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Evening Post. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1915. A BINDING AGREEMENT ?

The audacity of the Greeks in historical narrative was proverbial with the ancient Romans, and the persistent inaccuracy of the news regarding the Dardanelles which has reached us from Athens during the last six months has supplied many a modern instance to prove that in this respect the prowess of the Greek of to-day is not unworthy of his ancestors. We have, therefore, no right to be surprised if, after Athens itself has become the cynosure of every eye and the centre of the most anomalous military situation and the most baffling diplomacy o£ the ,war, a large part of the news has consisted o£ express or implied contradictions of some of the most important of the preceding items. That startling announcement of the peaceful blockade of Greek ports was perhaps the best example of tliis kind of history. It was one of the most thrilling episodes of the warthat peaceful exercise of sea-power which was going to break down the obstinate pro-Germanism of King Constantine, to starve those fifteen divisions of his out of the camp near- Salonika, from which, with the most disinterested benevolence., they were watching the landing of tho troops of the Allies, and even to affect His Majesty's civilian subjects with thb pinch of hunger. It was a dramatic and picturesque and at the same time most effective business, in which the dullest of us could discern the Kitchener touch, and the only thing wrong with it was that it was not true. It was our own Foreign Office- that knocked the bottom out of a most convincing narrative in its brutal, matter-of-fact, British way. "There arc no Greek ships being seized or held up in ports of the United Kingdom, nor is there a blockade of Greek ports." Tlie alleged masterstroke of a peaceful blockade was thus completely exploded, but the denial of the seizure of Greek ships was not quite so sweeping as Router's usually accurate Agency represented it to be. The denial of the Foreign Office, as reported verbatim by the High Commissioner, only related to tlie seizure or holding up of Greek shipping in the ports of the United Kingdom, but Reuters gave it a general application. The announcement which reaches us to-day that Greek steamers which were detained at Malta have been released shows that the qualified form of the official denial was noL accidental. In the Mediterranean, at any rate, the Greek Government was given a taste and an earnest of what further complaisance to Germany would involve at the hands of the Powers commanding the

Whatever may have been the arguments employed by Lord Kitchener in that memorable interview, it is at least clear that he is getting a substantial part of what he went to Athens to get. The Greek Government has found that the demands of the Allies, which have been submitted in writing, are less peremptory than had been expected. It is true that the Greek Premier is said to contemplate resignation, but tho Iling is the man that really counts, and he is said to be well satisfied with the position. A Greek Minister who desires to see his country adopt amorS pronounced proGerman attitude than Constantine himself need not be taken too seriously. The King, according to Router's correspondent, describes the Note submitted by the Allies as friendly in tone, and speaks favourably of their demand for confirmation of Greece's assurances regarding the Allies' troops. A later message from the same correspondent says that the written reply of the Greek Government accepts the demands regarding the disarming—which presumably means the non-disarming—of the Allied "forces, their liberty of action in Greek territory, and the concession of railway and telegraphic facilities. It is only on some minor details that the reply is non-committal and asks for time for further enquiry. All this is very satisfactory as far as it goes, but it stops short of the essential point on which the public would bethanlfful for more light. The value of Greek as of German promises is well known to Servia, to Belgium, and to the world. What guarantee have the Allies obtained to make 'the latest promises of any more value than those upon which Servia and Belgium relied in. vain? With regard to this point the previous disappointments of the Allies' diplomacy in the Balkans and the character of the British plenipotentiary who conducted the negotiations entitle us to assume that the present assurances of the Greek Government are backed by something more solid than scraps of paper. Some interesting details are supplied from Rome of the manner in which the promises of M. Venizelos to send troops to Gallipoli and Servia were brought to nought by the King. That cruel disappointment was doubtless one of the things to which Mr. Asquith referred as left unsaid by Mr. Churchill in his statement about the Dardanelles. We may be confident that the assurances which Lord Kitchener regards as satisfactory are not liable to be invalidated in the same way.

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19151126.2.47

Bibliographic details

Evening Post. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1915. A BINDING AGREEMENT ?, Evening Post, Volume XC, Issue 128, 26 November 1915

Word Count
843

Evening Post. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1915. A BINDING AGREEMENT ? Evening Post, Volume XC, Issue 128, 26 November 1915

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