russia, who worked so hard for a reconciliation between Bulgaria and Serbia, and followed with joy their successes, hoping that they would consolidate the Balkan Alliance, sees with real sorrow the change in their relations which threatens the results already attained with ruin at the hands of the allies themselves and to the manifest triumph of their common enemies, who had hitherto been powerless to spread discord in their ranks.


In view of all this, and without entering into any discussion as regards the substance of their quarrel, on which we are anxious to preserve the most absolute impartiality towards either side, we deem it our duty to remind them of a stipulation in the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty which cannot lose its force, whatever system of interpretation be adopted, viz. that every dispute concerning the interpretation or the application of the treaty and the military convention must be submitted to the arbitration of Russia, as soon as one of the sides declares that it





is impossible to attain agreement by direct negotiations.


Without waiting for the request of either party, which would denote an extreme tension between them, Russia leaves it to the two allied Governments to inform her in due time that all disagreements will be settled in the way indicated by the treaty and not by armed force.


We instruct you to make a declaration in the above sense to the Government to which you are accredited.





From the Russian Minister in Sofia


May 2, 1913.


I had a conversation with M. Gueshoff on the subject of your telegram of April 30. He asked me to inform you that Bulgaria is in sympathy with your proposal that all disputes between Bulgaria and Serbia should be settled in the way indicated by the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. M. Gueshoff is wiring to the Bulgarian Minister in Petrograd to repeat this to you, and to express in advance the confidence of Bulgaria in the equity and impartiality of the arbitration verdict of the Russian Government.





From the Russian Minister in Belgrade


May 2, 1913.


M. Pashitch categorically assures me that not only does Serbia harbour no aggressive intentions against Bulgaria, but that, on the contrary, he values as before a sincere friendship with her. An acceptance of the principle of a revision of the treaty, which could not have anticipated all the events, does not signify its violation. M. Pashitch pointed out that





[ Revision of the Treaty ]


if the allies would only conscientiously and impartially consider the achievements of each party, they could easily arrive at an understanding, and that if the disagreements should prove insurmountable, there is an issue out of the difficulty—the supreme arbitrament of Russia. As far as is known, Greece looks at this question in the same way. M. Pashitch denied that Serbia has concluded any separate agreement with Greece, but that might be done as a means of self-defence against an aggression on the part of Bulgaria. M. Pashitch is ready to start immediately for a neutral place in order to have a friendly consultation with the allied Prime Ministers.





From the Russian Minister in Belgrade


May 4, 1913.


I spoke to M. Pashitch on the contents of your telegram of April 20.


He said that Serbia continued to be in favour of the alliance with Bulgaria and did not intend to destroy it, but only maintained that in view of what has happened the treaty of alliance must undergo an amicable revision. He still hopes that the two countries will arrive at a friendly understanding. Should this, however, prove impossible, the Serbian Government is always ready, in accordance with the treaty, to submit its claims and interpretation to the arbitrament of the Imperial Government.





From the Russian Minister in Belgrade


May 8, 1913.


M. Pashitch is profoundly grateful to the Imperial Government for its benevolent attitude towards





Serbia and its appreciation of the Serbian efforts to guide the policy of Serbia in accordance with the friendly counsels of Russia. As already reported in my telegram of May 4, he has expressed his willingness to conform himself to the advice of Russia in the matter of the Serbo-Bulgarian dispute. But in order to make clear the character of the dispute which has arisen ; to give a moral satisfaction to the Serbian army ; to calm the political excitement in the' country ; to preserve ties with Greece, who has identical interests with Serbia, and in that way to facilitate the task of the arbitrator—M. Pashitch considers it absolutely necessary that there should be a preliminary friendly exchange of views between the allied Premiers, or at least between their plenipotentiaries.





The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Ministers in Belgrade and Athens



May 27, 1913.


It looks as if the Serbian and Greek Governments are playing a dilatory and dangerous game, professing to us their peaceful intentions, but at the same time avoiding clear and definite replies to our proposals and getting ready for a common war against Bulgaria.


We must warn the two Governments against the ruinous consequences of such a policy, and therefore instruct you to make the most serious representations to that effect to the Foreign Secretary.







[ Serbian dilatoriness ]



The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Belgrade



June 18, 1913.


Please use your influence in order to obtain a reply from M. Pashitch about his consent to arbitration as soon as possible. All further resistance or delay might have the most disastrous consequences.


