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January 6, 1919

King Nicholas has filed with the Secretary General of the Conference his protest against the situation in Montenegro for which he holds, with some justification, the Allied Powers responsible. It is but little toned down from the advance copy he gave me some days ago. It is a sweeping indictment of the Serbian authorities and their armies that surged into the Black Mountain country to replace the occupying Austrians during the last days of October, 1918. He says that at least four thousand of his men and several hundred women are now in prison and have been or are shortly to be brought before military courts, "because they oppose the annexation of their country to Serbia." [King Nicholas himself had bitterly opposed annexation with Serbia (his son-in-law, Peter, was King of Serbia) during most of his reign (1860 - 1918).]

"All of these men are patriots," the King insists, "and at least eight of them were ministers in my government when, without a moment's delay and without asking for guarantees of any kind, we threw down the gage of battle to the Central Empires, although we well knew that owing to our geographical position immediate help from the Western Allies was impossible.

"Furthermore, among these men arbitrarily held under most uncivilized and unsanitary conditions there are many priests and civilians who at great risk to their lives and property opposed and greatly harassed the Austrian invaders. As a matter of fact, to these gallant men and women the Serbian army of today owes its very existence. These are the people who in 1915 saved the Serbian forces from annihilation or ignominious captivity when, driven from their own territory by overpowering numbers, they undertook the march over the mountains to the sea.

"The only charge that can be brought against these patriotic people is that they have protested against the annexation of their homeland, secretly ordered by the Belgrade government, and that they have opposed, sometimes with arms, the way in which the invaders who claim to be 'blood brothers take possession of their villages, devastate

their fields, and steal their flocks. It is said that some of these bandits have been murdered. This charge is true; my people admit it; but such acts are not reprehensible. This is the attitude my gallant people have always maintained against those who sought to despoil our country. Not a few of my people, with the recklessness characteristic of men who have always been free and are determined to remain so, have refused to submit to this treatment and many, very many have been shot down lightheartedly as though they were rabbits when they attempted to escape from the wired concentration camps.

"Last month when the French government, speaking for the Allies and the Supreme War Council, requested me not to return to my beloved country until conditions were more stable, I acceded to this most unwelcome delay because the government of the republic gave to me and to my people the most solemn assurance that the 'Allied troops would respect the sovereignty of our state and the liberties of my children. 'Allied troops, as it developed later, were only Serbian bandits and marauders. While at first these assurances were only given verbally (to save time, I was told) they were formally confirmed by M. Pichon, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a letter dated November 4, and later, if possible even more authoritatively, in a letter from His Excellency, M. Poincaré, the President of the French Republic." The King then showed me both the letters, and they are textually exactly as he has represented them to be.

"Despite these solemn promises," continued the King, "the Serbs, in the name of and apparently with the authority of the Allies, continued to dragoon my people and enforce their authority by what is called by some observers an 'Asiatic terror, although we are bound to admit that the outrages of the Turks in the old days were milk-and-water affairs in comparison to what we are now undergoing at the hands of our 'blood brothers."

January 22, 1919

My repeated arguments to the effect that the Serb, Pasitch,[12] and the Belgrade government are ignoring Point II of the famous Fourteen [freedom of the seas], and that the present actual invasion of the Black Mountain country by the Serbians is even less defensible than the former onslaught of the Austro-German forces, at last carried conviction, and when the matter was brought before him President Wilson took his first affirmative action since his arrival in France. He approved of the memorandum 'which I had drawn up, and what was more, he secured for it the approval of all the great men assembled in the second session of the World Assizes. It declared that all the Serbian troops, irregulars as well as regulars, who were overrunning Montenegro and dragooning its people must be immediately withdrawn. If an army of occupation proved necessary to maintain law and order and to prepare the country for the American panacea of a "free and fair election," the troops of a neutral power should be substituted for the Serbian forces.

To accompany this decision, I had drawn up for King Nicholas to sign an appeal to his people which I was quite hopeful would aid in the pacification of the disturbed districts. In it, the King called upon all loyal Montenegrins to refrain from hostilities and return to their homes to avoid armed conflicts whatever the provocation; and it concluded with his hope expressed in these words: "I am confident that in accordance with President Wilson s noble program, now ratified by all the powers, the people of Montenegro will be given a full and early opportunity to decide upon the form of government they may desire."

