« ПретходнаНастави »
speaking of the boundary drawn by the London conference, says, "From the cynical way in .vhich large populations of Albanians are ignored and handed over to their hereditary enemies, it is obvious that the great powers are not over anxious to found an Albanian principality which could have a reasonable chance of success. The nascent Albania is cut down to a minimum, and if Europe had wished to make the new state dependant on Austria or Italy, she could have hardly set it about more effectively. There is not much future for an Albania of this sort, but the Shkipetare are a dogged race, who have survived many tyrants, though so far they have only had to face death by the sword and not strangualtion by the red tape of a bureaucracy.''
Again, the European diplomacy instead of asking Greece to evacuate the territories assigned to Albania, as it was decided she granted to Greece first one month, then another, changing the date from December 31, 1913, to March 1, 1914, giving Greece plenty of time to complete her intrigues and preparations for the Epirotian tragedy, which she was planning to play. The last diplomatic pourparlers between the great powers and Greece regarding the evacuation of these regions by the Hellenic troops are wjrthy of record for they help one to understand the events which followed.
On February 13, 1914, the representatives of the great powers presented to the Greek Government a collective note regarding southern Albanian frontier and the Aegean Islands. The powers intimated that they had decided to give Greece the islands occupied by her, with the exception of Tenedos, Imbros, and Castellarizzo. The islands will not be definitely handed over to Greece until the Greek troops have evacuated the territory assigned to Albania, the Hellenic Government undertaking to offer no resistance, either directly or indirectly to the wish of the powers. The evacuation of Albania, the note said, will be begun on March 1 at Kortcha and will be concluded about March 31, 1914.
In its reply the Greek Government agreed to comply with the decision of the powers. The Hellenic Government at the same time stated that orders will be given to the Greek troops to evacuate the territories assigned to Albania in due time, and solemnly declared that they will offer no resistance either directly or indirectly to the wish of the powers.
The Greek reply, however, proposed a rectification of frontier, one near Arghirokastra, and another near Kortcha, and offered in exchange a long but narrow strip of coast line between Stylos and Cape Pagonia, as well as $1,000,000. The Greek Government expressed the hope that these rectifications will be settled upon the basis suggested, and proposed that the Hellenic troops should withdraw only to "the natural frontiers" of the respective districts, pending a definite settlement.
Before proceeding further, we i">ust add that during the Greek occupation the Greek military authorities organized in all parts of the country "sacred regiments of volunteers," formed mostly of Cretans, Just what the Greek Government had determined to do with these "sacred regiments of volunteers," having their headquarters at "the natural frontiers" of the district of Kortcha and Arghirokastra, will be fully appreciated later on. On the 22d of March, 1914, the Greeks evacuated the district of Kortcha, and the Albanian authorities entered the city quietly and without ostentation. But we still had the Greek bishop, the only Greek resident in Kortcha, to contend with. His holiness attempted in every waypossible to frustrate all our advance toward independence of thought and deed. We were in constant conflict, and in April matters reached the crisis. Under the able direction of Maj. Snellen, of the Dutch mission, we established a small force of gendarmes; but it was pitifully small, numbering about 100 men, and while sufficient for ordinary police duty, was hardly equal to the task of combating Greek intrigue, accompanied by authorized attacks organized and instituted by the Greek military authorities.
Just when fair promises of the right to be a nation were filling all our hearts with hope and joy to have these hopes shattered and absolutely swept away is indeed heart breaking.
At 2 o'clock after midnight April 2, 1914, we were aroused by the sounds of church bells, followed by gun shots. Half awake, I suspected that something unusual was happening. We all got up and went around trying to peep through the window and see what was going on; but nothing visible, as it wao too dark. Shots, hurried steps, whispers, was what we heard. Waited i mpatiently until the dawn, when to our greatest surprise we heard cheers to the Greek rule. At once we comprehended the greatest danger in which we were found. We saw Cretans like mad men running up and down in confusion, shooting any way and whosoever they could and screaming, "Long live Greece!" After a five dayB' severe fight in the streets, the leader of the Greek disguised attack, the bishop, was arrested and Boon after his arrest the Hellenic coup de main for the possession of the coveted district failed and the repetition of the Bartholomian massacres was avoided at this time.
