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The Chairman. Have you anything further to add? That is al unless you wish to say something further.
Mr. Kerze. I thank you, gentlemen. T guess that I am through.
The Chairman. Is there anybody else who wants to say anything? You have five minutes left.
STATEMENT OF PHILIP GODINA.
Mr. Godina. I am a naturalized citizen of the United States, living in the State of Indiana, Marion County, city of Indianapolis; at present living in Chicago. I am not a well educated man. I just happen to have been born in those occupied territories, and I simply feel, as an American citizen, as I have some relatives there — of course I have no intention to get an3rthing there, or anything like that; I am intending to live here, but 1 say, gentlemen, it is absolutely wrong. I came from close to Trieste. I was born 4 or 5 miles from there and raised there, living there until I was 22 years old before I came to the United States. Personally, I can tell vou the way it looks now, if they are going to let it go this way, absolutely it means a new war. The people of Jugo-Slavia, as stated by previous speakers here, will never give up; or, before they will give up they will have a great grudge against all parties concerned in it.
I feel, as an American citizen, also, that I would like to help if I can, and as this opportunity has been given to me here before this honorable committee I wish to appeal to you, gentlemen, if there is any way possible, to help solve this problem for the benefit of this oppressed nation over there, and also for the benefit of the whole of Europe; and also, I feel, for the benefit of the United States in the future. Perhaps it may involve us some way or other so that we will have to send some more of our boys over there, as it was laid down here by.different speakers, to help out, to solve this problem; so that in the future we will have no such brutality of wars as we have now; so that at least all this warfare and the bloodshed in this war would not be in vain.
I wish to state, gentlemen, that my opinion is—and it is not my opinion only but the opinion of at least, I should say, about 750,000 Jugo-Slavs living in this country, those that are citizens and those that are not citizens—that the matter the way it stands at present is very wrong, and we feel also that the United States will help, whatever is in its power. We have tried our best to explain the position. I am very glad that you gave us a chance to come before you, and I thank you very much in the name of all the Slovenes and others throughout the United States, citizens, and members of this alliance.
The Chairman. The hour of 12 having arrived, it is necessary to close the hearing. The Italians are to be heard to-morrow at 10 o'clock in this room, and that will be the last hearing; there will be no more public hearings of this character.
There will be an executive meeting of the committee in the Capitol, in the room of the Foreign Relations Committee, at 3 o'clock this afternoon.
(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock m., the committee adjourned until to-morrow, Friday, September 5, 1919, at 10 o'clock a. in.)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1919.
United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 o'clock a. m., in room 426, Senate Office Building, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presiding.
Present: Senators Lodge (chairman), Knox, Harding, Moses, and Swanson.
The Chairman. As our time is short, we will begin. Representative LaGuardia has an engagement which requires his going away, and as he desires to speak for only a few minutes we will hear him.
STATEMENT OF HON. FI0BELL0 H. LaGUARDIA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
Mr. Laguardia. Mr. Chairman, I want to give the committee and the Senate the benefit of any information which I may have with reference to Fiume. I lived there for a period of three years, when I was American consular agent at that port.
Senator Moses. When was that?
Mr. Laguardia. That was from 1904 to 1906, I served as acting consular agent for a year before that. I was there three years.
The Chairman. Were you born in this country?
Mr. Laguardia. Certainly. I was born in my own congressional district, and raised in Arizona.
The Chairman. That is what I thought.
Mr. Laguardia. I am personally acquainted with the majority of the men who now form the National Council of Fiume. I was intimately associated with Mr. Zanella, who was a refugee living in Italy during the war. while I was there in the American Army.
I want to point out to the committee that the people of Fiume are Italian in spirit, blood, language, and in every way. They were an independent body, known as a corpus separatum, and annexed to Hungary. They made their own laws. Their municipal government consisted of two legislative bodies and a mayor, and they sent one deputy to the Hungarian Government.
The Chairman. They sent one deputy to the Hungarian Parliament?
Mr. Laguardia. They sent one deputy to the Hungarian Parliament.
