Der Dritte Punische Krieg?

Rolf Hochhuth, der Altmeister der politischen Dramatik, legt eine gepfefferte Aufsatzsammlung vor

 

Rolf_Hochhuth_2009-1
Foto: A. Savin

Wie sich die Bilder gleichen: in der Antike erkannte das Römische Reich das aufstrebende Karthago als seinen gefährlichsten Konkurrenten um die Vorherrschaft am Mittelmeer. Im so genannten Ersten Punischen Krieg wurden Karthago die Flügel gestutzt. Nach dem Zweiten Punischen Krieg war Karthago geschwächt, funktionierte aber noch als Staat. Nach dem Dritten Punischen Krieg war Karthago nur noch ein Trümmerhaufen. In der Wende zum Zwanzigsten Jahrhundert erkannte der US-Stratege Archibald Coolidge, dass die „energetischen Deutschen“ der gefährlichste Rivale der Weltmachtambitionen der USA sei. Ähnlich sahen es die britischen Geopolitiker Mackinder und Wilkinson. Nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg war Deutschland angeschlagen. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war Deutschland fest in die Pax Americana eingebunden.

Und jetzt? Das neueste Buch von Rolf Hochhuth trägt den Titel „Ausstieg aus der NATO – oder Finis Germaniae“. Die Alternative ist aus dieser Sicht klar: entweder wir steigen aus dem transatlantischen Kriegsbündnis NATO aus, oder wir gehen in eben jenem Bündnis zugrunde, diesmal final, wie dereinst Karthago: „Allein Deutschlands Ausstieg aus der NATO verhindert Finis Germaniae!“ So schreibt Hochhuth in einem offenen Brief dem Bundespräsidenten und der amtierenden Bundeskanzlerin. In der Tat scheint ein Verbleiben Deutschlands in der NATO dessen Untergang zu bedeuten. Ob in den 1950er Jahren oder im NATO-Manöver „Wintex/Cimex“ im Jahre 1989: bei einer aggressiven Erstürmung Eurasiens durch die Westmächte ist Deutschland als Pufferstaat der kriegerischen Auseinandersetzungen der atomaren Zerstörung ganz selbstverständlich ausgeliefert.

Hochhuth hat allerdings sehr widersprüchliche Erklärungsmuster für das menschenverachtende Kalkül der Westmächte. Früher nämlich waren für den Nestor unter den deutschen Dramatikern die USA die Guten und die Kommunisten die Bösen. Er feiert die US-Truppen als ruhmreiche Befreier der Deutschen vom Joch des Faschismus und blendet dabei aus, dass die US-Konzerne Hitlers Wirtschaft und Aufrüstung maßgeblich gefördert haben und erst in den Krieg eingetreten sind, als die Sowjets Hitler definitiv besiegt hatten. Diese Zweischneidigkeit durchzieht alle Texte in Hochhuths NATO-Buch. Er bewundert Bismarck als Politiker des friedlichen Ausgleichs – und blendet aus, dass Bismarck vom jungen Kaiser Wilhelm II. entlassen wurde, weil er gerade Kreditpakete schnürte für einen neuen Krieg. Hochhuth ist fasziniert von Churchill. Er feiert den Altkanzler Helmut Schmidt und vergisst nur allzu gerne, dass der kantige Hanseat die innere und äußere Aufrüstung massiv vorangetrieben hat.

So ist Hochhuth ein markanter intellektueller Eigenbrötler – das vorliegende Buch zeigt das in allen Facetten. Moralist par Excellence, lebt er noch immer in den 1960er Jahren. Genau auf diese Weise reizt er auf und versetzt der immens eingehegten Denkweise unserer Jetztzeit  empfindliche Nadelstiche.

Hermann Ploppa

Rolf Hochhuth: Ausstieg aus der Nato – oder Finis Germaniae. Katastrophen und Oasen. Essays, Briefe, Gedichte.

Zeitgeist Verlag. 2016

Dazu noch ein Zitat eines anderen großen Dramatikers:

Das große Karthago führte drei Kriege. Nach dem ersten war es noch mächtig. Nach dem zweiten war es noch bewohnbar. Nach dem dritten war es nicht mehr aufzufinden.

Bertold Brecht

 

 

Ehemalige Geheimdienstmitarbeiter nennen „Dissidenten-Memorandum“ über Syrien „waghalsig

26.Juni 2016 ‚Consortium News‘

P1020386editDas Außenministerium der USA in Washington DC Photo: By Paco8191 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3888788

Eine Gruppe von ehemaligen Mitarbeitern der US-Geheimdienste appelliert an den Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten, Barack Obama, der „waghalsigen“ Forderung nach einem weiter ausgedehnten Krieg in Syrien, unterzeichnet von 51 Beamten des Außenministeriums in einer kürzlich veröffentlichten „abweichenden Denkschrift“, entgegen zu treten.

Der Text des Appells:

 

„MEMORANDUM AN:  Mitarbeiter des Präsidenten für Nationale Sicherheitsfragen

ABSENDER: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (Ehemalige Mitarbeiter der Geheimdienste für Vernunft)

BETRIFFT: Bitte vom Dissidenten-Memorandum aus dem Außenministerium Abstand nehmen

 

Abweichende Meinungen und Widersprüche innerhalb der Bürokratie von Außenpolitik und Nationaler Sicherheit gelangen nur in die öffentliche Wahrnehmung, wenn tiefe und grundlegende Meinungsverschiedenheiten über Ausführung und Ziele einer möglichen Politik der USA auftreten. Beispiele solcher Meinungsunterschiede kamen ans Licht während des Vietnamkriegs und sind immer wieder aufgetaucht, zum Beispiel während des Krieges der Contras in Zentralamerika in den 1980er Jahren sowie im Kalten Krieg mit der Sowjetunion. Jetzt können wir durchaus auch Syrien in diese Liste mit aufnehmen.

Die neueste Medien-Aufregung kam mit der Enthüllung, dass 51 „Diplomaten des Außenministeriums“ einen Brief mit abweichender Meinung unterzeichneten, mit der Aufforderung, die direkte Bombardierung Syriens in die Überlegungen mit einzubeziehen als Mittel, dieses Land zur Unterwerfung unter die Diktate unserer Regierung zu zwingen. Die Mitarbeiter im Auswärtigen Dienst der Vereinigten Staaten stellen eine Auswahl bestens ausgebildeter Personen dar, die darauf stolz sind, ein Examen im Auswärtigen Dienst absolviert zu haben. Jetzt jedoch finden sich selbst unter diesen „hervorragenden Persönlichkeiten“ Individuen, die sich für ihre Karriere profilieren und dem Druck nachgeben, geheimdienstliche Informationen politisch zu instrumentalisieren.

Unseligerweise fordern die Unterzeichner der abweichenden Meinung, dass die USA eine Drohkulisse aufbauen, und wenn dieser Bluff auffliegt, auch tatsächlich Akte eines offenen, aggressiven Kriegs gegen die Streitkräfte einer souveränen Nation auf deren eigenem Territorium durchzuführen. Ein Unterstützer dieses Landes ist Russland, die andere atomare Großmacht.

Dieser Gedankenstrang – dass es nämlich Amerikas Recht und Pflicht ist, Tod und Verderben in großer Dimension zu bringen, um den Willen seiner Führer über andere Völker zu vollstrecken – ist ein Teil der verhängnisvollen Auffassung, dass die USA einzigartige Vorrechte genießt als das „ einzige unverzichtbare Land auf dieser Erde“. Wenn dies jemals eine vertretbare legitime Position gewesen sein sollte, dann ist diese Zeit schon lange vergangen – und heutzutage macht das die Vertreter dieser Positionen offenkundig unzugänglich für den gesunden Menschenverstand.

Diese Denkweise ist nicht neu. Theodore Roosevelt machte diese Gedanken populär, als wir in den Krieg zogen, um spanische Gebiete auf den Philippinen und in der Karibik zu annektieren – auf Kosten des Lebens von über einer halben Million Einwohner jener Gebiete – vor mehr als einem Jahrhundert. Wir erlebten es gehäuft mit den ‚Besten und Begabtesten‘  – jene, die verantwortlich waren für die Zerstörung Vietnams. Drei Millionen Menschen starben in jenem Krieg (nach Aussagen des damaligen Verteidigungsministers Robert McNamara), sowie weitere zwei Millionen Menschenleben auf den diversen Nebenschauplätzen in Indochina. Nach diesem Massaker und dem Tod einer ganzen Reihe seiner eigenen Soldaten erlitten die USA eine vollständige und demütigende Niederlage, die ihre Außenpolitik bis auf den heutigen Tag überschattet. Ihre schlauen Nachfolger unterstützten den Angriff auf den Irak im Jahre 2003, ein Auslöser für den Gewaltausbruch, der Millionen von Menschen den Tod brachte – wieder einmal – im Irak, Syrien, Libyen, Jemen, Somalia und anderen Orten in der Nachbarschaft, von denen wir möglicherweise noch lesen werden. Diese Aggression hat Millionen weiterer traumatisierter Flüchtlinge hervorgebracht.

Dieses Memorandum, von dem ein Auszug der New York Times (und dem Wall Street Journal) zugespielt wurde, vermutlich von einem Mitarbeiter des Außenministeriums, der es mit verfasst hat, behauptet, die amerikanische Politik sei durch die unerbittliche Gewalt in Syrien ‚überwältigt‘ worden und fordert einen ‚angemessenen Einsatz von Distanzwaffen und Luftwaffe, um eine gezieltere und härtere Gangart im diplomatischen Prozedere untermauern und vorantreiben zu können.‘ Weiterhin heißt es in der New York Times:

 

„Die Beamten des Außenministeriums schrieben in ihrem Memorandum, dass die fortwährenden Verletzungen des teilweisen Waffenstillstands durch die Regierung Assad, offiziell bekannt als Beendigung der feindseligen Handlungen, das Schicksal der Bemühungen zur Aushandlung einer politischen Vereinbarung besiegelt, weil Mister Assad keinen Druck verspürt, mit der gemäßigten Opposition oder anderen Fraktionen, die ihn bekämpfen, zu verhandeln. Es wird gesagt, dass der Abwurf von Fassbomben auf Zivilisten die grundlegende Ursache der Instabilität darstellen, die Syrien und die umliegende Region im Griff hält.“

„Das Memorandum gibt zu, dass militärische Aktionen auch ihre Risiken in sich bergen, nicht das geringste davon ist das Risiko verschärfter Spannungen mit Russland, das zugunsten Mister Assads in den Krieg eingriff im letzten Herbst. Nachfolgend half Russland, den Waffenstillstand auszuhandeln. Diese Spannungen nahmen zu am letzten Donnerstag, als  nach den Aussagen eines höheren Pentagon-Beamten, Russland Luftschläge im südlichen Syrien gegen von den USA unterstützten Streitkräften ausführte, die den Islamischen Staat bekämpfen.“

Die Vertreter des abweichenden Votums waren clever genug zu behaupten, dass sie nicht „eintreten für eine Kurzschlussreaktion, die zu einer militärischen Konfrontation mit Russland führt“, sondern eher für eine glaubwürdige Drohung mit militärischer Aktion „um Mister Assad auf Linie zu bringen“. Das ist leichter gesagt als getan! Die Gruppe der 51 Abweichler schweigen sich über diesen Punkt größter Bedeutung aus.

Die grundlegende Annahme ihrer abweichenden Position besteht darin, dass Assads ‚Fassbombardierungen‘ (gefolgt von Chemiewaffen-Attacken) auf Zivilisten den Bürgerkrieg in Syrien ausgelöst habe. Es trifft zu, dass die Anfangsphase des Syrischen Frühlings weitgehend spontan ausgelöst wurde. Fakten  zeigen jedoch, dass Eindringlinge von außen – in erster Linie die Vereinigten Staaten, Großbritannien, Türkei, Israel und Saudi-Arabien – zusammenarbeiteten, um das Streichholz zu zünden, das dann die Hölle des Bürgerkrieges brachte. Verborgene Finanzierung und die Bereitstellung von Waffen und anderer materieller Unterstützung für die Oppositionsgruppen gegen die syrische Regierung provozierten eine militärische Reaktion durch Assad – was wiederum einen Vorwand lieferte für unsere verstärkte Unterstützung der Rebellengruppen.

Ein beträchtlicher Bestand an Beweisen legt nahe, dass es die von den USA unterstützten Rebellengruppen waren, die chemische Waffen gegen Zivilisten eingesetzt haben, um dann Assad zu beschuldigen, in einem Propagandafeldzug, um internationale öffentliche Unterstützung für eine offene amerikanische Intervention zu fördern.

In einer breiten Öffentlichkeit wurden die Aktionen gegen Syrien wahrgenommen als Teil eines weiter angelegten Stellvertreterkrieges gegen den Iran, in der Absicht, dessen gewachsenen Einfluss im Mittleren Osten zurückzudrängen. Aber der Aufstieg des Iran als regionale Macht war nicht das Ergebnis eines magischen Zaubers. Er ergab sich als direkte Folge der Invasion der USA im Irak und unserer nachfolgenden Entscheidung, jede Spur der Baath-Partei auszulöschen und irakische schiitische Führer mit engen Verbindungen zum Iran in die leitenden Positionen zu befördern.

Wir haben von daher einen Krieg auf den Weg gebracht und haben dann die Dreistigkeit so zu tun, als seien wir schockiert über die Folgen unserer eigenen Aktionen.

Die abweichenden Mitarbeiter im Außenministerium waren nicht die Ersten, die ins Horn dieser erneuten Public Relations-Schlacht über den Kurs unserer amerikanischen Politik in Syrien stoßen. Das Verteidigungsministerium und die CIA haben sich scheinbar bereits vor zwei Wochen in das Kampfgetümmel gestürzt. Nach einem Bericht  in der Daily Beast befinden sich Verteidigungsministerium und CIA in einer Art von ‚Schaukampf‘.

Zwei Beamte des Verteidigungsministeriums nämlich berichteten dieser Zeitung, dass sie nicht darauf versessen sind, Rebellen in ihrem Kampf in der Stadt Aleppo zu unterstützen, weil man annimmt, dass sie mit Al Kaida in Syrien oder mit Jabhat al-Nusra verbunden sind. Der CIA wiederum, der diese Rebellengruppen unterstützt, weist diese Behauptungen zurück: Zweckbündnisse im Angesicht einer von Russland angeleiteten Offensive hätte Allianzen gestiftet aus purer Notwendigkeit der Schlachtfelder, nicht aufgrund von Ideologie.

„Es ist schon befremdlich, dass das Verteidigungsministerium russische Propaganda nachbetet.“, bemerkte ironisch ein US-Beamter, der die Position der Geheimdienstgemeinde unterstützt, über die Behauptungen des Pentagon, dass die Opposition und al-Nusra ein und das selbe seien.

Die Geheimdienstszene, die Oppositionstruppen in Aleppo unterstützte, glaubt, dass ISIS nicht besiegt werden kann, solange wie Assad an der Macht ist. Die Terrorgruppe, so sagen sie, gedeiht in instabilen Gebieten. Und nur lokale Streitkräfte – nämlich diejenigen, die von der CIA gedeckt werden – könnten die Bedrohung abmildern.

„ Der Status der Opposition im Angesicht ist stabil im Angesicht der abscheulichen Angriffe durch die syrischen und russischen Streitkräfte“, erklärte ein Geheimdienstoffizier in Daily Beast, „Der Sieg über Assad ist eine notwendige Vorbedingung um ISIS endgültig zu besiegen. So lange wie ein gescheiterter Führer in Damaskus herrscht, und so lange Syrien ein gescheiterter Staat ist, verfügt ISIS über eine Ausgangsbasis. Man kann mit ISIS nicht umgehen, solange man einen gescheiterten Staat vor sich hat.“, stellte der US-Beamte fest.

Dieser ungenannte Beamte übersieht bequemerweise die Tatsache, dass die USA aggressiv daran arbeitet, das Scheitern Syriens zu erleichtern. Wir sind irritiert. Nach fünfzehn Jahren schriller Rhetorik, dass wir einen Krieg gegen Al Kaida führen, sind wir nun in der vollen Kehrtwendung zu erleben, dass der CIA und ein beachtlicher Block innerhalb des Außenministeriums sich dafür stark machen, eine der Al Kaida nahestehende Gruppe auszurüsten und auszubilden.

Es ist unmöglich zu entscheiden, ob oder ob nicht das Ausbrechen dieser Diskussion ein Schlag in das Gesicht von Präsident Obama darstellt, einfach deswegen, weil der Präsident den Sturz von Assad zu unterstützen schien, dann jedoch zurückschreckte vor dem Abgrund, ihn mit militärischen Mitteln aus dem Amt zu jagen.

Der Einfluss Saudi-Arabiens bei der Unterstützung, den ‚Regimewechsel‘ anzustoßen und voranzubringen in Syrien kann gar nicht hoch genug eingeschätzt werden. Die Saudis haben Berichten zufolge auch bedeutende Geldbeträge in Kernbereiche der US-amerikanischen Außenpolitikszene gepumpt und haben offensichtlich beträchtlichen Einfluss auf unsere nationale Sicherheitspolitik gewonnen. Weitere Beweise kommen ans Licht, dass die Saudis erhebliche Summen an die Clinton-Stiftung gegeben haben.

Mohammed_Bin_Salman_al-Saud
Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman

Ein aktueller Bericht  auf der Webseite der Petra News Agency (der später wieder entfernt wurde, was mit einem „Hackerangriff“ begründet wurde) wirft einige ernste Fragen auf. Am Sonntag erschien ein Bericht auf jener Webseite mit exklusiven Kommentaren des saudischen stellvertretenden Kronprinzen Mohammed bin Salman. Die Kommentare beinhalteten die Behauptung, dass Riad zwanzig Prozent des gesamten Etats der voraussichtlichen Präsidentschaftskandidatin beigesteuert hat. Obwohl dieser Bericht nicht lange auf der Webseite blieb, veröffentlichte das in Washington ansässige Institute for Gulf Affairs später eine Version in arabischer Sprache, die Prinz Mohammed zitiert mit den Worten, Saudi-Arabien habe ‚voller Begeisterung‘ einen nicht genauer genannten Geldbetrag an Clinton gezahlt.

Hillary_Clinton_speaking_at_the_Brown_&_Black_Presidential_Forum
Hillary Clinton im Sold saudiarabuscher Extremisten? Foto: Gage Skidmore – Flickr

 

Unter dem Gesichtspunkt von Hillary Clintons energischem Eintreten für eine Flugverbotszone in Syrien, die uns auf das Gleis einer vorangetriebenen Intervention in Syrien sowie einer militärischen Konfrontation mit den Russen setzen würde, ist es da nicht naheliegend sich zu fragen, ob die saudischen Spenden einen Einfluss auf die Richtung der US-Politik in Syrien und die Unterstützung der Rebellengruppen hat?

Alles in allem stellt das neueste Memorandum der 51 Beamten des Außenministeriums ein weiteres alarmierendes Anzeichen für das Chaos und die Unfähigkeit des außenpolitischen Apparates der USA dar. Man bedenke, die meisten ihrer Kinder und Enkelkinder werden nicht in den militärischen Einheiten sein, die aufgerufen werden, diesen Krieg zu führen. Sie sind einfach zu clever und zu ‚wertvoll‘, um sich in solchen lächerlichen Anstrengungen zu engagieren. Deswegen wurde eine so genannte ‚Freiwilligenarmee‘ rekrutiert, bevölkert von ‚Freiwilligen‘ –hauptsächlich aus den Armenvierteln und den Provinzstädten unseres Landes, wo Jobs und Ausbildungsmöglichkeiten eher dünn gesät sind.

Dieser nahezu beispiellose Brief von 51 gut motivierten Falken aus dem Außenministerium stellt ein alarmierendes neues Beispiel für die waghalsige Richtung dar, in die uns die gut aufgestellten Elemente des außenpolitischen Apparates der USA zu ziehen versuchen. Von daher appellieren wir an Sie, als Berater des Präsidenten für Nationale Sicherheit, Obama dabei zu unterstützen, Rückgrat zu zeigen und eine solche institutionelle Destruktivität und die Unordnung und den Wettbewerb der Bürokraten innerhalb dieses ‚Teams von Rivalen‘ zu beenden. Wenn es die 51 ernst meinen mit ihrer Parteinahme für ein ‚lass uns mehr von dem Gleichen versuchen, aber ein bisschen härter‘, dann könnten wir erwarten, dass sie die persönlichen Risiken akzeptieren, die verbunden sind damit, Bashar al-Assad mit ‚Distanzwaffen‘ oder ‚Nahkampfwaffen‘ zu schlagen. Dies könnte sie anfangs mit einem Gefühl der Bestätigung versehen – und später dann könnte es ihnen eine Lehre sein.

Deutsche Übersetzung: Hermann Ploppa

Für die Lenkungsgruppe der Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS):

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Intelligence Officer, USAF (ret.); former Master SERE Instructor.

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

  1. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned in opposition to launching of Iraq War)

Weiterführende Literatur:

Karin Leukefeld: Flächenbrand. Syrien, Irak, die arabische Welt und der Islamische Staat. Köln 2015

Tim Anderson: Der Schmutzige Krieg gegen Syrien. Marburg 2016.

 

 

 

Viel Papperlapapp um Panama-Papiere?

Money_poster
Quelle: Leon Petrosyan

Der Spieß wird umgedreht: die Finanzeliten und ihre transatlantischen Netzwerke enthüllen, um noch mehr zu verhüllen. Schuld sind immer die anderen …

Panama-Papers: große Aufregung, ein Wirbel von Vermutungen und Verdächtigungen – dabei wird es vermutlich Jahre dauern, bis das Konvolut wirklich seriös ausgewertet ist – gesetzt der Fall, es besteht ein ehrliches Interesse an einer solchen seriösen Auswertung. Schaut man auf die marktschreierische Seite „panama papers“ der Süddeutschen Zeitung
dann erkennt man eine seltsame proamerikanische Gewichtung in der optischen Ausgestaltung mit den Gesichtern der angeblichen Protagonisten. Ich meine jedenfalls in diesem Schauer-Bestiarium den russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin als Zentralfigur zu erblicken, um den sich, zumindest optisch, alles dreht. Er hat seine Arme verschränkt. In der Körpersprache eine eher dubiose, mafiose Geste, oder? Dann sehe ich links hinter ihm Herrn Assad. Und rechts, der mit dem Stoppelbart – wer soll das sein? Ahmadinedschad? Der kommt aber im Textteil gar nicht vor. Vorne schließlich, nachdenklich, der Laufbursche der USA, der ukrainische Präsident Poroschenko, Putin hat einen engen Freund, der hat bei der panamaischen Firma viel Geld gebunkert. Und Assad? Sein Vetter kommt auch in den Papers vor. Keine Frage: die marktradikale Weltrevolution und -verwüstung hat überall kriminelle Seilschaften gefördert und die integren Leute weggebombt und -geschossen. Jetzt sind alle Großnasen sieser Welt jederzeit käuflich und erpressbar. Auf dem Gemälde der SZ findet sich seltsamerweise nicht David Cameron, obwohl der durch seinen Vater und dessen Verstrickung genauso tief verwickelt ist. Und, peinlich, der neue argentinische Präsident und US-Laufbursche, ist das der da ganz links? Was ist mit der Bush Sippe, den Clintons?