We learn from a most reliable source that the present situation cannot last more than a few days, after which there are grounds for fearing the most serious complications.





The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Belgrade



June 19, 1913.


The information received from various sources confirms the growing agitation in the Bulgarian army in favour of immediate war or demobilisation. If Serbia does not accept the arbitration of Russia without reservation, as Bulgaria has done, the Bulgarian Government refuses to wait any longer, and the proposed meeting of the Premiers will not take place.


An unconditional acceptance by Serbia of Russian arbitration can in no way be considered as a concession to Bulgaria.


The consent of Serbia for the purpose indicated is indispensable not only to Bulgaria, but to us also, because without an assurance that the two sides will accept arbitration unconditionally we cannot fulfil our mission as arbitrators.


Please invite M. Pashitch to give us a clear and definite reply without delay, and use all your influence





for the purpose of obviating another ruinous conflict among the allies.





From the Russian Minister in Belgrade


June 21, 1913.


I have received your telegrams of June 18 and 19. Following your instructions, I am using all my efforts to persuade the Serbian Government to accept our arbitration without reservations, but for the time being am meeting with great difficulties. The general impression here is that we want to force Serbia to accept all the demands of Bulgaria, and against this impression I am struggling with all my energy. All the same, I have not lost hope of a satisfactory settlement.





The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Russian Minister in Sofia



June 25, 1913.


. . .We blame Serbia also for not having given us a definite answer whether she will submit to the arbitration of the Imperial Government.





The Roumanian Minister in Belgrade to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest



March 8, 1913.


I have learned from several places that Serbia is negotiating with the Greeks for the purpose of concluding a defensive alliance against Bulgaria. Both the Serbian Government and the Greek





[ Roumania approached ]


Minister here are impenetrable. The latter spends daily several hours in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.





The Roumanian Minister in Belgrade to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest


. . . General Radko Dimitrieff has been sent to Petrograd in connection with the fixing of the boundaries between the allies, who evidently are no longer able to agree among themselves. All those with whom I have spoken tell me that, from the general to the last soldier, the Serbians under arms refuse to abandon Monastir and the other towns claimed by the Bulgarians in virtue of the treaty of alliance, and would rather be killed by Savoff than give up what they have conquered.





Report to H.M. the Roumanian King by the Rotimanian Minister of Foreign Affairs



April 19, 1913.


This morning at 9 o’clock I was visited by M. Ristitch, the Serbian Minister, who spoke to me about the disagreements between Serbians and Bulgarians. He told me that the Bulgarians have not fulfilled the treaty obligations towards Serbia, etc. During these preliminary remarks, in the course of which I was informed of the mutual engagements of the allies, M. Ristitch told me that M. Pashitch was still in favour of a friendly understanding with the Bulgarian Government, but that, should a conflict become unavoidable, he has instructed him to ask us what our conduct would be





and whether we were inclined to conclude with Serbia a purely defensive alliance against Bulgaria.


I answered that I must first report on the proposal which has been made to us to H.M. the King, and will reply later on. It is possible that my reply might be delayed pending the result of the intervention in Petrograd.


Bearing in mind that the King of Greece, in the course of the audience given to our Minister towards the end of March, also spoke of an alliance between Greece and Roumania against the Bulgarian pretensions, it is possible that the Greek Government will, in its turn, make us proposals similar to those of Serbia. Given the firm attitude of H.M. the King, it is only natural that I should reply to the Greek Government in the same evasive manner. There is always a danger that before matters come to a head between the allies and Bulgaria and war breaks out, all negotiations for an alliance with us might only serve to render the Bulgarians more conciliatory towards the claims of Greeks and Serbians and help to consolidate their alliance, to the detriment of Roumania.


We cannot intervene except when war breaks out between Greeks, Serbians, and Bulgarians. At that moment our hands must be free, so that we shall be able to impose peace.


T. Maioresco.



Report to H.M. the Roumanian King by the Roumanian Minister for Foreign Affairs



May 15, 1913.


At 11 o’clock this morning the Greek Minister, M. Papadiamantopoulos, visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, acting on instructions from his Government, made me the following oral communication :





[ Greek proposals ]


1. The Greek Government will grant to all the Macedonian-Roumanian churches and schools in the territories annexed by Greece full liberty to carry on their work and to use the Macedonian-Roumanian language.


