|Memorandum by Sir Ralph Paget and Sir William Tyrrell (1916)
|Memorandum on the territorial settlement in post-war Europe. FO 371/2804/180510/W39 . 7 August 1916|
In framing the suggestions which are set out below we have been guided largely by the following considerations:- His Majesty’s Government have announced that one of their chief objects in the present war is to ensure that all the States of Europe, great and small, shall in the future be in a position to achieve their national development in freedom and security. It is clear, moreover, that no peace can be satisfactory to this country unless it promises to be durable, and an essential condition of such a peace is that it should give full scope to national aspirations as far as practicable. The principle of nationality should therefore be one of the governing factors in the consideration of territorial arrangements after the war.
For similar reasons we should avoid leaving any state subject to grievous economic disadvantage, as for instance by not providing it with the outlets necessary for its commercial development, since the absence of such facilities would necessarily affect the permanent character of any settlement.
In giving effect to the above principles, however, we are limited in the first place by the pledges already given to our Allies which may, as for instance in the case of Italy, be difficult to reconcile with the claims of nationalities. We must realise further that our Allies, apart from any promises which we may have made to them, may put forward claims conflicting with the principle of nationality. In such an event our attitude should be guided by circumstances generally and British interests in particular. Lastly, we should not push the principle of nationality so far as unduly to strengthen any State which is likely to be a cause of danger to European peace in the future.
By the Declaration of the 14th February, 1916, the three allied Powers are pledged to the restoration of Belgium’s political and economic independence, and to her being largely indemnified for the losses she has suffered. The extent of these losses should properly be estimated by a Commission of the most independent character that can be obtained, which might be nominated by the United States, or The Hague Tribunal, or the Sovereign of some neutral State. It is evident that Germany’s financial situation at the close of the war may be such as to render it difficult, if not impossible, for her to pay the amount to which Belgium may be found entitled in a lump sum, even if spread over a limited number of years; but what means can be devised to extract from Germany the equivalent of a prompt payment of a money indemnity is in the main a financial question with which we scarcely feel competent to deal. It will remain a vital British interest after the war, as it was before it, to prevent Germany from obtaining access to the Belgian coasts. Recent events have shown conclusively that that interest is not effectively safeguarded by treaties providing for Belgian neutrality under international guarantees; we submit that Belgian independence will be better secured by substituting a treaty of permanent alliance between Belgium, France, and ourselves in the place of the present safeguards. It is understood that Belgium herself would welcome such an alliance. This proposal is open to the objection that it commits us to continental alliances and a probable increase of our military obligations. In our opinion, however, there is no alternative so long as it is a vital interest of this country to prevent the German invasion of Belgium, and so long as the letter is incapable of undertaking its own defence.
The experience of this war has shown that treaties guaranteeing neutrality have failed to secure the object for which they were concluded, and have, on the contrary, in the case of Belgium, had the effect of causing her to neglect the adoption of measures for the defence of her integrity. Belgium will certainly not wish for a renewal of the Treaty of 1839, and in this connection the Allies will have to reconsider the provisions of the Treaty of London of 1867, which guaranteed the neutrality of Luxemburg. A practical solution would seem to be the abrogation of the Treaty of London of 1867 and the incorporation of Luxemburg into Belgium, from which it was detached in 1839.
ALSACE AND LORRAINE
We should be mainly guided by French views. If the French, in addition to Alsace-Lorain, desire a further rectification of frontier on strategic grounds, no objection should be raised, provided the wishes of the population are consulted. We should, however, deprecate, as far as possible, any attempt on the part of France to incorporate any considerable extent of German territory on the plea of strategical exigencies.
HELIGOLAND, THE KIEL CANAL, AND SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
The question of Heligoland and the Kiel Canal must of course engage the most earnest attention of the Allies, and especially of Great Britain. We refrain, however, from making any recommendation on this subject at present, as we understand that it is being reserved for the consideration of the Admiralty, who are the Department primarily concerned. The question is also intimately connected with the future of Schleswig-Holstein in so far as, apart from general considerations, the future of the Kiel Canal will largely determine the attitude of this country on the subject. Until we are in possession of the naval views on the future of Heligoland and Kiel Canal we refrain from making any definite suggestions, but we should like to mention a few considerations that deserve attention. From the ethnographical point of view, Holstein should remain in German possession, as its population is entirely German. As regards Schleswig, the German population is very considerable, and should it be decided to restore it to Denmark, such restoration should be subject to a plebiscite at the willingness of Denmark to recover its possession. The future of Heligoland is obviously a subject mainly for naval decision, but it should be remembered that the ethnographical principle will not be violated if it be decided to leave Heligoland in possession of its present owners, as its population is entirely German. Moreover, Heligoland reverted to Germany as a result of a bargain between two countries. Germany obtained Heligoland and we obtained Zanzibar. Its retention, therefore, by Germany would be no blow to English amour-propre, while its transfer to England would be a heavy blow to German feelings without obtaining, from a political point of view, any adequate advantages.
