Paris Peace Conf. 873.00/16
Manifesto of Certain Montenegrins Resident in France Directed to the American Chargé in France (Bliss)
Excellency: On the eve of the Peace Conference, on which is incumbent the task of reestablishing liberty and justice once and for all times, we learn with grief news of the terror reigning over the smallest and weakest people among the Allies.
Without regard to the fact that Montenegro entered the war for the cause of her sister Serbia, and for the deliverance and union of all the Yugo-Slavs; without taking count too, that, in the course of eighteen months she has endured sufferings and superhuman privations, [Page 369]carrying on with an army in rags and underfed, without preparation, a sanguinary war against the common enemy; without regard finally, to the fact that, at the end of 1915 Montenegro saved from disaster the greater part of the Serbian army in bravely covering its retreat and in sacrificing to this object her own existence,—today this little martyr country which has indeed merited aid and protection from her powerful Allies, has become the theater of tyranny. For a long time official Serbia has exercised in the Allied countries revolting intrigues, spreading against Montenegro the worst calumnies. Already, two years ago, the Royal Government of Serbia organized a so-called Montenegrin Committee for the National Union the aim of which was to calumniate and plot against the honor and the sovereign rights of Montenegro.
Three months ago the enemy retired from Montenegrin territory whilst the Serbian Government sent its troops thither. Now the first task these undertook was the annihilation of Montenegro’s sovereignty by tearing up the Constitution and laws of the country for which reverence was guaranteed by the Allies. Since legal institutions have been thus violated, the Serbian authorities have organized reunions without legal authority, the aim of which is to falsify and do violence to the true wishes of the Montenegrin people.
Here is the object of all these plots:
To make miscarry all the obligations which the Allies have in regard to Montenegro, and which they have so many times recognized: that is to say the integral restoration of Montenegro;
To reunite Montenegro to Serbia by force so that our little state may not enter on a footing of equality the Yugo-Slav community, as a co-operative member of it, but subject to the will of others,—this which is unworthy of her past and contrary to her interests and the dignity of sovereign states; and again
To prevent at any price that Montenegro, a belligerent allied state, be represented at the Peace Conference and thus, in a manner unique in history, have its political individuality wiped out for ever.
Because of the facts above exposed, the citizens of Montenegro, who find themselves in France, take the liberty of presenting to Your Excellency this Protestation:
Against the rule of oppression now existing in Montenegro;
Against the falsification of the people’s will in Montenegro;
Against the brutal manner employed in order to destroy a sovereignty jealously guarded during six centuries alone in the Balkans, and
Against the plots which have for their aim the non-representation of Montenegro at the Peace Conference.
We have the honor to appeal to Your Excellency so that the principle of the free disposition of peoples be integrally applied. [Page 370]not only in Montenegro, but in all the Yugo-Slav countries equally, Serbia included, and that, as much in their interior affairs as in their exterior. This is the only way to make of the Yugo-Slav countries a guaranty of order and peaceful stability and solid pillar for the future policy of the Entente in the Balkans.
We beg Your Excellency to accept the assurance of our profound respect.
- Translation filed separately under Paris Peace Conf. 772.73/10. File translation revised.↩