I replied that we expected that much after the declaration made by M. Venizelos to M. Take Ionesco in London, and requested him to give me the same declaration in writing and to add that Roumania will be allowed to subsidise these churches and schools, as under the Turkish rule, and that in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox canons the said Macedonian-Roumanian church will be entitled to have its own episcopate.


M. Papadiamantopoulos added that :


2. The Greek Government wishes to know whether we are prepared to conclude an alliance with Greece in view of the fact that the demands of Bulgaria are becoming more threatening.


I replied to him that I could not answer such a question before reporting the matter to H.M. the King and to the other Ministers, and that in my view Parliament must first finish with the question of the intervention in Petrograd, after which we could decide what conduct Roumania must follow in the event of a new Balkan crisis.


T. Maioresco.



Report to H.M. the Roumanian King by the Roumanian Minister of Foreign Affairs



Sunday, June 9, 1913.


At 10 o’clock this morning the Greek Minister, M. Papadiamantopoulos, again called on me to speak about an alliance with Greece against an excessive expansion of Bulgaria, adding that Turkey also might participate in such an alliance. I replied to him that as far as Turkey was concerned, it





would be wiser to wait until her internal condition had been consolidated. With respect to a rapprochement with Greece, I postponed my reply until a later moment, when the friction between the allies should become greater.


T. Maioresco.



While these efforts were being made to enlist fresh allies against us, everything was done to delay the signature of the peace treaty with Turkey, which had been drafted in London as far back as May 2, 1913. The negotiations carried on with third parties were, naturally, not a matter of public knowledge. But the efforts of the Greek and the Serbian Government to retard the conclusion of peace in London could not remain a secret. The excitement which these delays caused in our army and throughout Bulgaria was very great. Nothing was so much exploited against our allies as these unfortunate tergiversations. More than once I drew the attention of the allied Governments and of the Great Powers to the dangerous consequences which such a procrastinating policy might produce. But all was in vain, and there was worse to follow. According to a telegram from one of our peace delegates in London, “the Serbian and the Greek delegates, before signing the treaty, visited Tewfik Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador, and asked him to wire to Constantinople in order that instructions should be sent to Osman Nizami Pasha to delay the signature of the treaty, promising Turkey as compensation a Thracian frontier to the





[ Intervention of England ]


west of Adrianople, when the war between Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece breaks out. But Tewfik Pasha, who is an experienced statesman of the old school, did not accede to their offer, and even refused to wire to Constantinople.”


Indignant at such conduct, every detail of which he probably knew, Sir Edward Grey was at last driven to the necessity of taking the action which he described in the following telegram to the British Ambassadors abroad :



May 28, 1913.


Sir Edward Grey has told the Balkan delegates that those of them who are willing to sign the preliminary treaty without any alterations should do so immediately. Those who are not disposed to sign had better leave London, as it is useless for them to remain and continue to engage in discussions of which the only result is indefinite delay. Those who do sign will have our moral support.



At the same time Reuter’s Agency announced that “the declaration of Sir Edward Grey was causing great surprise in certain Balkan circles which see in it an open intervention instead of mere mediation.”


Two days later the treaty was signed by all the delegates. This success of the Balkan Alliance was greeted with enthusiasm by all the friends of the allies. The only discordant note came from an allied quarter. By a telegram dated May 30, the day on which the treaty of peace was signed, M. Sarafoff, our delegate in Salonica, informed





me that M. Venizelos had complained to him of “the Great Powers having imposed on them the signature, without even taking into consideration the reservations which the allies had made.”


But this jarring voice did not spoil the triumph of the Balkan Alliance. The latter had not only overcome the armies of Turkey, but also the petty schemings of the Greek and Serbian chauvinists, of whose agitations both MM. Pashitch and Venizelos had complained, but whose nefarious pressure they could not resist. Unfortunately, there were among our allies, as in our own midst, both civilians and soldiers who had embraced the principles of nationalism in their most exaggerated, exclusive, and aggressive form. I am certainly not insulting them, or doing them any injustice, in attributing to them what they, no doubt, consider to be a virtue. But I hold it my duty to recall the fatal part which they played in the dramatic days ending with the signature of the Treaty of London and during the four tragic weeks which followed that event and marked the interval between the apotheosis and the downfall of the Balkan Alliance.


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