Die Kriegspropaganda geht in eine neue aggressive Phase: ein Propagandaschinken aus US-Fertigung versucht das Leid der Menschen in der Dritten Welt indirekt Putin zuzuschieben. Anstatt sich mal an die eigene Nase zu fassen, werden hier in unübertrefflich einseitiger Manier alle Faktoren ausgeblendet, die auf die USA, Großbritannien, Frankreich oder Deutschland zurückzuführen sind:
Es sieht so aus, als wenn man jetzt der demokratischen Öffentlichkeit eine ihrer letzten Mittel, nämlich das Veröffentlichen von Whistleblowing, pervertieren und umdrehen will. Schlau Schlau …

Putin_merkel
Na, welche Milliardenbeträge werden hier denn gerade verschoben?

Politiker-Versteher im Raumschiff Berlin

Warum kommen die Gedanken der Menschen draußen im Lande in den Medien so selten vor?

            Uwe Krüger hat in seinem neuen Sachbuch „Mainstream“ einige Antworten parat

Eine Buchbesprechung von Hermann Ploppa

MainstreamDereinst waren die Menschen draußen im Lande voll des Lobes über unsere deutsche Qualitätspresse. Was sagt Henri Nannen diese Woche wieder im Stern über den Politiker X? Und wie beurteilt Rudolf Augstein die neueste Enzyklika des Papstes? Kein Priesterwort von der Kanzel hatte so viel Gewicht wie Theo Sommers Ansichten zur Ostpolitik.

Und heute? Die Menschen schäumen. „Lügenpresse“, Gleichschaltung! Die Presse ist nur noch ein peinliches Ärgernis. Der Leipziger Medienwissenschaftler und Politologe Uwe Krüger hatte bereits in seiner Doktorarbeit <1> Beziehungsgeflechte zwischen proamerikanischen Netzwerken in Deutschland, die man auch weniger freundlich als Seilschaften bezeichnen kann, und den leitenden Redakteuren deutscher Premium-Zeitungen aufgedeckt, und die Auswirkungen dieser Bindungen auf Inhalte eben jener Premium-Zeitungen untersucht. Jetzt wendet sich Krüger an die Menschen draußen im Lande mit seinem Sachbuch „Mainstream“. Mit dem Untertitel dieses Buches verlässt er das Katheder und stellt sich mitten unter das Volk: „Warum wir den Medien nicht mehr trauen.“ Also auch Doktor Uwe Krüger traut den Medien nicht mehr? Wie ist denn heute unser Befinden bezüglich unserer Medien?

In der Sache gibt Krüger der schäumenden Masse Recht: in der Ukraine-„Krise“ war die Performance der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk- und Fernsehanstalten sowie der Boulevard- und Premium-Presse erbärmlich. Fakten wurden regelrecht gefälscht, Vergleiche humpelten, Verurteilungen wurden vorschnell ausgesprochen. Zum Teil mussten die Medien allerdings zurückrudern. Einsicht oder gar Anzeichen von Besserung hin zu solider Recherche wurden jedoch weder in die Wege geleitet noch in Aussicht gestellt. Stattdessen pulverten die Medien zurück mit Verschwörungstheorien: die Medienkritiker seien Trolle, eine fünfte Kolonne Moskaus.

Das geht nun gar nicht, findet Krüger. Aber hilft es uns weiter, unserer Wut nachzugeben, indem wir diese Meinungsmaschine als Lügenpresse und gleichgeschaltet beschimpfen? Krüger ist Wissenschaftler, und so wundert es nicht, dass er diese Schaumwörter als analytische Werkzeuge verwirft. Recht hat er. Denn es ist natürlich nicht so, dass ein Bundespropagandaminister morgens die Chefredakteure antreten lässt, damit diese dann Befehle entgegennehmen, was sie heute gefälligst zu schreiben haben. Die Maschinerie der Wirklichkeitserzeugung im Sinne der Mächtigen und Reichen ist ein fein gesponnenes Gewebe. Nur Ausgeruhtheit und ein Stück Einfühlungsvermögen in das Innenleben der Medien hilft weiter.

Und so benutzt Krüger den Anglizismus „Mainstream“. Zu Deutsch: Hauptströmung. Dass neben der medialen Hauptströmung aus konkurrierenden Rinnsalen mittlerweile respektable Flüsse alternativer Medien angeschwollen sind, hat sich die Hauptströmung selber zuzuschreiben. Krüger erklärt, warum das so ist. Zunächst mal: It takes two to Tango. Im Beziehungsdrama zwischen Medien und ihren Nutzern müssen sich bisweilen beide an die Nase fassen. Indem Krüger die Rezipienten der Medienerzeugnisse als Nutzer bezeichnet, wertet er diese schon einmal auf. Der Begriff Nutzer betont das interaktive Element, und nimmt dem Rezipienten seine passive Rollenzuweisung. Also, der Nutzer urteilt bisweilen zu pauschal, und wenn er in Foren die Redakteure grob beschimpft, besteht wenig Aussicht auf Besserung. Zum anderen sind Nutzer oft eingeschnappt. Es gibt da einen so genannten „Hostile-Media-Effect“: Leser interpretieren einen Text allzu oft so, als würde der Text die gegnerische Position bevorzugen, was oft genug aber gar nicht der Fall sei.

Nun zu den Mainstream-Medien. Die Grundhaltung der herrschenden Medien kann man als paternalistisch bezeichnen. Ganz im Sinne des Chefideologen des New Yorker Council on Foreign Relations, Walter Lippmann, denken die Elite-Journalisten: das Volk ist dumm und kann so komplexe Dinge wie Außen- oder Sicherheitspolitik gar nicht begreifen. In diesem Sinne lobte die Politikerin der Grünen Marieluise Beck die Presse: „Die Printmedien halten sich wacker.“ Sie würden der in der deutschen Bevölkerung vorherrschenden Russophilie tapfer die Position der NATO entgegenhalten. Diese Art von „Volkspädagogik“ (Krüger) kann man jedoch Menschen nicht mehr zumuten, die sich durch den aufgeklärten Gebrauch des Internets unterschiedliche Quellen für ihr Urteil nutzbar machen. Mit anderen Worten: das Informations- und Deutungsmonopol der Mainstream-Medien ist durch die Einführung des Internets gebrochen. Die Volkspädagogen können nicht so selbstherrlich dozieren wie früher.

Hoe's_six-cylinder_press
Aus den Glanzzeiten der Presse: Rotationsdruck 1860

Weiter: die Mainstream-Medien leiden an Ausblutung. Die Einnahmequellen der Printmedien sind dramatisch weggebrochen. Stellen werden gestrichen. Recherche ist Luxus. Faktenüberprüfung auch. Als ein Spaßvogel dem sagenhaften Baron von und zu Guttenberg bei Wikipedia den Vornamen Wilhelm andichtete, übernahmen alle Mainstream-Erzeugnisse diese Falschinformation. Auf dem schmaler werdenden Printmarkt kann eine Zeitung nur wachsen, wenn eine andere Zeitung dafür schrumpft. Im erbarmungslosen Wettkampf um Aufmerksamkeit müssen die Nachrichten immer schriller, immer holzschnittartiger werden, um die fluktuierenden Käufer zu binden. So erklärt Krüger die perfide Demontage des Ex-Bundespräsidenten Christian Wulff mit einem Mangel an packenden Themen, weshalb man den Wulff dem blutrünstigen Publikum durch ein sensationshaschendes Aufregungsmanagement geopfert habe. Krüger blendet aus, dass sich Wulff durch deutliche Worte vom Euro-Rettungsschirm distanziert hatte. Zu mühsam ist der Aufbau eines transatlantischen Retorten-Politikers, um ihn dann mal eben bloß wegen sinkender Auflagen durch Diffamierungen öffentlich zu schächten.

Mit der Aushungerung der Redaktionen korrespondiert eine Aufblähung der Public-Relations-Branche. Also einer Art redaktionell daherkommender Werbeindustrie. Mehr Leute arbeiten mittlerweile in Public-Relations als in den Redaktionen. Redaktionen übernehmen die pressetauglichen PR-Artikel, und auch von der Struktur her gleichen sich redaktionelle Beiträge immer mehr den PR-Texten an. Kurz und schrecklich: Presse wird Werbung.

Krüger referiert immer wieder Erkenntnisse aus der Medienforschung. Zum Beispiel das Phänomen: Indexing. Journalisten orientieren sich in der Auswahl ihrer Themen und ihrer Positionen an Vorgaben aus Parlament und Regierung. Oder gar nur an Vorgaben der Exekutive: Power-Indexing. Ja, und wenn wir nun faktisch in Berlin auf einen großen Konsens aller im Bundestag vertretenen Parteien zusteuern, dann verengt sich entsprechend auch die Themenpalette der Presse. Eine inzestuöse Tendenz, die für die Mainstream-Medien letal ausgehen wird. Verstärkt wird diese Inzucht noch durch die von Krüger so genannte „Verantwortungsverschwörung“: Wer in Berlin dabei sein will, wenn die mächtigen Politiker in informeller Runde ihre nächsten Schachzüge preisgeben, der muss immer schön nett sein und nichts vorzeitig verpetzen. Sonst ist er schnell draußen und hat keine Top-Stories mehr zu verkaufen. Der vereinnahmte Journalist wird Teil der Regierungsmaschine und fühlt sich für deren reibungsloses Funktionieren persönlich verantwortlich. Er gehört jetzt zur ständigen Besatzung im „Raumschiff Berlin“ als „Politiker-Versteher“. Es ist auch unwahrscheinlich, dass in diese elitären Runden ein Mensch gelangt, der „nicht dazu passt“. Nachweislich stammen die Alpha-Journalisten aus gesettelten gutbürgerlichen Familien, bringen von dort ihren elitären Habitus mit, und sind zudem von transatlantischen, also proamerikanischen Netzwerken angelernt und in ihre Stellungen gehievt worden.

Ist ein solcher dekadenter Mainstream überhaupt noch zu retten? Wollen wir mit diesem Milieu überhaupt noch etwas zu tun haben? Oder wollen wir uns lieber gleich scheiden lassen? Nun, anscheinend hat der Lektor Herrn Krüger gebeten, doch  noch ein versöhnliches happy end seine Analyse abschließen zu lassen. Und so kommt als Deus ex machina von Krüger der wenig aufregende Rat, doch die verstreut noch vorhandenen Beiträge in den Mainstream-Organen zu würdigen und auf Facebook oder anderswo zu teilen. Da stellt sich die Frage: wenn sich schon so eine spannende alternative Medienkultur herausgeschält hat, die auf so viele Fragen, die uns bewegen, neue unorthodoxe Antworten bereithält, warum sollen wir dann zum Muff des inzestuösen Mainstreams reumütig zurückkehren? Die Frage erübrigt sich von selber, weil die ökonomischen und geopolitischen „Sachzwänge“ es ausschließen, dass die Mainstream-Medien eine echte Läuterung noch vollziehen könnten. Zu spannend, zu sexy ist die Aussicht auf eine neue Medienwelt, in der Anbieter und Nutzer miteinander gleichberechtigt interagieren.

Das mal beiseite: Krügers Buch sollte man lesen.

 

<1> Uwe Krüger: Meinungsmacht. Der Einfluss von Eliten auf Leitmedien und Alpha-Journalisten – eine kritische Netzwerkanalyse. Köln 2013

Uwe Krüger: Mainstream – Warum wir den Medien nicht mehr trauen. München 2016.

Aus gegebenem Anlaß: Das Zimmerwalder Manifest von 1915

Es sieht so aus, daß wir in einer Vorkriegszeit leben. Wenn man in die Geschichte schaut, erkennt man, daß sich die Bilder in erschreckender Weise gleichen. Wenn sich die Friedensfreunde nicht international vernetzen, werden sich wieder einmal junge Männer untertschiedlicher Nationalitäten totschießen,  und die Zivilbevölkerung massakriert. Das Zimmerwalder Manifest von 1915 wurde von Pazifisten unterschiedlicher Länder, die gegeneinander Krieg führten, in der neutralen Schweiz unterzeichnet.

Passen wir diesmal rechtzeitig auf!

Manifest internatsional noi sotsialisticheskoi konferentsii v Tsimmervalde (15.9.1915).
In: Trotzki, Voina i Revolyutsiya (Krieg und Revolution), 1922, Bd.II, S.52-55.
Deutscher Text nach: Angelica Balabanoff, Die Zimmerwalder Bewegung 1914-1919, Leipzig (Hirschfeld) 1928, S.17-20.
Transkription: Oliver Fleig und Sozialistische Klassiker.
HTML-Markierung: Einde O’Callaghan für das Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Robert.grimm
Initiator des Zimmerwalder Treffens: Robert Grimm

Vom 5.-8. September 1915 trat in dem Schweizer Dorf Zimmerwald bei Bern die erste internationale sozialistische Konferenz gegen den Ersten Weltkrieg zusammen, an der achtunddreißig Delegierte aus elf Ländern teilnahmen. Das Manifest wurde von der Konferenz mit nur geringfügigen Veränderungen „einstimmig und begeistert” angenommen

 

Proletarier Europas!

Mehr als ein Jahr dauert der Krieg. Millionen von Leichen bedecken die Schlachtfelder, Millionen von Menschen wurden für ihr ganzes Leben zu Krüppeln gemacht. Europa gleicht einem gigantischen Menschenschlachthaus. Die ganze, durch die Arbeit vieler Generationen geschaffene Kultur ist der Verwüstung geweiht. Die wildeste Barbarei feiert heute ihren Triumph über alles, was bis jetzt den Stolz der Menschheit ausmachte.

Welches auch immer die Wahrheit über die unmittelbare Verantwortung für den Ausbruch dieses Krieges sei – das eine steht fest: Der Krieg, der dieses Chaos erzeugte, ist die Folge des Imperialismus, des Strebens der kapitalistischen Klassen jeder Nation, ihre Profitgier durch die Ausbeutung der menschlichen Arbeit und der Naturschätze des ganzen Erdballs zu nähren.

Wirtschaftlich rückständige oder politisch schwache Nationen fallen dabei der Unterjochung durch die Großmächte anheim, die in diesem Kriege versuchen, die Weltkarte ihrem Ausbeutungsinteresse entsprechend mit Blut und Eisen neu zu gestalten. So droht ganzen Völkern und Ländern, wie Belgien, Polen, den Balkanstaaten, Armenien, das Geschick, als Beutestücke im Spiel der Kompensationen, ganz oder in Teile zerrissen, annektiert zu werden.

Die treibenden Kräfte des Krieges treten in seinem Verlauf in ihrer ganzen Niedertracht hervor. Fetzen um Fetzen jenes Schleiers fällt, mit dem der Sinn dieser Weltkatastrophe vor dem Bewusstsein der Völker verhüllt wurde. Die Kapitalisten aller Länder, die aus dem vergossenen Blut des Volkes das rote Gold der Kriegsprofite münzen, behaupten, der Krieg diene der Verteidigung des Vaterlandes, der Demokratie, der Befreiung unterdrückter Völker. Sie lügen. In Tat und Wahrheit begraben sie auf den Stätten der Verwüstung die Freiheit des eigenen Volkes mitsamt der Unabhängigkeit anderer Nationen. Neue Fesseln, neue Ketten, neue Lasten entstehen, und das Proletariat aller Länder, der siegreichen wie der besiegten, wird sie zu tragen haben. Hebung des Wohlstandes ward beim Ausbruch des Krieges verkündet – Not und Entbehrung, Arbeitslosigkeit und Teuerung, Unterernährung und Volksseuchen sind das wirkliche Ergebnis. Auf Jahrzehnte hinaus werden die Kriegskosten die besten Kräfte der Völker verzehren, die Errungenschaften der sozialen Reformen gefährden und jeden Schritt nach vorwärts verhindern.

Kulturelle Verödung, wirtschaftlicher Niedergang, politische Reaktion – das sind die Segnungen dieses gräuelvollen Völkerringens.

So enthüllt der Krieg die nackte Gestalt des modernen Kapitalismus, der nicht nur mit den Interessen der Arbeitermassen, nicht nur mit den Bedürfnissen der geschichtlichen Entwicklung, sondern mit den elementaren Bedingungen der menschlichen Gemeinschaft unvereinbar geworden ist.

Die herrschenden Gewalten der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft, in deren Händen das Geschick der Völker ruhte, die monarchischen wie die republikanischen Regierungen, die Geheimdiplomatie, die mächtigen Unternehmerorganisationen, die bürgerlichen Parteien, die kapitalistische Presse, die Kirche – sie alle tragen das volle Gewicht der Verantwortung für diesen Krieg, welcher aus der sie nährenden und von ihnen geschützten Gesellschaftsordnung entstanden ist und für ihre Interessen geführt wird.

Arbeiter! Ausgebeutet, entrechtet, missachtet nannte man euch beim Ausbruch des Krieges, als es galt, euch auf die Schlachtbank, dem Tode entgegenzuführen, Brüder und Kameraden. Und jetzt, da euch der Militarismus verkrüppelt, zerfleischt, erniedrigt und vernichtet, fordern die Herrschenden von euch die Preisgabe eurer Interessen, eurer Ziele, eurer Ideale, mit einem Wort: die sklavische Unterordnung unter den Burgfrieden. Man beraubt euch der Möglichkeit, eure Ansichten, eure Gefühle, euren Schmerz zu äußern, man verwehrt es euch, eure Forderungen zu erheben und sie zu vertreten. Die Presse geknebelt, die politischen Rechte und Freiheiten mit Füßen getreten – so herrscht heute Militärdiktatur mit eiserner Faust.

Diesem Zustand, der die gesamte Zukunft Europas und der Menschheit bedroht, können und dürfen wir nicht weiter tatenlos gegenüberstehen. Jahrzehntelang hat das sozialistische Proletariat den Kampf gegen den Militarismus geführt. Mit wachsender Besorgnis beschäftigten sich seine Vertreter auf ihren nationalen und internationalen Tagungen mit der aus dem Imperialismus immer bedrohlicher hervorgehenden Kriegsgefahr. Zu Stuttgart [1907], zu Kopenhagen [1910], zu Basel [1912] haben die internationalen sozialistischen Kongresse den Weg gezeichnet, den das Proletariat zu betreten hat.

Sozialistische Parteien und Arbeiterorganisationen verschiedener Länder, die diesen Weg mitbestimmten, haben die daraus fließenden Verpflichtungen seit Beginn des Krieges missachtet. Ihre Vertreter haben die Arbeiterschaft zur Einstellung des Klassenkampfes, des einzig möglichen und wirksamen Mittels der proletarischen Emanzipation, aufgefordert. Sie haben den herrschenden Klassen die Kredite zur Kriegsführung bewilligt, sie haben sich den Regierungen zu den verschiedensten Diensten zur Verfügung gestellt, sie haben durch ihre Presse und ihre Sendboten die Neutralen für die Regierungspolitik ihrer Länder zu gewinnen versucht, sie haben den Regierungen sozialistische Minister als Geiseln zur Wahrung des Burgfriedens ausgeliefert, und damit haben sie vor der Arbeiterklasse, vor ihrer Gegenwart und ihrer Zukunft die Verantwortung für diesen Krieg, für seine Ziele und Methoden übernommen. Und wie die einzelnen Parteien, so versagte die berufenste Vertretung der Sozialisten aller Länder: das internationale sozialistische Büro.

Diese Tatsachen haben es mitverschuldet, dass die internationale Arbeiterklasse, die der nationalen Panik der ersten Kriegsperiode nicht anheimfiel oder sich davon befreite, noch bis jetzt, im zweiten Jahre des Völkermordens, keine Mittel und Wege fand, um den tatkräftigen Kampf für den Frieden gleichzeitig in allen Ländern aufzunehmen.

In dieser unerträglichen Lage haben wir, die Vertreter der sozialistischen Parteien, Gewerkschaften und ihrer Minderheiten, wir Deutsche, Franzosen, Italiener, Russen, Polen, Letten, Rumänen, Bulgaren, Schweden, Norweger, Holländer und Schweizer, wir, die nicht auf dem Boden der nationalen Solidarität mit der Ausbeuterklasse, sondern auf dem Boden der internationalen Solidarität des Proletariats und des Klassenkampfes stehen, uns zusammengefunden, um die zerrissenen Fäden der internationalen Beziehungen neu zu knüpfen und die Arbeiterklasse zur Selbstbesinnung und zum Kampfe für den Frieden aufzurufen.

Dieser Kampf ist der Kampf für die Freiheit, für die Völkerverbrüderung, für den Sozialismus. Es gilt, dieses Ringen um den Frieden aufzunehmen, für einen Frieden ohne Annexionen und Kriegsentschädigungen. Ein solcher Friede aber ist nur möglich unter Verurteilung jedes Gedankens an eine Vergewaltigung der Rechte und Freiheiten der Völker. Weder die Besetzung von ganzen Ländern noch von einzelnen Landesteilen darf zu ihrer gewaltsamen Einverleibung führen. Keine Annexion, weder eine offene, noch eine maskierte, auch keine zwangsweise wirtschaftliche Angliederung, die durch politische Entrechtung nur noch unerträglicher gemacht wird. Das Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Völker muss unerschütterlicher Grundsatz in der Ordnung der nationalen Verhältnisse sein.

Proletarier! Seit Ausbruch des Krieges habt ihr eure Tatkraft, euren Mut, eure Ausdauer in den Dienst der herrschenden Klassen gestellt. Nun gilt es, für die eigene Sache, für die heiligen Ziele des Sozialismus, für die Erlösung der unterdrückten Völker wie der geknechteten Klassen einzutreten durch den unversöhnlichen proletarischen Klassenkampf.

Aufgabe und Pflicht der Sozialisten der kriegführenden Länder ist es, diesen Kampf mit voller Wucht aufzunehmen, Aufgabe und Pflicht der Sozialisten der neutralen Staaten, ihre Brüder in diesem Ringen gegen die blutige Barbarei mit allen wirksamen Mitteln zu unterstützen.

Niemals in der Weltgeschichte gab es eine dringendere, eine höhere, eine erhabenere Aufgabe, deren Erfüllung unser gemeinsames Werk sein soll. Kein Opfer zu groß, keine Last zu schwer, um dieses Ziel: den Frieden unter den Völkern zu erreichen.

Arbeiter und Arbeiterinnen! Mütter und Väter! Witwen und Waisen! Verwundete und Verkrüppelte! Euch allen, die ihr vom Kriege und durch den Krieg leidet, rufen wir zu: Über die Grenzen, über die dampfenden Schlachtfelder, über die zerstörten Städte und Dörfer hinweg,

Proletarier aller Länder vereinigt euch!

Zimmerwald (Schweiz), im September 1915.