BELGIUM AND THE SCHELDT
It may be presumed that on military grounds it will be desirable not to renew treaty arrangements heretofore in force respecting Belgian neutrality, but to substitute for them a treaty of permanent alliance between Belgium, France, and ourselves, which would give us a voice in the maintenance of Belgium’s defences. In order to enable us in case of need to land a force rapidly in Belgium, it should be provided that the western branch of the Scheldt shall remain open at all times to vessels of war, and Holland should be precluded from fortifying Flushing, or the banks of this branch of the Scheldt. Theworkofmaintainingthewaterwayinastatefitfornavigation should be left in the hands of Belgium with all necessary facilities for carrying out the task. Theproposedarrangementwouldnodoubtconstituteafurther restriction of Holland’s sovereign rights over the waters of the Scheldt. Theycan,however,bejustifiedonthegroundofthewholly exceptional position of Antwerp, Belgium’s only important seaport, and by the fact that in the present conflictHollandhasclaimed to be entitled, and in fact bound as a neutral, to prevent Allied warships from passing through the Scheldt to Antwerp for the purpose of defending Belgium. As an inducement to Holland to accept these arrangements about the navigation of the Scheldt with good grace, the Allies might engage to ensure to her the safe possession of her colonies in the East. Thepresentsituation,however,istoofluidtoenableustoformulate anything in the nature of finalviews. A memorandum by the Admiralty on the subject is annexed. Memorandum by the Admiralty on the Status of Antwerp and the Scheldt Thefinalopinion,fromtheAdmiraltypointofview,withregard to the treaty arrangements which it would be desirable to make after the war concerning the status of Antwerp and the Scheldt, would appear to depend to a considerable extent on factors which cannot be known until the war is over. Such questions, for instance, as the degree of military assistance to be given by Great Britain at the outbreak of war in the defence of Belgium against invasion by Germany, the decision as to whether it would be best to land the army at Antwerp, or at some other port, and other points would have to be settled between the Governments of Great Britain, France, and Belgium, and these decisions would affecttheimportancetobeattachedtokeepingtheScheldt open. It may, however, be stated generally that, if it could be depended upon that the Scheldt could be kept perfectly free for navigation in war time, it would be to the advantage of Great Britain and Belgium, but as Germany would probably not allow this state of things to exist for a moment after war was declared, and as it is so easy to stop the trafficbyminesintheriverandgunsontravelling carriages on the banks, it would not appear wise to depend upon any treaty arrangements made with Holland to this end. In war troops could not use the Scheldt to reach Antwerp unless Holland was entirely friendly. Precluding Holland from fortifying the banks of the West Scheldt would be of little use. Ships in the East Scheldt, from its entrance to Bergen-op-Zoom, can bombard the West Scheldt, apart from guns on land. Thisuncertaintyofbeingunabletorelyonfreenavigationwould also make it undesirable to constitute a naval port of Antwer ThedistancefromAntwerptoTerschellingbeinggreaterthanfrom some English ports, no important strategic advantage would be gained by its use, although the river would affordausefulbasefor destroyers or other craft acting against submarines in the vicinity. TheseconsiderationswillnodoubtbemadecleartoHolland and other nations by the experience of the war. In May 1911 the British Government decided that “the fortificationofFlushingdoesnotaffectBritishinterestsmaterially.”
Thisdecisionwasarrivedatmainlyonastatementmadeina note by the Imperial General Stuff,andagreedbytheAdmiralty,that:- “Mines, torpedoes, and improvised defences would be sufficienttopreventtheascenttotheScheldt.” General Sir William Nicholson enquired whether the possibility of Flushing, when fortified,beingusedasabaseforhostileoffensiveactionwasimmaterial. Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson said that it would make no appreciable differencetonavalstrategicconditions,andevenifitdid,we had no right to interfere. Beliefs which held good in 1911. Germany thought England would not respect the neutrality of Holland. England thought the same of Germany, if Holland closed the Scheldt. Both countries thought that German trade carried in neutral bottoms would be free to enter neutral ports, and for this reason it was more to Germany’s advantage to keep Holland neutral than to occupy her territory and thus prevent England from forming a strategic base in her ports. It was believed that Germany would not be likely to infringe Belgian neutrality, and would not attack France through Belgium, but that if she did, she would not respect Holland either, and would form a naval base at Antwerp, and occupy Holland – should the letter raise objections to the use of the Scheldt. Theblockadeofportswasthenconsideredafeasibleoperation. It was thought that if the Germans did invade Belgium they would be in Antwerp in twenty days. Every one of these beliefs was falsified.
TheAllieswhowenttowarfortheemancipationofnationalities will inevitably be called upon to deal with the Polish question. Apart, however, from this consideration the latter is intimately connected with the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy, as it is closely bound up with the future of the States that will secede from Austria-Hungary. Thisaspectoftheproblemisconsideredinanother portion of this report. If it be admitted that the question of Poland must be faced for the above reasons, we have to consider the solutions which are possible. Thefirst,andonthefaceofitthesimplest, would be the absorption by Russia of all Polish-speaking districts of Upper Silesia. Thissolution,thoughsimpleinappearance,has nothing to recommend it. It is most unlikely that Russia would feel inclined to add a large number of Poles to the already existing number of nationalities that cause her so much trouble. Russia has already before the war become alarmed at what we might call the Polish invasion of Lithuania, Volhynia and Little Russia. TheWestern Allies might very properly take exception to the extension of Russian boundaries in Europe to within 125 miles of Berlin and about 200 miles of Vienna. Such an extension would secure for Russia a preponderance that might become a serious menace to the balance of power. We may, therefore, safely set aside a resolution which would not recommend itself either to Russia, or France, or England, not to mention the Poles themselves, who would be most strongly opposed to such an absorption. Moreover, it would run counter to the proclamation of the Grand Duke which was issued at the beginning of the war, and which the Emperor of Russia has pledged himself to maintain. A second solution might be the resurrection of the Polish State, which would enjoy under Russian sovereignty an autonomy on the lines of, say, the Grand Duchy of Finland. We understand from well-informed Russian sources that there would be considerable opposition in Russia to the grant of autonomy to Poland, on the ground that it would lead to similar requests from other nationalities under Russian rule, such as the Armenians, the Lithuanians, the Ruthenians, the Letts, and so on. Moreover, a Poland under Russian sovereignty would enjoy the same fiscalprivilegesas the rest of Russia, and would meet with considerable opposition on the part of Russian commercial and financialclasses,whodread,with good reason, Polish competition in Russian markets. In fact, those Russian classes go so far as to say that such a solution would