I had great difficulty in inducing the King to sign this appeal, but as this was a part and a most important part of the bargain, I had to insist upon it.

It is difficult to say exactly what happened to this manifesto of the Powers and the appeal of the King that went with it. Both were radioed from the American, the British, and other naval vessels that were patrolling the Adriatic, but the French and the Italian ships, which were far more numerous in these waters than ours, showed little zeal in bringing the news of the peace policy to the distracted country. Even the English, apparently out of homage to Belgrade, showed little energy in passing on the good news. At least this was the information that reached us through American naval channels. However, some steps toward pacification were taken. Several brigades of Serbian troops were withdrawn and the assembly at Podgoritza which had been upheld by Serbian bayonets and which had declared the deposition of King Nicholas collapsed. The call of the King addressed to his people to return to their homes and refrain from active hostilities secured in some mysterious way a much wider circulation than did the assurance of the Powers that the harassed mountaineers would be given an early opportunity to decide for themselves what form of government they preferred and that was most unfortunate.

I am compelled to admit that my plan was not a great success and that, while crediting me with the best possible motives, the King regretted he had followed my advice .A few days later he told me (he was in "grape-vine" communication with his partisans at home throughout the Conference) that many misleading versions of his appeal had been placed in circulation and that by not a few it was considered a complete surrender and even a suggestion that the people should make the best possible terms with Belgrade.

"And of course that was the very last thing I wanted them to do," protested the King. "The very last thing I wanted them to do was to lay down their arms. I am a fighter, they are fighters. I wanted them to fight for the freedom of the Black Mountain to the last man."

March 12, 1919

Today I must note in my locked diary one of the most "hush-hush" of the many graveyard secrets, to use the Colonel's expression, that it contains. Ten days ago King Nicholas showed me the original of a cable which he received from President Wilson in the summer of 1918. It appears that his agent in Washington at this time had approached the White House with the request that recognition and encouragement be afforded the struggling Black Mountain folk who, by their guerilla tactics, were harassing the Austrian forces of occupation quite as effectively as have the Poles and the Czechs indeed all the oppressed and overrun peoples in their respective territories. The cable apparently resulting from this démarche is dated July 12, 1918, and on the face of it certainly confirms the position which the President took in enunciating the eleventh of the Fourteen Points [guaranteeing Balkan states free access to the sea], the world-wide Magna Charta of all the at-present submerged peoples. The cable reads:

I am confident that neither you nor the noble people of Montenegro will allow yourselves to be cast down by the present untoward situation but that on the contrary you will have implicit confidence in the firm determination of the United States government and people that in the final, certain and assured victory, the integrity and the rights of Montenegro will be recognized and safeguarded.

Woodrow Wilson

Of course the cable may be a forgery; if it is, I am confident that the King is its victim and not the perpetrator of it. My Colonel has of course tried to elucidate the matter, but down to the present without success. In the files that the President brought with him from Washington there is no copy of the cable, much less the original record, and the King frankly admits that a confirmation of the cable by mail, as would have been the usual practice, never reached him. President Wilson recalls an interview with the Montenegrin envoy at about this time and also that he spoke encouraging words to him; but he has no recollection of having sent the cable, although he is not willing to deny that he sent it. This may be another instance of a typewriter near at hand and a dislike of secretarial assistance having resulted in embarrassment for our chief magistrate. The failure of a mail copy to authenticate the cable is not remarkable. At this time King Nicholas had taken refuge in Italy, and mail to the Allies, owing to the activities of the U-boats, was most uncertain and precarious.

The King is determined to show the cable to President Wilson and is insistently demanding an opportunity to do so. And nothing could be more understandable. The Italians are withdrawing the slender support they at first gave to the father of their Queen, and unless help, indeed real assistance, comes from Wilson, the King s chance of returning to his battle-scarred kingdom is slight indeed.

This change of policy in Rome is not an enigma to those who believe that the teachings of Machiavelli are still honored and practiced at the Consulta. To them it is clear that Italy wishes to further weaken the by-no-means harmonious confederation of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes by the addition of the Montenegrins who, they are confident, will soon be in chronic insurrection and so, indirectly at least, will aid Rome to control the Adriatic sphere. This I believe is a correct assumption. I am confident that a great majority of the Black Mountain people want to maintain their political independence of Belgrade whatever the economic disadvantages may be, and that they are willing and eager to fight for it.

