April 26, 2021

THE TRAGEDY OF GREECE - 1917-1923

S. P Phocas-Cosmetatos, 1926

 SUMMARY OF EVENTS FROM 1917 TO 1923

From the documents and facts given in these pages it will have been seen that the way this affair was presented to the public at the time was the most hideous imposture of the war, the greatest lie of modern times. What energy was wasted by great nation& to replace common sense by incoherence and to impose on world opinion a collection of legends which had not even the justification of serving the interests of the Entente!

 The moral and the essential meaning of this strange political tragedy are further revealed by the aftermath of the dethronement of Constantine. The train of events which resulted from it ends from the point of view of European history only with the signature of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

 The first act of M. Venizelos, for whose profit -the Greek nation had been tortured for more than two years, was to suspend the Constitution " in the name of the Greek people "! By what right did he speak in the name of his Greek fellow citizens?

 Having no national mandate to show, since his masters were not the Greek voters, he governed for three years as the agent of the foreigners who had installed him in Athens. Prisoner of the methods by which he had gained power, his action could only be destructive of all national life. He divided his fellow-citizens into two classes, patriots (his partisans) and traitors (his political opponents). Soon, every anti-Venizelist was proclaimed ipso facto guilty of treason and mercilessly persecuted., And as a tyrant never lacks instruments of tyranny, Venizelos always found Judges to condemn as many people as he saw fit to suspect.

 But despite his omnipotence, despite the unplaceable purging of the bench, the army, the Civil Services, even the Church, despite even the presence of 500,000 foreign bayonets to maintain him in power, for three months he did not venture to attempt a mobilization. When he began it he proceeded with unparalleled slowness, class by class, district by district, so as to isolate and intimidate the conscript by having sufficient gendarmes at each place to overpower recalcitrant. In spite of all precautions there were mutinies of reservists, who declared that the Government which called them up was not a legal one. On each occasion M. Venizelos acted with terrible severity. He had hundreds of young men summarily executed, and nipped in the bud any popular protest by savage abuse of his power under the state of siege. During this time, the Paris and London press declared that Greece was living in happiness and prosperity!

 After the capitulation of the Central Powers and the armistice of 1918 Venizelos believed that he had triumphed, and redoubled his persecution of political opponents. A cloud of spies, agents provocateurs and informers descended on the country. The prisons were full of political suspects, the army and the chief towns were once more "purged", and some barren islands transformed into deportation camps. Here thousands of " suspects " were interned. The penal code was enriched by clauses it had never known, making offences of a tune and a photograph. In no belligerent country did persecution mania so victimize free citizens as in Greece.

 Soon, however, Venizelos had to recognize that the victory of the Entente, on which he had counted to cover and justify his treason, did not necessarily mean the triumph of Hellenism. To win Entente support against his King he had entered the war " unconditionally ", trusting solely to " the loyalty" of the Protecting Powers. But the Powers were realists before all else-it is always so in history-and after the victory they forgot their little allies and forgot their great formulas concerning the liberation of peoples.

 Terrified by this rude awakening to reality, Venizelos saw no way of recovering himself except by going to war again. The Allies had undertaken a mad expedition to the Ukraine against Bolshevik Russia, and were short of men. Venizelos offered them a Greek army corps. This time he asked as compensation Eastern Thrace, a province which might fairly have been expected to go to Greece after the Allied victory. The rest is well known. The Allied expedition was thrown into the sea, the two Greek divisions were decimated, and as reprisal the Greeks in Russia, more than 100,000 in number, who so far had been spared by the Bolsheviks, were now shamefully pillaged and massacred.

 Venizelos now invented a new crime, '' Lack of goodwill towards the regime ". The least criticism of the Government's action came under this new addition to the penal code. Finally, to complete the Terror, the Cretan politician's regime resumed the medieval practice of putting a price on the heads or several of its opponents who had fled.

 In May 1919, came the event which caused one of the greatest disasters Greek history has ever known. At the time when the Council of Four quarreled and the Italians left Paris, Venizelos presented himself before the Three and, with tears in his eyes and his voice broken with sobs, handed them a Turkish proclamation couched in ferocious terms calling on the faithful to massacre all enemies of the Prophet in Smyrna. Quivering with emotion, Venizelos' declared the Council of Three responsible before history if they let this horror come to pass. The Three were alarmed, but as they had no troops at their disposal-as the Cretan knew­ they confided to Greek troops the task of saving Smyrna. They stipulated, however, that the Greek occupation should be temporary, restricted, and pacific.