substitute Polish for the hitherto existing German absorption of Russian commerce. For political and economic reasons, therefore, we may expect strong Russian opposition to this solution. A third alternative would be the creation of a Polish kingdom under a Russian Grand Duke. Thiskingdomwouldbemerelyconnected with Russia by the personal link of its ruler, but would in every other respect enjoy complete independence. Thegrantofindependence under such conditions would satisfy to the full the national aspiration of the Polish nation, and if it could be coupled with the acquisition of a commercial outlet for Poland in the Baltic, it would lead to the establishment of a State that, from the point of view of national feeling and economic interests, promises stability. Given the strong race antagonism of Poland to Prussia, which has secured during this war the open adhesion of the Russian Poles and the tacit support of what is best in Galicia and the Grand Duchy of Posen, there is every reason to expect that the future Polish State would become a bufferStatebetweenRussiaandGermanyinthebest sense of the word, that is to say, it would secure for Russia a Poland that would be most unlikely to be found in league against Russia, as long as Russia remained faithful to the programme of the Allies, which is respect for the independence of small nations. ThisnewPolishStatewouldbeoneofthemostpowerful units among the independent countries which are expected to come into existence upon the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. From the point of view of England and France this conglomeration of States would prove an efficientbarrieragainstRussianpreponderance in Europe and German extension towards the Near East, because these states would be happy and contented in the realisation of their national aspirations, and strong as regards their economic future, which would be secured by the possession of their natural commercial outlet to the sea. TheCongressofViennaattempted to secure a balance of power against France by the creation of kingdoms which were expected to prove a formidable barrier to any French aggression in the future. But these creations did not fulfilthatexpectation,becausetheywereartificialanddidnotbring contentment and prosperity to the people who formed part of them. Thesolutionwerecommendhasthisinitsfavour,thatitis based on more solid and lasting foundations than were obtained by the provisions of the Treaty of Vienna. We are quite alive to the opposition such a proposal may encounter at Petrograd; we also realise that it is not likely to be overcome unless the military situation should oblige Russia to require Anglo-French co-operation in order to secure the evacuation of her territory which is now in the hands of enemy. We do not presume for one moment, to offersuggestions as to how we can overcome any such opposition, but we should like to place it on record that the solution which we have submitted is the best in the interest of the Allies, as it will preserve for them the reputation of good faith, and constitute a great asset in their favour among the nationalities that are about to be created by their victory; it will seriously weaken Prussia by withdrawing from her a very capable and prosperous population, together with the loss of the considerable coalfieldsofSilesia,andaboveallitwillconsiderably add to the number of States in the future composition of Europe whose desires and interests will all tend in the direction of establishing the rule of right over the rule of might. In other words, we shall assist in creating nations that will be keen in their sympathy with our desire for a rule of peace, which shall materially decrease the burden of armaments that so heavily hampered the national and economic aspirations of the people of Europe. We annex a map based on ethnographical lines which, after enquiry regarding the distribution of the Poles, shows the frontiers a new Polish State might fairly claim. Thefiguresofthepopulationare taken from the German officialcensus.
TheclearestBritishinterestintheBalkanswouldappeartobe the existence in the future of some combination of Balkan States sufficientlystrongtoserveasa counterpoisetotheGermanicPowers on the one hand, and eventually to a greatly enlarged Russia on the other. Although the creation of a Balkan bloc, including Serbia and Bulgaria, may be impracticable for at least a generation to come, we should at any rate avoid any territorial rearrangements which would make a reconciliation between these two States entirely impossible. For that reason, and also with the more general object of arriving at a durable settlement, we must bear in mind the two principles of nationality and of reasonable economic facilities to which reference is made at the commencement of this report. Bulgaria Macedonia. - If we could be guided solely by the above considerations we should unquestionably favour the retention by Bulgaria of the so-called “uncontested zone” of Macedonia, i.e. the zone bounded on the west by the line Egri–Palanka–Sopot–Ochrida, and to the south by the present Greek frontier (vide Appendix I). It is not seriously disputed that the population of this region was predominately Bulgarian at the time of the outbreak of the present conflict.Bulgaria’sclaimtoitwasimplicitlyrecognisedbythe Serbs in the Secret Annexe to the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty of the 29th February, 1912, and by the Allied Powers themselves in their offertoguaranteeitspossessiontoBulgariaifshejoinedtheirside. ThepossessionofSouthernMacedoniahasbecomeamatterof passionate national sentiment with the Bulgars, and whatever dynastic changes may take place in Bulgaria it is tolerably certain that the Bulgarians, if they are deprived of the uncontested zone, will size the firstopportunityofattemptingtorecoverit,justasthey did after the Treaty of Bucharest. Thechiefpracticalobjectionthatmaybeurgedagainstthesuggested arrangement is that it would leave a large section of the Uscub - Salonica Railway in the hands of Bulgaria, thus making Serbia dependant on that country, as well as on Greece, for her railway access to the Aegean. Thereplyisthatunderthesettlementwhich we are now contemplating (see below), Serbia will have access through Serbian territory at several points to the Adriatic, and it is proposed to give her a coterminous frontier with Greece west of Lake Ochrida (vide Appendix II), which would eventually enable her to link up with the Greek railway system, and thus secure also an outlet to the Aegean. TheattributionoftheuncontestedzonetoBulgariawouldtherefore be the logical solution, but in practice it may not be feasible to adopt it. If at the time when negotiation are opened the Serbians are in possession of all the territory which they held before the war it would manifestly be impracticable to call on them to surrender a portion of it to the Bulgarians. Moreover, public opinion in Russia may be found averse to an arrangement which would be regarded as equivalent to rewarding Bulgaria for having sided with enemy. We therefore think that His Majesty’s Government, who are already suspected in the Balkans for Bulgarophilism, avoid any appearance of initiating such a proposal. Should, however, the situation be such at the close of the war that Serbia herself admits the necessity of a compromise on this basis with Bulgaria, we should do our best to promote it. A means of retaining for Serbia under the same conditions as hitherto her trading through Salonica would be by the internationalisation of the Vardar Railway under the guarantee of the Entente Powers. Such a scheme would, however, in our opinion, impose serious obligations on the guaranteeing Powers without affording Serbia the same security as she previously enjoyed, and we do not therefore