March 24, 1919

My admiration for King Nicholas (which some denounce as blind partiality) has caused many of the Serbs to make statements which in my judgment do not tally with the facts; some indeed are laughable. This morning de Giulli and two of the other Belgrade propagandists came into my room and announced that in examining the Holy Scriptures of St. Cyril and St. Methodius they find that the deposition of Nicholas was therein decreed and sanctioned by these good men centuries ago. Their attitude induces me to think that the world is going mad and perhaps that I am getting "nutty" myself. They brought with them a Bible in Old Slavonic and began to read from it.

"In these holy writings," they insisted, "we find authority and justification for the course we are determined to pursue. Here is a sign and a portent which must be heeded if our people are to be saved. The Armistice came into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Clearly that is not an accident; it is an indication for our guidance, and following it what do we find? Listen, in the eleventh verse of the eleventh chapter of the eleventh book of the Old Testament we find these words: And because he was a bad king his kingdom shall be taken away from him and he shall be despoiled.

For a moment I was tongue-tied, but soon I rallied. "You quote from a schismatic bible," I answered, "and from a text which I cannot accept. If the Conference is to be guided by the Scriptures, and as yet there is no agreement on that point, we shall insist on the King James version." They left me very much disgruntled but announced the coming visit of Ante Trumbitch, their leading delegate, with data greatly to the disadvantage of King Nicholas - and much more up to date.

There are, of course, many stories in circulation very unfavorable to the course the Black Mountain monarch has pursued in the years of confusion and tumult. They carry weight with those who unlike myself have not been immersed in Balkan miasmas for years and are, as I am, consequently inclined to disbelieve any story that comes from that quarter, especially if it is plausible. Many of the lesser Belgrade people assert that Nicholas, so far from having been, as I and many others claim he was, "an alone-standing, stalwart fighter for freedom," from the very beginning of the World War was at pains to be on friendly, indeed intriguing, terms with both camps. "And then he was always a subsidized mercenary of the Tsar," they assert.

I confess this last blow below the belt robbed me of my diplomatic composure and I answered it in a wholly unseemly manner. "Just as you are, no more and no less, the mercenaries of Uncle Sam. He provides the money, the food, and the ammunition. And you? You provide the secret treaties which make the world unsafe for democracy!"

After explosions such as this, we disarm and shake hands and try to talk sensibly. I must say, however, that old Pasitch, knowing as he does better than anyone else how vulnerable is his own record, lends little or no official countenance to these scandalous stories. He bases his demand for the deposition of the King and the union of the two Serb states upon higher ground. "Montenegro is too small and too poor to survive in this troubled world. For the last three decades she only made both ends meet by the subsidies which came from Russia." He then added: "I do not suggest there was anything dishonoring in the acceptance of this assistance. Far from it. That money was earned by the brave Black Mountain boys on many a bloody battlefield with the Turks. But today Russia has vanished from the scene and the great White Tsar is no more. We must welcome back into the Serbian fold our brave brothers of the Black Mountain"; so says Pasitch.

But to avoid the charge of partisanship, if that is possible, I must not entirely ignore the other accusations against the King that are in circulation here, even if that circulation is due, as it is almost entirely, to high-powered propaganda. You hear in many quarters that the King quit fighting too soon and that before he sought refuge in Italy under the wing of his daughter, the Queen, he was not as helpful as he might have been to the Serbians, greatly harassed as they were by Albanian bandits on their desperate retreat to the sea. Judgment on these and kindred matters, to be worthy of consideration, requires intimate knowledge of conditions in this sector of the Balkans at this time, which few of the King s critics possess.

It should be recalled that for years a party had existed in Old Serbia, a by-no-means insignificant party, strongly in favor of the annexation of the Black Mountain principality to the kingdom. While the plan was often sugar-coated under the slogan of "union of all the Serbs," it always aimed at the deposition of the hard-fighting Nicholas. The result of this agitation was unfortunate. The brotherly feeling that should have existed between the two branches of the Serb family was seriously impaired. When Belgrade was bombarded by the Austrians, and the politicians who had for years plotted his downfall were in flight, I rather think that Nicholas accepted this with Christian resignation. But it is quite certain that he never joined with the hired bands of the Central Empire and the local Albanian bandits in harassing the heroic retreat of the Serbs across the snow mountains to the sea. Indeed, he helped them all he could.