The Chairman. And he was an Italian?
Mr. Laguardia. He was an Italian during my stay there. Zanella was the deputy during my time, and he was followed by Vio. I think the. present deputy is Ossoinaek, and I think Zanelhvs predecessor was a man by the name of Meylander.
The language of the municipality of Fiume is Italian. The two chambers of the municipal government conduct all their proceedings in Italian. The language of the port is Italian. The language of the muni ipal court is Italian. The city of Fiume maintains its own schools, which are entirely Italian, and the same is true with the academy for the merchant marine. It is true that in the suburb of Fiume, called Sussak, the greater portion of the population are Croatians. I believe that the President is of the belief that the Fiume question can be settled by taking in Sussak with it as one port. Even to that there is no objection, because the spirit of the port of Fiume, including Sussak, would be Italian.
I do not know what claims the Croatians may set forth as to Fiume. I want to testify to the very fine fighting qualities of the Croatians. They fought hard to the last hour of the last day of the war. I know that, because I fought against them.
When we were in Paris with the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives we called on the President. It was just at the time of the Italian break, and he expressed his views on Fiume. I know he fears that if Fiume should be annexed to Italy the Italians would sacrifice the port of Fiume to the interests of Trieste. I do not believe any such fears are justified, because the existence of Fiume depends upon its commerce. It is connected with Hungary by one line of railway and all of its business is a port business exclusively. There are no industries there, or there is very little industry. There is no room for building industries of any kind, so that its very existence depends upon its business as a port.
Senator Moses. As a matter of fact the development of the port of Fiume at present depends upon the activities of the Cunard Steamship Co. very largely, does it not? Unless the Cunard Steamship Co. transfer their terminus to Trieste. Fiume will go right on as the great port that it has been?
Mr. Laguardia. The Cunard Steamship Co. during my time and ever since have run a line from Fiume to New York; but the bulk of the Fiume traffic was maintained by the Adria Steamship Co.. which ran to the west.
Senator Moses. The Austrian line took the eastbound traffic?
Mr. Laguardia. The Austrian line took the eastbound traffic and the Adria line took the traffic to the west.
Senator Moses Then there is also a line which runs to Cattaro— the Croatian line?
Mr. Laguardia. Yes. That is the coast line. Fiume is the natural port to the near east, and the traffic of Fiume will be maintained.
Now I want to point out that I do not believe that the SerboCroatian-Slovene kingdom can last. They are not in harmony. The Serbians are divided among themselves. A large portion of the Serbian people do not want to continue to cast their destiny with the Karajeorovic dynasty. The Serbians are fighting with the Montenegrins. The Croatians want a republican form of government and not a kingdom, so that to turn Fiume over to the Jugo-Slavs would be only adding more territor}* to the continuous strife and struggle which is bound to occur in the Balkans until that situation is fully cleared up.
Another thing I want to point out is this, that it is not so muck the claims of Italy to Fiume as it is the desire and will of the natives of Fiume to be liberated from the Hapsburgs; to get away from Hungary and Croatia and Austria: to establish their own independent form of government and to be annexed to Italy. It is their claim which appeals to me more than anything else.
In February, 1918, while we were down in Italy training, I had occasion to endeavor to interpret point nine of the fourteen points. In wartime one tries to do anything. The morale in Italy was somewhat low, and they did not have much confidence in just what the point nine meant. That was the point which promised to readjust the boundaries of Italy according to easily recognizable lines of nationality.
Senator Moses. Were you able to interpret that point satisfactorily?
Mr. Laguabdia. As I said before, Senator, in war time you will do almost anything, you just have to do it; and so in order to keep up the morale of the people I embraced everything that really was Italian in the Adriatic, and told them that that took it in. So I am somewhat concerned personally in this, to that extent.
Senator Moses. You now want your word made good.
Mr. Laguardia. I want my word made good. I feel somewhat embarrassed.
I have here a telegram which I would like to put into the record. It is from Chevalier Barsotti, of the Progresso, in which he quotes a telegram just received from Paris which purports to say that the Fiume situation is solved, depending upon the approval of the President, and I will put this into the record.