recommend its adoption. Thrace. On the assumption that Russia obtains possession of all the territory for which she has stipulated north of the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora up to the Enos-Midia line, there appear to be three possible ways of disposing of the remainder of the Adrianople vilayet comprised between that line and the present Bulgarian frontier. It may be assigned either to Russia, Greece, or Bulgaria. ThepopulationoftheterritoryinquestionispredominantlyTurkish, but there are Greek colonies, chieflyintheneighbourhood of Kirk Kilisse and in the town of Adrianople. TheBulgarianpopulation in the region is scattered, and probably slightly superior in numbers to the Greek. To award the northern portion of the Adrianople vilayet to Russia(?) is open to the very grave objection that Russia would thereby acquire too complete a domination in the Balkan Peninsula. We think that this situation would be detrimental to British interests, and should therefore meet with our most strenuous opposition. If it were decided to allot this same region to Greece, the latter would inevitably also claim the southern portion of Bulgarian Thrace,inordertoestablishconnectionwithhernewacquisition. ThiswoulddepriveBulgariaofaccesstotheAegean,andwould make a conflictbetweenGreeceandBulgariaamatterofcertainty sooner or latter. Thereremainsthethirdsolution:toallotThracenorthoftheEnos-Midia line to Bulgaria. It is open to the objection that the latter, having sided against the Allies, would be receiving practically the same territory as had been offeredtoherintheeventofherjoining us. Thisobjectionisinpartsentimental,andshouldnotbeallowed to outweigh the consideration that, looking to the future, it will be to our interest to leave Bulgaria after the peace settlement so far contended and strong as to encourage her to emancipate herself from German influence. Further, it is to be anticipated that the acquisition of Northern ThracebyBulgariamaybeobjectedtobyRussiaontheground that Adrianople in Bulgarian hands will be a standing menace to the Russian position south of the Enos-Media line; but this difficultymightbemetbystipulatingthatthefortressofAdrianopleshall be dismantled. In reviewing the whole situation, it should be borne in mind that nothing is more likely to dispose Russia favourably towards Bulgaria than the removal of King Ferdinand. Thisthereforeshouldbe pressed by the Allies as the price of any territorial addition made to Bulgaria; moreover, she should be called upon to pay as large an indemnity to Serbia as her financeswillallow. Greece and Roumania Greece and Roumania deserve but little consideration at the hands of the Allies. If, therefore, they should persist in their present attitude, the Allies will be entitled to consider only the general interest when it comes to settling the frontiers of those two States. As regards Roumania, the Allies are bound by the pledge given by Russia, under which Bukowina and the Roumanian portion of Transsylvania were to be assigned to Roumania. We do not think that any extension of Roumania into the Banat would be desirable in the common interests of the Allies, and therefore the Roumanian portion of the Banat which does not go to Serbia should be left to Hungary. Thispointisfurtherelaboratedinournote on the latter country. We recommend the division of the Banat between Serbia and Hungary in preference to its division between Serbia and Roumania, as Serbia is more likely to get on with a defeated Hungary than with a disappointed Roumania. As regards Greece, considerations of general policy would point in the direction of leaving it in possession of its present territories. In order, however, in the event of Bulgaria retaining Macedonia, to secure a Serbia conterminous with Greece, Greece should be given the southern portion of Albania up to a line drawn west from Lake Ochrida, following the course of the Skumbi River down to its outlet into the Adriatic.* (* Since this report was drafted, Roumania has joined the Allies)
Albania. The frontiers of an autonomous Mussulman State:- Thenorth,theRiverMati;totheeast,theTiranaMountains, then following the Grabe Mountains, so as to exclude Elbasan, and down the course of the Skumbi River to the Sea. TheItalianagreementcontemplatesthecreationofanautonomous Mussulman State. After bringing the Serbian frontier down to the River Mati, and securing a conterminous frontier between Serbia and Greece by a line running due west from Lake Ochrida to the River Skumbi, the area that would remain for the contemplated Albanian Mussulman State would be that comprised within the Mati and Skumbi Rivers, or what has hitherto been known as Essad Pasha’s country. ===AUSTRIA-HUNGARY, SERBIA, MONTENEGRO, AND THE SOUTHERN SLAVS.=== TheagreementconcludedbetweenItalyandherAlliesonthe 26th April 1915, inasmuch as it concedes to the former the whole of Istria, a considerable strip of the Dalmatian coast with most of the islands, in which indisputably the population is predominantly Slav, unfortunately constitutes a very distinct violation of the principle of nationalities, and there is consequently no doubt that it involves the risk of producing the usual results, namely, irredentism, and lack of stability and peace. We understand, however, from competent and moderate judges of the situation, that there is every prospect of the parties reaching a satisfactory settlement by direct friendly negotiation. Thisdeparturefromoneofourguidingprinciplesneednot,therefore, cause unnecessary alarm, and, in any case we are precluded from suggesting any other solution in view of the binding nature of our engagements towards Italy. 166 Čedomir Antić Theportionsofthelittoralwhichundertheagreementare left for division between Serbia and Montenegro, and Croatia, extend from the River Drin in the South to the Cape Planka just north of Spalato – this section includes some islands – and furthermore the coast lying between the northernmost point of Dalmatia and the Bay of Volosca, likewise with a few small islands attached. A stipulation of the neutralisation obtains with regard to the southern section firstmentioned.Thisdoesnot,however,apply to any portion of the present coast of Montenegro, with which country Italy has special arrangements. Whilst it will doubtless be best that Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, should, if possible, be left to make their own dispositions regarding the territories allotted to them, it may nevertheless be advisable to form some idea in advance as to what would be a suitable division. One of the firstconsiderationswhichoccursinthisconnection relates to the future of Montenegro. Shall this country be revived as an independent State or be absorbed into Serbia ? Montenegrin policy, at no time of the most reliable, has since the commencement of the war surpassed itself in duplicity, and has proved distinctly unfriendly to the Allies. Thereislittledoubt that King Nicholas and his Ministers were in direct communication with the Austrians and that but for their treachery a far more successful resistance to the enemy’s advance through Sanjak (Sandzak, prim Č. A) of Novi Bazar and Montenegro might have been made. TheKing,therefore,deservesnoconsideration at the haus of the allies, and in our judgment after such couduct his restoration or that of any of his family who were parties to this treachery is much to be deprecated, and, indeed, should be so far as possible opposed. TheresurrectionofMontenegroasanindependentStateunder another King must presumably depend on the wishes of the Montenegrins themselves, but it should be borne in mind that in any case such a State will serve no useful purpose; it will in the future as in the past not be self-supporting, and be dependent on the charity of the Powers. Its absorption by