Thus ended the attack upon Kortcha, which the Greeks claim was a civil uprising against the inclusion of the Province within the limits of independent Albania. Yet there is a conclusive proof that the attack was engineered and executed by officers and men of the Greek army operating in conjunction with the Greek bishop. The failure of this attack demonstrated the futility of the Greek argument that Kortcha is a Greek city, for the attack was repulsed by the civil population and not instigated by them.
The failure to prove Kortcha a Greek Province by this means did not deter the Greeks from continuing their attacks, however, and for several months the Greek army hammered at the frontier, bombarding the whole Province from three sides with long-range guns. In the latter part of June a general attack began, and on July 6, 1914, the Albanians on account of lack of ammunition had to give up. Together with government officials 350, -90 people fled for their lives, 50,000 crowded in Berat, a town of 15,000 population; a hundred thousand took refuge in Elbassan, and the rest wandered for a good while and then went for shelter under the olive trees of Vallona. It is impossible to depict the horrors which the Albanian people experienced at this time. Bodies of young women, who had been strangled to death and outraged by Greek soldiers were found in many places. Taking possession of Kodra, a village near Tepeleni, the Greeks invited all the villagers, men, women, and children to gather in the church. When all were assembled, 295 in number, the Greek officers ordered the soldiers to fire on them. All were killed; their heads cut down and hung on the church walls. Gen. De Wier, of the Dutch mission, went himself to this village, saw this terrible Greek cruelty, and took the picture of this horrible sight.
Speaking of the work of destruction of the neighbors of Albania, the Hon. Aubrey Herbert, member of the British Parliament, says:
"It is my conviction that these people were systematically exterminated in various frontier areas of Alvania, by those who had sworn to befriend them. In addition to all her misfortunes, Albania has suffered this great calamity, that the world at large is ignorant of what is happening in that corner of the Balkans."
The claims of Greece to southern Albania, or Epirus, as they like to call it, rest on a hoary confusion. She has been throwing dust in the face of the civilized world for ■centuries by calling every "Orthodox Christian" Greek, defying the facts of the case. The majority of the population of the Albanian territory given to Greece by the London conference, as well as that of the region claimed by Greece at Paris, is Moslem Albania, while the Christian minority, though members of the "Orthodox Church," is Greek neither by race, language, or sentiment. Indeed, if they were Greek by feeling why did 350,000 of them flee before the Greek army when they illegally invaded southern Albania in 1914. just a few months before the outbreak of the European War, and went to starve under the olive trees of Vallona? If they were truly Greeks by feeling, why did the Greek army massacre so many of those who could not get away, and why did they devastate the whole country? The Christain inhabitants of southern Albania or Epirus are^ "Greeke" only in the sense that the Roumanians and the Slavs were Greeks a few decades ago, when they had the misfortune, too, of being under the jurisdiction of the "Orthodox Church" of Constantinople.
Generally speaking, the thoroughly non-Greek character of the Albanian territory given to Greece by the London conference, as well as that claimed by her at the peace conference under the name of Epirus, can be seen by the following testimonies:
Viscountess Strangford, traveling in 1863, states: "We started on June 1, intending to make Janina, the capital of southern Albania, out farthest point. As we had divided upon the plain into three or four different parts, the first thing to be done, when we reached Delvina, was to find each other; but this was not accomplished until we had wandered far and wide, loudly shouting and inquiring from every man, women, and child we could see. We were decidedly in difficulties, for it was the hour of the midday sleep and our inquiries were made in Greek, while the seeming answers were given in Albanian, neither party in the least understanding the other.
Mr. Mavromnatis, the Greek counsel at Scutari, writing in Akropolis, 30 years ago, states: "Ethnically Albania can be divided in five zones. First, southern Albania, which extends from the Greek frontier up to the Shkumbi River; second, central Albania, which extends from Shkumbi to Matti; third, northern Albania, which extends from Matti up to Montenegro; fourth, northeastern Albania, which embraces Novibazar, Prizrend, Irishtina, etc.; and fifth, western Macedonia, from the Ochrida and Prespa Lakes up to Monastir and Perlepe."
