GREECE: Orders Obeyed. - Time, XI 09, 1925, електронен архив

GREECE: Orders Obeyed XI 09, 1925

Ten days after the flare-up of hostilities between Greece and Bulgaria (TIME, Nov. 2), the Council of the League of Nations was able to announce that it had caused the two embroiled nations to withdraw all troops within their own frontiers,. thus stamping out the last openly warlike manifestations between them. During the week, the Council of the League, under the chairmanship of its Acting President, M. Briand, assembled daily in the famous Clock Room of the French Foreign Office, and held the representatives of Greece and Bulgaria, respectively M. Carapanos and M. Marfov to an almost minute-by-minute accounting for the acts of their governments. Gradually it appeared that Greece was with difficulty attempting to put a valid "face" on her invasion of Bulgar territory to a depth of several miles.

M. Carapanos, wily Greek, first endeavored to dodge Greek responsibility before the League Council by insinuating that Greece was withdrawing her troops, not in accordance with the Council's ultimatum (TIME, Nov. 2), but as the result of "friendly intervention" by Rumania between the combatants. Bulgar Marfov promptly branded this assertion as "purely imaginative," saying that Rumania had offered to intervene, but that Bulgaria, disarmed by the Treaty of Neuilly, had courteously informed her that she would trust only to the intervention of the League. M. Briand, greatly annoyed and anxious that the League should have its due, then took M. Carapanos severely to task for "a tendency to quibble."

Next day the Greeks tried another tack. After notice that the Greek evacuation was being delayed by continued Bulgar hostilities, Foreign Minister Hadjikiriakos of Greece telegraphed the following appeal to the Council of the League:

"I beg you to declare that the energetic attitude of the Greek Government on the Greco-Bulgar affair was not based on any intentions of war or conquest, but was motivated by the need of guaranteeing the security of our frontier populations, the majority of whom are refugees who live constantly under the terror of invasion by Bulgarian bands."

Replied M. Briand sternly, as President of the League Council: "It is essential that similar preoccupancy should not become accepted as a species of jurisprudence among the people comprising the League. . . .Under pretext of legitimate defense there might result extremely painful engagements . . . beyond the control of the country which thought it was acting in its legitimate defense. . . . The League of Nations through the Council and by the methods of conciliation which it has at its disposal offers all peoples the means to avoid such painful events. They have only to appeal to the Council."

Added Austen Chamberlain, British Foreign Minister, and Representative of Great Britain in the League Council: "I desire to affirm the perfect accord of His Majesty's Government in all that the President said touching on the great mission of the League."

With Britain and France thus squarely backing up the Council, reports were soon forthcoming from the embroiled frontier that Greece had backed completely down, withdrawn all troops, and ceased to allege that Bulgarians were attacking her. At a jubilant session of the League Council, M. Briand announced: "The Council is satisfied that its orders have been obeyed and that the troops of both sides have withdrawn. This disposes of the first part of the Council's task in stopping the hostilities."

Mr. Chamberlain, immaculate, bemonocled, rose from his seat. He read a unanimous resolution in which the League Council outlined its future action as follows: 1) A League Council Commission will proceed at once to fix responsibility for the outbreak, assess damages, see that all prisoners of war are released, and recommend steps calculated to prevent further trouble. 2) The Commission will be chairmaned by Sir Horace Rumbold, British Ambassador to Spain, and will consist of a French and an Italian officer and two civilians, respectively Dutch and Swedish. 3) It will have an allowance of 100,000 gold francs ($20,000) for expenses.

With this action, the present "extraordinary sessions" of the Council were terminated. M. Briand and Mr. Chamberlain, beaming at such an addition to their Locarno laurels (TIME, Oct. 26, Nov. 2), summoned the Greek and Bulgarian representatives to drown their differences a l'Anglaise in "a dish of tea." Smiling, M. Carapanos and M. Marfov accepted—even joked with one another over the teacups.