 On landing, however, the Greeks fired on the crowd, and there were so many Turkish victims that the Council of Three had to send a Commission of Inquiry to Smyrna. The Commission presented a circumstantial confidential report­ a volume of 300 printed pages, which the privileged may consult in the Chancelleries-from which it -appears, in addition to other grave charges against Venizelos, that the Turkish proclamation which he had used to secure the expedition to Smyrna was forged by himself! Conference de la Paix, 1919-20 RecueiZ des ActeB de la tonference Partee IV: Comm'/,8aions de la Conftr1!71ce (Procea-Verbaux • llapports et Documents).

 In view of the Commission's report, M. Clemenceau strongly urged Venizelos to leave Smyrna. The danger from Kemal Pasha was beginning to reveal itself, and the financial interests of France were not served by the presence of the Greeks in that city. To spare Greek feelings M. Clemenceau, following the suggestion of the Commission of Inquiry, proposed an Allied occupation of Smyrna so that all the Allies could evacuate the town together. If that proposal had been accepted by Venizelos, what disasters he would have spared his nation! But he refused. He feared injury to his position in the civil war that he was carrying on in Athens. Sacrificing country to party, he intrigued in masterly fashion to defeat the proposal. Greece was thus sent out on an overseas war far beyond her strength.

M. Raymond Poincare wrote in a letter to the author. dated 80th June, 1926: 

“Mr. Lloyd George, in particular; and M Venizelos, made up their minds to throw Greece into an adventure which had no other object than to serve the interests of British Imperialism in Asia Minor, and which was doomed from the outset to certain failure. After Marshal Foch had examined the position, I warned Greece of the dangers of the expedition. M. Venizelos may have thought me very Turcoplule at the time, but unhappily it was he who was letting himself be maneuvered by Mr. Lloyd George” 

The occupation of Smyrna caused in Greece more concern than satisfaction. The people, tired of war already, saw in it a new and bloody Venizelist adventure. There were no signs of popular enthusiasm, and to produce them the police had to order the citizens to display flags.

 In November, the French press was unanimous in wanting to get the Greeks out of Smyrna; "the new conditions." the papers said, "call for new solutions." On 18th November, the Supreme Council wrote to Venizelos that it could only repeat that the occupation of Smyrna must be temporary.

 In January 1920, the rumour got about that Britain was going to make an end of the Turkish State. The French press unanimously protested against this as in conflict with French interests, and demanded that Turkey must be enabled to live by giving her Adrianople and Anatolia. Venizelos, disturbed at this change of attitude, eased his troubled conscience by redoubling the persecution of his fellow citizens.

 At this time, the Kemalist forces were reckoned at 50,000 men, and certain far-seeing Frenchmen again advised Venizelos to withdraw from Smyrna. The Millerand Cabinet had just been formed, and had officially modified France's Turkish policy in Turkey's favour. Jorrna1 Officiel, 26th August 1924, p 3117. 

On 16th February 1920, Venizelos telegraphed from London to Athens a declaration made to him by Mr. Lloyd George on the subject of the Greek occupation of Smyrna. The British Prime Minister had "to struggle not only against the French Premier, who declared that Greece ought to be given only an economic sphere of influence, but also against the British Foreign Secretary." Secret Greek diplomatic documents published by the Matin, 2nd December 1922 

On 19th March there came another message from London: the British War Minister, on behalf of Mr. Lloyd George, had asked Venizelos whether in the event of Turkey refusing to accept the peace terms, Greece would see to the military imposition of these terms on her in Thrace and Asia Minor, for Britain's " many commitments " did not allow her to send troops to help Greece. Venizelos added:

“The Minister gave us to understand that we must not count on the aid of France and Italy. I replied that as far as the districts assigned to us were concerned we would undertake to impose the peace terms. 

