THE TERMS OF SETTLEMENT.—THE BULGARIAN DEMAND.—THE ANNEX TO THE TREATY OF 1912
January 2nd, 1915.
Abdul Hamid availed himself to the full of the racial animosities of the various Christian races in European Turkey. He never persecuted them simultaneously, when he persecuted the Greeks or Servians he favoured the Bulgarians, and vice versa. For many years previous to his abdication his persecutions were directed entirely against Bulgarians, whom alone he feared. The young Turks persecuted all the Christian races and drove them together. For a time it seemed as if the Greeks and Bulgarians in Southern Macedonia would learn to work together in spite of the opposition of the Greek Bishops. The final result was the alliance between Servia and Bulgaria, which Greece subsequently joined. Meantime the two States, which Mr. Balfour had described as the two " most interested," were doing their utmost to secure their own special interests. Suddenly war broke out and the allied Christian States marched against their old oppressor. The suddenness and completeness of their victories staggered the so-called Concert of Europe. The two Powers "most interested" looked on with ill-concealed anxiety. A wave of sympathy swept over Western Europe. Like a torrent it spread over Great Britain, and it may be confidently asserted that at no previous period had British sympathy been so strong and so universal in favour of the Christianpopulation of the Balkans. Even the Times of November, 1912, adopted Gladstone's formula—" The Balkans for the people of the Balkans." Hitherto it has never been part of the Russian policy that the Balkan nations should be able to stand on their own feet free from her protection. Undoubtedly her statesmen looked askance at the Bulgarian victories in Thrace. And Austria looked equally askance at the vanishing prospect of the realisation of her dreams in the west of the Balkans. Before the war began Servia was secretly instructing her representatives abroad to press her claims far beyond the frontier beyond which she had pledged her honour to make no territorial claim. In the early months of the war Servia was showing a clear intention to break the treaty made with Bulgaria, certainly encouraged, if not instigated, in this course by the late M. Hartwegg, the Russian Minister at Belgrade. I have recently come across an allusion to M. Hartwegg which at the present time is intensely interesting. It occurs in a telegram sent by Sir M. de Bunsen, the British Ambassador at Vienna, to Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister for Foreign Affairs, on July 3ist, 1914. The passage is as follows:
The Russian Ambassador has explained that Russia has no desire to interfere unduly with Serbia; that, as compared with the late Russian Minister, the present Minister at Belgrade is a man of very moderate views."
Whilst the late Russian Minister was encouraging Servia not to keep faith with Bulgaria, Austria was advising Roumania to demand the cession of Bulgarian soil as a compensation for her neutrality, and the German Emperor was urging on the Turks to further resistance.
If honour is to prevail in the Balkans the Treaty of Bucharest must go. It was a dishonourable breach of two solemn treaties. The dishonour of breaking the Serbo-Bulgarian Treaty rests primarily on Serbia, but it also rests on the late Russian Minister at Belgrade, who encouraged her, and on the Great Power he represented, who knew of the treaty and approved of it. The dishonour of breaking the treaty between Roumania and Bulgaria rests primarily on Roumania Her action is the most despicable breach of honour that has ever taken place between nations calling themselves civilised, but this treaty was known to all the Ambassadors of the Great Powers at St. Petersburg, so they also are involved in this dishonourable breach.
The case against Roumania is so clear that it seems almost unnecessary to argue it. The Dobrudja was divided by the Treaty of San Stefano, and territory rightly Bulgarian was given to Roumania, as compensation for Bessarabia, taken from her by Russia. The Treaty of Berlin, when everything possible was done to weaken Bulgaria, took from Bulgaria still more of the Dobrudja and gave it to Roumania. The Treaty of Bucharest gave to Roumania the remaining portion of the Dobrudja, left to Bulgaria by the Treaty of Berlin and which had been hers for thirty-five years, and did that without a shred of justification. In addition Roumania from the time of her occupation of the Bulgarian Dobrudja has by her oppressions, civil and religious, showed herself unworthy to hold it, even if she had honourably gained it. It is impossible to read the treaty between Serbia and Bulgaria made on the 29th of February, 1912, without a feeling of intense sadness. It was conceived in a noble spirit founded on the acknowledged community of interests. One cannot help considering what the present position of the Balkan Peninsula would have been, if only that treaty had been honourably kept. The Balkans would no longer have been the field of rival ambitions and intrigues. Four strong nations would have blocked the way. But, alas, Serbia, tempted and encouraged from without from theday the treaty was signed, broke it. Once more each Balkan State watches its neighbours with suspicion and alarm, once more the Balkan Peninsula is the field of rival ambitions and intrigues of surrounding Powers.
