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carry with it, which would be impracticable even in time of peace for various reasons of general administration, would be even more so in time of war. On this subject, he added that, without quoting other historical examples, it was sufficient to remember the procedure adopted on the occasion of the cession of Nice and Savoy to France in 1860, in which, even after the conclusion of peace, a certain number of months elapsed between the conclusion of the convention and the actual transfer of the ceded territories."
The Austro-Hungarian foreign minister also declared that his country could not “disinterest itself in Albania, a region so near the sphere of its most sensitive interests." 27 In an interview with the Italian ambassador at Vienna, he expressed (April 29) his willingness to discuss with the Italian foreign minister “the reciprocal interests in Albania, keeping in mind the changed circumstances during the present war, and to join with the Royal [Italian] Government in a new agreement regarding the same, which could, in establishing anew the question on European ground, imply also the disinterestedness of Austria-Hungary provided that Italy would equally disinterest herself in Albania, to the exception of Valona and of the sphere of interests which would have there
27 I. G. B., 60, 71; A. R. B. (2), 144.
their center, and that sufficient guarantees should be given against undertakings or establishments of other powers in Albania, an eventuality threatening the political and maritime interests of Austria-Hungary as well as those of Italy.” 28
It is needless to say that Baron Burian's answer was unsatisfactory to Italy. He hoped, however (if we are to accept the opinion of the Italian ambassador at Vienna), that Italy would abate her demands, and believed that she would not go to war with Austria and Germany even though her “requests were not accepted integrally.” 29
If this was the opinion of the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, he had woefully misjudged the situation in Italy,30 for at this time both the Government and, apparently, the people also were determined to go to war rather than lose this opportunity of realizing their national aspirations. We are not surprised, therefore, that Italy decided to end the long and apparently fruitless negotiations. On May 3, Baron Sonnino notified the Austro-Hun
28 I. G. B., 75; A. R. B. (2), 44. 29 I. G. B., 74
30 Baron Macchio thought (May 2) that public sentiment in Italy was "three quarters opposed to war. The street demonstrations of May 16 and 17 at Rome and in the provinces in favor of war were, he seemed to think, arranged by the resigned cabinet as a political move. A. R. B. (2), 167, 187, 189, 191,
garian Government that he was constrained to withdraw all his “propositions for an accord” and that “Italy, confident in her good right, affirms and proclaims that from this moment she resumes her entire freedom of action, and declares her treaty of alliance with Austria-Hungary to be void and henceforth of no effect." 31 The Austro-Hungarian Government protested against this action of Italy, saying that the treaty had been renewed to last until 1920, and could not be denounced or nullified before that date.32
Prince von Bülow and Baron Macchio did not even now cease their efforts to win the neutrality of Italy, and in this endeavor they were probably supported by the Italian expremier, Signor Giolitti. These efforts were rewarded with another offer made by AustriaHungary May 18.
By the terms of this proposal, Austria-Hungary would cede to Italy that part of the Tyrol "the inhabitants of which are of Italian nationality," with the same boundaries as in the previous offer; and the territory west of the Isonzo, including Gradisca, the population of which is purely Italian. Trieste would become an imperial free city.
Austria-Hungary would also declare “her political disinterestedness with regard to Al31 I. G. B., 76.
82 A. R. B. (2), 200.
bania”; would not contest Italy's “unrestricted sovereignty over Valona and its bay, as well as over the sphere of interest surrounding it”; and would waive all claims for compensation growing out of the Italian occupation of the Ægean Islands.
The Austro-Hungarian Government would “issue a solemn proclamation concerning the territorial cessions immediately after the conclusion of [the] agreement,” and mixed commissions would be appointed “to settle details in connection with the cession of the territories in question.” “Military persons born in the territories ceded to Italy” would be “withdrawn from the fighting lines of the AustroHungarian army" immediately after the conclusion of the agreement.
Italy would undertake “to maintain absolute neutrality toward Austria-Hungary and Germany and Turkey as long as this war lasts," and would declare "her disinterestedness in any territorial or other advantage that might accrue to Austria-Hungary as a result either of the present miltitary operations or of the treaties of peace that shall mark their end."
Austria-Hungary and Italy were both to accept "the guarantee assumed by Germany for the faithful and loyal execution of this agreement.'
88 A. R. B. (2), 178, 185, 188, 190, 194.
Next day the provision as to mixed commissions was modified so as to read, in part, as follows: "The transfer of the ceded territories will take place as soon as the decisions taken by aforesaid commissions shall have been satisfied; it will be complete within month." 34
Three days later (May 22) Baron Macchio was instructed by the Austro-Hungarian foreign office to ask Baron Sonnino if he would be willing to sign the above-mentioned agreement provided Austria-Hungary “met Italy still further on the question of the putting of the cessions into effect, without, however, conceding immediate military occupation. Baron Macchio raised this question in his interview with Sonnino next day, but the latter replied that this offer had come too late and, that, besides, the last proposal, even when finally amended, was not satisfactory.35
The Italian premier in a speech June 2, 1915, referred to these proposals as an eleventh hour bid and intimated that he did not believe that they had been made in good faith. The fact that they contained no promise of immediate execution rendered them impossible of consideration, even if they had met Italy's wishes in other respects. Besides, he contended that they fell far short of his country's demands. The boundaries proposed for Trentino were, 34 A. R. B. (2), 192, 195. 35 A. R. B. (2), 202, 203.