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prolongation of the conflict, renewed its endeavors at a Near Eastern settlement in March, 1922, in concert with the French and Italian Governments, only to find the others actually at peace with the Turks. Under the circumstances, the conditions imposed by the Allies as the preliminaries for peace practically meant the withdrawal of the Greeks from Anatolia, and the Government of Constantine, unwilling to admit its failure in Asia Minor to the Greek Nation, peremptorily rejected the proposed terms. In June, endeavors were made to persuade Constantine to abdicate, in order to remove Greece from the diplomatic impasse into which she had wandered since the overthrow of Venizelos in the fall of 1920. These efforts failed, but Constantine withdrew from Smyrna and returned to Athens, leaving one of the Princes of the Royal Household in control of what he was pleased to denominate "the Kingdom of Ionia," a phantom administrative unit in which the Greeks ruled by military measures alone. By August, it was obvious that Kemal's forces were massing for a terrific onslaught, hence Constantine, in a final desperate and dramatic gesture, announced a Greek advance on Constantinople as a cover for the removal of the major portion of his troops from Anatolia to Thrace, lest his entire army be annihilated in the impending onslaught.
The move was as bold as it was desperate, but it failed to attain its end. Any assault on Constantinople, whether as a feignt, or in reality intended as a march on the coveted Byzantium, instantly withdrew the last vestige of British support from Greece, because it was a challenge to the possession of Constantinople, which had been in formal British occupation since France and Italy had made their peace with the Turk. Under the circumstances, when Kemal struck an unexpected blow at the Greek lines in Anatolia, the entire Greek defensive collapsed. The desperate retreat to tne coast, the loss and sacking of Smyrna, the utter disaster to the entire Greek army in Asia Minor, marked the conclusion of Kemal's campaign against the Greeks. In a fortnight after the final offensive was begun, the Greeks had been driven into the sea, and the Christian population of Smyrna evicted or massacred. As a consequence, Constantine lost his throne by revolution, and Greece was forced to give up the struggle. One possible enemy, and one alone, remained for Kemal to make his peace with—Great Britain.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Sevres, the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmora and the Bosphorus—the entire approach from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea—were constituted into a special district called “the Zone of the Straits," which was put under a special status of international control. In the phraseology of the treaty, the Straits were “neutralized.” This meant that they were to be disarmed and kept open to all nations in time of peace as well as in time of war. The commanding authority, able to enforce that decision, was to be an interallied commission, consisting, under the circumstances, of representatives of the three Great Allied Powers, Great Britain, Italy, and France. Thus, while a semblance of international control was kept up, in reality, the control of the Straits was placed in the hands of the power with the greatest naval forces at its command. Under the terms of the Armistice of Mudros, Great Britain had occupied both sides of the entrance to the Straits, at Gallipoli and Chanak, and later, the upper end of the Straits, at Constantinople and Ismid. Thus Great Britain, with a show of Allied cooperation, had occupied militarily, with a measure of naval support, the strategic points commanding the entrance to the Straits, denominating these positions a "neutral zone” into which neither Turks nor Greeks would be admitted. The neutral zone was created legally by the Treaty of Sevres, while the occupation dated from the Armistice of Mudros, in 1918. Thus the British position in the Straits was based de facto on the naval and military victory of 1918, and de jure on the unratified, dead-letter Treaty of Sevres, which Mustafa Kemal had always refused to recognize. Kemal's next move, after evicting the Greeks from Anatolia, was toward the neutral zone in the hopes of a prompt crossing to Constantinople and Thrace. With an army flushed with victory, it would be difficult to persuade Kemal to refrain from encroaching on zones whose legal validity he had never acknowledged. Hence the northward move toward
the Straits, made by Kemal on the morrow of the capture of Smyrna, brought the intrepid Turkish leader face to face with his last enemy, the British fleet. In his opinion, the British were in occupation of the Straits, not for the purpose of keeping them open to all nations, but for the purpose of controlling traffic therein. The neutral zone, he held, was merely a shield for the Greek navy and a cover for the maintenance of British control over Constantinople. Hence, taking his stand on the provisions of the Russo-Turkish Treaty of 1921, Kemal regarded the question of the patrolling of the Straits as an international one, in the solution of which all littoral states of the Black Sea, and these alone, must participate. Such a position, however honestly taken, was a direct challenge to British sea-power, and one which the British Government could not recognize. In consequence of Kemal's advance toward the Straits, the British High Commissioner at Constantinople, General Sir Charles Harrington, issued a warning to Kemal that he must respect the integrity of the neutral zones. Despite this action, the Kemalist troops invaded the neutral zone at several points, at both ends of the Straits, without, however, attacking the British.