Those who are determined to place the more unfavorable construction upon the King's activities throughout the war, and particularly during the darkest moments of it, exhibit what purports to be a letter from the King to the Emperor Francis Joseph offering peace and the assistance that Montenegro could still furnish, if he were assured the possession of whatever Serbian lands might remain after Austria had appropriated what she might consider necessary to safeguard her road to the Aegean. I never saw the original of this letter (although I asked for it, it was never forthcoming), but how any Serbians, after their quite recent experience with the Viennese forgery factory, as disclosed in the Friedjung treason trial,[13] could credit its authenticity for a moment passes my comprehension. And of course they did not; it was merely another bit of mud with which they hoped to plaster the heroic figure of the man who stood and still stands in the way of their selfish plans. Perhaps the letter should only be taken into consideration as indicating the low level to which the war psychosis had reduced some members of the Belgrade gang of character assassins.

It is, however, an awkward fact that throughout the war and down to his death in October, 1918, Prince Mirko, the second son of the King, was in Vienna. Upon this fact the accusation that King Nicholas maintained a footing in both camps is based. It is further alleged that Mirko was authorized by his father to make proposals to the Central Powers whenever a favorable moment presented, and that these proposals were far from being in accord with the public pledges of the Montenegrin government. I took this charge up with the King and, far from being offended at my frankness, he seemed to welcome the opportunity to deny the accusation.

"My boy, Mirko," he said, "on the urgent advice of his doctor, took his wife to Vienna for treatment in June, 1914, and unfortunately was there when war came. The Austrians immediately placed them under guard, but I must say that at first and for many months they were both treated with some consideration, and that fact is the foundation for the story that they were on friendly terms with the enemies of our country and of the Entente Powers. Of course the Austrians later, under threat of placing the unfortunate young couple in a concentration camp, did try to make Mirko pronounce in favor of the Austrian Balkan policy, but he remained steadfast. Toward the end of the war the attitude of the authorities was much less considerate, and this circumstance, and the anxiety which he suffered because of the health of his wife and the uncertain future of our country, brought about his untimely end.

"But if my boy made any mistakes it was because he heeded my advice. I soon established a secret channel of communication with him and I made it quite plain that his duty now was above all else to survive. I urged him to listen to whatever propositions the Ball-Platz would care to make to him, and this he did. In this way very valuable information reached me, and through the Rome foreign office I passed it on to the Allies who found it useful. I even told Mirko, and I am not ashamed of it, in the last analysis to consent to any steps, to any change of attitude the Austrians might insist upon. 'Once again in freedom you cannot be held to engagements you were forced to make while in captivity but I am bound to say it never came to that, and it may be said that on the whole my children were treated fairly well by the Austrians. Through Mirko they thought to exert considerable influence upon me. But the death of my boy thwarted whatever hopes they had in this direction."

[Full corroboration of this sad story came to me in 1935 in a surprising way. Under the guidance of "Steve" Stevovich, a Montenegrin guide with headquarters in Ragusa, I had the good fortune to make a number of motor-car excursions into the Balkan countries with which I had been familiar in the slow-moving horseback and Paietan riding days. "Steve" had not the most remote idea of my interest in King Nicholas, and I only advised him of my friendship after he had told me the following story.

"I was and had been for four years, ever since my return from America," he related, "the personal chauffeur of the King. In June, 1914, he summoned me and told me that the wife of Prince Mirko was very ill and that I was to take them to Vienna. In view of the condition of the roads in those days, I thought he wished me to drive them to railhead, to Skoplje, or to Nisch at farthest. But no, he meant exactly what he said, and when we got under way I saw the reason of his injunction. After suffering from a nervous breakdown, Princess Mirko was out of her mind more than half the time, and travel on the railway would have attracted public attention to her unhappy condition. More than once we had to place the unfortunate lady in a strait jacket with which the doctor had provided us before we left Cetinje. After five anxious days I delivered the unfortunate couple at the sanitarium in the city that poor Mirko was not to leave alive, and I only got back into Serbia the day war was declared." So the old King told the plain unvarnished truth although with natural delicacy he held back some of the more distressing details of the unfortunate incident.]