Im Namen der internationalen sozialistischen Konferenz:
Für die deutsche Delegation: Georg Ledebour, Adolf Hoffmann;
für die französische Delegation: A. Bourderon, A. Merrheim;
für die italienische Delegation: G.E. Modigliani, Constantino Lazzari;
für die russische Delegation: N. Lenin, Paul Axelrod, M. Bobrow;
für die polnische Delegation: St. Lapinski, A. Warski, Cz. Hanecki;
für die interbalkanische sozialistische Föderation: im Namen der rumänischen Delegation: C. Rakowski, im Namen der bulgarischen Delegation: Wassil Kolarow;
für die schwedische und norwegische Delegation: Z. Höglund, Ture Nerman;
für die holländische Delegation: H. Roland-Holst;
für die schweizerische Delegation: Robert Grimm, Charles Name.

Die Unabhängige Arbeiterpartei Englands hatte sich mit dem Zweck der Konferenz einverstanden erklärt und offizielle Delegierte zu ihren Verhandlungen bestimmt. Die Regierung des „freien, demokratischen“ Englands verweigerte aber den Delegierten ihre Pässe, so dass die Reise nach dem Konferenzort nicht erfolgen konnte. Aus diesem Grunde konnte das Manifest, dessen Richtlinien die Unabhängige Arbeiterpartei beistimmte, von Vertretern der englischen Arbeiterschaft nicht sofort unterzeichnet werden.

Die Geheimverträge aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg im Wortlaut

Da die Geheimverträge aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg mittlerweile immer mehr aus dem Internet, und damit auch aus dem kollektiven Gedächtnis) verschwinden, bietet USAControl ihnen einen sicheren Aufbewahrungsort.

Diese Texte stammen aus dem Bestand der zaristischen Archive, und wurden von der Regierung der Sowjetunion der Öffentlichkeit übergeben. Sie sind gemeinfreies Eigentum der Weltbevölkerung.

Leider liegt noch keine deutsche Übersetzung vor. Hoffentlich finden sich bald ein paar Übersetzer, die diese Arbeit übernehmen. Hier der Originaltext im englischen Wortlaut:

 

S E C R E T T R E A T I E S

AND

U N D E R S T A N D I N G S

TEXT OF THE AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS

WITH INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

AND EXPLANATORY NOTES

BY

F. SEYMOUR COCKS
AND A PREFACE BY

CHARLES TREVELYAN, M.P.

LONDON:
UNION OF DEMOCRATIC CONTROL
407 RED LION COURT, E.C.4
ERRATUM
Page 36
After line 7 read,
“The port of Durazzo may be given to
the independent Mohammedan state of
Albania.”
CONTENTS PAGE
Preface. By Charles Trevelyan, M.P. 9

The Secret Agreements 11

I. Constantinople, the Straits, and Persia
…….(March, 1915) 15

II. The Treaty with Italy (April 26, 1915) 27

III. The Partition of Asiatic Turkey
…….(Spring, 1916) 43

IV. The Agreement with Roumania
…….(August, 1916) 49

V. The Russo-Japanese Treaty (July 3,
………..1916) 59

VI. The Left Bank of the Rhine, and the
…….German Frontiers, East and West
…….(February, 1917) 67

Appendix A.—The Negotiations with Italy 79

Appendix B.—The Negotiations with
………..Greece 81

Appendix C.—Diplomatic Documents
………..Relating to Japan 84

Appendix D.—Chronological Table 89

Index 91

Maps (1) Austria-Hungary and the Treaties.