Considering specifically some of the most important towns of this region, we can say, first in regard to Janina. In the fifteenth century, when Janina was attacked by the Turks, its fortresses were defended by Albanians and not by Greeks. To this testified history, which says, that after Janina was besieged, 3,000'heads of Albania's inhabitants of Janina were used to make a pyramid of trophy. On the other hand, Janina is
called by the best impartial authorities, the capital of southern Albania. Here were the headquarters of Ali Pasha of Tepeleni, the independent ruler of southern Albania, to whose court diplomatic representatives from England and France were accredited. In 1878 Greece begged Europe for a rectification of her northern boundary, but by the same assembly Janina was officially declared as belonging to Albania and so was left to her.
The great French counsel, Laurent Pouqueville, speaking about Arghirokastra, says: "There are in Arghirokastra about 2,000 Moslem Albanian families. The bishop complained that there were only 60 Christian families thrown aside the plains out of town."
The report of the foreign representatives of Monastir vilayet and especially that of the Swedish charge^ for the reorganization of the Macedonian gendarmerie proves fully that the inhabitants of Kortcha, town and district, are purely of Albanian nationality.
August Dozon, French consul and distinguished scholar visited Kortcha in 1875. In his report he says, in part, "The population of Kortcha is entirely Albanian."
The people of the district of Kortcha number 132,000 of which 100,000 are Moslem Albanis and 32,000 orthodox Christians, Albanians. The town of Kortcha itself has a population of 22,000, of whom there is but one resident Greek by nationality, the bisnop, sent there by the patriarch to anathematize all those who refusing to call themselves Greek worked for the uplifting of their nation. But in spite of this ecclesiastical and school propaganda made during the Turkish regime witn such great sacrifices by the Greek patriarch, the inhabitants of these districts have always conserved their national consciousness, as the rest of their fellow countrymen throughout the country, their language and their customs. Under the Turkish regime, when our nationality was denied to us, and when we were persecuted and imprisoned, Kortchi. had the first Albanian schools, and always has been the center of gravity of the Albanian national aspirations, with its schools, papers, and societies. Kortcha is also the headquarters of the Albanian Orthodox League, whose purpose is to emancipate the orthodox Albanians from the yoke of the Greek clergy.
During the young Turkish regime, Kortcha has manifested anew its national aspirations by a meeting of 12,000 men held against the young Turk scheme of forcing the Albanians to write their language with the Arabic characters, instead of Latin. All the foreign consuls are witnesses of the spontaneous national manifestations as well as of the blood shed in the summer of 1911 by the young Christian Albanians, who fought for liberty. They also are witnesses of the Arm stand of the people of Kortcha during the summer of 1914 and how stubborn they fought the Greek Army who attacked the place and like the Huns committed unspeakable atrocities with the purpose of forcing them to deny their nationality and claim union with Greece.
We are here not to ask that such and such a town or district be included within the boundaries of Albania. We have come here, to beg your ho.iorable members of the Foreign Relations Committee to see that a commission representing countries which have no personal interest in Albania be sent on the spot, see the conditions with their own eyes, and decide the fate of Chameria and the rest of the districts which are in dispute.
To mighty, just, and freedom-loving America we earnestly appeal for justice. We do not ask but that which is our own from time immemorial.
Christo A. Datso, President and Representative of the Albanian National Party
The Chairman. Mr. Erickson, I would like to ask one question. What are the Albanians, ethnically? You speak of them as having been there before all these other races. What are they?
Mr. Erickson. Mr. Chairman, the ethnologists and anthropologists are not absolutely a unit as to the origin of the Albanians, but are practically so that they constitute a remnant of the Pelasgian race that built those great monoliths in the Balkans; that after the Pelasgian race came they were in three branches.
The Chairman. They are Aryans, then?
Mr. Erickson. Yes.
The Epirots, the Macedonians, and the Illyrians speak all the same tongue or branches of the same tongue.
The Chairman. Their language is of Aryan derivation.
Mr. Erickson. Yes; with a construction like the Latin.
Senator Moses. Is the instruction at the school at Elbassan in the Albanian language?
Mr. Erickson. No; in Albania there had been no schools where Albanian instruction had been permitted; but it had been in Italian.
The Chairman. The hearing is closed.
Senator Knox. May I bring a matter up?
The Chairman. Certainly.