April 26, 1919

Slowly but irrevocably, I fear, the Montenegro problem has faded from the picture. Sympathy for King Nicholas is frequently expressed, and in some quarters it is sincere; but the consensus is that nothing can be done about it or for the sturdy King, out of tune with the times.

After Wilson's illness early in April[14] - and how serious it was we are only beginning to appreciate - the President naturally, indeed inevitably, concentrated his energies upon main objectives: the Peace Treaty with Germany; the acceptance of the League and the Covenant by all nations. Strangely enough the active, the very active influence exerted against the little principality came from the officials of the foreign office of the land whose Queen [Elena] is the daughter of the king they seek to depose.

April 28, 1920

Through other channels, when Queen Elena became passive, King Nicholas, her father, continued his efforts to obtain authorization to return to the Black Mountain country. His requests were never definitely refused; he was always put off with the plea that he must wait still a little while, until the situation had "cleared up." Months later and still in exile, the sturdy Nicholas died, and although it was one of the Fourteen Points nearest to President Wilson's heart, the restoration of Montenegro to its former independent status was never achieved.

But it can be said, nevertheless, that the fate of the Petrovich family was more fortunate than that of the Romanoffs, their constant allies and unfailing protectors. Alexander, the grandson of King Nicholas, ascended the throne of what was planned to be the federated monarchy of the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes [Yugoslavia], while Nicholas the Second, the son of the great White Tsar who had proclaimed the lord of the Black Mountain as "his only loyal friend," was butchered in the dark Ekaterinburg cellar to make a Communist holiday. And with him died the little Tsarevitch I had first seen on that memorable day in Tsarskoe Selo (1907) when, with pomp and circumstance and much barbaric splendor, he was proclaimed Grand Hetman of all the Cossacks and heir to the empire extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. And with him perished his sisters, the charming grand duchesses I had so admired as I saw them tenderly nursing the wounded soldiers in the overflowing hospitals of St. Petersburg in that war winter of 1916 when the dark shadows began to lengthen over what was then still called Holy Russia.

And this is by no means a complete list of the misfortunes that have overtaken the "anointed" of the Lord, who until quite recently by some were considered immune from the changes and chances of fortune that beset lesser folk. Kaiser "Bill" is an unwelcome refugee in misty Holland, and Emperor Karl vegetates in Lausanne. The Sultan of Turkey, whatever his name may be (no one bothers to recall it today), is a lonely sojourner on an Aegean island. And Ferdinand "the felon," as he is rightly called, who, by cunning and duplicity, from an intruder in Roumelia worked his way up to become the Tsar of all the Bulgars, haunts the antique shops of Weimar and Coburg bent on completing his collection of ancient Greek coins. And speaking of coin, yesterday a Hungarian magnate, whom I knew in happier days, came in and touched me for five dollars. "What a world it is," he soliloquized; "Until 1868 we, the E's, frappéd our own money."

When you call the roll of those who in the last few months have suffered the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," the lot of Nicholas Petrovich is not a particularly unhappy one; but this, I am compelled to admit, he would never concede. When on my last visit, I talked to the King in this strain, he nodded his great lion-like head, but his words showed that he did not acquiesce in my philosophy.

"I shall write no more notes of remonstrance to the powers who are unworthy to receive them," he said, "but I will write and rewrite the songs of my people, and these songs will hearten and sustain them until once again the light of freedom and of liberty shines down upon them from the summit of Lovcen."

January 3, 1924

King Nicholas, still in exile, died on March 1, 1921. Even at the last, when life was ebbing, he refused to abdicate in favor of his grandson, Alexander, and it was because of this that he was not allowed to return to his beloved Lovcen. I understand, however, that his ashes have now been interred in the soil which he loved and so gallantly defended.


Fiume and Italy s Passion Week

Note: The row over whether the Adriatic port of Fiume should be given to Italy or to the newly formed Yugoslav state was a complex and important one. The Italian claims to the city were set forth in a memorandum to the Conference dated February 7, 1919, which demanded possession of Fiume on the basis of the request made by "the Italian majority" (following the plebiscite conducted by the poet-filibusterer, d'Annunzio) for Italian annexation. Other arguments advanced by Italy's delegates included: The Treaty of London, which some assumed assured Italian domination of the Adriatic and the Dalmatian coast; the necessity of a bulwark against Germany and Austria above that supplied by the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia); and the fear that Orlando's ministry and the good will of the Italian people would disintegrate unless Fiume were included in Wilson's promise (Ninth Point) of "the rectification of the Italian frontiers on clearly recognized national lines."