Maps (2) Turkey and the Treaties.
7
PREFACE
THE old system of secret diplomacy is tottering to its fall. President Wilson, who before entering the war had denounced secret diplomacy as the principal cause of the war, has now placed its abolition in the foremost place in his programme for securing permanent peace. He has pronounced for:
“Open covenants of peace openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
That announcement has been hailed with approval by the British Labour Party.
At this juncture the Russian Government has published the Secret Treaties made among the Allied Governments during the earlier part of the war, and when the Tsar was still on the throne. Revolutionary Russia has repudiated all share in the policy which dictated them and has denounced them as inconsistent with no annexations and the self-determination of peoples. They have become the common property of the world, and have been published in every country, belligerent and neutral. I am not, however, aware of the publication of the full text in any British daily paper except the Manchester Guardian, and I feel certain that the following handbook, which contains the text of the treaties as accurately translated from the Russian as possible, will be welcomed by many people.
9
10 PREFACE 10
For the interest of these treaties is not purely historical. They represent engagements undertaken by the Allied Governments in the earlier part of the war. Some of those engagements, such as the obligation to present Constantinople to the Tsar, have lapsed now that the nation chiefly interested has denounced the policy. Again, the plans in regard to Asiatic Turkey must be considered to be in process of modification after Mr. Lloyd George’s declaration that it will be for the World Congress to decide the fate of Syria and Mesopotamia. But from a recent reply of Lord Robert Cecil the Italian Treaty is still held to be binding by our Government. Thus it is that these treaties have a close bearing upon the fortunes of a democratic peace. They make it more difficult for the true standpoint of Western democracy to be appreciated. Our statesmen have given the world a steady flow of assurance that we have entered and sustained the war for unselfish aims, that we coveted no territory, and that we were not fighting for conquests or annexations. It would be well for our people to critically examine the following treaties as a commentary on these wise intentions.
CHARLES TREVELYAN.
The SECRET TREATIES
& UNDERSTANDINGS
THE SECRET TREATIES AND UNDERSTANDINGS printed in the following pages are now, owing to the action of the Russian Revolutionary Government, the common property of the world. Their main outlines have already appeared in the British Press, notably in the Manchester Guardian.
In publishing these documents, which, with others, were found in the archives of the Russian Foreign Office, M. Trotski said:—
“Secret diplomacy is a necessary weapon in the hands of a propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to make the latter obey its interests. Imperialism, with its world-wide plans of annexation, and its rapacious alliances and arrangements, has developed to the highest extent the system of secret diplomacy. The struggle against Imperialism, which has ruined and drained of their blood the peoples of Europe, means at the same time the struggle against capitalist diplomacy, which has good reason to fear the light of day. The Russian people, as well as the peoples of Europe and of the whole world, must know the documentary truth about those plots which were hatched in secret by financiers and industrialists, together with their Parliamentary and diplomatic agents. The peoples of Europe have earned the right to know the truth about these things, owing to their innumerable sacrifioes and the universal economic ruin.
“To abolish secret diplomacy is the first condition of an honourable, popular, and really democratic foreign policy. The Soviet Government makes the introduction of such a policy its
11
12 THE SECRET TREATIES 12
object. For this reason, while openly offering to all the belligerent peoples and their Governments an immediate armistice, we publish simultaneously those treaties and agreements which have lost all their obligatory force for the Russian workmen, soldiers, and peasants, who have taken the Government into their hands….
“Bourgeois politicians and journalists of Germany and Austria-Hungary may endeavour to profit by the published documents in order to represent in a favourable light the diplomacy of the Central Empires. But every effort in this direction would be doomed to failure for two reasons. In the first place we intend shortly to put before the public secret documents which will show up clearly the diplomacy of the Central Empires. ln the second place-and this is the chief point-the methods of secret diplomacy are just as international as Imperialist rapacity. When the German proletariat by revolutionary means gets access to the secrets of its Government chancelleries, it will produce from them documents of just the same nature as those which we are now publishing. It is to be hoped that this will happen as soon as possible.
“The Government of workmen and peasants abolishes secret diplomacy, with its intrigues, figures, and lies. We have nothing to conceal. Our programme formulates the passionate wishes of millions of workmen, soldiers, and peasants. We desire a speedy peace, so that the peoples may honourably live and work together. We desire a speedy deposition of the supremacy of capital. In revealing before the whole world the work of the governing classes as it is expressed in the secret documents of diplomacy, we turn to the workers with that appeal which will always form the basis of our foreign policy: ‘Proletariats of all countries, unite!’
“L. TROTSKI, People’s Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.”*
From among the many important diplomatic documents published by M. Trotski, we have selected those which deal with actual treaties and arrangements made by the Allies since the beginning of the war. These comprise:
________________________________________
* From the text printed in The New Europe, Dec. 20, 1917.
13 AND UNDERSTANDINGS 13
The Agreement relating to Constantinople and Persia.
The London Treaty with Italy.
The Agreement relating to Asiatic Turkey.
The Agreement with Roumania.
The Russo-Japanese Treaty.
The Agreement relating to the left bank of the Rhine, and the re-arrangement of the Eastern and Western frontiers of Germany
The period over which these documents range dates from March, 1915, to March, 1917, shortly before the fall of the Tsar.
I.
Constantinople, the Straits, and Persia
(March 12, 1915).
SUMMARY.—Britain consents to the annexation by Russia of the Straits and Constantinople, in return for a similar benevolent attitude on Russia’s part towards the political aspirations of Britain in other parts. The neutral zone in Persia to be included in British sphere of influence. The districts adjoining Ispahan and Yezd to be included in Russian sphere, in which Russia is to be granted “full liberty of action.”
For centuries one of the ambitions of the Russian Government has been to obtain possession of Constantinople and the Straits. And for generations one of the aims of British foreign policy has been to prevent Russia securing this important strategic position.
To prevent Russia obtaining Constantinople was one of the reasons why Britain engaged in the Crimean War. For the same object Lord Beaconsfield risked war with Russia in I878, and sent the Mediterranean fleet through the Dardanelles. It was this occasion which gave rise to the popular song which gave the “Jingoes” their name, a song which had for its refrain the words:
“We’ve fought the Bear before, we can fight the Bear again,
But the Russians shall not have Constantinople.”
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16 THE SECRET TREATIES 16
The present war, however, gave to the old Russian Government the opportunity of fulfilling the ambition cherished by the Tsars from the days of Peter the Great, and in the Spring of 1915 the British Government gave its “consent in writing to the annexation by Russia of the Straits and Constantinople.”
Rumours of the existence of this understanding speedily became current, and various unavailing attempts were made in the House of Commons to ascertain from the British Government whether such an agreement had actually been concluded.
The following is a typical example of the questions which were put to the Foreign Secretary on the point, and of the answers which were received:—
May 30, 1916.
Mr. Outhwaite asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention had been called to an interview in England with Professor Paul Miliukoff, leader of the Constitutional Democrats in the Russian Duma, in which he stated our supreme aim in this war is to get possession of Constantinople, which must belong to Russia entirely, and without reserve; and can he say whether this statement represents the views of the Russian Government as regards its supreme aim in the war?
Sir Edward Grey: Professor Miliukoff is a distinguished member of the Duma, but it is not necessary or desirable to make official comments on unofficial statements.
Mr. Outhwaite: Did Professor Miliukoff correctly interpret the views of the Russian Government; does it follow under the pact of London that this country cannot consider terms of peace until Russia has secured Constantinople?
Sir Edward Grey: The honourable member is asking for a statement which I do not think it desirable to make.
Eventually, the existence of the agreement was officially made known, not through any statement of the British Government, but by an utterance of the then
17 CONSTANTINOPLE AND PERSIA 17
Prime Minister of Russia, M. Trepoff, in the Duma, on December 2, 1916. M. Trepoff said:
“An agreement which we concluded in 1915 with Great Britain and France, and to which Italy has adhered, established in the most definite fashion the right of Russia to the Straits and Constantinople…. I repeat that absolute agreement on this point is firmly established among the Allies.”
Now, owing to the action of the Russian Revolutionary Government, we are able to give further details of this agreement.
The following is the text of a confidential telegram (printed in the Manchester Guardian, December 12, 1917), from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs (M. Sazonoff) to the Russian Ambassador at Paris.
It is dated March 5 (18),1 1915, and runs as follows:
No. 1226.
“On February 23 (March 8) the French Ambassador, on behalf of his Government, announced to me that France was prepared to take up a most favourable attitude in the matter of realisation of our desires as set out in my telegram to you, No. 937, in respect of the Straits and Constantinople, for which I charged you to tender Delcassé my gratitude.
“In his oonversations with you, Delcassé had previously more than once given his assurance that we could rely on the sympathy of France, and only referred to the need of elucidating the question of the attitude of England, from whom he, feared some objec-
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1 There is a difference of thirteen days between the Russian or Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world. When two dates are given the first is that of the Old Style or Russian calendar.
18 THE SECRET TREATIES 18
tions, before he could give us a more definite assurance in the above sense. Now the British Government has given its complete consent in writing to the annexation by Russia of the Straits and Constantinople within the limits indicated by us, and only demanded security for its economic interests and a similar benevolent attitude on our part towards the political aspirations of England in other parts.
“For me, personally, filled as I am with most complete confidence in Delcassé, the assurance received from him is quite sufficient, but the Imperial Government would desire a more definite pronouncement of France’s assent to the complete satisfaction of our desires, similar to that made by the British Government.
(Signed) “SAZONOFF.”
THE “LIMITS INDICATED” BY RUSSIA.
The reader will naturally ask two questions here: First, what were “the limits indicated by Russia”? Second, what were “the political aspirations of England in other parts” towards which “a benevolent attitude” was demanded?
The answers to these questions are to be found in a document first published in the Pravda (the organ of the Bolsheviks), a translation of which appeared in The New Europe of December 20,1917, and in the Manchester Guardian of February 22, 1918. This document is apparently a memorandum of various secret negotiations drawn up for the information of some Minister. For purposes of reference, we will call it Document B. The
19 CONSTANTINOPLE AND PERSIA 19
New Europe translation of this document runs as follows:—
MEMORANDUM OF THE RUSSIAN FOREIGN OFFICE.
“On February 19 (March 4), 1915, the Minister of Foreign Affairs handed to the French and British Ambassadors a Memorandum which set forth the desire to add the following territories to Russia as the result of the present war:
“The town of Constantinople, the western coast of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles; Southern Thrace, as far as the Enos-Media line; the coast of Asia Minor between the Bosphorus and the River Sakaria, and a point on the Gulf of Ismid to be defined later; the islands in the Sea of Marmora, and the Islands of Imbros and Tenedos. The special rights of France and England in the above territories were to remain inviolate.1
“Both the French and British Governments express
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1 This arrangement would give to Russia the whole of Turkey in Europe, with the exception of a small piece of territory in the north around Adrianople and Kirk Kilisse, which was apparently reserved as a bait to induce Bulgaria to join the Allies.
“We were given to understand that in order to secure Balkan union, there were certain concessions that Bulgaria would require, especially in Thrace and Macedonia; and the Allies were ready to do all in their power to secure these things for Bulgaria, but. . . it was an essential preliminary that Bulgaria should take the side of the Allies against Turkey.” (Sir Edward Grey, in the House of Commons, October 13, 1915).
It would also give to Russia the Asiatic shores of the Bosphorus, the peninsula of Scutari, and about 80 miles of the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor. Tenedos and Imbros are islands in the Ægean, Iying off the entrance of the Dardanelles. The Asiatic shores of the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles do not appear to have been included.
20 THE SECRET TREATIES 20
their readiness to agree to our wishes, provided the war is won, and provided a number of claims made by France and England, both in the Ottoman Empire, and in other places, are satisfied.
“As far as Turkey is concerned, these claims are as follows:—
“1. Constantinople is to be recognised as a free port for the transit of goods [coming from Russia, and not going*] to Russia, and a free passage is to be given through the Straits to merchant ships.
“2. The rights of England and France in Asiatic Turkey to be defined by special agreement between France and England and Russia 2 are recognised.
“3. The sacred Mahomedan places are to be protected, and Arabia is to be under an independent Mahomedan sovereign.
“The neutral zone in Persia established by the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 3 is to be included in the English sphere of influence.
“While recognising these demands in general as satisfactory, the Russian Government made several reservations.
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* See note on next page.
2 This agreement was subsequently made in the Spring of 1916. (See page 43.)
3 By the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 Persia was divided into three spheres, an extensive “Russian sphere” in the north, which included most of the principal Persian towns, a smaller “British sphere” in the south-east, and a central “neutral zone.” The Russian and British spheres were only spheres of commercial interest. Sir Edward Grey stated that they were not to be regarded as “political partitions.” “These are only British and Russian spheres in a sense which is in no way derogatory to the independence and sovereignty of Persia.”-(Sir Edward Grey, House of Commons, February 14, 1908).
21 CONSTANTINOPLE AND PERSIA 21
“In view of the formulation of our wishes with regard to the sacred Mahomedan places it must now be made clear whether these localities are to remain under the sovereignty of Turkey with the Sultan keeping the title of Caliph, or whether it is proposed to create new independent States. In our opinion it would be [undesirable*] to separate the Caliphate from Turkey. In any case freedom of pilgrimage must be guaranteed.
“While agreeing to the inclusion of the neutral zone of Persia within the sphere of English influence, the Russian Government considers it right to declare that the districts round the towns of Ispahan and Yezd [formerly were fortified*] by Russia, and also that part of the neutral zone which cuts a wedge between the Russian and Afghan frontiers and goes as far as the Russian frontier at Zulfagar, was included in the Russian sphere of influence.
“The Russian Government considers it desirable that the question of the frontiers between Russia and Northern Afghanistan should simultaneously be solved according to the wishes expressed at the time of the negotiations of 1914.
“After the entrance of Italy into the war, our wishes were communicated to the Italian Government also, and the latter expressed its agreement, provided the war ended in the successful realisation of Italian claims
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Note: * The words in brackets are probably mistranslated. The following respective readings are given in the Manchester Guardian: (a) “not proceeding from or”; (b) “desirable”; (c) “should be secured.” This conforms to the sense of telegram No. 1,265 quoted on the next page.
22 THE SECRET TREATIES 22
in general, and in the East, in particular,4 and in the recognition by us for Italy within the territories ceded to us of the same rights as those enjoyed by France and England.”
The next document printed by the Manchester Guardian is the following confidential telegram from M. Sazonoff to the Russian Ambassador in London, dated March 7 (20),1915.
No. 1265.
“Referring to the Memorandum of the British Government (? Embassy) here of March 12, will you please express to Grey the profound gratitude of the Imperial Government for the complete and final assent of Great Britain to the solution of the question of the Straits and Constantinople, in accordance with Russia’s desires. The Imperial Government fully appreciates the sentiments of the British Government and feels certain that a sincere recognition of mutual interests will secure for ever the firm friendship between Russia and Great Britain.
“Having already given its promise respecting the conditions of trade in the Straits and Constantinople, the Imperial Government sees no objection to confirming its assent to the establishment (1) of free transit through Constantinople for all goods not proceeding from or proceeding to Russia, and (2) free passage through the Straits for merchant vessels.
“In order to facilitate the breaking through of the Dardanelles undertaken by the Allies, the Imperial Government is prepared to co-operate in inducing
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4 These claims are set out in the provisions of the Treaty of London signed on April 26, 1915, by representatives of the British, French, Russian, and Italian Governments. (See page 27.)
23 CONSTANTINOPLE AND PERSIA 23
those States whose help is considered useful by Great Britain and France to join in the undertaking on reasonable terms.5
“The Imperial Government completely shares the view of the British Government that the holy Moslem places must also in future remain under an independent Moslem rule. It is desirable to elucidate at once whether it is contemplated to leave those places under the rule of Turkey, the Sultan retaining the title of Caliph, or to create new independent States, since the Imperial Government would only be able to formulate its desires in accordance with one or other of these assumptions. On its part the Imperial Government would regard the separation of the Caliphate from Turkey as very desirable. Of course the freedom of pilgrimage must be completely secured.
“The Imperial Government confirms its assent to the inclusion of the neutral zone of Persia in the British sphere of influence. At the same time, however, it regards it as just to stipulate that the districts adjoining the cities of Ispahan and Yezd,6 forming with them one inseparable whole, should be secured for Russia in view of the Russian interests which have arisen there. The neutral zone now forms a wedge between the Russian and Afghan frontiers, and cames up to the very frontier line of Russia at Zulfagar. Hence a portion of this wedge will have to be annexed to the Russian sphere of influence. Of essential importance
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5 The date of the first naval attack in force on the Dardanelles was February 20, 1915. The military expedition commenced to land on April 25, 1915. Any step which may have been taken by Russia to induce other States “to join in the undertaking” evidently failed.
6 Two important Persian towns.
24 THE SECRET TREATIES 24
to the Imperial Government is the question of railway construction in the neutral zone, which will require further amicable discussion.
“The Imperial Government expects that in future its full liberty of action will be recognised in the sphere of influence allotted to it, coupled in particular with the right of preferentially developing in that sphere its financial and economic policies.7
“Lastly, the Imperial Government considers it desirable simultaneously to solve also the problems in Northern Afghanistan adjoining Russia in the sense of the wishes expressed on the subject by the Imperial Ministry in the course of the negotiations last year.8
(Signed) “SAZONOFF.”
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7 On September 4, 1907, Sir Cecil Spring Rice, British Minister at Teheran, sent a communication to the Persian Minister for Foreign Affairs, explaining the nature of the Anglo-Russian Convention, in which he said:
“The object of the two Powers in making this agreement is not in any way to attack, but rather to assure for ever, the independence of Persia. Not only do they not wish to have at hand any excuse for intervention, but their object in these friendly negotiations was not to allow one another to intervene on the pretext of safeguarding their interests. The two Powers hope that in the future Persia will be for ever delivered from the fear of foreign intervention, and will thus be perfectly free to manage her own affairs in her own way.”
Eight years later the arrangements recorded in M. Sazonoff’s telegram were made.
8 According to an answer given by Lord Islington to Viscount Bryce in the House of Lords on January 9, 1918, this related to “certain proposals for improving the irrigation of Russian territory adjoining Afghanistan, which had been made by the Russian Government before the war. These proposals never came to a head, and could not have been carried into effect without the Ameer’s
25 CONSTANTINOPLE AND PERSIA 25
THE PRESENT POSITION.
The Russian Revolutionary Government has now renounced all desire on the part of Russia to annex Constantinople and the Straits. And, as a result of this action, Mr. Lloyd George has at last stated, on behalf of the British Government (January 5, 1918) that:
“we do not challenge the maintenance of the Turkish Empire in the homelands of the Turkish race with its capital at Constantinople-the passage between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea being internationalised and neutralised.”
With regard to Persia the present rulers of Russia have repudiated the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907, and have announced their intention of withdrawing all Russian troops from Persia so as to terminate with all speed the “acts of violence which Tsarism and the bourgeois Governments of Russia have committed against the Persian people. “
On this, Lord Curzon has said (January 1, 1918) that:
“the great change in the situation produced by recent events in Russia has given to His Majesty’s Government a welcome opportunity of testifying their sincerity,” in repudiating any hostile designs on “the territorial integrity or political independence of the Persian kingdom.” . . . “We have informed the Persian Government that we regard the agreement as being henceforward in suspense.”
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consent. No pruposal affecting the territorial integrity of Afghanistan has been made.”
Lord Islington also stated that “an opportunity was subsequently taken in the course of correspondence with the Ameer of Afghanistan to give him a formal assurance that no proposal affecting the interests of his country would be made or agreed to at the Peace Conference.”
II.
The Treaty with Italy
(April 26,1915.)
SUMMARY.—Italy to receive the Trentino, the Southern Tyrol, Trieste, the county of Corizia and Cradisca, Istria, Northern Dalmatia, numerous islands off the Dalmatian coast, Valona (in Albania), twelve islands off the coast of Asia Minor, a prospective share in the partition of Asiatic Turkey, a prospective addition to her colonial territory in Africa, and a share in the war indemnity. The remainder of the Austro-Hungarian coast is to be divided between “Croatia,” Serbia and Montenegro, thus cutting Austria-Hungary completely from the sea. Certain stretches of the Adriatic coast are to be neutralised. There is also a suggestion to partition the greater part of Albania between Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.
To understand the provisions of the treaty with Italy, and their bearing upon the question of the Adriatic, it is necessary to consult an atlas. Open it and turn to the Adriatic. This is a narrow sea running up from the Mediterranean in a north-westerly direction and separating Italy from the Balkan peninsula and from Austria-Hungary. It is from 100 to 150 miles broad and about 600 miles long. It is entered by the Straits of Otranto, which are less than 50 miles wide and the key to these
27
28 THE SECRET TREATIES 28
Straits is the Albanian town of Valona, standing on a fine bay, the entrance to which is guarded by the island of Saseno.
Now look at the two coasts. They present a striking contrast. The Italian coast is flat and unindented. There are few harbours of any importance, Italy’s chief ports being on her western and southern shores. But the Austrian ooast is deeply indented. Magnificent harbours, capable of accommodating the fleets of the world, run far inland in every direction. The water is deep, and the coast is protected all the way down by a chain of long, narrow islands forming an admirable cover for shipping. It is possible for a vessel to leave Fiume and to sail down the coast to Ragusa without -save for one stretch of 20 miles-ever coming out into the open sea. This coast line which, from Trieste in the north to Spizza in the south, is in the oocupation of Austria-Hungary, is, therefore, well adapted both for commercial ports and for naval bases. Pola (in Istria) is the chief naval station and other important towns, besides Trieste, are the Croatian port of Fiume, the Dalmatian ports of Zara, Sebenico and Spalato, Ragusa and Cattaro.
THE “SACRED EGOISM” OF ITALY.
Upon this magnificent coast-line-especially upon that of Dalmatia-Italian expansionists have for many years cast longing eyes. And in the present war these Italian Imperialists saw an opportunity of realising their cherished ambitions. The spirit in which they set to work can be judged from representative utterances of some of them.
On October 18, 1914, Signor Salandra took over the Foreign Office for a time, and struck the key-note of the
29 TREATY WITH ITALY 29
policy he intended to pursue in the following words:—
“What is needed is…. a freedom from all preconceptions and prejudices, and from every sentiment except that of sacred egoism (sacro egoismo) for Italy.”
Meanwhile a “raging, tearing propaganda” was started in support of Italian expansion. The Society Pro Dalmazia was founded to advocate Italy’s claim to the opposite shores of the Adriatic. The “rights of nationality” were brushed aside. The Giornale d’ltalia (whose chief proprietors are Baron Sonnino and Signor Salandra) announced (April 4, 1915) that:
“There are political and military considerations which are above any question of nationality whatever “
and Italy’s rulers entered into negotiations with the object of securing the territorial and other concessions they desired.
Italy’s demands on the Allies at that time were summarised by a French writer, M. Charles Vellay, in his La Question de l’Adriatique in the following words:—
“Italy categorically-one might say brutally expressed a desire, which was not embarrassed by any consideration of justice or reason, and she plainly avowed her aim, viz., the destruction of all rivalry by sea, absolute ascendancy.” *
This view of Italy’s claims is quite frankly confessed by the Giornale d’Italia (April 19, 1915):
“The principal objective of Italy in the Adriatic is the solution, once for all, of the politico-strategic question of a sea which is commanded in the military sense from the eastern shore, and such a problem can be solved only by one method- by eliminating from the Adriatic every other war fleet….. From the military point of view Italy ought not to make a compromise…. neither a fort, nor a gun, nor a submarine, that is not Italian, ought to be in the Adriatic.”
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* Quoted in A Bulwark against Germany by Bogumil Vosnjak (George Allen and Unwin).
30 THE SECRET TREATIES 30
Eventually the concessions offered by the Allies were considered satisfactory and Italy decided to come into the war on the side of the champions of democracy and small nations. The terms of Italy’s entry into the conflict were settled by a secret convention, now known as the Treaty of London.
TERMS OF THE TREATY.
The Treaty of London was concluded between Britain, France, Russia and Italy, and signed on April 26,1915. The terms of the treaty appeared in Isvestia (the organ of the Soviet) on November 28, 1917, and a translation was printed in the Manchester Guardian on January 18,1918, and, in a slightly different form, in The New Europe on January 17, 1918.
The document runs as follows:
* “The Italian Ambassador in London, Marchese Imperiali, on instructions from his Government, has the honour to communicate to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Edward Grey, to the French Ambassador, M. Cambon, and to the Russian Ambassador, Count Benckendorff, the following Memorandum:
“Article I.—A military convention is to be concluded without delay between the general Staffs of France, Great Britain, Russia, and Italy to determine the minimum number of troops which Russia would have to throw against Austria-Hungary if the latter should want to concentrate all her forces
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For particulars of the negotiations preceding Italy’s entry into the war see Appendix A. (page 79).
* Paragraphs marked with a star are taken from the translation published in The New Europe. In all other cases the Manchester Guardian version is followed.
31 TREATY WITH ITALY 31
against Italy. Russia should decide mainly to attack Germany. Similarly the said convention is to regulate the questions relating to armistices, in so far as such armistices form an essential part of the competence of the Supreme Army Command.9
“Article 2.—On her part Italy undertakes by all means at her disposal to conduct the campaign in union with France, Great Britain and Russia against all the Powers at war with them.
“Article 3.—The naval forces of France and Great Britain are to render uninterrupted and active assistance to Italy until such time as the navy of Austria has been destroyed or peace has been concluded. A naval convention is to be concluded without delay between France, Great Britain and Italy.
“Article 4.—By the future Treaty of Peace Italy is to receive the district of Trentino10; the entire Southern Tyrol up to its natural geographical
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9 The New Europe version reads: “In so far as these (armistices) do not by their very nature fall within the competence of The Supreme Command.”
10 Trentino is, practically speaking, that part of the valley of the Adige which runs from the Italian frontier to the town of Bozen. It includes the towns of Trent, Rovereto, Riva and Ala. Although for hundreds of years a part of the Holy Roman Empire (Trent itself was governed by a Prince-Bishop) the population is very largely Italian in race and sympathy. A correspondent of the Morning Post (April 3rd, 1915) states that whilst the towns in the valley are predominantly Italian the villages on the heights are Austrian in sympathy. The Trentino is the old historic highway into lta]y from Central Europe, through Innsbruck and over the Brenner Pass.
32 THE SECRET TREATIES 32
frontier, which is the Brenner Pass11; the city and district of Trieste12; the county of Gorizia and Gradisca13; the entire Istria14 up to Quarmer,15 including Volosca and the Istrian islands of Cherso and Lussina,15 as well as the smaller islands of Plavnika,15, Unia, Canidoli, Palazznoli,15 S. Petri dei Nembi,15 Asinello, and Gruica, with the neighbouring islets.
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11 This would bring the Italian frontier to within 20 miles of Innsbruck and 30 miles of the southern limits of Bavaria. It would annex to Italy a tract of territory inhabited by the Tyrolese, a virile race of mountaineers, the descendants of Andreas Hofer and his followers, who are notorious for their loyal support of the Austrian throne.
12 Trieste has been linked to the Austrian crown for 536 years, ever since, in fact, 1382, in which year the city voluntarily joined the Empire in order to be protected against the threatened domination of Venice. It is the chief port of Austria and the natural outlet for the trade of the hinterland for as far back as Vienna, Bohemia and even further. Its inclusion in the Italian Customs Union would tend to the economic strangulation of the interior and the commercial ruin of the port.
13 According to the last census (1910) the population of the county of Gorizia and Gradisca is 249,893, of which 90,119 are ltalians, or about 36 per cent. Roughly speaking, the ltalians inhabit the strip of territory between the Italian frontier and the line of the Isonzo with the town of Gorizia. The Italian claim to the county of Gorizia and Gradisca, of course, goes far beyond this, and takes in a practically solid non-ltalian population.
14 Although there is a considerable Italian population along a thin strip of the western sea-board of Istria the interior is almost entirely non-ltalian. The population of Istria is 386,463, of which 147,417 are Italians, or roughly 38 per cent. The cession of Istria would give to Italy the great fortress and dockyard of Pola, Austria’s chief naval base. Cherso and Lussina are large and important islands commanding Fiume and the coast of Croatia.
15 In The New Europe these place-names are translated: Quarnero, Lussin, Plavnik, Palazzuola and S. Pietro Nerovio.
33 TREATY WITH ITALY 33
*”Note I (to Article 4).—In carrying out what is said in Article 4 the frontier line shall be drawn along the following points:—From the summit of Umbrile northwards to the Stelvio, then along the watershed of the Rhoetian Alps as far as the sources of the rivers Adige and Eisach, then across the Mounts Reschen and Brenner and the Etz and Ziller peaks. The frontier then turns southwards, touching Mount Toblach, in order to reach the present frontier of Carniola, which is near the Alps. Along this frontier the line will reach Mount Tarvis and will follow the watershed of the Julian Alps beyond the crests of Predil, Mangart, and Tricorno, and the passes of Podberdo, Podlansko, and Idria. From here the line will turn in a south-east direction towards the Schneeberg, in such a way as not to include the basin of the Save and its tributaries in Italian territory. From the Schneeberg the frontier will descend towards the sea coast, including Castua, Mantuglia, and Volosca as Italian districts.
“Article 5.—Italy will likewise receive the province of Dalmatia in its present frontiers including Lisserica and Trebigne (Trebanj)16 in the north, and all the country in the south up to a line drawn from the coast, at the promontory of Planka, eastwards along the watershed in such a way as to include in the Italian possessions all the valleys of the rivers flowing into the Sebenico—viz., Cikola, Kerka, and Buotisnica, with all their affluents. Italy will likewise obtain all the islands situated to the north and west of the coasts of Dalmatia,
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16 Two small places in South-West Croatia.
34 THE SECRET TREATIES 34
beginning with Premuda, Selve, Ulbo, Skerda, Maoh, Pago, and Puntadura, and further north, and down to Melada in the south, with the inclusion of the islands of S. Andrea, Busi, Lissa, Lesina, Torcola, Curzola, Cazza, and Lagosta, with all the adjacent, rocks and islets, as well as Pelagosa, but without the islands of Zirona Grande and Zirona Piccola, Bua, Solta, and Brazza.17
“The following are to be neutralised:
“(1) The entire coast from Planka, in the north, to the southern extremity of the Sabbioncello peninsula, includnig this last-named peninsula in its entirety;
“(2) The part of the littoral from a point ten versts south of the promontory of Ragusa Vecchia to the Viosa (Vojuzza) River18 so as to include in the neutralised zone the entire gulf of Cattaro with its ports of Antivari, Dulcigno, San Giovanni di Medua, and Durazzo; the rights of Montenegro, arising from the declarations exchanged by the two contracting parties as far
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17 This gives to Italy the whole of Northern Dalmatia which constitutes the greater part of that province, and includes the ports of Zara and Sebenico. The islands mentioned are many of them (in particular Lesina, Curzola, Lissa, and Melada) large and important and command the whole Dalmatian coast and the port of Spalato. The total population of Dalmatia is 684,855. Of this number 18,028 are Italians, or a little under 3 per cent. of the whole. Of these, no fewer than 8,000 are concentrated in the single town of Zara This leaves only l0,000 Italians for the whole of the rest of Dalmatia, or about 1 3/4 per cent. of the population. The Dalmatians are a hardy, sea-faring stock, and provide the bulk of the seamen of the Austrian Navy and Mercantile marine.
18 The Vojuzza or Vojussa is an Albanian river which flows into the Adriatic a few miles north of Valona.
35 TREATY WITH ITALY 35
back as April and May, 1909, remaining intact.19 Nevertheless, in view of the fact that those rights were guaranteed to Montenegro within her present frontiers, they are not to be extended to those territories and ports which may eventually be given to Montenegro. Thus, none of the ports of the littoral now belongng to Montenegro are to be neutralised, at any future time. On the other hand, the disqualifications affecting Antivari, to which Montenegro herself agreed in 1909, are to remain in force;
“(3) Lastly, all the islands which are not annexed to Italy.
“Note 2.—The following territories on the Adriatic will be included by the Powers of the Quadruple Entente in Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro: In the north of the Adriatic, the entire coast from Volosca Bay, on the border of Istria, to the northern frontier of Dalmatia, including the entire coast now belonging to Hungary, and the entire coast of Croatia, the port of Fiume20 and the small ports of Movi and Carlopago, and also the islands of Veglia, Perviccio, Gregorio, Coli, and Arbe, 21
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19 In April, 1909, following upon the crisis caused by the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in the previous year, Montenegro succeeded in obtaining from Austria and the Powers the abrogation of various restrictions imposed on her tenure of the port of Antivari by Article 29 of the Treaty of Berlin. It was arranged that Antivari should retain the character of a commercial port, but the administration of the maritime police on the Montenegrin coast by Austria-Hungary and the closure of Antivari to warships of all nations, and other irksome regulations, were abandoned.
20 Fiume is the chief port of Hungary.
21 Veglia and Arbe are islands of considerable size lying off the coast of Croatia.
36 THE SECRET TREATIES 36
and in the south of the Adriatic, where Serbia and Montenegro have interests, the entire coast from Planka up to the River Drin22 with the chief ports of Spalato, Ragusa, Cattaro, Antivari, Dulcigno and San Giovanni di Medua, with the islands of Zirona Grande, Zirona Piccola, Bua, Solta, Brazza,23 Jaklian and Calomotta24.
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22 The Drin is an Albanian river flowing into the Adriatic close to the northern frontier of that country.
23 Brazza is a large island lying off the coast of Southern Dalmatia, just outside Spalato.