On the 26th Venizelos telegraphed to Athens: 

“The French Government's action in regard to Greece becomes more and more disturbing As a result of a report from the Allied High Commissioners in Constantinople, declaring that it is impossible to impose the peace terms on Turkey, the French Premier proposed a revision of the Supreme Council's resolutions. This was rejected by Britain. But we run the risk, all through these negotiations, of seeing France as against our interests, for the present Premier is entirely under the influence of financial circles “ 

The man who disdained the elementary teaching of history and had so blind a confidence in the great, suffered a cruel disappointment: Constantine had been much more far­sighted. 

Meanwhile Kemal was undertaking small attacks against the Greeks, and in April 1920, while the San Remo Conference was putting the finishing touches on the Peace Treaty with Turkey, the French press was energetically demanding "an independent Turkey capable of existence ".

 At this time, the Greek prisons were filled with political prisoners and the concentration camps with deportees. A fresh postponement of elections brought down on Venizelos a charge from the Opposition of revolutionism. He replied angrily in the Chamber that " by the grace of God he possessed the privilege of seeing further into the future than other men, and that not merely straight ahead but round corners "! All his speeches in Greece after this were rancorous and provocative maledictions of a whole category of Greeks, as if his one purpose was to exacerbate civil strife. The Venizelist police raged more ferociously than ever against anyone who so much as mentioned the name of Constantine.

 The " Powers guaranteeing the constitutional liberties of Greece ", once so enamored of this " privilege ", so touchy regarding their " contractual rights ", showed '"singular forbearance towards Venizelos when he entirely abolished constitutionalism. He could use violence against the Greek people, make it endure oppression and slavery, plunge it into mourning, but at no time in these three years did it occur to these " Liberal and liberating " Great Powers to ask their henchman in the name of elementary Christian charity at least to use his instruments of torture more humanely. 

On 15th June Venizelos telegraphed from London to Athens news which he had received from Mr. Lloyd George:

"Italy, without compromising herself, was inciting Turkey to armed resistance against the Greeks; " French opinion would not tolerate the sending of an army against the Turks, and Mr. Lloyd George himself had to struggle against the Foreign Office and against British military circles, which had become pro-Turk. Mr. Lloyd George had therefore asked him whether Greece was in a position to enforce the peace treaty on Turkey single-handed. "

Venizelos added:

“I replied that Greece was strong enough and would show her readiness to make the necessary effort so long as she was collaborating with the two Western Powers, or, at least, with Britain.” 

Mr. Lloyd George was the only one, not only of the Allied but of the British Ministers, to encourage Venizelos in this policy of adventure. Sir Henry Wilson confirms this in his Diaries. The British Premier, fearing for Iraq, hoped that the Greeks would keep the Turks fully occupied. It did not occur to him that the Greeks, fighting far from their base, might be the first to be worn down, and that a Greek debacle would bring the worst of complications. He was so convinced of the soundness of his policy that later he was as energetic in urging Gounaris along this path as he had been with Venizelos. 

Under the stress of the struggle at home Venizelos lost his grip on reality, and in June he again launched an offensive in Asia Minor. At this time, the Cretan's police went so far as to prohibit the wearing of certain flowers which by name or color symbolized Constantine. His government writes Bosdari, imposed "a regime of terror " on the whole of Greece. 

This offensive against Kemal in June was singularly fortunate. The Greek troops advanced rapidly. They were on the point of dealing the enemy a decisive blow when France and Italy, alarmed at their success, demanded from Venizelos, on penalty of withdrawing their mandate, the immediate suspension of military operations. The purpose of the demand was to save Kemal and so to save Turkey, for the partition of Turkey would have constituted, according to the Temps, "a diminution of the French estate in the East." M. Venizelos, instead of simply considering his country's interest and ridding it forever of the Kemalist peril by sacrificing himself, if necessary, preferred to bow to the wishes of France, whose help was indispensable to him in the civil conflict in Greece. 

On 10th August 1920, there was signed the belated " scrap of paper " of Sevres, the ambiguous text of which aimed at concealing the inter-allied disagreements concerning the terms of peace with Turkey. It was repudiated almost as soon as the ink on the signatures was dry. On the very day of its signature Italy, through her Premier, declared that signature did not mean approval. France went still further; she declared semi-officially that this Treaty would never be submitted to Parliament for ratification. 