November 18, 1918

Di Martino, Permanent Under Secretary of the Italian Foreign Office, came this morning by appointment, but as the Colonel was under the weather he was turned over to me. He is a dapper little man with a sharp, shrewd fox face. He told me he came at the wish of Sidney Sonnino, his chief, the Minister of Foreign Affairs who was still detained in Rome, and that he had been ordered to place his cards on the table face up. He certainly did so.

What struck me most about the little man was the way in which he ignored all the shibboleths and the slogans which are resounding through the world today. When I mentioned the Fourteen Points he seemed to regard them as literature. As to the "compass of righteousness" with which we had all agreed to steer a new and better course, any reference to this provoked a pitying smile.

Di Martino was still living in a world of power politics, of key positions, of strongholds heavily fortified, of spheres of "legitimate" influence. "This is not an ideal world and it never will be," he asserted repeatedly, "and we must face the facts, however ugly they may seem." He was not slow in getting down to brass tacks.

"The outstanding fact of the situation," he went on, "at least as viewed from Rome, is that the Serbs of the Kingdom and the Yugoslavs of the outlying regions are not united, are not homogeneous, and I doubt very much if they will ever become so. For instance, you must know the Serbs and the Croats are culturally miles apart. A peasant Croat is intellectually superior to the average statesman of Belgrade, and he will never consent to the domination of a people whom he regards as a band of ragged, illiterate ruffians. It seems to us that what your President, who we all revere, has in mind is to place these two fighting wild cats in a bag and expect them to behave like good kittens." (While of course I did not admit it, to my diary I may confess that my recent Yugoslav contacts furnished some corroboration to this Italian s point of view.)

Getting his second wind, Di Martino continued: "Whatever becomes of the German Austrians, whether they try to stand alone or are permitted to throw in their lot with the North Germans or with the Bavarians, it is quite certain that if the Croats are to survive economically they will be drawn into the German orbit. And then? I admit no one knows what will happen, but I do know we must prepare for quite possible eventualities. We must adopt precautionary measures, and I am directed to place an outline of these before Colonel House. Unfortunately for Italy, the keys to her national integrity, under one version of the new doctrine of self-determination [that Fiume was always a Croatian port], will be placed in the hands of people we cannot regard, in the light of recent experiences, as either friendly or reliable. To achieve such a result was not our purpose in entering the war. For this we did not sacrifice a million men and assume a staggering war debt. We recognize that self-determination is applicable to many regions but not to the shores of the Adriatic, and we can never consent to placing the strategic positions indispensable to our safety in the hands of strangers who have often been our enemies and who are even now acting in a hostile manner.

"If this policy is persisted in, let me tell you what the result, the inevitable result, will be. Very lightly the Croats and the Slovenes will be brushed aside. Over the weak rampart of Yugoslavia, a `poor house' divided against itself, the Germans will reach the Brenner and the Adriatic, and after all our expenditure of blood and treasure we will be face to face with a Germany stronger and better equipped for battle than she was whey in 1915 we joined in the struggle." [In retrospect I see that Di Martino was not the least of the minor prophets - thus 1938.] When I placed the memo of this conversation before the Colonel he said, "A dark portent of the things to come, discouraging but enlightening."

January 6, 1919

Here is what really happened on the Dalmatian front in October as related by one who saw it all with unbelieving eyes, I should add. A young naval lieutenant has just arrived from the Adriatic with dispatches for Admiral Benson, which our senior naval officer immediately communicated to House. He was on a ship of the so-called blockading squadron which did not stop d'Annunzio's filibustering expedition.[15] The lieutenant s conversation is more illuminating than the dispatches and I record some of it here.

