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The problems confronting the Swiss Government eleven years later in the Franco-Prussian War were, however, of a far more onerous nature. Keenly alive from the outset of that struggle to the responsibilities imposed upon it, the Federal Assembly on July 18, 1870, issued a general declaration of neutrality and at once took all needful measures to place the country in a condition of military preparedness. In accordance with constitutional provisions, a general was elected to command the citizen-army, the choice falling on Herzog, chief artillery instructor, whose ability was to prove itself equal to every emergency. Immediate mobilization provided adequate forces along the German and French frontiers, and when in January, 1871, Bourbaki's Army of the East determined to retire from Besançon towards Pontarlier in the Jura, with Lyon as its objective, Herzog was able to place his troops in readiness for a possible move on the part of the French over the Swiss border. To this latter step Clinchant, Bourbaki's successor in command, was at least compelled, since Manteuffel had blocked the planned retreat southward, and Clinchant must now either face battle under disadvantageous circumstances or cross the Swiss border. But here an apparently serious difficulty arose, since the armistice concluded on January 28th would, in the opinion of the Federal Council, render internment out of the question. But upon learning that the northeasterly sections of France (Côte-d'Or, Jura, Doubs, Belfort) were not comprised in the armistice, Herzog was allowed to conclude, at the mountain village of Les Vervières, at five o'clock in the morning of February 1st, a brief agreement with Clinchant, the exhausted French forces, 90,314 in number, streaming through the town during the actual signing of the document and amid the trying environment of midwinter dawn in a climate of extraordinary severity. The disarmed troops were mustered in part easterly through the Val de Travers, through Neuchâtel to northern Switzerland, and in part to the southward through Vallorbes, a station on the present railway line between Paris and Lausanne, to the districts about Lake Geneva. They were all repatriated at the close of March, the French Government refunding the cost of their maintenance, some twelve million francs. Switzerland suffered no invasion or violation of its neutrality, nor was this happy immu
nity due so much to the solemn international obligations intended to safeguard the land as to the consistently determined attitude of its central government and the acknowledged completeness of its military preparation for every probable emergency. As to Savoy, although local authorities there expressed a willingness or anxiety for occupation to some extent by the Swiss military forces, the brief duration of the war effectually foreclosed the question without decisive action.
While, also, a reception and internment of fugitives from insurrectionary or belligerent forces had been permitted in the case of Garibaldi and his compatriots, who crossed the Swiss frontier of Canton Ticino in 1848, and again in a number of instances arising during the conflicts of 1859 and 1866, it was not until the critical situation of January, 1871, that the theory and practice of internment became developed in a manner which, supplemented by extension of its benefits through later expansions of the Red Cross organization, have given it a high place in the law of modern warfare.
To Switzerland, indeed, the centralization of its government has brought the protective strength once sought to be obtained in the pastoral league of the ancient Defensional—the armed neutrality of Wyl. This could not hope, however, to become more than an example or pattern by means of which later generations might profit through the development of a federative government sufficiently robust in itself to safeguard the country freed from the weaknesses of cantonal rivalry or dissension.
It is this spirit in Swiss affairs which has furnished the mainspring of independence and growth, and has made it possible throughout the course of the present war to present a frontier which no belligerent has ventured to violate save in a technical manner only.
GORDON E. SHERMAN.
(Authorities: die Bundesverfassungen der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, Hiltz; “La Régénération", by Numa Soroz, in “La Suisse au Dix-Neuvième Siècle; die Geschichte der Schweizerischen Neutralität, by Prof. Schweizer, of Zurich; the treaty of Les Vervières is in the de Martens treaty collection.)
THE HELLENIC CRISIS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW
OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
We now come to the last part of what one might call the Greek tragedy, which was played in Hellas during the first three years of this world war with such marvelous success under Teutonic guidance. The events of June, 1916,1 laid bare the whole plot, unmasked the royal actors at Athens, and compelled France and England, the protecting Powers of Greece, at last to take drastic measures.
The surrender of the "key" to Eastern Macedonia (the Roupel fortress) by Constantine to the Germano-Bulgarian forces was rightly considered by the guardians of Greece as a hostile act directed against them, demanding the adoption of appropriate measures for the security of their armies on the Balkan front. Their first measure to this end was the substitution of Allied authorities for those of Greece in the city of Salonika. The second was the refusal by Great Britain to supply coal to Greek ships. The three Entente Powers had previously warned the Greek Government that if it allowed the armies of their enemies to advance freely into Greek territory, such action would lead to serious consequences. Therefore, the Royal Government of Greece, fearing lest the Allies institute repressive measures of a more drastic character, informed the Entente Governments that the further advance of the Bulgarian troops into Greek territory would be prevented.3
On June 10, 1916, as a further precautionary measure, French military forces occupied the Island of Thassos, near the port of Cavalla, in Macedonia, because France had reasons to believe that the Bulgarians would be allowed by Constantine to occupy that port.