So, the brilliant success gained by M. Venizelos, thanks to Mr. Lloyd George, at Sevres was a success only on paper. To make it effective Greece would have had to remain mobilized in perpetuity. Venizelos, however, deceived as to the real value of his victory, believed that the time had come to face the electorate. He imagined that all his treacheries, all the misdeeds of his adherents, were wiped out by the documents signed at Sevres. 

On the morrow of the signature of the Treaty an attempt was made to assassinate him in Paris by two young Greek officers, who hoped so to set their country free. Venizelos escaped with a slight wound, but his police carried out savage reprisals against the citizens of Athens. They assassinated the Deputy Dragoumis, one of the noblest figures of contemporary Greece, and looted the house of M. Skouloudis, destroying its priceless art treasures. 

In the latter half of 1920 Greece presented a tragic spectacle of tyranny, disorder, and calumny. Venizelist justice enormously increased its tale of political prisoners. On 25th October Kiri Alexander died. Venizelos offered the crown to Constantine's third son, Paul. Paul replied nobly that only the Greek people was entitled to elect its king. Venizelos, offended at a reply which wounded his pride, proceeded to hold elections, which he believed might bring him triumph. 

After the Sevres treaty, carried away by the praises which his formidable propaganda service showered on him, he believed that the nation could not fail to bow to his person, now consecrated by a sort of divine investiture. (From 1917 to 1920 Venizelos's Press Bureau {at the Greek Foreign Office) spent about 70,000,000 gold francs m subsidies to newspapers and journalists abroad-a huge sum fur a tiny State The payments were accompanied by a stipulation that propaganda in favour of Greece's national claims should be combined with exaltation of the genius of Venizelos.)

 A week before the elections he abolished the censorship and the state of siege, and arrogantly asked of the nation the question " Myself or Constantine? " On 1st/14th November 1920, the nation, with a shout for liberty and peace, replied by a huge majority " Constantine ". Venizelos did not wait to complete the formalities usual at a change of government. He fled secretly from the country, like a criminal who has caught sight of the police.

 Nihil violentum durabile: No usurper lasts, neither a usurper of liberty nor a usurper of truth. Even when so many ' innocent people were perishing unjustly it was im­possible to believe that the hour of retribution would not strike for Venizelos. Had he escaped it, this spectacle of prosperous guilt would have encouraged the simple to turn to a life of crime.

 The Greek people had put an end to the unending martyrdom which the Great Powers had inflicted on it. It now brought Constantine back in triumph. He incarnated in its eyes the vindication of truth against falsehood and of justice against injustice. For weeks, all Greece deliriously celebrated the restoration of the rights of men and citizens.

 It must, however, be noted that this electoral debacle was a piece of good fortune for Venizelos himself, for it allowed him to bequeath his Asiatic expedition to his opponents and saddle them with the responsibility for its inevitable disaster.

 At the Quai d'Orsay the defeat of Venizelos was received with amazement and consternation; not that the interest of France was in the least threatened thereby, but solely because the amour propre of many public men had suffered a heavy blow. By its act, the Greek people had issued a disconcerting contradiction of the propaganda whereby, especially in the name of France, neutral Greece had been misrepresented. Consequently, the Premier, M. Leygues, suggested to Britain that force should be used to prevent Constantine's return. Britain refused. She was unwilling to begin again an intrigue which she had never really approved, and with her usual elasticity of policy semi-officially informed Constantine, then at Lucerne, that she would not oppose his return to the throne. Her Minister at Berne was received by the King.

 Unhappily, the honour of France being directly involved, strong pressure was used in London, and Britain finally agreed to a compromise. Two Notes were sent to Greece. One, dated 2nd December, said that " the restoration of King Constantine, whose disloyal conduct during the war had caused such embarrassment and loss to the Allies, would be considered as a ratification by the Greek nation of the hostile acts of the King ". The second, dated 6th December, informed the Athens Government that Allied war credits to Greece would be stopped.

 The ablest of Jesuits could not have found formula more cleverly contrived to quieten uneasy consciences. The first of these Notes, apart from the moral baseness of its declarations, was a purely platonic threat. The second had no reality at all.