The poet-politician claims that he is handling a difficult situation according to Wilsonian precepts; that on October 27 he held what he insisted was "a free and fair election" in the American style. He announced that his party was the Unione Nazonale, but that all were eligible to vote. However, all but men of the Unione were driven from the polls. The booths were placarded, calling upon all to vote as patriots and "shoot down the traitors." The representatives of the world press who arrived from all quarters of the globe were not allowed to enter the "liberated city." To their petitions the poet answered: "You men have always described me as a notorious publicity hound, so I have decided that the only account of this important event will be written by me and placed in the confidential files of the government in Rome."

The Susak bridge was closed, but still a few Croats or Dalmatians did get across, and despite the formidable barrier of bayonets around the booths two hundred did vote, but of course their ballots were not counted. On the following day, d'Annunzio announced that seven thousand votes had been polled and that all confirmed his declaration of May 18 that Fiume was an Italian city, had always been so, and as long as he lived would remain as such. "I will hold this pearl of the Adriatic coast against a world in arms," he announced. He then mentioned Gorizia and a number of other important cities and sites that would have to be liberated. "If we do not hold for civilization these key positions, the flood of barbarian Slavs will surge up to the walls of Trieste," he announced.

On the following day, continued the lieutenant, the poet thumbed his nose at the Supreme Council. "This historic movement is written in the best, the noblest, blood of Italy," he proclaimed, "and it cannot be hindered, much less stopped, by Paris." Then he concluded with his favorite phrase: ''The old world is no more."

Well, the Supreme Council greeted this defiance with silence. Of course they asked Rome to enforce their decrees, and then nothing happened.

"Encouraged by this weak-kneed policy," said the disgusted lieutenant, "the poet rabble-rouser landed in Zara, which he claimed was another Italianisimo port, at the head of six hundred of his Arditi. On his return to Fiume he announced that he would soon take possession of Spalato and most of Istria and that out of his conquests (he called them reconquests, however) he would form an independent Italian state.

"The English admiral told us to go slow; that the Arditi were quite out of hand, and that they were about to attack Montenegro and take a slice of the Black Mountain. But if he ever planned it, d'Annunzio did not follow it up. He probably knew that if he did he would be coming up against something more formidable than the decrees of the Supreme Council. When I left," concluded the young lieutenant, "the Italian admiral who had two ships on the coast joined the filibusterers, so now the poet has a naval force. Just as I left, the new Italian premier, Tittoni, went on the air and announced that Fiume was always an Italian city and reproached the Allies for not understanding the situation. Again the Supreme Council by silence consented to this high-handed proceeding."

I heard one of our delegates say today, and not the least important of them, "e finita Ia commedia." But I do not think so. Flaunted in this way, the decrees of the Supreme War Council are not worth the paper they are printed on, and this inaction will open the floodgates to many other and much more important revolutionary movements. The new public law of Europe may be more respectable than the old, but I fear it is not more effective. Of course, as many argue, Fiume is not very important, but the principle is vital to the New Order.

April 16, 1919

I told the Colonel today that further talks with the Italians, with Orlando, with Di Cellere and Company, were a pure waste of time. When pushed, and certainly we have pushed them at times diplomatically and at others somewhat forcibly, they always come back to the ninth of the Fourteen Points, which authorizes for Italy a readjustment of frontiers along clearly recognizable lines of nationality. We can recognize them, geographers and ethnologists can recognize them, but apparently no Italian can. At this vital point of the discussion they simply "go blind."

Orlando, the smooth and silky Sicilian, is at once obliging, courteous, and impossible. First off, he accepts with grateful enthusiasm House s proposal that Wilson should act as a mediating umpire between Italy and new-born Yugoslavia. Then suddenly his sunny countenance darkens and he whimpers that we shall live to regret the day we brought into the world the "new-born Yugoslavia, the unhappy mixture of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes."

I tell him we had nothing to do with it; that on October 28, 1918, they proclaimed themselves a happy band of brothers and launched their ship upon the angry waters of Europe as a sovereign state a sovereignty won through much suffering. Then the brow of the Sicilian Premier lightens and he says: "We are fighting side by side with your President. He is our sword and buckler." Then he quotes the oft-repeated creed of his foreign minister, Baron Sidney Sonnino: "Although always acting in full and complete conformity with the fundamental principles of President Wilson, Italy must uphold her territorial claims based on the conventions that govern and regulate our participation in the war." (He refers, of course, to the bribe, the bait that brought the Italians into the conflict, the Treaty of London, April, 1915, which promised Italy much territory on the Adriatic, but not Fiume.