24 The effect of Articles 4 and 5, with the notes attached, is as follows:—After Italy has been given Istria and Northern Dalmatia, the whole of the rest of the Austro-Hungarian coastline is to be shorn away from her and divided between a new State of Croatia and an enlarged Serbia and Montenegro. (According to M. Miliukoff’s statement in the Retch in the early days of 1917: “it is still a disputed question whether Jugo-Slavia (the land of the Southern Slavs) should consist of a united Croatia, Slavonia, Herzegovina, Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro, or whether it should form two separate States”). The result of carrying out the above clauses of the Treaty of London would be to cut Austria-Hungary completely from the sea.
THE NEUTRALISATION PROPOSALS: Some readers may wonder why the long stretch of coastline (which is to be allotted apparently to Serbia and Montenegro) running from the southern limit of the proposed Italian possession of Dalmatia to the northern limit of the proposed Italian possession of Valona (see Article 6), and including the ports of Spalato, Cattaro, S. Giovanni di Medua, and Durazzo, but seemingly excluding Ragusa, is to be neutralised. The reason is possibly to be found in the determination of Italy to allow the presence of no naval Power, save her own, in the Adriatic, or, in the words of the Giornale d’ltalia already quoted, “neither a fort, nor a gun, nor a submarine that is not Italian ought to be in that sea.” Thus Professor G. Salvemini writes: “We cannot prevent Austria having a fleet, since she already possesses one. The Serbia of to-morrow we can prevent in its own interests
37 TREATY WITH ITALY 37
“Article 6.—Italy will receive in absolute property Valona, the island of Saseno and as much territory as would be required to secure their military safety-approximately between the River Vojuzza in the north and in the east, down to the borders of the Chimara district in the south.25
*”Article 7.—Having obtained Trentino and Istria by Article 4, Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands by Article 5, and also the Gulf of Valona, Italy undertakes, in the event of a small autonomous and neutralised State being formed in Albania, not to oppose the possible desire of France, Great Britain, and Russia to repartition the northern and southern districts of Albania between Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece.26 The
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and ours. And we can profit by this moment, which will never recur in history, to exclude from the Adriatic Austria which has a fleet, and to substitute for her a new State which has no fleet, and which we can prevent creating one” (quoted by Mr. A. H. E. Taylor, in The Future of the Southern Slavs. T. Fisher Unwin). Italy secures by this treaty the chief strategic points on the coast, Cherso and Lussin dominating Fiume, Lissa (the key of the Central Adriatic) and Lesina closing the door on Spalato, and Melada threatening Ragusa. Should a Slav State ever be formed with a seaboard on the Adriatic, such a State would only exist (under the provisions of this treaty), as far at least as its maritime activities were concerned, at the good pleasure of Italy, who would be able at any time to land troops upon the coast and to seize the towns.
25 Valona is the Albanian town situated on the Straits of Otranto and usually considered to be “the key of the Adriatic.” Saseno is the island at the mouth of the harbour. Valona with the surrounding districts (to the extent of about 4,000 square kilometres) has been occupied by Italy since November, 1914.
26 This contemplates the partition of the greater part of Albania. In any case, the allotment of San Giovanni di Medua to Serbia or Montenegro (under Article 5, Note
38 THE SECRET TREATIES 38
southern coast of Albania, from the frontier of the Italian territory of Valona to Cape Stilos, is to be neutralised.27
“To Italy will be conceded the right of conducting the foreign relations of Albania; in any case, Italy will be bound to secure for Albania a territory sufficiently extensive to enable its frontiers to join those of Greece and Serbia to the east28 of the Lake of Ohrida.
“Anticle 8.—-Italy will obtain all the twelve islands (Dodekanese) now oocupied by her, in full possession.29
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2) cuts off Scutari, with a population of 25,000 Albanians, from the sea. In 1913, the Powers created Albania as an independent State, declared it neutral, and took it under their protection. According to Miss Durham and Mr. H. W. Nevinson “more than once since the beginning of the war, they (the Albanians) have been assured by our Foreign Office that they, too, are included among the small nations whose rights are to be recognised.” (Letter to the Manchester Guardian, February 2, 1918.) In the House of Commons on February 18, 1918, Mr. Balfour, in reply to Mr. R. C. Lambert, said that the arrangenents come to in 1913, to which Albania was not a party, by the Great Powers with reference to Albania had ceased to have a binding force, as all the signatory Powers were engaged in the war. On November 22, 1914 (according to another secret document, see Appendix B), Russia, Britain, and France offered to Greece the southern regions of Albania, with the exception of Valona, on condition that she joined the Allies.
27 Note again the insistence upon the neutralisation of all the coast not occupied by Italy.
28 The Manchester Guardian version reads “west.”
29 The Dodekanese are a group of islands-Ikaria, Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Astypalaia, Nisyrus, Telos, Syme, Chalkaia, Karpathos, Kassos, and Kastellorizzo-lying off the south-east coast of Asia Minor. Italy occupied all these islands, with the exception of the first and the last, together with Rhodes and Kos, during
39 TREATY WITH ITALY 39
“Article 9.—France, Great Britain, and Russia admit in principle the fact of Italy’s interest in the maintenance of political balance of power in the Mediterranean and her rights, in case of a partition of Turkey, to a share, equal to theirs, in the basin of the Mediterranean-viz., in that part of it which adjoins the province of Adalia, in which Italy has already acquired special rights and interests defined in the Italo-British Convention. The zone which is to be made Italy’s property is to be more precisely defined in due course in conformity with the vital interests of France and Great Britain. Italy’s interests will likewise be taken into consideration in case the Powers should also maintain the territorial integrity of Asiatic Turkey for some future period of time, and if they should only proceed to establish among themselves spheres of influence. In case France, Great Britain and Russia should, in the course of the present war, occupy any districts of Asiatic Turkey, the entire territory adjacent to Adalia and defined more precisely below30 is to be left to Italy who reserves her right to occupy it.31
“Article 10.—In Libya, Italy is to enjoy all those
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the Tripolitan War with Turkey, as a pledge for the fulfilment of the Treaty of Lausanne, which closed that war. Their population is Greek.
30 “Above” in The New Europe version. In any case, it appears to have no meaning so far as the present document is concerned. It may possibly refer to another document or to an appendix not yet disclosed.
31 Adalia is situated about mid-way along the southern coast of Asia Minor. (See page 43 for the terms of the “territorial acquisitions” to be secured by Britain, France, and Russia in Asiatic Turkey.)
40 THE SECRET TREATIES 40
rights and privileges which now belong to the Sultan in virtue of the Treaty of Lausanne.
“Article 11.—Italy is to get a share in the war indemnity corresponding to the magnitude of her sacrifices and efforts.
“Article 12.—Italy adheres to the declaration made by France, England, and Russia about leaving Arabia and the Holy Moslem places in the hands of an independent Moslem power.32
“Article 13.—Should France and Great Britain extend their colonial possessions in Africa at the expense of Germany they will admit in principle Italy’s right to demand certain compensation by way of an extension of her possessions in Eritrea, Somaliland, and Libya and the Colonial areas adjoining French and British colonies.”33
“Article 14.—Great Britain undertakes to facilitate for Italy the immediate flotation on the London market of a loan on advantaeous terms to the amount of not less than £50,000,000.
“Article 15.—France, Great Britain, and Russia pledge themselves to support Italy in not allowing the representatives of the Holy See to undertake any diplomatic steps having for their object the conclusion of peace or the settlement of questions connected with the present war.34
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32 See pages 23 and 46.
33 Eritrea is on the Red Sea. Such an extension of Italy’s possessions is only possible in the case of Eritria and Somaliland at the expense of the Sudan, French and British Somaliland, British East Africa, or of Abyssinia, a neutral State. In the case of Libya it is only possible at the expense of Egypt, Tunis or the French Sahara.
34 The New Europe version reads: “France, Great Britain and Russia undertake to support Italy, in so far as she does not permit the representatives of the Holy See, etc.” The word “settlement” in
41 TREATY WITH ITALY 41
“Article 16.—The present treaty is to be kept secret. As regards Italy’s adhesion to the declaration of September 5, 1914 35, this declaration alone will be published immediately on the declaration of war by, or against, Italy.
“Having taken into consideration the present Memorandum, the representatives of France, Great Britain, and Russia, being authorised thereto, agreed with the representatives of Italy, likewise authorised thereto, as follows:
“‘France, Great Britain and Russia express their complete agreement with the present Memorandum submitted to them by the Italian Government. In respect of Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the present Memorandum, regarding the coordination of the military and naval operations of all the four Powers, Italy declares that she will actively intervene at an earliest possible date, and, at any rate, not later than one month after the signature of the present document by the contracting parties.’
“The undersigned have confirmed by hand and seal the present instrument in London in four copies. April 26, 1915.
(Signed) “EDWARD GREY, JULES CAMBON,
“IMPERIALI, BENCKENDORFF.”
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line 5 of the above article is translated “regulation” in this version. On December 20, 1917, in the House of Commons, Lord Robert Cecil said, in reply to Mr. McKean, that the treaty with Italy did not state that the representatives of the Holy See should not be allowed to take any diplomatic steps to bring about peace. On February 14, 1918, in the House of Commons Lord Robert Cecil in the course of a further statement, said: “The only thing that this clause does is to say that if Ita1y objects to the Pope sending a representative to the Peace Conference we would support that objection.”
35 This is the declaration that the Allies would make peace in common.
42 THE SECRET TREATIES 42
THE PRESENT POSITION.
The present position of the treaty is recorded by the following extract from the official report of the proceedings of the House of Commons (Tuesday, January 29, 1918):
Mr. Ponsonby: Ought this House not to be informed at this stage of the war whether the Treaty of London is binding upon this country as regards Italy or not?
Lord R. Cecil: Any treaty that we enter into, of course, is binding upon us.
Mr. Trevelyan: Has the Government any intention of repudiating it?
Lord R. Cecil: No; it is not the habit of the British Government to repudiate treaties.
Mr. King: Is not the Noble Lord aware that this treaty is in direct conflict with the speech of the Prime Minister on the 5th of this month, and will some opportunity be taken to explain the divergence?
Lord R. Cecil: No, I am not aware of that.
Mr. King: Will the Noble Lord read the speech of the Prime Minister?
Lord R. Cecil: I have read it.
The provisions of this treaty, therefore, are still valid.
III.
The Partition of Asiatic Turkey
(Spring, 1916.)
SUMMARY.—Agreement between Britain, France and Russia as to their “zones of influence and territorial asquisitions” in Asiatic Turkey. Britain to obtain Southern Mesopotamia, with Baghdad, and two ports in Syria. France to obtain Syria, the Adana vilayet, and Western Kurdistan. Russia to obtain Trebizond, Erzerum, Bitlis, Van, and territory in Southern Kurdistan. An Arab State or confederation of States to be formed. Palestine to be subject to a special regime.
[This agreement must be considered in conjunction with the agreement with Russia concerning Constantinople and the Straits (March, 1915) and the clause in the Treaty of London dealing with Italy’s claims in Asia Minor (April 26, 1915).]
At the beginning of the war the Allies “assured Turkey that if she remained neutral we would see that in the terms of peace Turkey and Turkish territory would not suffer. The situation was completely changed by the entry of Turkey into the war . . . and all obligations on the part of the Allies towards Turkey came to an end.”36
Henceforward the Allies devoted some attention to devising plans for dealing with Turkish provinces at the
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36 Speech of Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons. October 13, 1915.
43
44 THE SECRET TREATIES 44
end of the war, accompanying the efforts of their diplomatists with public denunciations of the iniquity of Turkish rule in these territories.
In March, 1915, the British Government gave its consent to the annexation by Russia of Constantinople, the Straits, and other Turkish territory. In the same month the Allied Ambassadors at Athens offered the Aiden vilayet in Asiatic Turkey to Greece if she would enter the war immediately (see Appendix B). In the following April, Britain, France, and Russia admitted in principle the rights of Italy, “in case of a partition of Turkey, to a share, equal to theirs, in the basin of the Mediterranean, viz., in that part of it which adjoins the province of Adalia.” And in the Spring of 1916, Britain, France, and Russia came to an agreement regarding “their respective zones of influence and territorial acquisitions in Asiatic Turkey.”
Particulars of this agreement are given in a Memorandum dated March 6, 1917, which was found by M. Trotski among the secret papers of the Russian Foreign Office. This Memorandum was published in the Isvestia on November 24, 1917, and the following is the full text as printed in the Manchester Guardian on January 19, 1918:
TEXT OF THE MEMORANDUM.
“As a result of negotiations which took place in London and Petrograd in the Spring of 1916, the Allied British, French and Russian Governments came to an agreement as regards the future delimitation of their respective zones of influence and territorial acquisitions in Asiatic Turkey, as well as the formation in Arabia of an independent Arab State, or a federation of Arab
45 ASIATIC TURKEY 45
States. The general principles of the agreement are as follows:
“1. Russia obtains the provinces of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van, and Bitlis, as well as territory in the southern part of Kurdistan, along the line Mush-Sert-Ibn-Omar-Arnadjie-Persian frontier. The limit of Russian acquisitions on the Black Sea coast will be fixed later on at a point lying west of Trebizond.”37
“2. France obtains the coastal strip of Syria, the vilayet of Adana, and the territory bounded on the south by a line Aintab-Mardin to the future Russian frontier, and on the north by a line Ala-Dagh-Zara-Egin-Kharput.38
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37 Trebizond is an important port on the Black Sea, Erzerum is a strong fortress in Armenia, Van and Bitlis are considerable towns in Northern Kurdistan, Van being about 60 miles from the Persian frontier. This arrangement gives to Russia a large tract of territory running from the Black Sea for 300 miles in a southeasterly direction to Ibn-Omar, on the upper Tigris, and thence almost due east for another 150 miles to the Russian zone in Northern Persia, and including Eastern Armenia and Eastern Turkestan. As a very rough estimate this territory would cover not less than 45,000 square miles, and probably rather more.
38 This gives to France an enormous tract of territory. The limits inland of the coastal strip of Syria are not defined, but it would include the Lebanon, the towns of Beirut, Tripoli, Antioch and presumably Damascus and Aleppo. The vilayet of Adana is the large and fertile province in the south-east angle of Asia Minor (sometimes marked on the maps as Cilicia) and the remaining territory, which takes in Western Kurdistan, stretches far inland over rivers and mountains until it reaches the new Russian frontier on the Tigris. Its valleys are fertile, and there is also considerable mineral wealth. This territorial concession to France measures roughly, at its widest parts, from north to south, and from east to west, 500 miles either way. It would form a third Allied barrier to the Berlin-Baghdad Railway project, the other two being an enlarged Serbia and a Russian Constantinople.
46 THE SECRET TREATIES 46
“3. Great Britain obtains the southern part of Mesopotamia with Baghdad,39 and stipulates for herself in Syria the ports of Haifa and Akka.40
“4. By agreement between France and England, the zone between the French and the British territories forms a confederation of Arab States, or one independent Arab State, the zones of influence in which are determined at the same time.
“5. Alexadretta is proclaimed a free port.41
“With a view to securing the religious interests of the Entente Powers, Palestine, with the Holy places, is separated from Turkish territory and subjected to a special regime to be determined by agreement between Russia, France and England.42
“As general rule the contracting Powers undertake mutually to recognise the concessions and privileges existing in the territories now acquired by them which have existed before the war.
“They agree to assume such portions of the Ottoman
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39 A British Mesopotamia would of course constitute a fourth barrier to the Berlin-Baghdad project. Geographically speaking it would fit in with the possession of the neutral zone of Persia (see page 20) with whose frontiers it would march. The northern limits of the British conxession are not indicated.
40 Haifa and Akka are ports on the Mediterranean.
41 Alexandretta is a port on the north-eastern shores of the Meditenranean. A branch line is to link it up with the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. It is understood that British authurities regard this port as a natural outlet for Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean.
42 On November 9, 1917, a letter was published from Mr. Balfour in which the former stated that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people.”
47 ASIATIC TURKEY 47
Debt such as corresponds to their respective acquisitions.”43
THE PRESENT POSITION.
The Russian Revolutionary Government has definitely repudiated all territrial annexations, so that the part of this agreement which concerns Russia falls to the ground.
With regard to the rest of the agreement Mr. Lloyd George has said (January 5, 1918):
“Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine are, in our judgment, entitled to a recognition of their separate national conditions. What the exact form of that recognition in each particular case should be need not here be discussed, beyond stating that it would be impossible to restore to their former sovereignty the territories to which I have already referred. Much has been said about the arrangements we have entered into with our Allies on this and other subjects. I can only say that, as new circumstances, like the Russian collapse and the separate Russian negotiations, have changed the conditions under which those arrangements were made, we are, and always have been, perfectly ready to discuss them with our Allies.”
In default of any official repudiation we must take it that the agreement (with the exception of that part of it which relates to Russia) still stands.
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43 On December 3, 1917, in the House of Commons, Lord Robert Cecil stated that such understandings as had been arrived at by the Powers respecting Asia Minor did not involve annexations. What fine distinction, if any, can be drawn between “annexations” and “territorial acquisitions” it is difficult to say. Moreover, the Powers agree to take over portions of the Ottoman Debt corresponding “to their respective acquisitions.” Is it possible that Lord Robert Cecil has been misinformed as to the precise nature of this agreement?
48 THE SECRET TREATIES 48
A SECOND AGREEMENT WITH ITALY?—In addition to the London Treaty by which Italy’s rights, in case of a partition of Turkey, to that part which adjoins the province of Adalia were recognised, it has been freely stated that a second agreement has been made with Italy, granting her further territorial concessions in Asia Minor.
Leading Italian newspapers state that this agreement was reached at the Conference held in Savoy, in April, 1917, between Mr. Lloyd George, Baron Sonnino, and M. Ribot.
The Tribuna (the leading Rome paper) of April 25, 1917, describes
“the zone from Smyrna inclusive through the vilayet of Konia up to the limit Adana” as being “the zone adapted for the satisfaction of those Italian interests of which the first stone was laid by the concession of Adalia, and the possession of the Dodekanese.”
The Corriere della Sera (of Milan) of April 27, says:
“We are making no revelations, but only referring to clear expressions of public opinion in the various Allied countries, in mentioning that while English interests mainly centre on Mesopotamia, French on Syria, and Italian on the vilayets of Smyrna, Konia, and Adana, there was a lively difference and discussion …. on certain points and more especially on Smyrna, Adana, and Alexandretta …. French opinion claimed all Syria up to the Anti-Taurus, while English opinion pointed to Alexandretta as the natural Mesopotamia outlet to the Mediterranean. To settle these differences, reciprocal and conciliatory arrangements were necessary, giving compensations and indemnities, where occasion arose, on the general principle of keeping to prevailing agreements with a minimum of renunciations.”
If the vilayets of Smyrna, Konia, and Adana have been apportioned to Italy, that country is to receive the whole of the southern half of Asia Minor up to the limits (on the East) of the sphere allotted to France at Adana.
The terms of this agreement, if it exists, have not of course been published.
IV.
The Agreement with Roumania
(August 18, 1916.)
SUMMARY.—Roumania to receive Transylvanla up to the River Theiss, the Bukovina up to the River Pruth, and the Banat.
Although for the first two years of the war Roumania remained neutral, continuous negotiations were taking place during that period with the object of securing Roumania’s adhesion to the cause of the Allies.
This we learn from diplomatic documents published at Petrograd. The full text of these documents is not yet available in this country, but they are summarised in the following telegram from Mr. Philips Price printed in the Manchester Guardian of February 8, 1918:
“There are published in the official Soviet organ diplomatic documents on Roumania’s entry into the war.
“On August 7, 1914, M. Sazonoff proposed in a Note to offer Roumania Transylvania and to guarantee her former acquisitions in the Dobrudja if she would enter the war against Austria.44
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44 This refers to the territory south of the Danube taken by Roumania from Bulgaria after the second Balkan War. Simultaneously-or a little later-the Allies were endeavouring to secure the military assistance of Bulgaria (see footnote on page 19). In the Manchester Guardian of March 12, 1918, a fuller version of this note of M. Sazonoff’s is given. Amongst M. Sazonoff’s proposals are the following: “Russia to pledge herself not to end the war until all Austro-Hungarian territories indicated on the map attached are annexed to the Roumanian crown; Roumania to pledge herself to make peace only in conjunction with Russia.”
49
50 THE SECRET TREATIES 50
“On August 12 M. Bratiano replies that he cannot accept the proposal because of a contrary decision by the Crown Council recently taken; the question must remain open, but the proposal was attractive, and any incident might strain the relations of Austria and Roumania, giving the latter the necessary pretext.
“On September 1 the Russian Ambassador at Bucharest, M. Poklefsky, informs M. Sazonoff that prominent Roumanian statesman are asking the cession of Bessarabia45 as the price of Roumanian neutrality.
“On October 3, M. Sazonoff sends to Bucharest a copy of the secret Russo-Roumanian treaty just signed by himself and the Roumanian Ambassador at Petrograd, containing the following provisions:
“Russia agrees diplomatically to oppose all attempts against Roumanian integrity.
“Russia recognises the Roumanian claim to territory with a Roumanian population.
“The question of the partition of Bukovina is to be handed to a joint commission.
“Roumania can occupy the territories agreed upon whenever convenient.
“Russia agrees to secure the support of England and France.
“Roumanian neutrality is to include the stoppage of supplies from Germany to Turkey.”
[Then comes a gap of several months. In the report quoted on pages 55 and 56 the Russian General Polivanov says of this period: “Our successes in Galicia and Bukovina in 1914 and early 1915, the capture of Lemberg and Przemysl, and the appearance of our
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45 Bessarabia is a Russian province bordering on Roumania, and lying between the Pruth and the Dniester. Its chief town is Kishinev. The population is largely of Roumanian stock.
51 ROUMANIAN AGREEMENT 51
advance guard beyond the Carpathians, brought the question of Roumanian intervention to a head. “Mr. Philips Price’s telegrarn continues as below.]
“On March 27, 1915, M. Sazonoff informs M. Poklefsky that the Roumanian Ambassador in London had informed Sir Edward Grey that Roumania was prepared to enter the war by the side of the Allies in May.
“On May 1 M. Poklefsky informs M. Sazonoff that the Roumanian Government, through M. Bratiano, demand Transylvania and the Banat, the southern boundary ot the new territory to be the Danube up to the junction of the River Theiss; thence the western boundary to run north past Szegedin and Debreezen46 to the Carpathians; then east to the line of the River Pruth, including Bukovina. M. Poklefsky pointed out that this was an infringement of the rights of non-Roumanian nationalities in the Banat, the South Carpathians, and Bukovina. M. Bratiano replied that it would be possible to waive the claim to the South Carpathians, but he must insist on the Banat.
“On May 3 M. Sazonoff informs the Ambassadors in London and Paris that the Roumanian terms were unacceptable.
“On June 23, M. Poklefsky informs M. Sazonoff of M. Bratiano’s satisfaction that Russia would agree to cede Bukovina, with Tchernovitz47 to Roumania, but that he was dissatisfied because Russia would not agree that Roumania should have the Banat. M. Poklefsky added that M. Bratiano might agree to establish a
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46 Szegedin is a Hungarian town situated at the junction of the Rivers Maros and Theiss. Debreczen is a town in the north of Hungary, about 120 miles due east of Buda-Pesth.
47 Tchernovitz or Czernowitz is the chief town of Bukovina.
52 THE SECRET TREATIES 52
neutral zone in the Banat, but even this was doubtful, since the Russian retreat in Poland and Galicia was hardening Roumanian terms.
“On July 8 the Russian Ambassador in Paris, M. Isvolsky, informs M. Sazanoff that M. Delcassé has told him that the London Cabinet agrees to the cession of the Banat to Roumania.
“M. Sazonoff replied the following day that Roumania must give an undertaking not to Roumanise the Serbs of the Banat.
“On July 11 M. Isvolsky telegraphs to M. Sazonoff that M. Delcassé fears the demands for a Roumanian guarantee for the Serbs of the Banat will cause trouble and delay Roumania’s entry.”
[Here comes a gap of over twelve months. What has happened during this period? A possible explanation is to be found in the following extract from a report signed by General Polivanov (Russian Minister of War) on November 7 (20), 1916, and published amongst the Russian diplomatic documents:—
“At the end of May,” he says-that is, May, 1915-”our retreat from Galicia and Poland took place, and Bukovina was abandoned, and the feelings of leading circles in Roumania correspondingly changed. The negotiations for intervention came of their own accord to a standstill.
“At the end of 1915 and early in 1916, after the destruction of Serbia and Bulgaria’s intervention, Roumanian policy leaned very noticeably towards the side of our enemies. At that time the Roumanian Government concluded a whole series of very advantageous commercial agreements with Austria-Hungary and Germany. This circumstance forced our military, financial, and commercial authorities to show great caution in the question of the export from Russia to Roumania of war material and various other supplies, such as might fall into the hands of our enemies.
“In consequence of the brilliant offensive of General Brusilov in the Spring and Summer, 1916, Roumanian neutrality leaned once more to the side of the Entente Powers, and there arose the
53 ROUMANIAN AGREEMENT 53
possibility of renewing the interrupted negotiations for Roumanian intervention. It is to be observed that, from the first, the Chief of Staff, for military reasons, held the neutrality of Roumania to be more advantageous for us than her active intervention in the war. Later on, General Alexeieff adopted the point of view of the Allies, who looked upon Roumania’s entry as a decisive blow for Austria-Hungary and as the nearing of the war’s end.”]
NEGOTIATIONS RENEWED IN 1916.
Evidently new proposals were now put forward by Roumania, for Mr. Price’s telegram continues as follows:
“On July 29, 1916, the Russian Premier, M. Stürmer, telegraphs to the Ambassadors in Paris, London, and Rome that Roumania’s new terms are unacceptable to Russia, especially the obligation that the Allies should continue the war till all Roumanian desires were realised, and that the Allies should recognise Roumania on the same footing as the Great Powers. M. Stürmer proposes a firm statement to Bucharest that the Allies’ terms are final, and that the Serbs of the Banat must be guaranteed from Roumanisation.
“On August 2 M. Isvolsky informs M. Sazonoff of the nervousness of the French Government because the offensive on the Somme had not given the desired results; therefore the entrance of Roumania into the war was particularly desirable now.
“On August 9 President Poincare telegraphs to the Tsar the desirability of an immediate agreement with Roumania.
“The Tsar replies that the Roumanian terms are excessive.
“On August 7 England and France agree to make
54 THE SECRET TREATIES 54
an advance on the Salonika front to relieve Roumania from Bulgarian pressure if Roumania enters the war.
“On August 8 the Russian Premier, M. Stürmer, agrees to abandon the demand for guarantees for the Serbs of the Banat against Roumanisation.
”On the same day the text of an agreement between the Allies and Roumania is prepared, giving satisfaction to all Roumania’s claims to the Banat,48 Transylvanla up to the Theiss,49 and Bukovina up to the Pruth.50
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48 The Banat of Temesvar is a country of mixed nationality, stretching from the borders of Roumania and Transylvania on the east to the River Theiss on the west, and bounded on the south by the Danube and north by the River Moris. Its population includes Serbs, Roumanians, Magyars, Szekels, Germans, Slovaks, and other races. The western parts are mainly Serb, the northern parts mainly German and Magyar, and the eastern parts mainly Roumanian, with large Serb, German, and Magyar “islands.” By the census of 1910 the population of the Banat was 1,582,133, of which 592,049 were Roumanians, or about 37 1/2 per cent. Thus a large majority of the population is non-Roumanian.
49 Transylvanla to the Theiss. Transylvania is divided from Roumania by the Carpathians, and, except for a few years at the end of the sixteenth century, has always been linked to Hungary. The latter country is divided into two parts by the River Theiss, which runs from north to south. Practically the whole of the immense territory to the east of this river-a good half of Hungary-is, by this agreement, to be given to Roumania. Undoubtedly in Transylvania proper a large part of the population is of Roumanian stock-although it contains important Szekel and Saxon “islands”-but by making the River Theiss the boundary many districts which are overwhelmingly Magyar would be included in the ceded territory. The rich lands around Debreczen and bordering on the Theiss are, for example, the purest Magyar districts in Hungary, and Debreczen itself is the stronghold of Magyar Calvinism. The important Magyar towns of Grosswardein and Arad are also by this treaty to be handed over to Roumania. Indeed, taking this territory as a whole, the majority of its population is non-Roumanian.
55 ROUMANIAN AGREEMENT 55
“M. Stürmer, in a Memorandum to the Tsar, however, raises the objection that Roumania must not be regarded as on a footing with the Great Powers, and the latter must not be bound to continue the war till all Roumania’s territorial claims are realised, since this would cause serious complications over the Constantinople Straits.
“On August 9 M. Poklefsky telegraphs that M. Bratiano is very dissatisfied with clause 5 of the proposed treaty, providing that the Allies should not guarantee territorial acquisitions for Roumania by force of arms, and threatens, if this point be not conceded, to resign and leave the Government of Roumania to the Germanophils.
“On August 12 M. Isvolsky telegraphs to M. Sazonoff that M. Briand does not insist on the maintenance of Clause 5, because if the Allies are victorious they can oarry out their promises, but if only partially successful Roumania will be forced to bow to circumstances.
”On August 12 the Tsar agrees to all the Roumanian terms.
“The Secret Treaty was signed on August 18, the Salonika advance was to take place on August 20, and the entrance ot Roumania on August 28. . .”51
GENERAL POLIVANOV’S REPORT.
The above arrangement is confirmed by the report
________________________________________
50 The Bukovina (or land of the Beeches) is situated east of the Carpathians at the meeting-point of Austria, Russia, and Roumania. It is an Austrian Duchy, with a Diet of its own. Its population is roughly 800,000, of which number about 260,000 are Roumanians, or one-third of the total.
51 The conclusion of Mr. Price’s telegram is given on page 57.
56 THE SECRET TREATIES 56
of General Polivanov already mentioned, written after the retreat of the Roumanian armies. He says:
* “In August, 1916, a military and political agreement was signed with Roumania, which assigned to her such accessions of territory (Bukovina and all Transylvania), as quite obviously did not correspond to the measure of Roumania’s share of military operations, since she had undertaken only to declare war on Austria-Hungary, and had confined herself to operations in Transylvania. . . . From the standpoint of Russian interests we must be guided by the following considerations in judging the present situation in Roumania. If things had developed in such a way that the military and political agreement of 1916 with Roumania had been fully realised, then a very strong State would have arisen in the Balkans, consisting of Moldavia, Wallachia, the Dobrudja52, and of Transylvania, the Banat, and Bukovina (acquisitions under the treaty of 1916) with a population of about 13,000,000. In the future this State could hardly have been friendly disposed towards Russia, and would scarcely have abandoned the design of realising its national dreams in Bessarabia and the Balkans. Consequently, the collapse of Roumania’s plans as a Great Power is not particularly opposed to Russia’s interests. This circumstance must be exploited by us in order to strengthen for as long as possible those compulsory ties which link Russia with Roumania. Our successes on the Roumanian front are for us of
________________________________________
* This version appeared in The New Europe (December 27, 1917).
52 These three provinces constitute the Roumanian State as it existed before the war.
57 ROUMANIAN AGREEMENT 57
extraordinary importance, as the only possibility of deciding once for all in the sense we desire the question of Constantinople and the Straits. The events now occurring in Roumania have altered to their very foundation the conditions of the treaty of 1916. Instead of the comparatively modest military support which Russia was pledged to provide in the Dobrudja, she had to assign the defence of the Roumanian territory on all sides almost exclusively to Russian troops. This military aid on the part of Russia has now assumed such dimensions that the promise of territorial compensations to Roumania prescribed in the treaty in return for her entry into the war must undoubtedly be submitted to revision.
(Signed) “POLIVANOV.”
The following is the conclusion of Mr. Price’s telegram to the Manchester Guardian:
“On September 10 General Alexeieff, replying to the Roumanian demands through the General Staff for military assistance after the loss of Turtukai, expresses doubt of the wisdom of the whole Roumanian campaign, which widens the Russian front by 500 versts and requires 200,000 more Russian troops. Russia, he says, with 100 versts of front in Europe and over 1000 versts in Asia, can ill-afford this extension of front from a strategic point of view.
“After the Russian Revolution M. Miliukoff,53 on May 8, 1917, records in a Memorandum that the Serbian Government desires the reconsideration of the question of the Banat on the basis of peace wlthout annexation, but M. Miliukoff oonsiders that since
________________________________________
53 The new Russian Foreign Minister.
58 THE SECRET TREATIES 58
Russia has just declared her loyalty to the treaties with the Allies such a step is inadmissible.
“On May 19 M. Poklefsky, from Jassy, informs M. Terestchenko54 that M. Bratiano had just returned from Petrograd; though somewhat disquieted by the internal situation in Russia, he is convinced that the Provisional Government is determined to carry on the war to a victorious end. M. Bratiano, in Petrograd, had energetically protested against the programme of the Petrograd Soviet for peace without annexations if this meant the abandonment by Roumania of Transylvanla and the Banat, but he had obtained an official assurance that the programme of the Soviet did not bind the Provisional Government.”
THE PRESENT POSITION.
Mr. Lloyd George, in his speech of January 5, 1918, said:
“We also mean to press that justice be done to men of Roumanian blood and speech in their legitimate aspirations.”
The latest statement of the British attitude on the point was made by Lord Robert Cecil, in the House of Commons on February 15, 1918, when, in reply to Mr. King, he said that the treaty entered into by Britain on August 18, 1916, whereby the entry of Roumania into the war was secured, was still operative, and subsequent events or understandings had not altered its effect.
________________________________________
54 Russian Foreign Minister in the Coalition Government under Prince Lvoff, which was formed on May 16, after the resignationof M. Miliukoff.
V.
Treaty Between Russia and Japan
(July 3, 1916,)
SUMMARY.—The two Governments to agree to take common action to prevent the political domination of China by any third Power hostile to Russia and Japan.
On July 13, 1911, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed. Amongst other objects this Alliance was to
“ensure the independence and integrity of the Chinese Empire and the principle of equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations in China.”
On August 23, 1914 Japan declared war against Germany. On the following day a message from Count Okuma, the Japanese Premier, appeared in the Independent Magazine of New York. The message ran:
“As Premier of Japan, I have stated, and I now again state to the people of America and of the world that Japan has no ulterior motive, no desire to secure more territory, no thought of depriving China or othor people of anything which they now possess. My Government and my people have given their word and their pledge, which will be as honourably kept as Japan always keeps promises.”
On January 18, 19l5, after the fall of Kiao-Chau, Japan confronted China with a list of 21 demands. These demands were of a formidable character and practically
59
60 THE SECRET TREATIES 60
amounted to the placing of China in a position of tutelage to Japan.55
Negotiations proceeded for some time, and eventually, after certain representations had been made by the United States of America, the demands were somewhat modified. These modified demands, after the presentation of an ultimatum by Japan, were finally accepted by China on May 9, 1915.