 After the short-lived Ministries of Rallis and Kalogero­poulos, who had succeeded Venizelos, Gounaris took office. At the London Conference, summoned in March 1921, to conclude peace in the East by revising the Sevres' Treaty, new terms were proposed to Greece. They deprived her of the military occupation of Smyrna, but they were, on the whole, acceptable. If Gounaris had accepted them he would have obeyed the mandate which he received from the electors, who demanded peace and no oversea adventures. M. Gounaris was on the point of accepting when he received from Mr. Lloyd George, through the latter's private secretary, Mr. Philip Kerr, the advice that Greece should not take too much heed of the speeches at the Conference. If she thought she could' still impose the original peace terms on the Kemalists Britain would not stand in the way.

 Lloyd George was speaking to Gounaris precisely as he had spoken to Venizelos. Gounans consulted the Assistant Chief of Staff, Colonel Sariyannis, then in London, a Venizelist officer who had participated in the campaign in Asia Minor since the beginning. Sariyannis declared in the presence of Marshal Foch, and in spite of the latter's disagreement, that the Greek army would crush the Kemalists in a fortnight, and Gounaris thereupon rejected the new terms and ordered the Greek army to advance.

 Mr. Lloyd George, however, who had instigated the Greek offensive, next day joined France in declaring that as Greece had not accepted the advice of her great allies she could no longer be considered by them as an ally.

 The Greek offensive against Eski-Sehir failed. The Kemalist army was far stronger than Colonel Sariyannis had declared. This check, although local, had an awkward diplomatic result: Greece could no longer speak of peace without admitting defeat. She had consequently to call up fresh classes and undertake a fresh offensive against Kemal on a large scale.

 The Greek army, whose morale had been greatly improved by the arrival of Constantine in Asia Minor, won two brilliant victories at Kutahia and Eski-Sehir, and pursued the Kemalists half-way to Angora. But instead of diplomatically exploiting these victories to conclude peace-Lord Curzon had formulated a proposal for a conference on the eve of these battles-Gounaris allowed himself to be captivated by the idea of treating only after the capture of the enemy's capital. Another battle was fought, the murderous battle of Sangarios. The Greek offensive was held up at the very gates of Angora, and Gounaris was compelled to discuss peace on the morrow of a check in the field.

 In October 1921, France, alarmed at the cost in men and money of the war in Syria, signed with the Turks the provisional Treaty of Angora. In virtue of this separate peace, which broke the solidarity of the Allies, France evacuated Cilicia and made concessions to the Turks in territory and, what was more surprising, in war material, which roused the wrath of London.

 At this news, Gounaris in alarm handed over entirely to Britain the defense of Greek interests. He even conceded in principle the evacuation of Smyrna and the surrender of part of Eastern Thrace. But the meeting of the Peace 'Conference was delayed; the intrigues amongst the Allies had full scope.

 During all this period, France and Italy had denied Greece the right of searching their ships, many of which were carrying contraband of war to Kemal. Mr. Lloyd George, who never ceased showering encouragement on the Greeks, never displayed energy enough to impose on those Powers respect for a principle of international law which they themselves had abused in Greece during the Great War. This was one of the chief causes of the Greek debacle in 1922. French diplomacy, to conceal this monstrous illegality, denied that Greece was a belligerent! A theory truly revolting, for if Greece was at war it was only because France had driven her to war by brutal pressure.

 Gounaris, out of loyalty to Mr. Lloyd George and Lord Curzon, did not dream of separate negotiations with the Turks. But from the beginning of 1922 he clearly recognized the danger of the situation. On 15th February he sent a letter to Lord Curzon to inform him of the disquieting state of the Greek army and to indicate his intention of evacuating Asia Minor. Lord Curzon hastened to reply that he refused to believe that the state of the Greek army was so serious, and appealed to Greek patriotism and courage not to fail at so critical a moment. When the Greek debacle began in Asia Minor Mr. Lloyd George advised M. Gounaris not to ask for an armistice, reminding him of the mistake made by Ludendorff in 1918. Mr. Lloyd George, it is true, had been thinking of preventing the return of the Turks to Europe by Allied action; but M. Poincare defeated this praiseworthy intention. He had conceived the adventurous plan of involving Britain in a war with Turkey, and so with Islam, in the hope of shaking the British Empire and assuring France full liberty of action on the Rhine.