Senator Knox. A few days ago two very prominent Persian citizens called on me to inform me of this state of facts that though Persia had been upon the list of those who are to be invited to join the league of nations yet that here very recently these Persian gentlemen only received information, within the past 10 days it appears, that Great Britain since the project of the league has been brought forth, has made a secret treaty with Persia in complete violation of her fundamental law and would substantially put the sovereignty of Persia in the hands of Great Britain. These gentlemen had possession of the material part of this treaty. I told them that it had not been the rule of this committee to hear foreigners upon that subject, but that they perhaps might be able to find an American citizen who was sufficiently interested in Persia to give us this information, which I think is highly important and highly interesting. They were fortunate enough to get Mr. Charles W. Russell, whom I have known intimately for several years. He was my assistant as Attorney General and was ambassador to Persia during the Taft administration. Mr. Russell is here and he says he does not want more than 25 or 30 minutes to present this matter and I think perhaps it would be more convenient to hear him now than at some other timo.
The Chairman. To-day you mean?
Senator Knox. I mean now.
The Chairman. Certainly. I will be very glad to if the committee desires.
Senator Knox. I move that Mr. Russell be heard for 30 minutes.
The Chairman. All right. 1 will ask Senator Brandegee to preside. The committee meets at 10 o'clock to-morrow to hear a representation of Swedish American gentlemen in regard to the Aland Islands, and also to give 10 or 15 minutes to the representative of the Czecho-Slovaks in regard to what was said to-day.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES WELLS RUSSELL.
Mr. Russell. Mr. Chairman, Senator Knox has stated very correctly what I propose to discuss, and that is the treaty, or a supposed treaty, between Great Britain and the Persian Cabinet which actually turns over to Great Britain the total sovereignty, as I understand it, of Persia. That is to say it gives Great Britain control of the purse and the sword, which constitute the assurance
Senator Swanson. You have a copy of the specific treaty?
Mr. Russell. Yes, I have a copy.
Senator Swanson. I have seen several magazine articles, but I have never seen a full copy of the treaty.
Mr. Russell. I wish to read part of ft.
Senator Swanson. You will put the whole treaty in the record?
Senator Moses. Will you please state the origin of the document?
Mr. Russell. The original of the document is signed, by two Persians, S. Hassein Khan and Mohamed Ameen. S. Hassein Khan I know very well. He was formerly in the Persian Legation.
Senator Swanson. Where did you get a copy of that? How do you know it is absolutely authentic?
Mr. Russell. I know the facts to be true.
Senator Swanson. How do you know that that specific treaty is authentic? What is it published in?
Mr. Russell. It is not published at all. I got it confidentially, and I do not feel warranted in telling how I got it. I can assure you however, it is authentic.
Senator Swanson. That is a copy of the original treaty?
Mr. Russell. Yes, sir.
Senator Swanson. With no modification?
Mr. Russell. No, sir.
Senator Swanson. And you are satisfied that the treaty was entered into?
Mr. Russell. I am satisfied.
Senator Brandegee. Let me ask if that has been made public by Great Britain?
Mr. Russell. I do not think it has.
Senator Brandegee. It is a secret treaty, then, is it?
Mr. Russell. It is not a secret treaty. It could not be kept secret through the subject matter of it.
Senator Brandegee. I mean it is secret in the sense that it has not been published by either of the parties.
Mr. Russell. I think so, Senator.
Senator Swanson. There is an election going on in Persia now that will elect a parliament that will ratify it.
Mr. Russell. It will never ratify it.
Senator Swanson. But to decide whether it is to be ratified.
Mr. Russell. But there is no intention to ratify it before putting it in effect.
Senator New. When was this negotiated? What is the date of it \
Mr. Russell. It is only very recent. It was only a few days ago that the news of it had arrived, and it must be very recent. I So not know the oxact date.
Senator Brandegee. Does the treaty itself provide that in order to be valid it must be ratified by the parliament?
Mr. Russell. No, sir; I do not think it does.
Senator Swanson. The constitution of Persia requires that, does it not?
Mr. Russell. The constitution of Persia requires that.
Senator New. Requires ratification by the Persian Parliament!
Mr. Russell. Yes.
Senator Moses. The constitution of China requires similar ratification. The Shantung tieaty went into effect without that.
Mr. Russell. Tins will also, probablv.
Senator Brandegee. Does the constitution of Persia provide that they can convey the property of Persia to any other nation?
Mr. Russell. Unquestionably not, sir, and that is the point that I wish to make. Neither the parliament nor the executive could make such a treaty, nor both together. I can quote the constitution here.