THE CARNEGIE COMMISSION'S REPORT.—BULGARIA'S WISH FOR ARBITRATION WITH SERBIA.—THE TREATY OF BUCHAREST.
In a former letter I alluded to the treaty between Serbia and Bulgaria made before the war of 1912. That treaty divided Macedonia into an undisputed zone, acknowledged to be Bulgarian, and a disputed zone, to which both Servia and Bulgaria had pretensions, which, failing agreement, were to be submitted to the arbitration of the Tsar of Russia. As regards this treaty the Carnegie Commission reports :
" The fundamental point was the delimitation of the line of partition beyond which Serbia agreed to formulate no territorial claim. A highly detailed map of this frontier was annexed to the treaty." (See Appendix.)
It is quite plain from the report of the Carnegie Commission that from the commencement of the war against Turkey, Serbia never intended to be bound by this solemn treaty. Bulgaria was forced to send the bulk of her army against the main Turkish army in Thrace, the freeing of Macedonia had to be left to Serbia and Greece.
Bulgarian revolutionary bodies had been struggling for years against Turkish misrule, never aided, but often opposed, by Greeks and Serbians because they were Bulgarians. At first these revolutionary bands marched with the Greeks and Serbians against the Turks, but asthe Turks were driven back, both Greeks and Serbians got rid of these bodies under pretence of establishing order. The schools being, as the Carnegie Commission says, " centres from which Bulgarian civilisation emanated," were next dealt with. The Carnegie Commission, describing the action of the Greek and Serbian armies, says:
" Their first act on arriving in any place whatsoever was to close the schools and use them as quarters for the soldiers. Then the teachers of the village were collected together and told that their services were no longer required, if they refused to teach in Greek or Serbian. Those who continued to declare themselves Bulgarians were exposed to a persecution whose severity varied with the length of their resistance. Even the most intransigeant had to avow themselves beaten in the end; if not they were sometimes allowed to depart for Bulgaria, but more usually sent to prison in Salonica or Uskub."
Next the Priests and Bishops were attacked. In the words of the Carnegie Commission :
" The most difficult people to subdue were the Priests. They were first asked to change the language of divine service. Endeavours were made to subject them to Serbian or Greek ecclesiastical authorities, and they were compelled to mention their names in the liturgy. If the Priest showed the smallest inclination to resist his exarchiate church was taken from him and handed over to the patriarchists ; he was forbidden to hold any communication with his flock, and on the smallest disobedience was accused of political propagandism and treason."
The persecution of the Bishops followed. Neophyte, Bishop of Keles, and Cosmas, Bishop of Debra, were expelled. Again, in the words of the Carnegie Commission :
" It was even worse at Uskub, where the holder of the Bishopric, the Archmandrite Methodius, was first driven out of his house, taken by force, shut up in a room, and belaboured by four soldiers until he lost consciousness, April 8/21. Cast out into the street, Methodius escaped into a neighbouring house, in which a Frenchman dwelt who told the story to Mr. Cartier, French Consul at Uskub. Under his protection, Methodius left for Salonica on April 13/26, whence he was sent to Sophia. The Commission has in its possession a deposition signed by the foreign doctors of Salonica who saw and examined Methodius on April 15/18 and found his story 'entirely probable.' "
These things were done whilst the war against Turkey was still in progress.
Bulgaria has often been accused of unwillingness to submit her case to the arbitration of the Tsar of Russia. She was always willing to submit to arbitration the disputed zone, alone marked out for arbitration by the treaty itself. Serbia was only willing to submit to arbitration the revision of the whole treaty. Safely might she do so. Quite recently a Serbian statesman, Monsieur P. Marinkovitch, in conversation with a Bulgarian Deputy, Monsieur Adam Neitchoff, on being asked what would have happened if the Tsar of Russia had arbitrated, said, "We would not have relinquished Macedonia ; you, however, would not have lost Shtip, Kotekana, Seres, Cavala, Koukoush, etc. As to the arbitration of the Russian Emperor, we had received in the first half of the month of May positive assurance that we would keep the country as far as the Vardar. A question might have been raised only as regards Bitola (Monastir), but in no case as regards Ochrida. You aremistaken if you think we insisted to remain in Macedonia because we failed to obtain an outlet on the Adriatic. This has nothing in common with Macedonia." Yet Monsieur Marinkovitch came to Sofia professedly on a mission of peace.
I have shown conclusively that long before the second war commenced Serbia had broken the solemn treaty made with Bulgaria before the war with Turkey, in spirit and in essence. If Great Britain was justified in declaring war on Germany because of the breach of the treaty maintaining the neutrality of Belgium, Bulgaria was still more justified in going to war with Serbia for the breach of a treaty in consideration of which 1,228 Bulgarian officers and 82,261 soldiers had already fallen in the war against the Turks. The Serbian losses in the same war amounted to 23,000 ; no distinction is, however, made between officers and men. The Greek losses during the war against Turkey were not given to the Carnegie Commission. That Russia should have allowed the grossly unfair treatment meted out not only to Bulgaria, but to the Bulgarian race in Macedonia, by the Treaty of Bucharest, founded on two broken treaties, can only be explained by her then policy described by her Minister at Belgrade, Monsieur Hartwegg, as follows : "Serbia must be strong." Her subsequent action in allowing the Treaty of London to be broken by the Turks can only be explained by supposing the addition to her then policy of "Bulgaria must be weak." The reason that Austria did not protest effectively against the Treaty of Bucharest is easy to understand. She did not wish to offend Roumania, and she knew that Russia's action would be deeply resented in Bulgaria, that Serbia would in reality be weaker by her temporary acquisition of Macedonia, and weaker by the bitter hostility of the Bulgarian race.
Why Great Britain entered no protest against the flagrant injustice of the Treaty of Bucharest is not so easy to understand. It must be remembered that the judgment of Western Europe was clouded at that time by the campaign of untruths so unscrupulously conducted, during the six weeks of Bulgaria's isolation, by Greece and Serbia in order to prejudice European opinion against Bulgaria and to cover their own misdeeds. The policy adopted by Great Britain appears to have been a continuation of that inaugurated, so unhappily, by Mr. Balfour, of leaving the whole Balkan question in the hands of the two Powers which he described as the most interested. It was also probably a last ineffectual effort to maintain what was called the Concert of Europe, a Concert that never had any effective existence, except so far as it provided a field for the exercise of unscrupulous diplomacy in furtherance of selfish ambitions and lust of power. The mills of God grind slowly, yet still they grind. The Powers of Europe in this gigantic war, this mass of human misery, woe, and sorrow, are paying a heavy price for their sins of omission and commission towards the Christian races of the Balkans, and for that Militarism which has treated tracts of lands as Empire and the inhabitants thereof as chattel.