 The Greek debacle in Anatolia was thus the result of the war-weariness of badly provisioned troops who had been under arms for ten years, and of the defeatist propaganda of certain Venizelists. On this latter point it is worthwhile to recall that in 1922 M. Gounaris had secured authority from the British Government to place in London a war loan of £15,000,000. But the Greek war profiteers, who had been enormously enriched through the indulgence of M. Venizelos' Government, were determined to stop at nothing to get their protector back into power. They intrigued in the City to make it impossible for their country's loan to be issued. They were assisted in this by French diplomacy, which was working to the same end in order to withdraw Greece from British influence. The most deplorable episode in this defeatist campaign happened in August 1922. M. Gounaris had Just formed a coalition Cabinet with the programme of the gradual withdrawal of Greek troops from Asia Minor, concentration in Thrace, and the occupation of Constantinople by a coup de main, with Britain's tacit assent. At this moment, however, M. Venizelos was in London. With French support he energetically brought to bear on the Foreign Office and Mr. Lloyd George all the personal influence which at that time' he still possessed, in order to dissuade Britain from agreeing to the Greek plan. The realization of the plan would have brought Greece happily out of the war, and would have consolidated King Constantine's position, a result which M. Venizelos desired at all costs to prevent.

 On the morrow of this defeat, a group of officers, intimates of Venizelos, of whom several had refused to fight the enemy, turned the confusion and popular excitement to their profit, and marched on Athens, under the leadership of Colonel Plastiras, to seize power. They declared that they were acting solely in the interests of their country, but their real aim, as the sequel showed, was to conceal the fact of their desertion of their posts, and to bring their party back to power.

 They called on Constantine to abdicate in favour of the Crown Prince under the pretext that his presence on the throne stood in the way of Greece's return to "the bosom of the Entente ". They declared that as a result of their action France would draw her sword in aid of the Greeks. In their ignorance or malice, they were deluded by memories of the propaganda of the war years. If they were to be believed, the Great Powers were ready to subordinate their interests to their admiration for the personality of Venizelos! Accordingly, they entrusted to him the conduct of Greek foreign policy.

 The French Press gave Venizelos a cold welcome on his return to the stage. When, on the eve of the Lausanne Conference, he presented himself at the Quai d'Orsay to try to save Eastern Thrace, he was met with a blunt negative. The debate on the Lausanne Treaty in the French Chamber brought the final proof that the return of Constantine to the throne had had no effect on the Turcophile policy of France, a policy adopted long before the fall of Venizelos. In the debate MM. Briand, Leygues, Franklin-Bouillon, Herriot, Milhaud, etc., related in turn the history of France's post-war policy in the near East; but none of them mentioned the names either of Constantine or Venizelos--not even indirectly -as having influenced the course of French policy. On the contrary, the Premier, M. Herriot, after recalling the fact that it was to France that Turkey owed her retention of Constantinople, finished, to the applause of the Chamber, with the very unexpected declaration that" it was to some extent France's fault that Turkey entered the war against her”!

 The military-Venizelist "revolution'' of 1922 did service to the country for a moment through its vigorous reorganization of the army in Thrace ; but it rapidly degenerated into an agency of dissolution. It resumed Venizelos' fatal line of activity, violating the Constitution. restricting popular liberties, and reviving all the lies spread by propaganda during the world war. In this "revolution" Venizelos found a means of avenging his electoral defeat in 1920, a chastisement from his country that had in no way inclined him to repentance.

 Scarcely had the Lausanne Conference begun its work when the Venizelist military clique, in obedience to the inspiration of its chief, brought the political leaders who had been the Cretan's opponents before a military court constituted ad hoc, and this exceptional tribunal had them executed out of hand.

 This tragedy aroused indignation throughout the world: it was a ferocious way of calling to account statesmen who had assumed power m due form, and one which flouted the ideas of our age. The merciless execution of five ex-ministers and a commander-in-chief, ordered after a trial which had been but a mockery, and in spite of urgent advice from Britain, whom it was to the great advantage of Greece to conciliate, could only be the work of smothered consciences. The London Cabinet was so incensed at the assassination of men who had trusted to Britain's word that it broke off diplomatic relations with Greece.