Serbia is therefore on the whole much to be desired:- On the assumption, however, that an independent Montenegro is revived, we would recommend the following territorial division:- ThatNorthernAlbaniawiththecoastfromtheRiverMati(the northern limit of the projected Albanian Moslem State up to the present Montenegrin frontier, and again the coast from a point just north of Cattaro up to Cape Planka should be given over to Serbia. TheallotmenttoSerbiaoftheportionofNorthernAlbaniaabove indicated will render it possible to arrange for a conterminous frontier between Serbia and Greece west of Lake Ochrida, thus removing one of the obstacles to Serbia’s consenting to the retention by Bulgaria of the uncontested zone of Macedonia. It likewise keeps in view the assurance given to Serbia that she shall acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina and a wide access to the Adriatic. Themoreimportantoftheharboursonthecoast-linewhichwe suggest should become Serbian are San Giovanni di Medua (Sv. Jovan Medovski), Gravosa, and Spalato. Thetwolatterareofconsiderable size and capable of accommodating a large amount of shipping. TheyhaveconnectionwithBrodandSarajevobyrail;thelines, it is true, are at present only narrow gauge, but could eventually be improved, probably at no great expense. San Giovanni di Medua is under present conditions of little value as a port. It can only hold a very limited amount of shipping, and possesses no other communication except a road to Scutari. ThisfactmakesitnecessarythatScutarialsoshallbeincludedwithin the Serbian frontier. Therewould,nodoubt,bethestrongestoppositiononthepart of the Montenegrins to this proposal, on the ground that they have prior claims, having occupied Scutari during the war. Thatoccupation, however, was carried out in direct opposition to the wishes of the Great Powers, and as San Giovanni di Medua is necessary to Serbia as an outlet for Northern Albania and must be accompanied by Scutari, Montenegrin protests need merit but little attention, especially if Montenegro be given possession of Cattaro. TheacquisitionbySerbiaofSpalato,Gravosa,andSanGiovanni di Medua, which latter could in time be connected with the Sanjak railway line, should amply satisfy Serbian ambitions in respect of facilities for commercial expansion, but, in any case, in addition to the ports above mentioned, Fiume is connected with Belgrade by a normal gauge line, the free use of which Serbia may no doubt expect to enjoy if Croatia be liberated. Meanwhile, from representations which have been made to His Majesty’s Government, it has become evident that the assurance given by us to Serbia that she should receive “Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wide access to the Adriatic” as her reward after the war, when considered in relation to these provinces themselves and the Southern Slav question generally, not only falls short of their national ideas, but is actually repugnant to Jugo-Slav conceptions of their own future. TheendwhichtheJugo-Slavshaveinviewistheliberationof all Serbs, Croats and Slovenes from the domination of Austria-Hungary or any other Power and their union into one State. Theydesire, however, a free and voluntary union, not one imposed from without implying subjection of any one partition(?) to the other. TheCroatsandSlovenesnodoubtadmireSerbiaforherfightingqualities and look to her to assist their liberation, but on the other hand they consider themselves superior to Serbia in culture and education, and rely on this superiority to assume the leadership in the future confederation of Southern Slav States. ThestatementmadebySirE.GreytoM.Supiloonthe1st September, 1915, that, provided Serbia agrees, Bosnia, Herzegovina, South Dalmatia, Slavonia and Croatia shall be permitted to decide their own fate is therefore far more in accord with Jugo-Slav ideals than the assurance previously given, and should be the determining factor in guiding our policy on this question. We consider that Great Britain should in every way encourage and promote the union of Serbia, Montenegro, and the Southern Slavs into one strong federation of States with a view to its forming a barrier to any German advance towards the East. TheobjectionthatsuchaStatewouldbeamereappendageof Russia and so add to her already overpowering weight in Europe need not, we think, cause serious apprehension. Indications in Serbia of latter years have pointed to anxiety for emancipation from Russian tutelage, and simultaneously to a marked desire for closer relations with the Western Powers. Thereisreasontosupposethatif we promote the birth and development of the Jugo-Slav Confederation by affordingitourpoliticalandcommercialsupport,thealready existing feeling of confidencetowardsuswillincreaseinstrength to the mutual advantage of all parties. TheJugo-Slavdesirethattheboundariesoftheirprospective Confederation shall be determined on ethnological lines, and upon this basis they lay claim to extensive territories. Thiswouldinclude, in addition to Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slavonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia, portions of Carinthia and Styria, the whole of Goricia, Carniola, Istria, and the coast, together with islands down to the Albanian frontier. Thenorthernfrontieroftheir State would run approximately from Graz in a south-easterly direction along the Drave, then north of the provinces of Baranja, Government of the Kingdom of SCS, presided by Nikola Pašić Bačka, and the Banat, along the Moris River to Arad, thence south past Temisvar to the point where the Roumanian western frontier joins the Danube. Although these claims may appear extravagant at firstsight,the Jugo-Slavs maintain that in all these localities the population is predominantly Slav (vide Appendix III). In so far as the Adriatic littoral is affectedtheJugo-Slavwillhavetoconfirmtotherequirements of the Italian Agreement, but outside of the regions referred to in this Agreement we see no reason why their claims should not be admitted to their full extent at the expense of Austria, though we suggest some reservations in respect of certain territories which they claim in Hungary. Our reasons for this recommendation appear below:- ThefutureofAustria-Hungarywill,ofcourse,dependverylargely on the military situation existing at the end of this war. If the situation should be one which enables the Allies to dispose of its future, there seems very little doubt that, in accordance with the principle of giving free play to nationalities, the Dual Monarchy, which in its present composition is a direct negation of that principle, should be broken up, as there is no doubt that all the non-German parts of Austria-Hungary will secede. Theonlyobjectionthatmight occur to this radical solution would be the large accession of strength to the German Empire in population and in wealth by the inclusion of the Austrian provinces. We have, however, to remember that a solution favourable to the Allies will deprive Germany of a population considerably in excess of this Austrian increase. It will be deprived of Alsace-Lorraine, Schleswig, and the Grand Duchy of Posen. ThiswillbeadirectdiminutionofPrussianpower.Itwillreceive, it is true, the Austrian population, but this accession will add to the importance and influenceofthenon-PrussianStatesof the German Empire. Moreover, it will mean a considerable increase in the Catholic elements of Germany, and everything tending to decrease Prussian power will naturally tend in the direction of a more permanent settlement in Europe, as it will diminish the aggressive tendencies of the Central European Empires through the weakening of Prussia. We therefore think that the drifting of the Austrian provinces to Germany need not alarm the Allies, who are not out to crush Germany, but do