67-The High Commissioners of France, Great Britain and Italy expressed themselves

The High Commissioners of France, Great Britain and Italy expressed themselves

After having called the attention of the Ottoman Government to correspondence between General Sir George Milne, commanding the Black Sea Army, and the Minister of War, the High Commissioners of France, Great Britain and Italy expressed themselves in these terms:

“From this correspondence it is clearly evident that Djemal Pasha, Minister of War, instead of carrying out the instructions given to him by the officer in chief command of the Black Sea Army, accord ing to the decision of the Supreme Council in Paris, avoids the re sponsibility attached to his high office and puts forward certain excuses and reasons which we cannot accept.

“The High Commissioners, in calling the attention of the Ottoman Government to the serious consequences that will follow the attitude of the Minister of War, are desirous of knowing what steps the Govern ment consider it is necessary to take to carry out the decisions of the Supreme Council which have been communicated to them by the officer in command of the Black Sea Army.

“In order that they may be in the position to inform the Supreme Council who are aware of this the High Commissioners request the Ottoman Government to inform them immediately what they propose to do about the neglect of the orders given to the Minister of War on behalf of the Supreme Council,”

In their reply to this Note, the Ottoman Government first describe how the occupation of Smyrna took place. Then they mention the investigation made by the Mixed Commission, the distress of the population, who only thought what they could do to escape from the murders and acts of violence arising from the cruelties of the Greeks up to the time when the investigation began. Then they speak of the confidence felt by the Government and the Army in consequence of the sense of justice and fair-play shown by the Commission of Inquiry. They recall the proposal made by the Ottoman Minister of War to General Milne in their letter of the 23 rd August, 1919, with the sole object of putting an end to the bloodshed, if only for a short time, and they add that their proposal to interpose Ottoman troops between the Greek and national troops had been rejected.

It is further pointed out in this Note that two other letters, dated 20 th and 27 th August, proposing that the occupied territory should be occupied by Allied troops, other than those of Greece, had remained unanswered.

It is emphasised, in addition, that the letter from General Milne on the boundary question was sent to the Minister of War on the 3 rd November, but that he, not being authorised to deal with the contents of this communication himself, had applied to the High Commissioners to explain his position.

The Note also mentioned that the entire population unanimously opposed the Greeks alone occupying the boundary line. Explaining that the Government and the Army lacked the power to restrain the people, the Allied Powers were asked to suggest a fair solution of the question. Accompanied by the traditional solemn declarations of the deepest respect, the Note ended with this urgent request: “We ask for your kind mediation in helping us to dispel the suspicion that the Government and the Minister of War refuse to carry out the decisions of the Supreme Council/ (Document 218.)

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