 The fact must, moreover, be insisted on that it was for having continued M. Venizelos' war, this time with the consent of a properly elected National Assembly, that the opponents of that politician were put to death as traitors, while he, the man who had carried through so many conspiracies solely for his own profit, who had revolted against the law, had brought invasion on his country, had traduced, starved, and finally conscripted his fellow-citizens to serve French ends, was left undisturbed.

 Under pressure from Lord Curzon, but some hours after the crime had actually been committed, Venizelos telegraphed from Lausanne to Athens to stop the executions. But that did not prevent him from showing his real sentiments next day by defending the crime in an interview published in the Matin and reproduced in the Corriere Della Sera and the Stampa.

 Venizelos had thus secured his "vengeance". He con­tinued to be a member of the Lausanne Conference, but henceforth without prestige, and surrounded by universal dislike. In the course of the debates Britain was very luke­warm in defence of Greek interests: France invariably took the Turkish side against the interests defended by her ex-agent Venizelos. On 26th May 1928, the Conference suddenly came to a crisis. Venizelos offered Ismet Pasha Karagatch, a small town on the right bank of the Maritza, instead of the "reparations '' demanded by Turkey, and in the event of his refusal threatened an invasion of Eastern Thrace. Poincare answered this move by proposing to Britain and Italy that a regular naval blockade of Greece should be established if Venizelos carried out his threat. This was Venizelos' final humiliation. He was being treated by France as France, at his own instigation, had treated his King a few years before. It was a rude lesson in political realism and a proof of the insincerity of the idealist formulae proclaimed during the war. An important French personage to whom complaint was made of France's " ingratitude " towards Venizelos, the friend who once was so much in favour, replied: 

" France never entered into any engagements with Venizelos in favour of Greece. Venizelos came to fight by our side in order to get our assistance in dethroning his King. That done, our debt to him was discharged." 

What makes yet graver Venizelos' responsibility for the Greek disaster in Asia Minor is the fact that he had had timely warning of the inevitable consequences of his Asiatic adventure from the most competent authorities in France and Britain. We have 'already mentioned the warnings given by M. Poincare and, yet earlier, by Marshal Foch. We have also mentioned that of the Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry into the Greek occupation of Smyrna in 1919. From the Life and Diaries of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson recently published it appears that Sir Henry had himself given M. Venizelos the most explicit warnings. He mentions the' following conversation with M. Venizelos on 28th October 1919: 

“I told him straight out that he had ruined his country and himself by going to Smyrna, and the poor man agreed, but said the reason was because Paras had not finished off the Turk and had made peace with him. This, of course, is only partly so. Venizelos is very bitter against the Turk, and said the whole 12 divisions were available if we would finish the Turk off. He realises that he is in a hopeless position, and is trying now to sell his 12 divisions. He begged me to tell Lloyd George that both he (Venizelos) and Greece were done. I said I would. The old boy is done.” 

On 19th March 1920, Sir Henry Wilson wrote in his diary; 

“Winston and I had an hour with Venizelos this afternoon. We made it clear to him that neither in men nor in money, neither in Thrace nor in Smyrna, would we help the Greeks, as we already had taken on more than our small army could do. I told him that he was going to ruin his country, that he would be at war for years with Turkey and Bulgaria and that the drain in men and money would be far too much for Greece. He said that he did not agree with a word I said.” 

And on 17th June 1920: 

“... I saw Venizelos, who is sketchy to a degree. He promises Lloyd George everything, and Lloyd George believes everything he is told; but when I come to pin Venizelos down he knows nothing and can promise nothing” 

Finally, during the Lausanne Conference, Venizelos took a step disastrous for the future of Hellenism. It was he who conceived and proposed the plan of the compulsory exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece. Two years after, The Temps (5th February 1925) expressed this judgment of his plan: 

“Every possible evil is arising from this abominable and disastrously mistaken plan of exchanging populations. It is contrary to all humane feeling and to human dignity, and its application has caused more suffering and cost more lives in the East than a long and cruel war.” 

The Lausanne Treaty was signed on 24th July 1928. All European interests suffered, and some of the best secured results of the Allied victory in the East were wiped out.