1 See Part IV in this JOURNAL for July, 1918. 2 London Times, June 9, 1916.
3 Statement of Mr. Skouloudis, the Greek Premier, to the Entente Ministers, in London Times, June 10, 1916.
On June 21, 1916, the Governments of France, Great Britain and Russia sent to the Greek Government the following collective note:4
Under instructions from their Governments, the undersigned, Ministers of France, Great Britain, and Russia, representatives of the guaranteeing Powers of Greece, have the honor to make the following declaration to the Hellenic Government, which they have also been instructed to bring to the notice of the Greek people:
As they have already declared solemnly and in writing, the three guaranteeing Powers of Greece do not ask her to depart from her neutrality. They give a striking proof of this in putting amongst the first of their requests the complete demobilization of the Greck army in order to insure tranquillity and peace to the Greek people. But they have numerous and legitimate grounds of suspicion against the Greek Government, the attitude of which towards them is not in accordance with its repeated engagements, or even with the principles of a loyal neutrality. It has too often favored the activities of certain foreigners, who have been openly working to mislead the opinion of the Greek people, to pervert its national conscience, and to create on Greek territory hostile organizations contrary to the neutrality of the country, and tending to compromise the security of the naval and military forces of the Allies.
The entry of Bulgarian troops into Greece, the occupation of Fort Rupel and of other strategical points with the connivance of the Greek Cabinet, constitute a fresh threat for the Allied troops, which imposes on the three Powers the obligation to demand guarantees and immediate action.
On the other hand, the Greek constitution has been ignored, the free exercise of universal suffrage prevented, the Chamber dissolved for the second time in less than a year against the clearly expressed wishes of the people, the electors summoned with general mobilization in force, with the result that the present Chamber only represents a small part of the electorate, the whole country subjected to a régime of police oppression and tyranny, and led towards ruin without attention being paid to the justifiable observations of the Powers. The latter have not only the right, but the imperative duty, to protest against such violations of the liberties of which they are trustees to the Greek people.
The hostile attitude of the Greek Government towards the Powers who liberated Greece from the foreign yoke and assured her independence, the evident collusion of the present Cabinet with their enemies, are yet stronger reasons for them to act with firmness, basing themselves on the rights which they hold from treaties to safeguard the Greek nation, and which have been strengthened each time the
4 British Parliamentary Paper, Miscellaneous No. 27 (1916).
exercise of its rights and the enjoyment of its liberties has been threatened.
Consequently, the guaranteeing Powers find themselves compelled to insist that the following measures should immediately be put into force:
1. The real and complete demobilization of the Greek army, which is to be placed on a peace footing with the least possible delay.
2. The existing Ministry to be immediately replaced by a Cabinet of Affairs of no political complexion, affording all necessary guarantees for the loyal application of the benevolent neutrality which Greece has undertaken to observe towards the Allied Powers, as well as for the sincerity of a new appeal to the country.
3. The immediate dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, fol. lowed by a general election immediately after the expiration of the term laid down by the Constitution and after the general demobilization shall have restored the electorate to its normal conditions.
4. The removal, in accord with the Powers, of certain police officials, whose attitude, inspired by foreign influence, has facilitated assaults on peaceful citizens as well as insults offered to the Allied legations and their nationals.
Ever animated by the most benevolent and most friendly feeling towards Greece, but at the same time resolved to obtain without discussion or delay the application of these indispensable measures, the guaranteeing Powers can only leave to the Greek Government the entire responsibility for the events which may occur if their just demands are not immediately accepted.
This peremptory note compelled the Premier, Mr. Skouloudis, and his associates to tender their resignation to Constantine, who was not long in substituting another Cabinet headed by Mr. Zaimis. The new Prime Minister, who subsequently proved to be no less subservient to the royal will than his predecessor, assumed the reins of government on June 23, 1916, and on the same day in a note to the three Entente Ministers, he declared that the Greek Government was ready to acquiesce completely in the demands of the three Allies.
This apparent submission did not, however, prevent the King from continuing to use every possible artifice to thwart the plans of the Entente Powers, culminating in an open clash with them and the shedding of innocent blood. Thus, while the demobilization of the regular Greek army was slowly and reluctantly proceeding, Constantine was secretly preparing another army, modelled on the Swiss
5 British Parliamentary Paper, Miscellaneous No. 27 (1916).