The secret annex to the treaty deals with the manner in which all territorial acquisitions are to be dealt with, and deals with all the territory then held by Turkey in Europe. Clause 2 provides that pending settlement all conquered territory shall be held in condominium. It then provides the basis on which the settlement is to be made. This basis starts with the words :
"Serbia recognizes the right of Bulgaria to territory East of the Rhodopes and the river Strouma. Bulgaria recognizes the right of Servia to territory to the North and West of Shar Mountain (Shar planina)."
It then continues:
" As regards the territories lying between Shar Mountain, the Rhodopes, the Egean Sea, and the Lake Ochrida, if the two States are convinced that their organisation in the form of a separate autonomous province is impossible according to the common interests of the Bulgarian and Serbian Nationalities, or from other causes of an interior or exterior character, they shall deal with these territories in the following manner."
" Serbia binds herself not to put forward any claim in regard to the territories lying beyond the line marked on the annexed map."
It then goes on to describe with minute details this line. Then it continues:
" Bulgaria binds herself to accept this frontier if His Majesty the Russian Emperor, in his quality as arbitrator, expresses himself in favour of this frontier."
Anyone who has any knowledge of Bulgaria's aspirations regarding her racial and national rights, pursued with set purpose since the day when her national conscience awakened, even before her liberation in 1878, will recognise the sacrifice her statesmen made when they agreed to the above clause. Then it goes on :
" It is expressly understood that the two contracting parties bind themselves to accept as a final frontier, that line, which the Lord Emperor shall find most in accordance with the rights and interests of the two countries, within the above set forth delimitations."
The Carnegie Commission is of opinion that '' within the above set forth delimitations'' means between Shar-Planina and the line marked on the map beyond which Servia bound herself to make no claim. Clearly the Commission is correct in its judgment. It would be contrary to common sense to ask an arbitrator to express his opinion regarding a matter about which there was no dispute. According to the treaty and its secret annex, there was no dispute except as regards the territory lying between Shar-Planina and the line of demarcation so carefully and minutely described in the secret annex, i.e., the disputed zone. To every portion of that disputed zone both parties urged strong claims, and it was because those claims were so irreconciliable that for the sake of mutual support against Turkey they agreed to submit these claims to the final arbitration of the Tsar of Russia. Bulgaria paid the price demanded of her by the treaty and sacrificed 83,000 of her sons on the plains of Thrace in the war against Turkey. Serbia in that war paid a much smaller price, her losses amounted to 23,000 officers and men. Bulgaria was always ready to abide by the treaty her Tzar had signed, she was always ready to submit to the arbitration of the Tsar of Russia the disputed zone. Serbia demanded the revision of the whole treaty. It has been often urged that Serbia didthis because Austria denied her access to the Adriatic. This is contrary to facts. In November last Monsieur P. Marinkovitch, a Serbian Deputy, a former Minister, and now again a Minister of the recently formed Serbian Government, visited Sophia. In an interview with Monsieur Adam Neitchoff, a Bulgarian Deputy, Monsieur P. Marinkovitch said, " You are mistaken if you think we insisted to remain in Macedonia because we failed to obtain an outlet to the Adriatic. This has nothing in common with Macedonia." The Treaty is dated 29th February, 1912. We now know that the Serbian Government on September 15th, 1912, i.e., before the war against Turkey had commenced, and therefore before there was any action on the part of Austria regarding access to the Adriatic, issued a secret circular to its representatives abroad instructing them to urge Serbia's claims to territory far beyond the line carefully described in the Secret Annex to the Treaty, beyond which Serbia had solemnly bound herself, with the knowledge and consent of Russia, to make no territorial claim. We also have the facts related by the Carnegie Commission showing that Serbia by her conduct in Macedonia, closing Bulgarian schools, seizing Bulgarian churches, driving out Bulgarian Priests and Bishops, had already broken the treaty, whilst her ally was still engaged in fighting the main Turkish Army in Thrace. That all this was done with the knowledge and approval of the late Russian Minister at Belgrade, Monsieur Hartwegg, is also clear. I have in a previous letter given his words to a subject of a foreign power before the second war commenced. " Serbia must be strong, Bulgaria must give way all along the line." Then again Monsieur Marinkovitch, in his conversation with Monsieur Nietchoff, said, "As to the arbitration of the Russian Emperor we had received in the first half of the month of May positive assurance from Monsieur Hartwegg that we would keep the country as far as the Vardar," i.e., Monsieur Hartwegg assured Serbia that his Sovereign would exceed his powers, and assign to Serbia territory far beyond the limits imposed on his arbitration by the treaty of which he had approved. Well might the Russian Ambassador in Vienna think it advisable to assure the British Ambassador, Sir M. de Bunsen, in July last, "that as compared with the late Russian Minister the present Russian Minister at Belgrade is a man of very moderate views."
