The British Chargé ( Barclay ) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 17


His Britannic Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires presents his compliments to the Acting Secretary of State and has the honour to inform him, by direction of his Government, that the Montenegrin Government have received a communication from the Serbian Chargé d’Affaires, dated December 28th, to the following effect: “By order of the Royal [Page 362]Government I have the honour to inform the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that the diplomatic functions of the representative of the Serbian Government must be regarded as having ceased seeing that on the fourth instant the union of Montenegro with Serbia was effected.”

The Montenegrin Government are outraged by the form and substance of this communication and they have requested His Majesty’s Representative accredited to them to transmit to his Government their formal and most energetic protest. They state that this act throws full light on the hidden reasons for the odious campaign carried on for years by Serbia against Montenegro which has reached, during the last few months, unexampled violence. They point out that the action of the Serbian Government is not only aimed at the Sovereignty of Montenegro, but is at the same time a challenge to the solemn proclamation of the Allies that it is their intention to restore the liberty and independence of Montenegro. The Montenegrin Government compare the methods of Serbia with those of Count Metternich and Bismarck and refuse to believe that the Allies will not insist that the rights of Montenegro are respected.

In informing the United States Government of the above, His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires is directed to point out the undesirability of such a precedent in view of the attitude of the Allies regarding the necessity for the territorial changes being left to the Peace Conference. His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires is further directed to add that His Majesty’s Government propose to instruct their representative at Belgrade to protest formally to the Serbian Government against their action in creating a fait accompli in Montenegro and thus attempting to prejudice the decisions of the Peace Conference. His Majesty’s Minister at Belgrade will also be instructed to warn the Serbian Government that they will recognize no title acquired by such action in Montenegro or elsewhere.

His Majesty’s Government will be glad if similar action will be taken by the Associated Governments.