intend as far as they can to impair the hegemony of Prussia over other States. Thepreparations for this war, the impulse to this war, the aggressive designs connected with this war, are all traceable to Prussian enterprise, and it is not extravagant to hope that a defeated Prussia will considerably lose its power for evil, and should it further be confronted by a large, wealthy, and influentialsouthernFederationwithinitsown borders, we shall not be far wrong in expecting to achieve that diminution of its influence,whichcanonlybebroughtaboutbytheplay of political forces within the German Federation. Assuming the Allies, for purely political reasons, contemplated the keeping alive of an independent Dual Monarchy, they would have to consider very seriously whether it would be possible to secure the real independence of Vienna from Berlin. In the light of past events we do not hesitate to come to the conclusion that whether the Central Powers are victorious or not, Austria-Hungary will remain, to all intents and purposes, subservient to its ally. A victorious Prussia would, as we have already seen during the course of the war, still further absorb Austria-Hungary within its political and economic orbit. A defeated Prussia would equally be able to persuade Austria- Hungary that her only future lies within a still closer amalgamation of the two countries. Thereisnodoubtthattherehasbeenin the past, and might be in the future, a party both in Austria and in Hungary who are strongly opposed to the German hegemony, but from all the information at our disposal this party in both portions of the Dual Monarchy is a minority, and likely to remain one. An Austria-Hungary, therefore, at the beck and call of Prussia is not a solution which the Allies should or could contemplate; the survival of Austria-Hungary could not be reconciled with the objects for which the Allies went to war, and even if they decided to sacrificetheseobjectsforpoliticalexpediency,theweaponstheyintended to forge, that is to say, a diminished but independent Austro- Hungarian State, would fail to be effectiveforthepurposesfor which it would be intended. On the assumption, therefore, that the solution which we recommend be adopted, we findnodifficultyin disposing of those portions of the Dual Monarchy which are likely to constitute the Slav State of the South. ThereremainsBohemia.ThreesolutionsoccurasregardsBohemia:- First, that it should become an independent State; Secondly, that it should become linked by some means or other with a southern Slav State; Thirdly,thatitshouldbetackedontotheKingdomofPoland. As regards No. 1, it is not a practical solution, and from all we hear it does not recommend itself to the Czechs themselves. Thesecondsolutionseemssomewhatartificial,andthereforedoesnot promise permanency. Themostdurablesolution,asfaraswecan ascertain from Czech and Polish sources, is the third. Theobjection to the last one is that we are still very much in the dark as to what the status of the Polish kingdom will be. Here, again, we are confronted with three possible solutions. First, a united and independent Kingdom of Poland; second, a Kingdom of Poland incorporated in Russia; third, a Kingdom of Poland enjoying, roughly speaking, the same autonomy as the Grand Duchy of Finland. At firstsightitmustbeadmittedthatthesolutionofthePolishquestion rests with Russia alone. Thisisundoubtedlywhatweunderstand to be the point of view of the Russian Government at the present moment, and should the latter be able to give effecttoitatthe end of the war, France and England will have to make up their minds to stand aside and allow Russia to have her own way. But we are dealing in probabilities, and the course of the war in the Eastern section suggests that, without the assistance of England and France, Russia is unlikely to obtain the evacuation of her Polish provinces by Germany, still more unlikely to obtain the addition of the Grand Duchy of Posen to Poland. Should this turn out to be a correct forecast, the opportunity will then be given to England and France to talk to Russia about the Polish question. It will be open to them to say that a prolongation of the war in order to obtain the evacuation of Poland by German troops could not be justifiedto English and French public opinion, unless Russia were prepared to go very far indeed with the concession of autonomy to a liberated Polish State. ThissituationwouldenabletheWesternPowerstofavour the adhesion of Bohemia to Poland. As far as we understand, this solution is desired both by far-seeing Czechs and Poles. Thelatter realise fully that the addition of Bohemia to Poland would affordandpromoteveryconsiderablytheeconomicdevelopmentof Poland. TheCzech,ontheotherhand,fullyappreciatethattheywould benefitbythesuperiorcultureandcivilisationofthePoles.At this stage we do not propose to go further than indicate what, in our opinion, would be the best solution for the Austro-Hungarian question. To sum up, we should say: let the Slav provinces constitute themselves into a Southern Slav State; let German provinces of Austria be incorporated in the German Empire; let Bohemia be linked up to Poland; and let Hungary be formed of the purely Magyar portions of the country into an independent State with the fully secured commercial outlets to the Adriatic at Fiume, and by means of the Danube to the Black Sea. Thissolutionpromisespermanency, as it will be based on the national and economic elements of the countries affectedbythissettlement. Were it proposed still to maintain an Austrian Empire, in the hope that it might eventually free itself from German influence, the arrangement which we have indicated would be open to the objection that Austria is entirely cut offfromthesea,andsomeprovision would have to be made to affordheracommercialoutletof her own. But in view of the conclusion which we have ventured to set forth above this is now of no consequence, and the question of securing from Italy concessions on behalf of Austria at Trieste does not arise. With these considerations before us the boundary we suggest for the Jugo-Slav State would be approximately a line conterminous with the Italian frontier as laid down in the Agreement of the 26th April, 1915, running from Volosca to a point slightly north-west of Villach; thence in an easterly direction just north of Klagenfurt and Marburg to a point where the River Mur – an affluentoftheDrave– turnseastwards,thencefollowingthecourseof this river to its junction with the Drave, thence following the course of the letter to its junction with the Danube, thence along the right bank of the Danube to Petrowardein; from this point the direction would be changed to due east as far as the River Temes, whence the course of this river southward to its junction with the Danube at Panscova could again form the frontier. Thisboundary,whileconcedingalltheJugo-Slavdemandsin Austria proper, excludes the Hungarian provinces of Baranya, Backa, and the Banat, to which they also desire to lay claim. If, however, Hungary is to be an independent State with any chance of vitality it would be inexpedient to deprive it of territory beyond that which is necessary in order to confirmtheprincipleofnationality. Thisboundaryhadthefurtherrecommendationofbeingin accordance with the Serbian strategical requirements for possession of the country on the north bank of the Danube opposite Belgrade, and of not conflictingwiththeRoumanianclaims. Theabovesettlementmayatfirstsightappearsomewhatacademic, being as it is mainly in accordance with national aspirations, but we quite appreciate that it may have to be modifiedindeference to the views of Russia, geographical configuration,military considerations, &c. Our main object at present was to devise a scheme that promised permanency from the national point of view.
