The Minister in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

No. 524

Sir: I have the honor to report that, as was expected, the Council of the Balkan Entente, after deliberating at Geneva on the attitude it should adopt toward the Franco-Italian agreements recently signed in Rome, has issued a statement limited, except in one particular, to generalities, and an expression of satisfaction in so far as these agreements make for the general peace. I give here a translation of this statement as it appeared (in French) in the Messager d’Athens, the semi-official foreign-language organ of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in its joint issue of the 21st and 22nd of January.

“Upon the occasion of their reunion at Geneva, the four Ministers of the countries constituting the Balkan Entente,22 after examining such questions as immediately concerned them, proceeded to an exchange of views on the general situation, particularly as affected by the recent diplomatic negotiations terminated by the signature of the Rome Agreements on the 7th of the current month.

“They found themselves in accord in their appreciation of the importance of the arrangements made by these Agreements, and the usefulness of the principles expressed by them in the domain of international policy. The Balkan Entente cannot do other than rejoice over the success of the efforts undertaken for the organization of peace. It hopes that the arrangements agreed upon may be worked out practically, keeping in view the particular situation of all countries interested in the consolidation of peace in Central and Eastern Europe.

“The four Ministers of the Balkan Entente were unanimous in marking, once again, the complete identity of their views, as well as the firm will which animates them to pursue, in dealing with existing problems, the same united policy which has yielded such happy results in the past.”

Satisfaction is expressed on all sides here in Greece that Mr. Maximos23 was not drawn into any commitments in regard to questions involving Central Europe only. But the eagerness of Dr. Aras, the Turkish Foreign Minister, in summoning the Council of the Balkan Entente to Geneva at this time, has not escaped notice. In this connection, Mr. Maximos told me himself that he had no desire or intention of visiting Geneva again for the present but could not refuse the urgent telegram he received from Dr. Aras. It is therefore regarded here as quite possible that the new freedom of action secured to Italy by her accords with France may be causing Turkey some anxiety in regard to Italian activity in the Dodecanese. It is even suggested [Page 180] that Turkey really desired the Balkan Entente to trade its definite adherence to the Pact guaranteeing the independence of Austria in return for some sort of guarantee of the territorial status quo in the Near East.

If these guesses are well founded, the desire of the Turks seems not to have been fulfilled. It is known that during the Council’s deliberations at Geneva, Mr. Maximos held a long telephonic conversation with the Premier in Athens. The temper of this country at present is undoubtedly opposed to the adoption of any foreign policy which is extra-Balkan or extra-Aegean in its implications, and even to please Turkey, who has not of late been very considerate of Greek feelings, the Premier could hardly counsel such a step at the present time. But it has been shrewdly hinted that Turkey’s desires in this matter are what really underlies the one expression in the Council’s statement which is not a generality, namely the hope for the practical working out of the Rome Agreements in keeping with the particular situation “of all countries interested in the consolidation of peace in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Respectfully yours,

Lincoln MacVeagh
  1. Greece, Rumania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.
  2. Demetrius Maximos, Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs.