Carnegie Endowment for International
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars
Departure - Inquiry - Return of the commission
The Commission left Paris on August 2, stopped at Vienna, where Professor Paszkowski of Berlin and Professor Redlich were waiting for them, and then continued on to Belgrade. There began difficulties which need not be exaggerated. The Servian government could have taken either of two extreme courses. The first, which it did not adopt, consisted in itself supplying the Commission, as we asked it to do, with its own version of the events, and at the same time with a statement of the economic resources of its country. It knew that these statements would be published fully and impartially in our report. It had an excellent opportunity by so doing, of confounding its enemies and of instructing its friends, and what is more, of making Servia known to the world at large. I must confess that I could not understand its rather ungracious refusal, which we may call diplomatic, in order to offend no one. I know very well the reproaches directed against Mr. Milioukov; but Mr. Milioukov was not the whole Commission. They had the right to decline his testimony. That of the other members of the Commission then became of more value; it constituted a recourse. To speak quite fairly, the Commission came at the wrong moment to Belgrade; but I wonder if, in analogous circumstances, the governments of the great countries would not be more summary and intolerant than the Servian government. The matter stood thus: The Commission arrived at Belgrade just at the moment of the triumphant return of the army, a triumph both sad and glorious, when the sight of the line of victors woke in the silent crowds as much sorrow as pride. Servia's great losses in the two wars must be taken into consideration, all the splendid youth and strength she sacrificed with unheard-of courage, the blood spilt not only to secure independence, but in a struggle of brother against brother, a struggle where victory itself means mourning. We must take into consideration too, there as elsewhere, the excitement of frenzied jingoist journals.
The second course consisted simply in stopping our Commission. There were both pretexts and means: transports requisitioned by the army, interminable
delays, the uncertainty of communication, the bad state of sanitation, fear of cholera. * * * In the interests of the Commission itself, a government, without being- entirely hostile or insincere, could have obliged it to retrace its steps. The ministry at Belgrade did nothing of the kind; it refused to communicate with the Commission and entirely ignored it, although its arrival had been announced both from Paris and upon reaching Belgrade, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. An official communication of September 7, explains the government's attitude, [The press is authorized to announce that the Servian government declares categorically pat it has never been hostile to an investigation, but that, on the contrary, it desires the iquiry of an impartial commission into the Bulgarian cruelties from which the Servians nd the Greeks have so greatly suffered. It is entirely to the interest of both Greece and ervia that the civilized world should know of the Bulgarian atrocities. If therefore, the ork of the Commission has miscarried, the cause must be sought for in one of its members, the declared enemy not only of Servia but of Greece, well known for what he has lid against her, not only in speech but in writing. Moreover, the Commission has never ade itself known until it presented itself here. No country could tolerate as a member a Commission a man whose partiality and animosity are only too well known.] but as a matter of fact it did not prevent the Commission from remaining, in spite of a slight animosity provoked by some of the newspapers against Mr. Milioukov, nor of continuing on its way. The Commission was provided by the government with every facility for reaching the frontier and Salonica. This was a good deal and I will do it so much justice. I do lot consider either that the Servian government was responsible for the attempts which were made to prevent our German colleague. Professor Schuecking, from rejoining the Commission. In this connection, some strange maneuvers took place. Professor Paszkowski, being, as I said, detained at the last moment, Professor Schuecking was named hurriedly to take his place. He was then at Ostend, from whence he set out with praiseworthy dispatch and devotion, but he could not reach Belgrade until some time after the Commission had already left for Salonica. What happened then? Who is to be blamed ? One fact emerges: Professor Schuecking was persuaded that there was nothing for him to do but go home; that the Commission had disbanded and had given up its work. Naturally enough Professor Schuecking returned home, and only heard the truth from me when he was back in his own country.
The government of Greece was anxious above all things to base its attitude on that of its ally in Belgrade. The Commission was therefore welcomed under the strictest reservations. At first, Mr. Dragoumis, the Governor of Salonica, informed the Commission that, following the example of Servia, his government declined to acknowledge Mr. Milioukov, but that all the members of the Commission should have entire liberty of action.Then Mr. Brailsford in his turn and even more directly, was refused; his liberty was restricted to the point of twice trying to prevent him from going to Kilkich, which efforts of the authorities met with the congratulations of the press.
In the face of so many difficulties from the very beginning, the Commission
asked itself if it should continue its work? It decided, strong in its independence and good faith, with the entire approbation of its President, not to discontinue, but to pursue its inquiry by all its means, where official aid failed it. The Commission has never ceased to protest, always with dignity, against the accusations of partisanship made against two of its members, and has never been divided for a single moment. The strength of its unity, so often and so roughly tested, will suffice to do away with any suspicion against its impartiality. Never for an instant were any of its members animated by the least desire to gather facts for prosecution against any particular people or State. On the contrary, they all desired to report nothing but the truth.They tried for instance, to get the replies of the Greeks and Servians to the accusations of the Bulgarians.
It must be recalled
that the Greeks welcomed with courtesy and kindness, the member of the
Commission who was sent to Athens, while the others remained in and about
Salonica. Indeed all these things must be taken into serious consideration,
when one thinks of the previous passions ruling in the unhappy country;
of the daily violence exchanged morning and night between the papers; of
the towns reduced to ruins; of the thousands of human beings wandering
without refuge or aim; of the death, blood and crime crying everywhere
for vengeance; of the Te Deums rising from churches whose very possession
was disputed by rival fanaticisms.
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