THE PUBLIC RUSSO-JAPANESE TREATY.
In July, 1916, Japan and Russia entered into a public treaty, the terms of which were communicated to the British Government before signature. The terms of this agreement, as published in the Times on July 8,1916, are as follows:—
“The Imperial Gcvernment of Japan and the Imperial Government of Russia, resolved to unite their
________________________________________
55 Japan’s demands on China were described in the Daily News and Leader (March 19, 1915) in the following words:—
“They would convert the province of Shantung into a Japanese sphere of influence; they would make South Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia, for practical purposes, Japanese provinces; they would give Japan a monopoly of the vast mineral wealth of the Yangtse valley, incidental to which would be the power to sever Northern from Southern China; they would give Japan the control of China’s war munitions; they would hand over the policing of important areas of China to Japan; they would set Japanese experts in control of China’s political, military, and financial affairs; they would set up a Monroe doctrine operative against all Powers except Japan, they would open all China to the enterprise of Japanese political missionaries. A scheme of this kind, if carried through, would put all China under Japanese suzerainty. Of course it would also imperil extensive British commercial and industrial interests in China, and it would knock the bottom out of the Anglo-Japanese treaty, which guaranteed the integrity of China and equality of opportunity to all Powers.”
61 RUSSO-JAPANESE TREATY 61
efforts for the maintenance of lasting peace in the Far East, have agreed upon the following:—
“Article 1.—Japan will not be a party to any political arrangement or combination directed against Russia.
“Russia will not be a party to any political arrangement or combination directed against Japan.
“Article 2.—Should the territorial rights or the special interests in the Far East of one of the contracting parties recognised by the other contracting party be threatened, Japan and Russia will take counsel of each other as to the measures to be taken in view of the support or the help to be given in order to safeguard and defend those rights and interests.”
THE SECRET RUSSO-JAPANESE TREATY.
The above treaty, as already stated, was a public one. But at the very same time Russia and Japan entered into a Secret Treaty consisting of six articles. This treaty was first published in the Isvestia, and a translation appeared in the Manchester Guardian on February 1, 1918.
This treaty was signed on July 3, 1916. It runs as follows:—
“Ths Russian Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial Government have, with a view to the greater consolidation of their close friendship, established between them by the secret agreements of July 30, 1907, July 4, 1910, and July 8, 1912, agreed to supplement the above-mentioned secret agreements by the following articles:—
62 THE SECRET TREATIES 62
“Article 1.—The two high contracting parties acknowledge that the vital interests of both require the safeguarding of China against the political domination by any third Power entertaining hostile designs towards Russia or Japan, and therefore mutually pledge themselves, each time when circumstances demand it, to enter into frank relations based on complete mutual trust with one another with a view to talking joint measures for the prevention of the possibility of the advent of such a state of affairs (in China).
“Article 2.—If as the result of the measures taken by mutual agreement by Russia and Japan, in virtue of the preceding article, war should be declared by the third Power referred to in Article 1 of the present Convention on either of the contracting parties, the other party shall on the first demand of its Ally come to its assistance, and each of the high contracting parties pledges itself hereby, in case such a situation should arise, not to conclude peace with the common enemy without the previous consent of its Ally.
“Antiale 3.—The terms on which each high contracting party is to render armed assistance to the other in accordance with the preceding article, as well as the form in which this assistance is to be rendered, shall be determined jointly by the respective competent authorities of the two contracting parties.
“Article 4.—Provided that neither high contracting party shall regard itself bound by Article 2 of the present Convention in respect af rendering armed assistance to its Ally so long as it has not
63 RUSSO-JAPANESE TREATY 63
been given guarantees by its Allies that they, too, will render such assistance to it as would correspond to the seriousness of the impending conflict.
“Article 5.—The present Convention enters into force from the moment of its signature, and shall remain in force until July, 1921. Should one of the high contracting parties not deem it necessary, twelve months before the expiry of this term, to give notice of its unwillingness to prolong the validity of the present Convention, the latter shall remain in force for a period of one year after it has been denounced by one or other of the high oontracting parties.
“Article 6.—The present Convention shall be kept in complete secrecy from everybody except the two high contracting parties.
“In witness whereof the undersigned have confirmed the present instrument by hand and seal at Petrograd, June 20 (July 3), 1916, corresponding to the Japanese date of Thursday, seventh month and fifth year in the reign of Taise.
(Signed) SAZONOFF, MOTONO.”56
________________________________________
56 The Manchester Guardian (Dec. 24, 1917), which had previously printed a summary of this Secret Treaty, points out that there are considerable differences between the secret and the public agreements. “The public treaty professes to aim at maintaining a lasting peace in the Far East, and makes no specific reference to China; the Secret Treaty is not concerned with peace, but with the ‘interests’ of both contracting Powers in China…. The public treaty indicates consultation between the contracting parties as to the measures to be taken, the Secret Treaty points to military measures and is definitely a military alliance.”
64 THE SECRET TREATIES 64
THE PRESENT POSITION.
Russia has withdrawn from this treaty. Since then an agreement has been arrived at between Japan and the United States of America by means of an interchange of notes betweer Mr. Lansing, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Viscount Ishii, the head of the Japanese Mission to America. The text of these notes was communicated tothe British Government before signature.
Mr. Lansing’s note, which is dated November 2, 1917, states:—
“…. The Governments of the United States and Japan recognise that territorial propinquity creates special relations between countries, and consequently the Government of the United States recognises that Japan has special interests57 in China, particularly in that part to which her possessions are contiguous
“The territorial sovereignty of China nevertheless remains unimpaired, and the Government af the United States has every confidence in the repeated assurances of the Imperial Japanese Government that, while geographical position gives Japan such special interests, they have no desire to discriminate against the trade of other nations or to disregard the commercial rights heretofore granted by China in the treaties with other Powers.
“The Governments of the United States and Japan deny that they have any purpose to infringe in any way the independence or territorial integrity of China, and declare, furthermore, that they will always adhere to the principle of the so-called open door or equal opportunity for commerce and industry in Chinas”
“Moreover, they mutually declare that they are opposed to the acquisition by any Government of any special rights or privileges that would affect the independence or territorial integrity of China, or that would deny to the subjects or citizens of any country the full enjoyment of equal opportunity in the commerce and industry of China.”
________________________________________
57 See pages 87 and 88.
65 RUSSO-JAPANESE TREATY 65
Viscount Ishii replied the same day confirming the agreement in identical terms.*
[Further diplomatic documents have been published at Petrograd referring to the territorial aims of Japan and also to the interpretation of the term “special interests” in the Japanese-American agreement. These are given in Appendix C.]
________________________________________
* A Reuter message from New York, dated November 12, 1917, says: “Mr. Koo, the Chinese Minister at Washington, has lodged a formal protest with the State Department against the Japanese-American agreement regarding China. While the document has not been made public, it is understood that China objects to any agreement affecting China without reference to the wish of the Chinese people.”
VI.
Re-Drawing the Frontiers of Germany
(February, 1917.)
SUMMARY.—Agreement between France and Russia. Russia to support France in her demands for Alsace-Lorraine, and the Saar Valley; the rest of the German territories on the left bank of the Rhine to be constituted a neutral State. France, in return, “recognises Russia’s complete liberty in establishing her Western frontiers.”
An important series of documents relates to the question of re-drawing the frontiers of the Central Powers, and, in particular, to the proposal to push back the Western frontier of Germany to the Rhine. They were printed by the Manchester Guardian on December 12, 1917.
The series begins with a confidential telegram from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs (M. Sazonoff) to the Russian Ambassador at Paris.
It is dated February 24 (March 9),1916, and is as follows:
(No. 948)
“Petrograd.
“Please refer to my telegram No. 6063 of 1915. At the forthcoming Conference you may be guided by the following general principles:
67
68 THE SECRET TREATIES 68
“The political agreements concluded between the Allies during the war must remain intact, and are not subject to revision. They include the agreement with France and England on Constantinople, the Straits, Syria, and Asia Minor, and also the London Treaty with Italy. All suggestions for the future delimitation of Central Europe are at present premature, but in general one must bear in mind that we are prepared to allow France and England complete freedom in drawing up the Western frontiers of Germany, in the expectation that the Allies on their part would allow us equal freedom in drawing up our frontiers with Germany and Austria.
“It is particularly necessary to insist on the exclusion of the Polish question from the subject of international discussion and on the elimination of all attempts to place the future of Poland under the guarantee and the control of the Powers.58
“With regard to the Scandinavian States, it is necessary to endeavour to keep back Sweden from any action hostile to us, and at the same time to examine betimes measures for attracting Norway on our side in case it should prove impossible to prevent a war with Sweden.
“Roumania has already been offered all the political
________________________________________
58 It is interesting to compare this declaration of the Russian Government in February, 1916, with President Wilson’s statement in his speech to the American Senate on January 22, 1917. President Wilson said: “I take it for granted . . . that statesmen everywhere are agreed that there should be a united, independent, and autonomous Poland,” and, speaking at Leeds on September 26, 1917, Mr. Asquith said: “There is Poland, as to whom, I, and, I believe, all our people, heartily endorse the wise and generous words of President Wilson.”
69 GERMAN FRONTIERS 69
advantages which could induce her to take up arms, and therefore it would be perfectly futile to search for new baits in this respect.59
“The question of pushing out the Germans from the Chinese market is of very great importance, but its solution is impossible without the participation of Japan. It is preferable to examine it at the Economic Conference, where the representatives of Japan will be present. This does not exclude the desirability of a preliminary exchange of views on the subject between Russia and England by diplomatic means.
(Signed) “SAZONOFF.”
At some later period the French Government approached the Russian Government with certain proposals respecting Alsace and the Rhine. This is recorded in the following confidential telegram from M. Pokrovsky (M. Sazonoff’s second successor as Foreign Minister) to the Russian Ambassador at Paris.
It is dated January 30 (February 12), 1917.
(No. 502).
“Petrograd.
“Copy to London confidentially.60 At an audience with the Most High61 M. Doumergue62 submitted to the Emperor the desire of France to secure for herself at the end of the present war the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine and a special position in the valley of the
________________________________________
59 See pages 49-52.
60 Mr. Balfour stated (House of Commons, December 19, 1917) that “London” did not mean the British Foreign Office. He added: “We had never heard of it at all at that time.” “London,” therefore probably means the Russian Embassy in London.
61 The Tsar.
63 French Ambassador at Petrograd.
70 THE SECRET TREATIES 70
River Saar as well as to attain the political separation from Germany of her trans-Rhenish districts and their organisation on a separate basis in order that in future the River Rhine might form a permanent strategical frontier against a Germanic invasion. Doumergue expressed the hope that the Imperial Government would not refuse immediately to draw up its assent to these suggestions in a formal manner.
“His Imperial Majesty was pleased to agree to this in principle, in consequence of which I requested Doumergue, after communicating with his Government, to let me have the draft of an agreement, which would then be given a formal sanction by an exchange of Notes between the French Ambassador and myself.
“Proceeding thus to meet the wishes of our Ally, I nevertheless consider it my duty to recall the standpoint put forward by the Imperial Government in the telegram of February 24, 1916, No. 948, to the effect that ‘while allowing France and England complete liberty in delimiting the Western frontiers of Germany, we expect that the Allies on their part will give us equal liberty in delimiting our frontiers with Germany and Austria Hungary.’
“Hence the impending exchange of Notes on the question raised by Doumergue will justify us in asking the French Government simultaneously to confirm its assent to allowing Russia freedom of action in drawing up her future frontiers in the west.63 Exact data on the question will be supplied by us in due course to the French Cabinet.
“In addition we deem it necessary to stipulate for the assent of France to the removal at the termination of
________________________________________
63 i.e., the west of Russia.
71 GERMAN FRONTIERS 71
the war of the disqualifications resting on the Aland Islands.64 Please explain the above to Briand and wire the results.
(Signed) “POKROVSKY.”
A telegram from that Russian Ambassador in Paris to M. Pokrovsky. January 31 (February 13),1917.
No. 88.
“Copy to London. Referring to your telegram, No. 507, confidentially, I immediately communicated in writing its contents to Briand, who told me that he would not fail to give me an official reply of the French Government, but that he could at once declare, on his own behalf, that the satisfaction of the wishes contained in your telegram will meet with no difficulties.
(Signed) “ISVOLSKY.”
AN AGREEMENT REACHED.
On February 1 (14), 1917, the Russian Foreign Minister addressed the following note to the French Ambassador at Petrograd:
“In your Note of to-day’s date your Excellency was good enough to inform the Imperial Government that the Government of the Republic was contemplating the inclusion in the terms of peace to be offered to Germany the following demands and guarantees of a territorial nature:
________________________________________
64 The Aland Islands are situated at the entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia, close to the Swedish coast, and less than 100 miles from Stockholm. They belong to Russia, and after the Crimean War a Convention, which was annexed to the Treaty of Paris, was made between Russia, France, and Britain that they should not be fortified and that no military or naval establishments should be maintained upon them. The population of these islands is Swedish by descent, and numbers about 19,000.
72 THE SECRET TREATIES 72
“1. Alsace-Lorraine to be restored to France.65
“2. The frontiers are to be extended at least up to the limits of the former principality of Lorraine, and are to be drawn up at the discretion of the French Government so as to provide for the strategical needs and for the inclusion in French territory of the entire iron district of Lorraine and of the entire coal district of the Saar Valley.66
“3. The rest of the territories situated on the left bank of the Rhine which now form part of the German Empire are to be entirely separated from Germany and freed from all political and economic dependence upon her.67
“4. The territories of the left bank of the Rhine outside French territory are to be constituted an autonomous and neutral State, and are to be occupied by French troops until such time as the enemy States have completely satisfied all the conditions and guarantees indicated in the Treaty of Peace.
“Your Excellency stated that the Government of the Republic would be happy to be able to rely upon the support of the Imperial Government for the carrying out of its plans. By order of his Imperial Majesty my
________________________________________
65 On January 5, 1918, Mr. Lloyd George said: “We mean to stand by the French democracy to the death in the demand they make for a reconsideration of the great wrong of 1871.”
66 The Saar Valley contains valuable coal-mines. Its population is predominantly German.
67 This would include Rhenish-Prussia with the cities and towns of Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, Coblenz, Treves, Crefeld and Bonn, a detached fragment of Oldenburg; a part of Hesse, with the towns of Mayence, Worms and Bingen; and the Palatinate with the towns of Ludwigshafen, Kaiserslautern, Zweibrucken, Neustadt, and Landau.
73 GERMAN FRONTIERS 73
most august master, I have the honour, in the name of the Russian Government, to inform your excellency by the present Note that the Government of the Republic may rely upon the support of the Imperial Government for the carrying out of its plans as set out above.”
Finally, on February 20 (March 11),1917, the Russian Ambassador at Paris sent the following telegram to M. Pokrovsky:
(No. 168).
“See my reply to telegram No. 167, No. 2. The Government of the French Republic, anxious, to confirm the importance of the treaties concluded with the Russian Government in 1916, for the settlement on the termination of the war of the question of Constantinople and the Straits in accordance with Russia’s aspirations, anxious, on the other hand, to secure for its Ally in military and industrial respects all the guarantees desirable for the safety and the economic development of the Empire, recognises Russia’s complete liberty in establishing her Western frontiers.
(Signed) “ISVOLSKY.”
On the very next day (March 12) the Russian Revolution took place and on March 15 the Tsar abdicated.
THE PRESENT POSITION.
Apparently the design of driving Germany back to the left bank of the Rhine has now been abandoned by the French Government, although there has been no official statement to this effect.
Mr. Balfour, in the House of Commons on December 19, 1917, said of this plan:
“We have never expressed our approval of it, nor do I believe it represents the policy of successive French Govern-
74 THE SECRET TREATIES 74
ments who have held office during the war. Never did we desire, and never did we encourage the idea, that a bit of Germany should be cut off from the parent State and erected into some kind of . . . independent Government on the left bank of the Rhine. His Majesty’s Government were never aware that was seriously entertained by any French statesman.”
It must be noted in this connection that by the Declaration of September 5, 1914 the Allies undertook to make peace in common. Any arrangement between France and Russia, therefore, equally affects Great Britain.
Conclusion
Some of the arrangements outlined in the preceding pages are now, of course, obsolete. Before making a separate peace the Russian Government not only repudiated any desire to annex Constantinople but also repudiated any desire for annexations of any sort. Mr. Lloyd George himself has said that as “new circumstances . . . have changed the conditions under which these arrangements were made we are . . . perfectly ready to discuss them with our Allies.” Sir George Buchanan, whilst British Ambassador at Petrograd, spoke (December 9, 1917) to the Russian Press of the “higher principles . . . of a democratic peace, peace which accords with the wishes of smaller and weaker nationalities, which repudiates the idea . . . of incorporating in great empires the territories of reluctant populations.” These are wise words. Surely it is not too much to ask the Allied Governments to revise their war-aims in accordance with these higher principles, to repudiate publicly and collectively all designs of Imperialistic conquest-designs which, if carried out, would only breed fresh wars-and to re-state their terms in such a just, moderate, and reasonable way as might, in the words of Lord Lansdowne, give an “immense stimulus . . . to the peace party in Germany,” open the way to immediate peace negotiations on the basis of no annexations and no indemnities, and bring the war to a close “in time to avert a world-wide catastrophe.”
75
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APPENDICES
Appendix A.
THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ITALY.
Particulars of the negotiations which preceded Italy’s entry into the war are given in the following Memorandum, which appeared in the Manchester Guardian on February 7, 1918. The document of which this is a translation was found in the archives of the Russian Foreign Office:
A MEMORANDUM OF THE RUSSIAN FOREIGN OFFICE.
“The question of wresting Italy from the Triple Alliance of that time, and of prevailing upon her to join the Allies arose at the very beginning of the war. The attempt was unsuccessful.
“Prince Bulow’s mission to Rome only led to the change in Italian policy being delayed for half a year. The German representatlve strove to buy Italy’s neutrality with the price of concessions at Austria’s expense. The monarchy of the Danube was unwilling to follow this course.
“In view of the fruitlessness of this bargaining, in the latter half of February, 1915, the possibility of Italy joining the Allies arose once more.
“At that time, the Russian Government did not see any imperative necessity for Italy’s intervention in the affairs of the Allies. The Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his apprehension that the appearance of a fourth European British (sic.) member in the coalition might complicate the relations between the Allies. While he did not oppose the plan for drawing Italy into the Alliance, S. D. Sazanoff considered that in any case the initiative in this matter should proceed from her herself.
79
80 THE SECRET TREATIES 80
“Negotiations were formally begun in London at the end of February (O.S.) on the initiative of the Italian Ambassador, Marchese Imperiali. They were conducted by Sir E. Grey and the Ambassadors M. Paul Cambon, of France; Count Benckendorff, of Russia; and the above-mentioned Italian.
“They became involved, however, on the one hand, by Prince Bulow’s continued efforts to incline the Cabinet of Vienna to make the concessions to Italy, and, on the other hand, by the contradictoriness of the interests being defended by the representatives of the Great Powers in London.
“France and Russia considered Italy’s demands to be exorbitant, the former with regard especially to the question of the south-eastern shores of the Adriatic, and the latter with regard to the north-east of this sea. Six weeks were spent deciding the details of the future territorial disposition of Albania and Dalmatia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs persistently defended the interests of the Southern Slavs, and maintained that an outlet to the sea should be permanently assured to Serbia, step by step repelling Italy’s desires for the extensions of her sea-shores and for the neutralisation of the regions intended for Serbia. In the meanwhile the events at the different theatres of war caused the military leaders to consider the urgency for Italy’s immediate intervention on the side of the Allies. In the beginning of April (O.S.) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while not particularly intent on conforming to the desire of the Allies to sign a convention with Italy, began to set forth new demands, namely, the urgency for persuading that kingdom to the earliest possible active intervention. Besides that, the Russians demanded (1) the settling of the time for the publication of the convention, and (2) of the avowal of the inviolability of the agreements previously concluded between the three Great Powers of the coalition.
“On April 13 (26), the convention was signed in London by Grey, Cambon, Count Benckendorff, and Marchese Imperiali. In the days immediately preceding this event, we succeeded in obtaining a few more concessions from Italy on behalf of Serbia and Montenegro.”
Appendix B.
THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH GREECE.
Particulars of the negotiations which took place between the Allies and Greece are given in the following message from Mr. M. Philips Price, printed in the Manchester Guardian on December 7, 1917:—
”Petrograd.
“The following is an extract of a document discovered here in the Foreign Office recently, describing the relations of the Allies and Greece:—
“‘SECTION I.
“‘On November 22, 1914, the Allied Ambassadors at Athens offered Greece South Albania, except Vallona,68 if Greece would immediately join the Allies. M. Venizelos replied demanding guarantees from Roumania that Bulgaria should not attack Greece. This was not given, and the proposal fell through.
“‘SECTION II.
“‘On January 2, 1915, the British Ambassador at Athens told M. Venizelos that if Greece enters the war the Allies will grant her territory on the shores of Asia Minor. On January 20 M. Venizelos gave the Ambassador details of Greece’s demands in Asia Minor, but the negotiations were interrupted by the negotiations with Bulgaria to induce her to enter, the war on the Allies’ side, and in the meantime M. Venizelos resigned. On March 9 M. Gounaris expressed the desire that Greece should continue negotiations. On March 30 the Allied Ambassadors offered Greece the Aidin vilayet69 (Asiatic Turkey) if Greece would enter the war immediately. On
________________________________________
68 See Note on page 37.
69 Aidin is situated on the south-west of Asia Minor, not far from Smyrna.
81
82 THE SECRET TREATIES 82
April 1 M. Gounaris declared the willingness of Greece to enter if the Allies would guarantee her territorial integrity, together with North Epirus and the islands for the period of the war and a certain period after it, while the question of territiorial acquisitions in Asiatic Turkey was to be a matter for later discussion. No reply was given to this, and on May 1 the Greek Minister declared that since the Allies had apparently no intention to guarantee the territorial integrity of Greece the latter had decided to remain neutral.
“‘SECTION III.
“‘On January 20, 1915, M. Venizelos informed the British Ambassador that in agreement with the King he agreed to cede Kavalla70 to Bulgaria if the latter would enter the war on the side of the Allies. After the resignation of M. Venizelos the attitude of the Greek Government changed, and on May 18 the Government protested against the declaration of the Allied Ambassadors at Sofia to Bulgaria, made on May 16, offering the latter Kavalla. On July 21 the Allied Ambassadors communicated to the Greek Minister that the Allies’ offer of Kavalla to Bulgaria was connected with the offer to Greece of large terrirorial acquisitions in Asiatic Turkey. On July 30 the Greek Government handed to the Allies a Note protesting against ceding Kavalla to Bulgaria.
“‘SECTION IV.
“‘On September 8, 1915, M. Venizelos told the Serbian Ambassador in Athens that if Greece entered the war to assist Serbia the latter must cede the region of Doiran-Gevgelli,71 and not oppose Greek pretensions to the valley of the Struma. On September 11 the Serbian Government agreed to these claims.
“‘After the resignation of M. Venizelos and the maintenance of Greek neutrality the question was raised in October of the occupation of the Doiran region by Greek troops, but this was not done owing to the desire of Greece not to interfere in the Serbo-Bulgarian war. On October 11 the Greek King declared that Greece did not wish to occupy Doiran-Monastir, and still considered herself the ally of Serbia.
________________________________________
70 A port in Macedonia greatly desired by Bulgaria.
71 A Macedonian district, in Serbian occupation, bordering on the Greek frontier in the Vardar valley, north of Salonika.
83 APPENDICES 83
“‘SECTION V.
“‘On October 7, 1915, the British Ambassador in Athens offered Greece the cession of Cyprus72 if Greece would immediately enter the war. On October 12 the Ambassador informed the Minister that the Cyprus offer was no longer valid since Greece had not entered.
“‘SECTION VI.
“‘On November 6. 1915, the Allied Ambassadors in Athens informed the Greek Government that the Allies would return Salonika and the occupied territories after the war and pay damages.
“‘SECTION VII.
“‘In the beginning of October, 1914, M. Venizelos asked the London Cabinet not to raise objection to the Greek occupation of North Epirus and the Italian occupation of Valona to restore order in these regions without prejudicing a future settlement. The Italian Government agreed, and the occupation was made. On February 14, 1915, the Allied Ambassadors in Athens protested against the Greek seizure of territory in Albania. The latter replied they had no such intention. On March 7, 1916, the Greek Premier Skouloudis declared in the Chamber that North Epirus was part of Greece, and the Government had appointed two prefects in these regions.
“‘On March 13 the Allied Ambassadors in Athens protested against the union of North Epirus to Greece as a breach of the undertaking given in October, 1914. On March 16 the Greek Government answered that it had in view the establishment of a system of government in Epirus more in keeping with Liberal Greek sentiment than that hitherto existing.’”
________________________________________
72 Britain formally annexed Cyprus in November, 1914. This reported offer to Greece evoked a strong protest from the Moslem inhabitants of Cyprus, who, it is said, sent a memorial to Sir Edward Grey against such a proposal.
Appendix C.
DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS RELATING TO JAPAN.
The following diplomatic documents, from the archives of the Russian Foreign Office, have appeared in the Petrograd Press. The translations were published in the Manchester Guardian on February 7 and 22, 1918. The first three relate to Japan’s territorial war aims, the last three to Japan’s relations with China and to the interpretation of the term “special interests” in the Japanese-American Agreement quoted on page 64:—
I.
“From M. Krupensky, the former Russian Ambassador at Tokyo. Dispatch dated February 8, 1917.
“I never omit an opportunity for representing to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the desirability, in the interests of Japan herself, of China’s intervention in the war, and only last week I had a conversation with him on the subject. To-day I again pointed out to him that the present moment was particularly favourable, in view of the position taken up by the United States and the proposal made by them to the neutral Powers to follow their example, and more particularly, in view of the recent speeches of the American Minister at Peking. Viscount Motono replied that he would be the first to welcome a rupture between China and Germany, and would not hesitate to take steps in this direction at Peking if he were sure that the Chinese Government would go in that direction. So far, however, he had no such assurance, and he feared lest unsuccessful representations at Peking might do harm to the Allies. He promised me to sound the attitude of Peking without delay, and, in case of some
84
85 APPENDICES 85
hope of success, to propose to the Cabinet to take a decision in the desired direction.
“On the other hand, the Minister pointed out the necessity for him, in view of the attitude of Japanese public opinion on the subject, as well as with a view to safeguard Japan’s position at the future Peace Conference, if China should be admitted to it, of securing the support of the Allied Powers to the desires of Japan in respect of Shantung and the Pacific Islands. These desires are for the succession to all the rights and privileges hitherto possessed by Germany in the Shantung province and for the acquisition of the islands to the north of the equator which are now occupied by the Japanese. Motono plainly told me that the Japanese Government would like to receive at once the promise of the Imperial [Russian] Government to support the above desires of Japan. In order to give a push to the highly important question of a break between China and Germany I regard it as very desirable that the Japanese should be given the promise they ask-this the more as, so far as can be seen here, the relations between Great Britain and Japan have of late been such as to justify a surmise that the Japanese aspirations would not meet with any objections on the part of the London Cabinet.”
II.
Despatch dated March 1, 1917.
“The Minister for Foreign Affairs asked me to-day whether I had received a reply from the Imperial [Russian] Government relating to Japan’s desires on the question of Shantung and the Pacific Islands, and told me that the Japanese Government would very much like to have at the earliest a promise from us on the subject.”
III.
Despatch dated March 21, 1917.
“I communicated to-day to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contents of your High Excellency’s telegram, and gave him a copy. Viscount Motono confined himself to the observation that he took note of my communication, and would report it to the Council of Ministers and the Emperor. The attitude of public opinion and the Press here towards the Revolution in Russia is, on the whole, sympathetic. It is regarded as a pledge of a successful prosecution of the war until complete victory has been obtained, and the end of the
86 THE SECRET TREATIES 86
rule of the bureaucracy is welcomed. While paying due tribute to the Emperor’s and the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch’s patriotic acts of abdication, public opinion here expresses the hope that the new Government and the popular representatives to be summoned would not be inclined towards extreme decisions. The same attitude towards the events in Russia could be perceived in the few general words which I heard in this connection from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”
IV.
Despatch trom the Russian Ambassador at Tokyo, dated October 16,1917.
“In reply to my question as to the credibility of the rumours alleging that Japan is prepared to sell to the Chinese Government a considerable quantity of arms and munitions, Viscount Motono confirmed them, and added that the Peking Government had promised not to use the arms against the Southerners. It was evident from the Minister’s words, however, that this promise possessed only the value of a formal justification of this sale, infringing as the latter does the principle of non-intervention in the internal Chinese feuds, proclaimed by Japan herself, and that the Japanese Government was in this instance deliberately assisting the Tuan-tse-shua Cabinet in the hope of receiving from it in return substantial advantages. It is most likely that the Japanese are aiming principally at obtaining the privilege of rearming the entire Chinese army, and at making China dependent in the future on Japanese arsenals and the supply of munitions from Japan. The arms to be supplied to China are estimated at 30,000,000 yen. At the same time, Japan intends establishing an arsenal in China for the manufacture of war material.”
V.
Despatch dated October 22, 1917.
“Referring to Bakhmetyeff’s [Russian Ambassador at Washington] N 598, if the United States thinks, as it appeared to our Ambassador [from conversation with Lansing], that the recognition of Japan’s special position in China is of no practical consequence, such a view will inevitably lead in the future to serious misunderstandings between us and Japan. The Japanese are manifesting more and more clearly a tendency to interpret the special position of
87 APPENDICES 87
Japan in China, inter alia, in the sense that other Powers must not undertake in China any political steps without previously exchanging views with Japan on the subject-a condition that would to some extent establish a Japanese control over the foreign affairs of China. On the other hand, the Japanese Government does not attach great importance to its recognition of the principle of the open door and the integrity of China, regarding it as merely a repetition of the assurances repeatedly given by it earlier to other Powers and implying no new restrictions for tha Japanese policy in China. It is therefore quite possible that at some future time there may arise in this connection misunderstandings between the United States and Japan. The Minister of Foreign Affairs again confirmed to-day in conversation with me that in the negotiations by Viscount Ishii the question at issue is not some special concession to Japan in these or other parts of China, but Japan’s special position in China as a whole.”
VI.
Despatch dated November 1,1917.
“The Minister for Foreign AFfairs asked me to call on him to-day, and communicated to me confidentially, but quite officially, the text of the Notes transmitted in my telegram N. 2, which are to be exchanged at Washington on November 2 or 3 between the American State Secretary and Viscount Ishii. A similar communication was made to-day to the British Ambassador here. The French and Italian Ambassadors will receive the text of the Notes in a day or two, privately, for their information. The publication of the Notes will probably take place on November 7; until then the Minister asks the Powers to keep his communication secret.
“When handing me the above-mentioned text of the Notes, Viscount Motono added that he had only received it in final form yesterday by wire from Washington; and since Viscount Ishii was to leave [Washington] the night after next, the signature of the Notes could not have been postponed, in spite of the Japanese Government’s desire to ascertain the views of the Russian Government on the subject prior to it. The Minister hoped that he would not be blamed for that at Petrograd-especially as the present agreement between America and Japan could not arouse any objection on our part. Viscount Motono mentioned that when concluding [gap in the original], one of the objects was to put an end to the German
88 THE SECRET TREATIES 88
intrigues intended to sow discord between Japan and the United States, and to prove thereby to the Chinese that there was between the two Powers a complete agreement of view with regard to China, who, therefore, must not reckon on the possibility of extracting any profit from playing off one against the other.
“To my question whether he did not fear that in the future misunderstandings might arise from the different interpretations by Japan and the United States of the meaning of the terms: ‘special position’ and ‘special interests’ of Japan in China, Viscount Motono replied by saying that-[a gap in the original]. Nevertheless, I gain the impression from the words of the Minister that he is conscious of the possibility of misunderstandings also in the future, but is of the opinion that in such a case Japan would have better means at her disposal for carrying into effect her interpretation than the United States.”
Appendix D.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE
1914.
Aug. 4— Britain declares War on Germany.
Sept. 5— Allies’ declaration not to conclude Separate Peace.
Nov. 22— Allies offer South Albania to Greece.
1915.
March 12— Constantinople and Persia Agreement.
March 30— Allies offer Aiden Vilayet (Asia Minor) to Greece.
April 26— Treaty of London (the Agreement with ltaly).
May 16— Allies offer Kavala to Bulgaria.
……..[Mr. Asquith’s Coalition Government.]
May 19— Formation of Coalition Government announced.
Oct. 7— Britain offers Cyprus to Greece.
1916.
Spring — Asia Minor Agreement between Britain, France, and
……..Russia.
March 9— Russia insists on exclusion of Polish question from
……..international discussion.
July 3— Secret treaty between Russia and Japan.
Aug. 18— The Treaty with Roumania.
……..[Mr. Lloyd George’s Government.]
Dec. 6— Mr. Lloyd George undertakes to form Government.
1917
March 11— ”Left Bank of tha Rhine” Agreement between France
……..and Russia.
March 12— The Russian Revolution.
March 15— Abdication of the Tsar.
April — Savoy Conference. Alleged new Agreement between
……..Britain, France, and Italy.