Having regard to these indisputable facts, it is mere trifling to consider who struck the first blow in the second war. The important fact, the only fact worthy of consideration, is that Serbia in spirit and by act had already broken the treaty, whilst her ally was still fighting in the common interests on the plains of Thrace, and that Serbia did this with the knowledge and with the approval and with the support of the Russian Minister at Belgrade.
It has been said that the treaty is full of the assumption that each party was to retain the territory it conquered. I have heard this stated in responsible quarters. I am a Barrister, I have had some experience in the interpretation of legal agreements. I have read the treaty line by line in Bulgarian, I have had it carefully translated into English. I cannot find one single word to justify such an assumption. The treaty is one of the most definite, one of the clearest documents I have ever read. The admission of Bulgaria's rights by Serbia is clear and unmistakable. The admission of Serbia's rights by Bulgaria is equally clear. Only as regards the territory lying between Shar-Planina and the well defined line indicated on the map annexed to the treaty, and minutely described in the secret annex, which was part of the treaty, are these mutual claims not finally and definitely dealt with. As regards this territory, the disputed zone, the rival claims are left to the arbitration of the Tsar of Russia. This territory alone is left toarbitration, and both parties bind themselves to accept that arbitration. Serbia's claim to Macedonia is based on the extent of some Serbian Ruler's Empire centuries ago. It would be as reasonable for Great Britain to demand the cession of Calais from France at the conclusion of this war. It is more absurd than the Greek claim to Constantinople, or the revival of the so-called Greek Empire. As regards the territory so unjustly divided by the Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria, who sacrificed most, and received least, has alone shown herself worthy to receive new territory. She alone has extended to her new subjects the rights of citizenship, she alone has brought them within her own free constitution, she alone has granted to her new subjects full political rights and religious liberty. Roumania, Serbia, Greece have one and all denied to their new subjects political and religious freedom. One and all have established an exceptional regime and have treated their new provinces as conquered territory. Can the Powers of the Triple Entente view with equanimity the prospect of handing over Austrian territory to Roumania with her crippled constitution, her restricted franchise, her poverty-stricken peasantry seething with agrarian discontent, owing to her antiquated system of land tenure, her extremes of wealth and poverty? Can they without misgiving hand over to Serbia Austrian territory in spite of Sarajevo, in spite of her crimes in Macedonia? Are all her sins to be blotted out because by accident she is fighting against Austria ? The Powers of the Triple Entente are fighting to save Serbia from extinction, aye, and to save her from just punishment, does this deprive them of the right, does it not rather give them an undoubted right, to demand, that Serbia should act honestly ? Can a durable peace be founded on three broken treaties ? One secret but approved by Russia, the other two approved by all the great Powers. Can " the enthronement of public right as a governing idea of European policy," as described by Mr. Asquith in his speech in Dublin, be forced to harmonise with the enslavement of a portion of the most virile race in the Balkan Peninsula, a race that has given abundant proof of what Mr. Asquith terms "Corporate consciousness"? Mr. Asquith's Dublin speech gives more hope for the future of Europe, and points to a higher ideal than any utterance during the present war. Forty-four years ago this doctrine of public right was initiated by that great man, Gladstone. The breaking of treaties in the interest of the breaker, described by Mr. Lloyd George as a march straight along the road to barbarism, is the very antithesis of the doctrine of public right. If public right is to be enthroned in the Balkans, it is not sufficient to call a halt on the march to barbarism sanctioned at Bucharest. The retreat must also be sounded, and a fresh march commenced towards the nobler, juster, honourable goal of public right. Thus, and thus alone, can peace, security, justice, and good will be established in the East of Europe, and public right placed firmly on its throne.