April 23, 1919

This has been Fiume week; the air is filled with rumors and with counter rumors; an explosion is expected any hour. There is nothing in sight that suggests a settlement, and yet, with but a little good will on both sides, it should not be difficult. Gallovresi, one of Orlando's secretaries, has just been in and he has, I think, spilled the beans. He says in view of what d'Annunzio is shouting throughout the length and breadth of Italy, Orlando is quite convinced that unless he secures the coveted port Italy will go Bolshevik and, while the Prime Minister does not stress this point, that he will then be out of a job.

When House saw Clemenceau this afternoon he took up the matter, although it is one on which the Tiger does not talk with his usual frankness. He did say, however, that in the stress of war his predecessor and the English statesmen had promised Italy practically the earth, but not Fiume. "I told Orlando last week that he thought I was the sainted King Stanislas of Poland who, when he was bitten by a dog, not only pardoned the animal but gave him a chunk of cheese in addition. Well, my name is Georges, not Stanislas. I am not giving cheese to the boys who scampered away from Caporetto. I shall live up to our treaty pledge, and in addition I shall convey a frank expression of my profound contempt. But I shall give no extras.

"In his Fourteen Points Wilson promised to Italy 'a rectification of her frontiers according to the recognized lines of nationality; but unfortunately these lines are far from clear." Reflecting, Clemenceau continued:

"Have you ever thought, my dear House, how absurdly patient the poor hoodwinked people are? Rarely, very rarely, do they hang a diplomat. And I beg you to view what Italian diplomacy is doing now. These absurd disciples of Machiavelli are replacing the traditional enemy, the white-coated Austrians whom we have destroyed for their benefit, with the valiant Serbs. It s an exchange they will live to regret. But our hands are tied. If they insist upon sticking fiery barbs into the proud flesh of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes there is nothing we can do about it; we are bound by the terms of our bond. Of course, I have dropped and shall continue to drop words of warning into the big ears of Orlando. I tell him he is making a poor exchange; that the South Slavs are valiant fighters; that if they are provoked they will prove a very different enemy from the motley Austro-Hungarian conglomeration we have just put out of existence. But he, poor simpleton, only listens to the mobs in the piazzas who shout: 'We want Fiume - evviva Italia irredenta."

As a matter of fact, the Tiger is bored and at times quite appalled by the outlook. Yesterday he said to me: "Perhaps you recall that in 1917 I said: 'Those Austrian statesmen have putrid consciences. I was right; but there are many others whose consciences deserve to be classed in the same category. How I would like to retire into the Vendée and write a sequel to my philosophy of history (Le Grand Pan) that would be a hair-raiser. That would make the dust fly. But just because `je faisais Ia guerre,' they tell me I must make the peace. I hope we shall be successful, but it is going to be difficult, most difficult."

As a matter of fact, the Adriatic problem is more complicated than it appears even from the Tiger's presentation of it. By the Eleventh Point Wilson promised Serbia free access to the sea at least a port on the Adriatic and the Serbs and many others assert that Fiume is the only port half-way suitable. But then, in Point Nine, he boldly guaranteed "a readjustment of Italy's frontiers along clearly recognizable lines of nationality." Here a head-on collision between the Italian claims of "nationality" and the promise of the President is only too apparent.

It may be true, as Sonnino asserts, that during the armistice negotiations he, Sonnino, made a reservation on the Ninth Point, but although present I did not hear him, and certainly the record is far from clear. Nobody apparently heard him; perhaps because no one was paying attention to Italy at the moment (we were dealing with Germany). Yet here is developing a rift in the foundation wall which may bring down the whole peace edifice. I have again suggested to House that the disputed city be placed under the sponsorship of the League with a fixed date for a plebiscite ten or fifteen years hence. To us looking at it from a distance and disregarding the undoubted fact that Fiume has become a symbol of victory (or defeat) to the excited people of Italy, it seems an excellent arrangement; but it is certain neither of the contenders will like it. House told the President last week that in his judgment the only way to keep Italy out of Fiume was "a military occupation or perhaps a naval demonstration. In this neither Britain nor France will take part. Do we want to do it alone?" he asked.

The President remained silent; so did House, but clearly he thinks we should do it - or shut up.

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