In putting forward the above considerations we have endeavoured to approach the settlement, after the war, mainly from a political point of view. We have attempted to draw up a scheme which is not confinedtothepromotionaloneofBritishinterestsasregards either territorial acquisitions or the establishment of British spheres of influence.Wehavetriedtoworkoutaschemethatpromises permanency; we have aimed at a reconstruction of the map of Europe intended to secure a lasting peace. We have been guided by the consideration that peace remains the greatest British interest. Themostdirectwaytothisendis,ofcourse,toarresttherace in armaments, which has gone on increasing for the last forty years. Thisobjectcanbebestachievedbymeansofgeneralarbitration treaties and the consequent reduction of standing armies and navies. ThisidealisdoubtlesscommongroundamongstalltheAllies, but Great Britain would probably be prepared to face greater sacrificesthanothercountriesinordertoachievethatend.Publicopinion in this country would be willing, we think, to go very far indeed in this direction, but the danger we have to guard against is that if we succeeded in persuading the enemy to come to any kind of arrangement of the sort we must see to it that he is both able and willing to abide by his pledges. In view of the attitude which Germany has adopted in the past on this question we entertain but little hope that the Germans will be willing to approach the subject in any sincere and serious spirit unless they have no option. If we contemplate a condition of things which would force the Allies to discuss terms of peace with the enemy on more or less equal terms, we have no hesitation in saying that we should either be met by a direct negative on the part of the German Government even to consider the subject, or we should be invited to submit proposals which the German Government would either prove to be unworkable or which they might accept with a mental reservation that they would do their best to evade them. We have to consider that in the case of a draw, the German Government would be able to 176 Čedomir Antić persuade their public that they had been successful in saving their country from invasion; we must remember that the leading people in Germany who are mainly responsible for this war never allowed their countrymen to suspect that their designs were aggressive; the German Government have always officiallydissociatedthemselvesfrom pan-German propaganda. On these occasions they have distinctly and publicly repudiated pan-German aims. But in practice their policy, which remained carefully concealed from their countrymen, was dominated by ideas of aggression in order to secure expansion of territory and spheres of influence.Territorywastobesecured by the acquisition of additional colonies in the possession of other Powers, and spheres of influenceweretobeobtainedbythe policy of commercial penetration, which has been so steadily pursued both in the Near and the Far East. Thesamepeoplewill,in the case of a draw, be able to convince their country that it was due to their invincible army and navy that the integrity of their country was saved, and they will have little difficultyinpersuadingthem that for the future they must rely upon the same weapons. Thisframeofmindwouldnotreadilyrespondtoanyinvitationon our part seriously to take in hand a reduction of armaments all round. On the contrary, it would be misrepresented as an insidious proposal to weaken the defensive forces of Germany for the purpose of taking it at a disadvantage, and thereby achieving the object which the Allies had in view when they went to war in the summer 1914. Theotheralternativewhichpromisesmorehopeforthe eventual reduction of armaments presents itself if the Allies are in position to impose their terms. Even then, the matter will have to be very delicately handled so as to avoid all appearance of interference in what the Germans consider an essentially internal question which every independent State has a right to decide for itself. It is possible, however, that a substantial defeat of Germany may so shake the confidenceoftheGermanpeopleintheirrulersthat they may be induced to listen to the voice of reason, and ask themselves whether it is an axiom that the safety of a State is exclusively secured in proportion to the extent of its armaments. It may be possible in those conditions to convince the German people that we do not confuse the military defences of a country with militarism. A German writer has definedmilitarismasateachingofthe dogma that might alone counts, and that right, which does not depend on might, is not worth consideration. If the Allies can succeed in substituting for this doctrine the principle that brute force is not entitled to override everything, that a country possessing the physical means to impose its will, irrespective of right or wrong, is not entitled to do so, but can promote in its stead the doctrine that no community can exist which is based on physical force alone, one of the main objects for which they went to war will have been achieved. In other words, one of the essential elements towards securing a reduction of armaments will be the conversion of the German people to these views. Another element, of course, but a less effective one, will be the creation of a League of Nations, that will be prepared to use force against any nation that breaks away from the observance of international law. We are under no illusion, however, that such an instrument will become really effectiveuntilnationshave learnt to subordinate their personal and individual ambitions and dreams for the benefitofthecommunityofnations.Wehavewitnessed such a process in individual States with the development of what we call a civilized condition of things, but this process has seen slow growth, and we shall have to exercise considerable patience in watching and promoting a similar development among the nations of the world. Thisconsiderationbringsupthequestionof whether it will be possible to secure the adhesion of the United States of America, a repetition of Canning’s attempt to bring in the New World in order to redress the balance of the Old. Therearesigns in America that the more thinking people there are awakening to the fact that in the modern condition of things America can no longer cling to her position of splendid isolation. If America could be persuaded to associate itself to such a League of Nations, a weight and influencemightbesecuredforitsdecisionsthatwouldmaterially promote the object for which it had been created.
We propose to confineourselvestothesegeneralconsiderations, because we hesitate to discuss the question of reduction of armaments in a more detailed or technical fashion. We lack the knowledge, military, naval, and economical, which would enable us to submit recommendations of any value; such a task would be more properly and usefully entrusted to a committee representing the various national interests, acting on the advice of the most competent experts. In touching upon this question, however, we have been mainly guided by the consideration that no complete scheme for the settlement of Europe after the war is acceptable which does not seriously concern itself with this question and does not endeavour to formulate proposals that would secure the main object for which this country, almost subconsciously, went to war – for which it is prepared to pay heavily, and for which it is also prepared to carry on the war to the ultimate end in order to secure the triumph of the principle that right is superior to might.