St. Patrick's Orphanage,
23, Rue Gladstone, Sophia.
THE SERBO-BULGARIAN TREATY OF 29TH FEBRUARY, 1912.
His Majesty Ferdinand I., Tzar of the Bulgarians, and His Majesty Peter I., King of Serbia, profoundly convinced of the community of the interests and the identity of destiny of their States and their brotherly races, the Serbian and Bulgarian, who have decided, conjointly and with common forces to defend these interests, and to strive to bring them to a successful issue, agree as follows.
1. The Bulgarian Kingdom and the Serbian Kingdom mutually guarantee to one another the political independence and integrity of their territories by engaging themselves without any reservation whatever to mutually help each other with the whole of their forces, in every case where the one or the two States are attacked by one or several States.
2. The two contracting parties are likewise bound to help each other with all their forces in case any of the Great Powers should seek to annex or occupy, or conquer by military force, even though temporarily, any part whatever of the Balkan Peninsula which is at present under Turkish rule, if one of the contracting parties declares this fact to be against her vital interests and to constitute a " Casus belli."
3. The two contracting parties are bound not to conclude peace otherwise than jointly and by prearrangement.
4. With the object of securing the fulfilment of the present treaty in the fullest manner and corresponding fully with the purpose aimed at there will be concluded a Military Convention. It will fix both what must be undertaken by one or the other side in case of war and also all in connection with the organization, movement, and mobilization of troops in time of war, all matters concerning the supreme command and whatever it may be necessary to arrange beforehand in time of peace for the conduct and good management of the war. The Military Convention shall constitute an inseparable part of the present treaty. Its elaboration shall be commenced not later than 15 days from the signing of the present treaty, and shall be completed in the course of the following two months.
5. The present treaty and the Military Convention are to remain in force from the day of signature until the 31st December, 1920, inclusive. They shall not be in force after this period except by means of a supplementary agreement formally ratified by the two contracting parties. If, however, on the day when the treaty and the Military Convention expire, both parties find themselves in a state of war or have not as yet succeeded in liquidating the consequences of the war, then the Treaty and the Convention shall remain in force until the signature of peace, or till the liquidation of the consequences of the war.
6. The present treaty is drafted in two identical copies, both of them in the Serbian and Bulgarian languages. It is signed by the Sovereigns and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the two States. The Military Convention likewise in two copies, written in Serbian and Bulgarian, shall be signed by the Sovereigns, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and by specially authorised military persons.
7. The present treaty and the Military Convention shall not be published, or communicated to other States except by the previous consent of the two contracting parties, jointly and simultaneously given, in the same manner the previously given consent shall be m-necessary for the association of a third State in the Alliance.
Drawn up at Sophia, 29th February. 1912.
SECRET ANNEX TO THE TREATY OF FRIENDSHIP AND ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE BULGARIAN KINGDOM AND THE SERBIAN KINGDOM.