At this point, an unfortunate move was made on behalf of the British Government by the British Prime Minister, in a request to the self-governing dominions for assistance in the defense of the Straits. This request, communicated without a previous consultation of the other Allied governments, came like a bolt from the blue, as a direct challenge to Kemal as well as to the other Allied governments. Not content with merely increasing her naval forces in the Straits, Great Britain, by a single-handed action at a critical moment, alienated her Allies, who forthwith withdrew their contingents from the southern side of the Straits, leaving the British alone in possession of Chanak and Ismid. This precipitate action, while demonstrating to the world at large the solidarity of the British Empire in support of England's position, also revealed a marked disapproval of the action of the government by all classes in England itself. The Labour party, in particular, branded this as a warlike move, utterly
to the other wue, as a direct in sy governmen
without foundation in national necessities, while the Union for Democratic Control regarded the question of the freedom of the Straits as one totally extraneous to British policy. It pointed out that Mustafa Kemal Pasha, in sending Fethi Bey, the Minister of the Interior, to London, with proposals for the neutralization and demilitarization of the Straits, under the perpetual supervision of the League of Nations, had been rudely rebuffed, as the British Cabinet refused to receive him. The purpose of his mission was, in fact, suppressed and the country was kept in the dark as to his proposals. How far the proposals emanating from Mustafa Kemal at a time before his victory over the Greeks were genuine, it is impossible to discover, but the unanimity of the British delegates to the Third League of Nations Assembly at Geneva in refusing to submit the issue to the League, lends color to the fact that the proposals of Fethi Bey were extremely distasteful to the British. The Labour Party, taking the opposite view, insisted upon the reference of the question to the League, or else to a Near Eastern Conference, to which Bulgaria, Germany and Russia should be invited. Briefly, the cabinet's point of view rested on the necessity of maintaining, single-handed if necessary, the fruits of Britain's naval victory of 1918, while the opposition parties stood for the reference of the entire Near Eastern Question, including the matter of the Straits, to the League of Nations, or to a special conference, for settlement.
At this juncture, the Russian Soviet Government, in a note to the British Government, made clear its position, alleging that Britain alone was seeking to keep the control of the Straits in her own hands, whereas all states—not merely the Black Sea States—should be consulted in seeking a peaceful solution of the question. In its opinion, “the root of the question in the Near East was to be found solely in the recognition of the right of the Turkish people effectively to restore its undivided sovereignty over Turkish territory and particularly over Constantinople, the Capital of Turkey, and over the Straits.” This made it clear that Russia, while not wanting the Straits herself, desired their control to re
main either in Turkish or international hands. Once more the Russian Government, however unrecognized, however impotent, asserted its voice in the Near Eastern Settlement. By implication, it recognized the need of returning Thrace to the Turks, as did the Labour Party, which quoted the Prime Minister's war-aims demand for the restoration to Turkey of the territories of Thrace “predominantly Turkish in race." Thus, inevitably, the questions of the control of the Straits became interrelated with the problem of the return of Constantinople and Thrace to the Turks.
Prompt action was necessary under the circumstances, to prevent either of two possible consequences, first, the breakup of the Entente Cordiale between France and Great Britain, a step which would mean the complete reversal of Anglo-French foreign policy, or second, the clashing of the Turks and the British at the Straits, over the question of the neutral zones. In consequence, the British Government, dropping the bellicose attitude assumed by the Prime Minister in his appeal to the dominions, sent the Earl of Curzon to Paris to restore harmony, and bring about concerted action on the part of the Powers. To accomplish this end certain concessions were necessary on all sides, but the tact of the British Foreign Secretary prevented a breach and restored quickly the much needed harmony between the Allied governments. On September 23, therefore, the Allied governments issued their proposals to Mustafa Kemal, indicating the concessions they were willing to make and outlining their general policy towards Turkey. The recognition of Turkey's claims to Thrace, as far as the river Maritza and including Adrianople, was made conditional upon the observance of the neutrality of the zones on the Straits pending and during the meeting of a special conference to consider the problems of the Near East with a view to negotiating and consolidating a final treaty of peace between Turkey, Greece and the Allied Powers. As to the Straits, the Allied proposal suggested a concerted endeavor by the Powers to be represented at the conference “to demilitarize...certain zones to be fixed; to obtain peaceful and orderly re-establishment of Turkey's author