Thesituationwhichwehavetoconsiderthatwouldariseout of a draw would be dominated by the inability of the belligerents to prolong the war – that is to say, it would findGermany,roughly speaking, in military occupation of the countries outside of her dominions which she now holds, i.e., Belgium, eleven departments of France, Poland, Courland, Serbia, and Montenegro, and our Allies unable to reconquer those territories. In these conditions any concessions to be sought for from the enemy would have to be bought. Beginning with Belgium, we might findGermanywilling to restore its political independence; for us the latter would be a sine quâ non for consenting to any kind of peace, but it is more than doubtful that we should be able to obtain its financialrehabilitation by Germany. Thistaskwould,therefore,devolveupontheAllies. It is possible that both France and Russia would plead not only financialinabilitytoassumetheirshareofsuchacharge,butthey might also put forward the fact of having sufferedinvasionasa justificationoftheirrefusaltobearanyshareinthiscontribution.In such an event the fulfilmentofthepledgesgiventoBelgiumwould fall upon this country alone. But this is not the only burden that might devolve upon us. It is quite conceivable, if not probable, that Germany would ask for the restoration of her colonies as the price of her evacuating France and Belgium; if our reply were that the German colonies which had passed into the possession of our Dominions were beyond recall, Germany might retort in that case by asking for territory, say in Africa, now in the possession of Belgium, France, or Portugal, to indemnify her for the loss of her original possessions. It would seem somewhat paradoxical to call upon Belgium to cede part of her colonies as compensation for her spoliation in Europe. France, on the other hand, would certainly be indisposed to make a sacrificeforBelgiumattheexpenseofherCongo. Here,again,GreatBritain may be confronted with a suggestion that, having escaped invasion, it is incumbent upon her to cede part of her East African possessions. Such is the situation which we anticipate as being the most likely to arise in any discussion on Belgium, and it shows that we shall be called upon to bear the lion’s share if it comes to any question of buying Germany out. It would, of course, be open to us to argue with France and Russia that they are equally bound not to leave offfightinguntilBelgiumhasbeenrestoredpoliticallyandeconomically; but we should however have to face their argument that, though they were unwilling to go on fighting,itwasopentous to continue, but without their assistance. Thisraisesthequestion as to how long we should be able to continue the struggle without forfeiting the benevolent neutrality of our Allies, even though parting from them on the most amicable terms. In truth, we should have parted from them because we demurred to being called upon to bear the largest portion of the sacrificenecessarytosecure such a peace. Assuming, however, for the sake of argument, that we parted from our Allies amicably, and without bearing malice, how long would France and Russia resist the temptation of profitingeconomicallyfromastateofwarbetweenGreatBritainand Germany? We understand that the clearest maritime lesson taught us by this war is that, as regards blockade, we shall have to revise the rules which have hitherto prevailed. With considerable difficulty,wehavebeenabletoenforceourblockadeinthefaceofthe opposition of the small neutral countries of Europe; but we are assured that we should have been wholly unable to do so had one big Power alone remained neutral in the general European conflagration. In the eventuality of our continuing our struggle with Germany alone, we should have the rest of Europe directly interested in making impossible for us to use effectuallyoneofourmainnavalweapons against Germany; in other words, our blockade weapon, which would have been the main inducement to Germany to come to terms, would break in our hands; and as far as we know there is no limit which could be put to the duration of that single-handed struggle except the exhaustion of the belligerents. Our chief naval weapon against Germany, namely, the blockade, will not enable us in a single-handed struggle to exert sufficientpressureonGermanyto bring about a successful issue of the war. We shall, therefore, in the absence of the alternative, be obliged, if we cannot induce our Allies to continue the struggle, to make the largest contribution for the purpose of obtaining the liberation and rehabilitation of Belgium. Again, as regards France, the probable elements for a peace such as we are contemplating would be the evacuation by Germany of her northern departments in return for a French renunciation of all her aspirations to Alsace and Lorraine and of any indemnification due to her from Germany which would otherwise naturally result from a German occupation of part of France. Again, it is quite on the cards that, in order to obtain the evacuation of Poland and Courland, Russia may be tempted to do a deal with Germany in the Near East. Germany would make a strong point of not opposing the Russian occupation of Constantinople, provided Russia agreed to respect the commercial interests of Germany in what remained of the Turkish Empire in Asia Minor, coupled with a proviso[n] for securing the freedom of the part of Constantinople. Such an arrangement would have to be very carefully scrutinised from the British point of view, as it might work out to the injury of British commercial interest and seriously affectourfuturerelationswithRussiaintheNearEast,asthelatterhas no commercial interests in Turkey, and would therefore not be likely to come into conflictwithGermany. As regards the Balkans, the Allies would have to consent to a partition which would leave in possession a strong Bulgaria, with a large slice of Macedonia, and we may expect encroachments on Serbian territory by Austria, such as the reoccupation of the Sanjak of Novibazar; but all the information in our possession at present points to Serbia being still further reduced for the benefitof Bulgaria. ThesettlementwouldleavetheDualMonarchyterritorially intact, but owing her integrity to Germany, and would thereby increase her subservience to the letter. In other words, Germany will, to say the least, have considerably improved her access to the Near East.
To sum up, a peace the result of a draw such as we have endeavoured to sketch out in this report would imply that Germany will not have obtained all she wanted when she began the war, but will have obtained such an instalment of her ambitions as will enable her Government to justify themselves to their people for having gone to war in defence of their territory in 1914; in fact, they will have every reason to claim victory and to represent the Allies as having suffereddefeat. We have said enough to indicate that whatever concessions will be necessary in the event of a draw will have to be made by this country. Such concessions can only be made by the sacrificeofour colonial possessions. But this would have to form the subject of enquiry and report by a committee on which the Colonial Officewould be represented, so as to enable His Majesty’s Government to decide what price they could affordtopayforsuchapeace.
August 7, 1916.
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