1. In case that internal trouble should arise in Turkey of such a character as to endanger the national and State interests of the contracting parties, or of one of them, and also in case that internal or external difficulties, which Turkey may encounter, make it necessary to maintain the Status quo in the Balkan Peninsula, whichever of the contracting parties shall first come to the conclusion that military operations ought to be commenced, shall address a proposal to the other party giving her reasons, whereupon an exchange of views shall immediately take place, and if the other party shall not agree with the views of her Ally, she shall give her reasons for non-agreement. In the event of an agreement for united action being attained this agreement shall be communicated to Russia and in the event of this State not being opposed, action shall be commenced in conformity with the established agreement, in the spirit of solidarity and community of interests. Or, on the other hand, if an agreement shall not be attained the two States shall appeal to Russia for her opinion, and this opinion as stated by Russia shall be binding on both parties. If Russia refrains from giving an opinion, and if an understanding between the two contracting parties, even after this shall not be arrived at, and if in spite of all this the one of the two parties which is in favour of taking action shall decide to undertake it alone, on her own responsibility and at her own risk, then the other party shall be bound to maintain a friendly neutrality towards her Ally, by having recourse immediately to a mobilization within the limits set out in the Military Convention, and shall go with all her forces to the help of her Ally, if a third State shall take the side of Turkey.
2. All the territorial acquisitions won by joint action in the meaning of the articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty and article 1 of the present secret annex, shall become common property (Condominium) of the two allied parties. The final settlement of these territories shall be made without delay within a period of not more than three months after the conclusion of peace upon the following basis :
Serbia recognises the right of Bulgaria to territory east of the Rhodopes and river Strouma.
Bulgaria recognises the right of Serbia to territory to the north and to the west of Shar Mountain (Shar Planina).
As regards the territories lying between Shar Mountain, the Rhodopes, the Egean Sea, and the lake of Ochrida if the two States are convinced that their organisation in the form of a separate autonomous province is impossible according to the common interests of the Bulgarian and Serbian nationalities, or from other causes of an interior or exterior character, they shall deal with these territories in the following manner:
Serbia binds herself not to put forward any claim in regard to the territories lying beyond the line marked on the annexed map and which runs starting from the commencement of the Turkish-Bulgarian frontier at Mount Golem (i.e., from Kriva Palanka) in the general direction towards the South-West up to the lake of Ochrida through Mount Kitka, between the villages Mejeevo and Podarji— Kon, through the highland turning East from the village Nerav, following the watershed to the height of 1,000 (metres), northwards from the village Bashtevo, between the villages Loubenitza and Petarnitza, through Mount Ostrich 1,000 (Licetz-Planina) to the height 1,500 between the villages Drach and Opula, through the villages Talishmantzi and Jivalevo to the height of 1,050 and the height of 1,000, the village of Kojani by the chief watershed of the Gradishte Planina up to Mount Gorishte, to the height of 1,023, following on the watershed between the villages Ivankovtzi and Logentzi, through Vetersko and Sopot on the Vardar. Crossing the Vardar the line shall run along the ridge of the height 2,550 and on to the Mountain Petropole, along the watershed of this mountain to the villages Krapa and Barbares, to the height 1,200 between the villages Yakrenovo and Drenovo to the Mountain Chesma (1,254), along the watershed of the Mountains Baba-Planina, Krushka-telesi, between the villages Salp and Tzarsko to the height Protoiska Planina, to the east of the village Belitza, through Brejani to the height 1,200 (Ilinska Planina) by the watershed at the height 1,330 to the height 1,217 and between the villages Lovonshta and Gorentzi to the lake Orchrida at the Monastery of Gabovtzi.
Bulgaria binds herself to accept this frontier if His Majesty the Russian Emperor, in his quality as supreme arbitrator, expresses himself in favour of this frontier. It is expressly understood that the two contracting parties bind themselves to accept as a final frontier, that line which the Lord Emperor shall find most in accordance with the rights and interests of the two countries, within the above set forth delimitations.
3. A copy of the Treaty and the present secret annex shall be together communicated to the Imperial Russian Government with a request to take them into consideration, to show itself favourable to the objects which they have in view, and to intercede with His Majesty the Emperor for the acceptance and approval of thosefunctions which are marked out for Him and His Government in the articles of these two acts.
4. Every difference which may arise in relation to the interpretation, or the carrying into effect of any article of the Treaty, the present Secret Annex, and the Military Convention shall be referred to the final decision of Russia from the moment when one of the parties declares that it considers it to be impossible to come to an agreement by means of direct negotiations.
5. No term of the present secret annex may be made public, or communicated to another State, without the previous consent of both parties, and the consent of Russia.
Drawn up at Sofia, 2gth February, 1912.
MAP ATTACHED TO THE SERBO-BULGARIAN TREATY