89
INDEX
INDEX
BRITAIN PAGE
To receive Neutral Zone in Persia (March, 1915) 23

“ “ Southern Mesopotamia (Spring, 1916) 46

“ “ Baghdad (Spring, 1916) 46

“ “ Haifa and Akka (in Syria) (Spring, 1916) 46

and prospective acquisition of German African Colonies 40

FRANCE
To receive Syria (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ Adana Vilayet (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ Territory in Asia Minor (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ Alsace-Lorraine (February, 1917) 72

“ “ Iron district of Lorraine (February, 1917) 72

“ “ Saar Valley (February, 1917) 72

“ occupy territories on left bank of Rhine (February, 1917) 72

and prospective acquisition of German African Colonies 40

ITALY
To receive Trentino (April 26, 1917) 31

“ “ Southern Tyrol (April 26, 1917) 31

“ “ Trieste (April 26, 1917) 32

“ “ County of Gorizia-Gradisca (April 26, 1917) 32

“ “ Istria (April 26, 1917) 32

“ “ Istrian Islands (April 26, 1917) 32

“ “ Dalmatia (April 26, 1917) 33

“ “ Dalmatian Islands (April 26, 1917) 33

“ “ Valona and surrounding district (April 26, 1917) 37

“ “ Islands in the Ægean (April 26, 1917) 38

“ “ Adalla and territory in Asia Minor (April 26, 1917) 39

“ “ share in War indemnity (April 26, 1917) 40

prospective extension of Colonies in Africa 40
93

94 INDEX 94
JAPAN PAGE
And China (July 3, 1916) 59

Desire for Shantung 85

“ “ Pacific Islands 85

ROUMANIA
To receive Transylvania (August, 1916) 54

“ “ The Banat 54

“ “ Bukovina 54

RUSSIA
To receive Constantinople (March, 1916) 22

“ “ Turkey in Europe (March, 1916) 19

“ “ Bosphorus and Dardanelles (March, 1916) 19

“ “ Sea of Marmora (March, 1916) 19

“ “ Imbros and Tenedos (March, 1916) 19

“ “ full liberty of action in Northern Persia (March 1916) 24

“ “ Ispahan and Yezd (March, 1916) 45

“ “ Trebizond (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ Erzerum (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ Van and Bitlis (Spring, 1916) 45

“ “ further territory in Asia Minor (Spring, 1916) 45

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
To receive Southern Dalmatian Coast (April 26, 1915) 36

“ “ Spalato, Ragusa, and Cattaro (April 26, 1915) 36

“ “ San Giovanni di Medua (in Albania) (April 26, 1915) 36

Possible annexation o

Eine andere Wahrheit – Die Geheimverträge im Ersten Weltkrieg

1917 brachte die Veröffentlichung Geheimer Verträge das reibungslose Funktionieren der Kriegsmaschine kurzzeitig ins Stocken. Das war die Gerburtsstunde moderner Propaganda aus dem Geist der Reklame

Benedictus_XV
Unglaublich, aber wahr: Papst Benedikt XV. sollte verhaftet werden, falls er sich für eine Beendigung des Krieges einsetzen würde. (Mehr dazu unter diesem Artikel)

von Hermann Ploppa

Buchstäblich über Nacht hatten die Bolschewiki im frühen Winter 1917 die Macht erobert. Der Sturm auf das Petrograder Winterpalais ging so rasch vor sich, daß die entmachteten Mitglieder der Kerenski-Regierung viele wichtige, nicht für das gemeine Volk bestimmte Dokumente zurücklassen mußten. Unter diesen Dokumenten finden sich eine ganze Anzahl von Geheimverträgen, Abmachungen und Korrespondenzen, deren Veröffentlichung für die Regierungen Großbritanniens, Frankreichs, Japans, Rumäniens, Italiens und für die früheren russischen Regierungen außerordentlich peinlich war <1>.
LeTrotskyDBRevolutionsführer Leo Trotzki pfeift auf internationale Konventionen. Er veranlaßt die ratenweise Veröffentlichung der kitzligen Dokumente in der parteieigenen Zeitung Iswestija, was sich aufgrund der Fülle des Materials über viele Monate erstreckt. Kopien überreicht Trotzki an die internationale Presse und an die Arbeiterparteien der kriegführenden Länder. Auch wenn sich die Übersetzung und Veröffentlichung im westlichen Ausland über Jahre hinzieht, werden die Inhalte der Verträge und Abmachungen per Mundpropaganda in Windeseile in den Rüstungsfabriken und in den verkoteten Schützengräben aller Seiten verbreitet.
Die „Kriegsbegeisterung“ hat in jenen Monaten einen neuen Tiefpunkt bei Fußsoldaten und Rüstungsarbeitern aller Seiten erreicht. Die Veröffentlichung der Geheimverträge schlägt ein wie eine Bombe. Die Leute draußen im Lande fühlen sich arg betrogen. Die Regierungen der Entente-Staaten Großbritannien, Frankreich sowie des zaristischen Rußland erklärten immer wieder feierlich, die Achsenmächte Deutschland, Österreich-Ungarn und das Osmanische Reich hätten einen heimtückischen, lange vorher geplanten Angriffskrieg gegen sie angefangen. Die Entente-Staaten setzten sich lediglich gegen diese gemeine Attacke zur Wehr. Wenn der Angreifer unschädlich gemacht sei, würde man den Krieg sofort beenden.
Nun zeigen jedoch die aufgefundenen Geheimverträge, Abmachungen und Briefwechsel ein deutlich anderes Bild. Munter werden Territorien und Bodenschätze der Achsenmächte als Kriegsbeute verschachert. Staaten, die gar nichts mit dem Kriegsgeschehen zu tun haben, geraten ebenfalls unter den Hammer. Da die Geheimverträge im Zeitraum zwischen 1915 und 1917 abgeschlossen wurden, sagen sie zwar nichts über die Ursachen des Krieges aus. Sie besagen aber eindeutig, daß die Entente-Staaten den Krieg bedenkenlos ausnutzen, um lange gehegte Begehrlichkeiten Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen. Neutrale Staaten werden mit Beuteversprechen in die Entente hereingeholt. Man trifft Vorkehrungen, um ein frühes Ende des Krieges zu verhindern.
Den Anfang macht eine Geheimvereinbarung zwischen Rußland und Großbritannien vom 12. März 1915. Rußland wollte schon immer gerne die Meerenge, die das Schwarze Meer mit dem Mittelmeer verbindet, unter seine Kontrolle bekommen. Mit dem Vertrag vom März erkennt Großbritannien die zukünftige Annektion der Dardanellen und Konstantinopels durch Rußland an. Daß Konstantinopel die Hauptstadt des Osmanischen Reichs ist, stellt keinen Hinderungsgrund dar. Rußland revanchiert sich für das Gentlemen’s Agreement. Bereits 1907 hatten Rußland und Großbritannien das offiziell souveräne Persien dreigeteilt: in eine russische, eine britische und eine neutrale Zone. Nun akzeptieren die Russen, daß Großbritannien auch die neutrale Zone noch für sich in Anspruch nimmt.
Am 26. April 1915 wird Italien in die Entente geholt, indem Italien großzügig Südtirol, Triest, Istrien, Dalmatien, Teile Albaniens, Teile Anatoliens sowie zwölf kleinasiatische Inseln versprochen werden. Als koloniale Zugabe wird noch Libyen spendiert. Im Frühjahr 1917 verschachert man den asiatischen Teil des Osmanischen Reiches. Großbritannien sichert sich „Südmesopotamien“. Der heutige Irak sowie zwei Häfen in Syrien sollen die Versorgung Großbritanniens mit Erdöl sichern. Frankreich bescheidet sich mit Syrien, ein bißchen Osttürkei sowie West-Kurdistan. Rußland soll Nordanatolien bekommen. Damit wäre das gesamte Schwarze Meer plus Mittelmeerzugang unter russischer Kontrolle. Rumänien, bislang in wohlwollender Neutralität den Achsenmächten verbunden, wird herübergeholt mit der schönen Aussicht auf Transsylvanien, Bukowina und dem Banat. Dafür dürfen keine deutschen Transporte von und nach dem Osmanischen Reich durch Rumänien rollen.
Am 3. März 1916 verständigen sich Japan und Rußland, andere Länder aus dem chinesischen Wirtschaftsraum herauszuhalten. Ein Telegramm von Sasonow vom 24. März 1916 präzisiert: „Das Thema, die Deutschen aus dem chinesischen Markt zu schmeißen, ist von außerordentlicher Wichtigkeit. Aber die Verwirklichung ist unmöglich ohne die Teilnahme Japans.“ Da Rußland wegen der bolschewistischen Revolution als Partner ausfällt, trifft Japan am 2. November 1917 stattdessen mit den USA die selben Vereinbarungen wie zuvor mit dem Zarenreich.
Im Februar 1917 wird zwischen Rußland und Frankreich vertraglich festgelegt, was Sasonow bereits im März 1916 im o.g. Telegramm „angedacht“ hatte: dafür, daß Rußland den Westmächten bei der Gestaltung der neuen deutschen Westgrenzen freie Hand läßt, kann Rußland die deutsche Ostgrenze nach Gusto festlegen. Das bedeutet: Frankreich soll Elsaß-Lothringen erhalten sowie das Saartal. Die deutschen Gebiete links des Rheins werden in einem „neutralen“ Staatsgebilde von Frankreichs Gnaden zusammengefaßt. Nach Sasonows Plan und mit Frankreichs Duldung würde es möglicherweise keinen neuen Staat Polen zwischen Deutschland und Rußland geben. Auch die republikanische Regierung Rußlands bestätigte am 1. August 1917 in einer diplomatischen Note diese Verabredungen mit Frankreich.
Die Harmonie wurde gestört durch Friedenssondierungen Deutschlands, aber auch durch vereinzelte Stimmen in Großbritannien. Jedoch ein zu früher Friedensschluß könnte die Ambitionen der Geheimverträge zunichte machen. Im Vertrag mit Italien vom April 1915 werden deshalb geeignete Vorkehrungen getroffen, um den Papst an der Durchführung von Friedensverhandlungen zu hindern. In jenen Tagen untersteht der Vatikan direkt der italienischen Staatsgewalt. Artikel 15 lautet:

„Frankreich, Großbritannien und Rußland verpflichten sich zur Unterstützung Italiens, das den Vertretern des Heiligen Stuhls untersagt, irgndwelche diplomatischen Schritte zu unternehmen mit dem Ziel des Abschlusses eines Friedens oder der Regelung von Fragen, die mit dem gegenwärtigen Krieg im Zusammenhang stehen.“

Die von Trotzki bloßgestellten Entente-Politiker drucksen herum. Der britische Unterstaatssekretär des Äußeren und Blockademinister <2> Lord Robert Cecil interpretiert den Geheimvertrag über die Aufteilung des Nahen Ostens neu. Damit sei nicht Annektion gemeint, sondern „acquisition“. Ob das Ding nun Einverleibung oder „Erwerb“ heißt, ist den betroffenen Völkern vermutlich ziemlich gleichgültig. Im ersten Schock weichen die Entente-Politiker sogar vor der diplomatischen Offensive der Bolschewiki zurück. Als die Bolschewiki sich aus Persien zurückziehen, erklären auch die Briten ihren Rückzug. Als die Bolschewiki den Anspruch auf den Isthmus zum Schwarzen Meer aufkündigen, erklärt auch der englische Premier Lloyd George, die Dardanellen sollten unter internationale Aufsicht gelangen.
Das größte Problem ist jedoch der absolute Tiefpunkt, den die Kriegsmotivation der Völker erreicht hat. Niemand hatte damit gerechnet, daß der Krieg nach zwei Jahren immer noch nicht entscheiden ist. Die Heranschaffung immer neuer Millionen junger Männer an die Fronten vermag nicht, aus dem Stellungskrieg wieder einen Bewegungskrieg zu machen. Der französische General Nivelle scheitert am 16. April 1917 mit einem Durchbruchversuch kläglich. Auch die Chemin des Dames-Offensive scheitert. Für 500 Meter Geländegewinn haben 250.000 Menschen ihr Leben gelassen. Das Maß ist voll. Im Juni 1917 meutert die Hälfte aller französischen Frontsoldaten. Spezialeinheiten liquidieren meuternde Bataillone. Das Vertrauen der Fußsoldaten in ihre Führung ist erschüttert. Und auch bei den anderen Kombattantenstaaten sieht es nicht besser aus.