(The telegram referred to is here printed in the record as follows:)
[Western Union telegram.]
New York, Nt. Y., June 12. Congressman Laguardia,
House of Representatives, "Washington, I>. C. I quote from our Paris correspondent the following points of one of to-day's cables. "Tlttoni returned from Deauville where met George' to discuss Fiume problem. From reliable source, I learn Tlttoni is satisfied attitude George who promised solicit Wilson take definite decision about Flume. In fact, Tittoni returned without any concrete solution problem and that dlsocurages Italian circles Paris where they realize because of the mechanism of the conference Italian aspirations must depend on Wilson discretion whose ideas and decisions are well known. They despair the solution Italian problem is near and foresee serious consequences. Best regards."
Cav Barsotti, Editor II Progresso ftalo Americano.
The Chairman. What is the nature of that solution?
Mr. Laguardia. I do not know what it is, Senator. When I was in Paris—I believe I can tell this-—you recall at the time the Italian delegation had gone away, they had left Minister Crespi, whom I knew very well. He was food controller when I was at the Italian front. I called on him and asked him if there was anything I could do, and I also called on Col. House. Col. House was Aery sympathetic toward the Fiume question, and when I left there— I think it was the 9th of May, I was of the belief that the question of Fiume would be satisfactory settled in this way: Fiume and Sussak would be considered as the port of Fiume, that would constitute an independent government and be annexed to Italy, with guaranties of free passage for traffic from the Hinterland to and from the port, a free port in every sense of the word. Then Italy would give up certain of the Greek Islands. I understand, and the cities of Zara and Sebeonico would be free cities. I think that is what the Tardeau compromise provided, and that, as you know, after having been agreed upon was again bluepenciled by the President, which offended the Italians again, so that the matter remained unsettled. Now it seems they have arrived at another compromise, which is subject to approval here in Washington.
The Chairman. Anything more?
Mr. Laguardia. No. I want to give the committee the rest of the time.
Senator Harding. Just what do you mean by "approval here in Washington?"
Mr. Laguardia. From press dispatches, I gather, and from the telegram which I read into the record, it seems that France, Italy, and England have agreed on this solution and it has been submitted to President Wilson for approval.
Senator Harding. Not to our American commissioners over there?
Mr. Laguardia. No. That is what I gather from the press and from this telegram.
Mr. Cotillo. I wish to introduce Prof. Alexander Oldrini, an American citizen, representing the Italo-Irredentist Society.
The Chairman. What is your name?
Mr. Cotillo. S. A. Cotillo, State Senator from New York, representing the Eighteenth district.
The Chairman. In the Senate?
Mr. Cotillo. In the Senate.
STATEMENT OF PROF. ALEXANDER OLDRINI, PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN IRREDENTIST ASSOCIATIONS OF AMERICA.
Mr. Oldrini. Mr. Chairman, for myself, as an American citizen of Italian descent, my colleagues also American citizens, and the Federazione of the Italian Irredentists Association of the United States, I beg to thank you for the honor and the privilege afforded us to state at this hearing before your committee the main reasons, facts, and rights for which Fiume and Dalmatia, a part of Italy's national aspirations, should be defended by the United States Senate of America with regard to that part of the treaty with Austria which governs the subject. That is, why should Fiume and Dalmatia become a part of the Italian body politic?
The name of the city of Fiume. a little speck on the map of Europe is an advance sentinel of democratic civilization in contact with the influences of central, eastern, and southern Europe; it assumes a transcendent importance with jegard to Italians and to the democratic Latin and Anglo-Saxon nations in the conflict now going on, and extending, of the Bolshevik leveling program of Slav-Russia and associates.
For a basical understanding of the Fiume self-determination in its relation with the Italian aspirations in the Adriatic it is paramount to call first your attention to the physical lines of the defense of democratic civilization in Europe itself.
The line of defense of Roman civilization has been for 500 years along the Rhine and the Danube. When that immense dam broke,