The WWI Diaries of Captain - Late Major Geoffrey Beeston-Bancroft. Army Service Corps

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The Diaries o f Captain Geoffrey Beeston Bancroft 1914-18 Despatch to His Majestys Ambassador at Washington respecting the Allied Note of January 101917. Foreign Off ice January 131917. Sir In sending you a translation of the Allied note I desire to make the following observations which you should bring to the notice of the United States Government:— I gather from the general tenor of the Presidents note that while he is animated by an intense desire that peace should come soon and that' when it comes it should be lasting he does not for the moment at least concern himself with the terms on which it should be arranged. His Majestys Government entirely share the Presidents ideals but they feel strongly that the durability of the peace must largely depend on its character and that no stable system of international relations can be built on foundations which are essentially and hopelessly defective. This becomes clearly apparent if we consider the main conditions which rendered possible the calamities from which the world is now 'suffering. These were the existence of a Great Power consumed with the lust of domination in the midst of a community of nations ill-prepared for defence plentifully supplied indeed with international laws but with no machinery for enforcing them and weakened by the fact that neither the boundaries of the various States nor their internal constitution harmonised with the aspirations of their constituent races or secured to them just and equal treatment. That this last evil would be greatly mitigated if the Allies secured the changes in the map of Europe outlined in their joint note is manifest and I need not labour the point. .It has been argued indeed that the expulsion of the Turks from' Europe forms no proper or logical part of this general scheme. The maintenance of the Turkish Empire was during many generations regarded by statesmen of world-wide authority as essential to the maintenance of European peace. Why it is asked, should the cause of peace be now associated with a complete reversal of this traditional policy ?The answer is that circumstances have completely changed. It is unnecessary to consider now whether the creation of a reformed Turkey mediating between hostile races in the Near East was a scheme which had the Sultan been sincere and the Powers united could ever have been realised. It certainly cannot be realised now. The Turkey of “Union and Progress ”is at least as barbarous- and is far more aggressive than the Turkey of Sultan Abdul Hamid. In the hands of Germany it has ceased even in appearance to abe bulwark of peace and is openly used as an instrument of conquest. Under German officers Turkish soldiers are now infight­ing lands from which they had long been expelled and a Turkish Government, controlled subsidised and supported by Germany has been guilty of massacres in Armenia and Syria more horrible than any recorded in the history even of those unhappy countries. Evidently the interests of peace and the claims of nationality alike require that Turkish overrule alien races shall if possible be brought to an end and we may hope that the expulsion of Turkey from Europe will contribute as much to the cause of peace as the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France of Italian Irredenta to Italy or any of the other territorial changes indicated in the Allied note. Evidently however such territorial rearrangements though they may diminish the occasions of war provide no sufficient security against its recurrence. If Germany or rather those in Germany who mould its opinions and control its destinies, again outset to dominate the world they may find that by the new order of things the adventure is made more difficult but hardly that it is made impossible. They may still have ready to their hand apolitical system organised through and through oh a military basis they may still accumulate vast stores of military equipment they may still perfect their methods of attack so that their more pacific neighbours will be struck down before they can prepare themselves for defence. If so Europe1 when the war is over will be far poorer in men in money and in mutual good-will than it was when the war began but it will not be safer and the hopes for the future of the world entertained by the President will be as far as ever from fulfilment. 67
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