Westfront, deutscher Soldat
Millionen traumatisierte junge Männer wollten nicht mehr aufeinander schießen.

In den USA kann man die entlarvenden Geheimverträge absolut nicht gebrauchen. Gerade eben erst hatte Präsident Woodrow Wilson seine Wiederwahl erreicht durch das hochheilige Versprechen, die USA aus dem Gemetzel in Europa herauszuhalten. Um nach Ablegung seines Amtseids im März sodann am 2. April 1917 den Kongreß so wortmächtig zu bearbeiten, daß dieser Deutschland am 6. April den Krieg erklärt. Es gab einen handfesten Grund für Wilsons Wortbruch. Das US-Kapital kämpfte bereits seit 1914 auf Seiten der Entente in Europa mit. Das Bankhaus J.P. Morgan hatte Großbritannien und Frankreich mit gigantischen Geldmitteln ausgestattet. Dafür kauften jene Länder in den USA Rüstungsgüter. Spendabel hatte Großbritannien das amerikanische Geld wiederum an Länder wie Italien, Rußland, Rumänien oder Japan unterverliehen.

JohnPierpontMorgan
JP Morgans Kredite sind an harte Bedingungen gebunden

Und nun war der Punkt erreicht, an dem Großbritannien seinen Überziehungskredit wiederum überzogen hatte. Das räumte der britische Finanzminister Bonar Law am 24. Juli 1917 in einer Rede vergnügt ein: „Tatsächlich, es ist ein offenes Geheimnis, daß wir mit unseren Mitteln so freigiebig umgegangen sind, daß jene Gelder, die uns in den USA zur Verfügung standen, nahezu erschöpft waren, als unser großer Verbündeter (=USA H.P.) in den Kampf eingriff.“ <3>
Längst hatte Großbritannien seine nationale Souveränität zu großen Teilen an die Morgan-Bank abgetreten. Wenn die Briten z.B. keine nationalen Kriegsanleihen auflegen wollten, um die Morgan-Kredite abzusichern, warf Morgan so viel Pfund-Noten auf den Devisenmarkt, daß der Pfund-Kurs abstürzte. Darauf wurden die Rüstungsimporte für Großbritannien teurer. Die Briten legten Kriegsanleihen auf. Sie mußten amerikanische Rüstungsgüter des Morgan-Konsortiums kaufen, denn niemand sonst gab ihnen diese Güter so einfach auf Pump. 1917 hingen 400 Millionen Dollar an faulen Krediten in der Luft. Man konnte also nicht einfach die Kriegsmaschine von Hundert auf Null herunterfahren: „Die amerikanische Industrie, die bereits vollständig auf Produktion und Belieferung der Alliierten eingestellt war, sah ihrer Liquidation, ihrem Umbau und sogar dem Ruin ins Gesicht allein schon beim puren Friedensgeflüster …“ <4>
Als der Kongreß den Achsenmächten den Krieg erklärt, singen dreihundert New Yorker Börsianer die Nationalhymne. Schon beim Abbruch der diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen den USA und Deutschland waren die Aktien des Stahlgiganten Bethlehem Steel um 30% hochgeschnellt.
Der gewöhnliche US-Bürger hat allerdings von dem 8.000 Kilometer entfernten Gemetzel nichts zu befürchten und er hat schon gar nichts zu gewinnen durch seine Teilnahme. Also bildet sich eine Woche nach der Kriegserklärung ein Propagandaministerium der USA. Dieses Council on Public Information soll das Volk der USA von Null auf Hundert in Kriegsrage bringen.
Das CPI ist ein Musterbeispiel Öffentlich Privater Partnerschaft: der Staat gibt den Auftrag, stellt das meiste Geld und entsendet drei Minister in den Vorstand. Konzeption und Ausführung der Kriegspropaganda liegen dagegen in den Händen von Journalisten und Fachmännern aus der Werbebranche. Diese Leute bringen das Weltbild ihres Gewerbes mit. Es geht nicht darum, mit Argumenten zu überzeugen, sondern darum, ein Produkt zu verkaufen. Und das geschieht durch Aktivierung unbewußter Antriebe im Addressaten. Antriebe, von denen der Addressat gar nichts weiß. Edward Bernays, ein Mastermind des CPI, benennt die Fähigkeiten des Werbemannes: „Es ist seine Fähigkeit, die untergründigen Tendenzen des öffentlichen Bewußtseins zu verdichten (crystallizing), bevor sie einen bewußten Ausdruck erhalten haben. Das macht ihn so wertvoll. Die Ansprache an die Instinkte und die universellen Wünsche stellt die grundlegende Methode dar, durch die er (der Werbemann) seine Ergebnisse erzielt.“ <5>
Also: wie bringt man die US-Bürger dazu, vor diesem Krieg Angst zu haben? Antwort: Man muß die Bedrohung im eigenen Land beschwören. In den USA sind die Deutsch-Amerikaner die größte ethnische Gruppe, gefolgt von den Englisch-Amerikanern. Nunmehr wird eine Beziehung hergestellt zwischen den Kriegsanstrengungen des Deutschen Reiches und den Deutsch-Amerikanern. Letztere sind plötzlich eine Fünfte Kolonne des Kaisers. Aus dem Stand wird eine extreme Haßkampagne gegen die Deutschen entfacht. Und damit einhergehend ein Gefühl der Bedrohung bei den US-Bürgern. Das führt sogar zu Lynchmorden an Deutschen in den USA.
Die Werbeprofis des CPI leisten ganze Arbeit. 75.000 ehrenamtliche Four-Minute-Men halten 750.190 vierminütige Ansprachen auf öffentlichen Plätzen, Kirchen und Kinos, in denen sie zur Wachsamkeit gegen die inneren Feinde in den USA aufrufen und zum Zeichnen von Kriegsanleihen aufrufen. Vierzehntägig gehen Rundbriefe an 6.000 Lehrer. 1438 verschiedene Bildmotive für Plakate, Postkarten u.ä. werden entworfen. Pimpfe sind in der Yellow-Dog-League organisiert und mobben deutsche Schüler und bellen auf der Straße Leute an, die keine Kriegsanleihen gezeichnet haben. Die American Protective League und der Ku Klux Klan beobachten und verdreschen Leute, die der Spionage für Deutschland verdächtig sind.
Nun hat man im Winter 1917/18 Soldaten in den USA rekrutiert und die Arbeiter so weit eingeschüchtert, daß sie in den Rüstungsbetrieben widerstandslos im Akkord schuften. Und dann passiert der SuperGAU mit der Enthüllung der Geheimverträge. Diese Enthüllung wird begleitet von einer Waffenpause an der russisch-deutschen Front. Ihr folgen Friedensverhandlungen zwischen Rußland und Deutschland in Brest-Litowsk. Trotzki agiert auch hier erfrischend „unprofessionell“, indem er die Verhandlungen für öffentlich erklärt und die Westmächte einlädt, ebenfalls herzukommen und über Frieden zu verhandeln.

Walter_Lippmann_1914
Walter Lippmann

Der unendlich kluge Walter Lippmann, der spätere Chefideologe des Council on Foreign Relations, hat die Faszination der Feuerpause und der Verhandlungen von Brest-Litowsk eingefangen: „In Brest-Litowsk wurde der Traum aller einfachen Leute wahr; es war also möglich zu verhandeln. Es gab andere Möglichkeiten, das Martyrium zu beenden, als mit seinen Feinden ums Überleben zu ringen. Scheu, aber mit angespannter Aufmerksamkeit, wandten die Menschen ihren Blick nach Osten. Warum denn eigentlich nicht, fragten sie sich. Wozu ist denn das Ganze gut? … Die früheren Symbole des Krieges waren abgedroschen und hatten ihre einigende Kraft eingebüßt. Unter der Oberfläche war eine tiefe Kluft aufgerissen in jedem alliierten Land … Die ganze alliierte Sache war in die Defensive gedrängt durch die Weigerung, an den Verhandlungen in Brest-Litowsk teilzunehmen.“ <6>
Sozialistische, kommunistische und anarchistische Gruppen schiessen in den USA wie Pilze aus dem Boden. Gegen diese Ausbrüche von Eigenwilligkeit des Volkes geht die Wilson-Regierung mit äußerster Brutalität vor. Tausende von Linken werden deportiert oder in Lagern gepeinigt. Der aufgehetzte Mob lyncht Führer der Gewerkschaft IWW oder steckt deren Büros in Brand. Mit der millionenfachen Verbreitung der „Protokolle der Weisen von Zion“ in den USA kommt zum Deutschenhaß der Judenhaß hinzu.
Mit Einschüchterung allein aber kann der Sieg weder zuhause noch in Übersee gewonnen werden. Man muß den Bolschewiki die Trophäe der Meinungsführerschaft wieder abknöpfen. Denn, das haben die Alliierten im Gegensatz zur deutschen Regierung begriffen: ein Krieg besteht aus drei vollkommen gleichwertigen Armen. Erstens: der Niederringung durch Waffen und Munition. Zweitens: der Abschnürung der wirtschaftlichen Hauptschlagader des Feindes. Und Drittens, genau so wichtig: dem Krieg an der Propagandafront.
Und der wichtigste, intelligenteste Krieger an der Propagandafront war Walter Lippmann. Er sagt: wenn man Leute unter einen Hut bringen will, die von ihren Grundpositionen her nicht zusammenzubringen sind, dann darf man nicht rational-logisch arbeiten. Man muß einen Begriff nehmen, der möglichst inhaltsleer ist, und unter dem sich jeder was anderes vorstellen kann.
Walter Lippmann ist einer der Verfasser von Wilsons berühmten 14 Punkten, die als Gegenoffensive gegen Brest-Litowsk gedacht waren: „Sie (die 14 Punkte) sollten, kurz gesagt, alliierte Einheit sichern und befestigen für den Fall, daß der Krieg weiterging.“ <7> Und der Krieg mußte weitergeführt werden. Sonst wäre die überhitzte US-amerikanische Kriegswirtschaft zusammengebrochen.
Das Team um Lippmann hatte in einer erstaunlichen Kraftanstrengung jenes politische Programm zusammengezimmert, das Präsident Wilson am 8. Januar 1918 dem Kongreß der USA vorlegte. Damit ist Wilson als tapferer, gleichwohl tragischer Streiter für eine bessere Welt in die Geschichte eingegangen. Man sieht indes Wilsons Forderungen an, daß sie einen Negativabguß der Geheimverträge darstellen. Weiterhin sind sie eine propagandistische Reaktion auf das Zimmerwalder Manifest von 1915. Im schweizerischen Dörfchen Zimmerwald hatten sich Delegierte sozialistischer Parteien verschiedener Länder getroffen. Ihre wichtigste Forderung ist die Selbstbestimmung der Völker.
Tatsächlich sind Wilsons 14 Punkte eine lustige Mischung aus hohlen Versprechungen und geschickt eingeschmuggelten Regelungen, die sich mit Regelungen der Geheimverträge deckten. Da fordert Wilson alias Lippmann das Ende aller Geheimdiplomatie. So etwas kann Wilson unmöglich anders als propagandistisch gemeint haben. Die Bildung neuer Nationen wird angekündigt. Es handelt sich exakt um jene Staaten, die aus der Auflösung Österreich-Ungarns hervorgehen. Selbstbestimmung gilt nicht für Völker im ehemaligen russischen Reich. Denn die US-Regierung baut noch bis 1922 auf die Wiedereinsetzung eines konservativen russischen Regimes von US-Gnaden. Kolonien sollen sich die Großmächte nicht gegenseitig wegschnappen. Von einer Selbstbestimmung der Kolonialvölker ist keine Rede. Freier Handel ist wohlfeil, denn jeder kann sich was anderes darunter vorstellen.
Lippmann, listig, über den Gummi-Charakter der 14 Punkte: „Denn die Phrase, die immer inhaltsleerer wird, ist nunmehr in der Lage, fast nichts zu bedeuten. Dann wird sie bald fähig, beinahe alles zu bedeuten. Mr. Wilsons Phrasen wurden in unendlich unterschiedlichen Weisen in jedem Winkel der Welt aufgefaßt.“ <8>
Der Krieg konnte weitergehen.
Dank Wilsons 14 Punkten: „Sie standen für entgegengesetzte Ideen, aber sie riefen eine gemeinsame Empfindung wach. Und in diesem Sinne spielten sie eine Rolle, die westlichen Völker für jene verzweifelten zehn Monate des Krieges zu gewinnen, die sie immer noch zu erdulden hatten.“ <9>

Fußnoten
<1> Die Texte der Geheimverträge in englischer Sprache sind nachlesbar unter:http://www.gwpda.org/comment/secrettreaties.html

<2> Die britische Marine hatte den gesamten Transport der deutschen Handelsmarine blockiert. Auch dafür mußte es einen Minister geben. Die britische Seeblockade kostete auf deutscher Seite 750.000 Menschen das Leben, durch Hunger oder Mangelernährung. Noch durch Generationen sprach man mit Schaudern vom schrecklichen „Steckrübenwinter“ 1917/18.
<3> zitiert nach Harold D. Lasswell: „Propaganda Technique in the World War“. Chicago 1927, S. 78.
<4> ebda., S.79
<5> Edward Bernays: “Crystallizing Public Opinion”. New York 1923, S.173.
<6> Walter Lippmann: “Public Opinion”. New York 1921.
<7> ebd.
<8> ebd.
<9> ebd.

Nachtrag: In diesem Artikel wird erwähnt, dass geplant war, Papst Benedikt XV. zu verhaften, falls dieser versuchen würde, den Krieg zu beenden. Dazu gab es konkrete Anhaltspunkte. Bereits im Jahre 1915 hatte Benedikt in einer so genannten Exhortatio die Kriegsparteien aufgefordert, den Krieg sofort zu beenden. Der Text dieser Ermahnung  wird an dieser Stelle noch einmal veröffentlicht:

Der Krieg ist eine grauenhafte Schlächterei! von Papst Benedikt XV.

An die kriegführenden Völker und deren Oberhäupter!

Als wir ohne unser Verdienst auf den Apostolischen Stuhl berufen wurden zur Nachfolge des friedliebenden Papstes Pius X., dessen heiliges und segensreiches Leben durch den Schmerz über den in Europa entbrannten Bruderzwist verkürzt wurde, da fühlten auch wir mit einem schaudernden Blick auf die blutbefleckten Kriegsschauplätze den herzzerreißenden Schmerz eines Vaters, dem ein rasender Orkan das Haus verheerte und verwüstete. Und wir dachten mit unausdrückbarer Betrübnis an unsre jungen Söhne, die der Tod zu Tausenden dahinmähte, und unser Herz, erfüllt von der Liebe Jesu Christi, öffnete sich den Martern der Mütter und der vor der Zeit verwitweten Frauen und dem untröstlichen Wimmern der Kinder, die zu früh des väterlichen Beistands beraubt waren. Unsre Seele nahm teil an der Herzensangst unzähliger Familien und war durchdrungen von den gebieterischen Pflichten jener erhabenen Friedens- und Liebesmission, die ihr in diesen unglückseligen Tagen anvertraut war. So faßten wir alsbald den unerschütterlichen Entschluß, all unsre Wirksamkeit und Autorität der Versöhnung der kriegführenden Völker zu weihen, und dies gelobten wir feierlich dem göttlichen Erlöser, der sein Blut vergoß, auf daß alle Menschen Brüder würden.

Die ersten Worte, die wir an die Völker und ihre Lenker richteten, waren Worte des Friedens und der Liebe. Aber unser Mahnen, liebevoll und eindringlich wie das eines Vaters und Freundes, verhallte ungehört! Darob wuchs unser Schmerz, aber unser Vorsatz wurde nicht erschüttert. Wir ließen nicht ab, voll Zuversicht den Allmächtigen anzurufen, in dessen Händen Geist und Herzen der Untertanen und Könige liegen, und flehten ihn an, die fürchterliche Geißel des Krieges von der Erde zu nehmen. In unser demütiges und inbrünstiges Gebet wollten wir alle Gläubigen einschließen, und, um es wirksamer werden zu lassen, sorgten wir dafür, daß es verbunden wurde mit Übungen christlicher Buße. Aber heute, da sich der Tag jährt, an dem dieser furchtbare Streit ausbrach, ist unser Herzenswunsch noch glühender, diesen Krieg beendigt [172] zu sehn; lauter erhebt sich unser väterlicher Schrei nach Frieden. Möge dieser Schrei das schreckliche Getöse der Waffen übertönen und bis zu den kriegführenden Völkern und ihren Lenkern dringen, um die einen wie die andern mildern und ruhigern Entschlüssen geneigt zu machen.

Im Namen des allmächtigen Gottes, im Namen unsres himmlischen Vaters und Herrn, bei Jesu Christi benedeitem Blute, dem Preis der Menschheitserlösung, beschwören wir euch, euch von der göttlichen Vorsehung an die Spitze der kriegführenden Völker Gestellte, endlich dieser grauenhaften Schlächterei ein Ende zu setzen, die nun schon ein Jahr Europa entehrt. Bruderblut tränkt das Land und färbt das Meer. Die schönsten Landstriche Europas, des Gartens der Welt, sind besät mit Leichen und Trümmern; da, wo kurz zuvor noch rege Tätigkeit der Fabriken und fruchtbare Feldarbeit herrschten, hört man jetzt den schrecklichen Donner der Geschütze, die in ihrer Zerstörungswut weder Dörfer noch Städte verschonen, sondern überall Gemetzel und Tod säen. Ihr, die ihr vor Gott und den Menschen die furchtbare Verantwortung für Krieg und Frieden tragt, erhört unser Gebet, hört auf die väterliche Stimme des Stellvertreters des ewigen und höchsten Richters, dem auch ihr über euer öffentliches und privates Tun Rechenschaft ablegen müßt.

Die großen Reichtümer, mit denen der Schöpfer eure Länder gesegnet hat, erlauben euch, den Kampf fortzusetzen; aber um welchen Preis! Das sollen die Tausende der jungen Menschen beantworten, die täglich auf den Schlachtfeldern dahinsinken. Das sollen die Trümmer so vieler Flecken und Städte beantworten, die Trümmer so vieler der Frömmigkeit und dem Geist der Vorfahren geweihter Monumente. Und wiederholen nicht die bittern, in häuslicher Verschwiegenheit oder an den Stufen der Altäre vergossenen Tränen, daß dieser Krieg, der schon so lange dauert, viel kostet, zu viel?

Niemand sage, daß dieser grausige Streit sich nicht ohne Waffengewalt schlichten ließe. Möge doch jeder von sich aus dem Verlangen nach gegenseitiger Vernichtung entsagen, denn man überlege, daß Völker nicht sterben können. Erniedrigt und unterdrückt tragen sie schaudernd das Joch, das man ihnen auferlegte, und bereiten den Aufstand vor. Und so überträgt sich von Generation zu Generation das traurige Erbe des Hasses und der Rachsucht.

Warum wollen wir nicht von nun ab mit reinem Gewissen die Rechte und die gerechten Wünsche der Völker abwägen? Warum wollen wir nicht aufrichtigen Willens einen direkten oder indirekten Meinungstausch beginnen, mit dem Ziel, in den Grenzen des Möglichen diesen Rechten und Wünschen Rechnung zu tragen, und so endlich dieses schreckliche Ringen zu beendigen, wie das in andern Fällen unter ähnlichen Umständen geschah? Gesegnet sei, wer als erster den Ölzweig erhebt und dem Feind die Rechte entgegenstreckt, ihm den Frieden unter vernünftigen Bedingungen anbietet! Das Gleichgewicht der Welt, die gedeihliche und gesicherte Ruhe der Völker beruht auf dem gegenseitigen Wohlwollen und auf dem Respekt vor Recht und Würde des andern, viel mehr als auf der Menge der Soldaten und auf dem furchtbaren Festungsgürtel.

Dies ist der Schrei nach Frieden, der an diesem traurigen Tage besonders laut aus uns herausbricht; und alle Freunde des Friedens in der Welt laden wir ein, sich mit uns zu vereinen, um das Ende des Krieges zu beschleunigen, der, ach, schon ein Jahr lang Europa in ein riesiges Schlachtfeld verwandelt hat. Möge Jesus in seiner Barmherzigkeit durch die Vermittlung seiner schmerzensreichen Mutter bewirken, daß still und strahlend nach so entsetzlichem Unwetter endlich die Morgenröte des Friedens anbreche, das Abbild seines erhabenen Antlitzes. Mögen bald Dankgebete für die Versöhnung der kriegführenden Staaten emporsteigen zum Höchsten, dem Schöpfer alles Guten; mögen die Völker, vereint in brüderlicher Liebe, den [173] friedlichen Wettstreit der Wissenschaft, der Künste und der Wirtschaft wiederaufnehmen, und mögen sie sich, nachdem die Herrschaft des Rechts wiederhergestellt ist, entschließen, die Lösung ihrer Meinungsverschiedenheiten künftig nicht mehr der Schärfe des Schwertes anzuvertrauen, sondern den Argumenten der Billigkeit und Gerechtigkeit, in ruhiger Erörterung und Abwägung. Das würde ihre schönste und glorreichste Eroberung sein!

In dem sichern Vertrauen, daß sich diese ersehnten Früchte zur Freude der Welt bald am Baum des Friedens zeigen werden, erteilen wir unsern Apostolischen Segen allen Gliedern der uns anvertrauten Herde; und auch für die, die noch nicht der römischen Kirche angehören, beten wir zum Herrn, daß er sie mit uns vereinen möge durch das Band seiner unendlichen Liebe.

Rom, Vatikan, 28. Juli 1915.

Auf deutsch übersetzt und veröffentlicht in der Weltbühne Nr. 31 aus dem Jahre 1931, Seiten 171-173