THE WAY OF THE WORLD ABROAD THE FOREIGN OFFICE BAG. BY LUCIEN WOLF
THE NEW SPANISH PREMIER
Count Ramanonea, who has been appointed to
succeed the murdered Señor Canalejas.
HERR VON KIDERLEN-WAECHTER
The German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who died on Monday, aged sixty.
the Albanians, who, despite their attachment to Constanti
nople, are to preserve
their territorial integrity and are to get self-government to boot. Hence we
are likely to hear a good deal more of the Turkish proposal, although it is not pressed by the Turks themselves.
But for his age M. Ribot would unquestionably be the best candidate, though that is not to say that he would stand any chance of election. Personal character is, no doubt, a recommendation,
as is also—though to a more limited extent—a patriotic foreign policy; but what chiefly count at the election are, in the first place, the shibboleths of party, and, when they fail, a decent colourless
ness. The next best thing to electing a party man is to elect one who is sufficiently inoffensive to combine several parties in opposition to a common enemy of a definite hue. Unless the Versailles Congress is “ stampeded ” by some sensational happening in international politics the khaki card of M. Poincare will not have much effect. In that case the views of the candidates on franchise reform will possess much greater weight. The question will not be whether you
are Russophile or Teutophobe or Equilibrist or Concertist, but whether you are a Proportionalist or an anti-Proportionalist?
The cleverest move made by the Turks in the
Peace negotiations is unquestionably the proposal to create an autonomous Macedonia. It will, of course, be of no advantage to Turkey cither way, but it poses a question which is likely to be exceedingly embarrassing to her enemies. In the first place, it will give a great impetus to the growing discontent with which the prospects of
Another reason why the Turkish scheme cannot
be lightly dismissed is that any other would assuredly ruin Salonika. That city is the natural port of the whole back-country,
almost as far as the Danube. It is the chief market for the produce of Macedonia, Epirus and Albania,
and it is through Salonika that those countries have hitherto received the manufactures of the West in exchange for their produce and raw material. The Jewish banks of Salonika, too, have hitherto financed the whole region. What is to become of the city when Macedonia is divided up between Servia and Bulgaria, and Epirus is added to Greece, with ports of her own to humour and nurse? It will assuredly be strangled by
customs barriers, and even if it is annexed to Greece, this will not help it, for all its northern trade will have gone and its western markets will
be supplied and worked by other Greek ports. Hence the unity of Macedonia, including Salonika, as proposed by the Turks, is vital to that city; and
on this ground it is probable that we shall soon find the Thessalonians hand and glove with the Macedonian Autonomists.
When in the fulness of time
the Eastern Question shall have been banished from Europe, it will find a congenial refuge in Asia Minor, and from that point of vantage it will continue to worry and em
barrass the Great Powers as mischievously as of old. Already the Asiatic problems are being forced into promi
nence by the subsidence of their European analogues. Armenia, the Lebanon, Syria, the Bagdad Railway, Alexandretta, Koweit, the Persian frontier, and the restoration of the Kingdom of Judah arc a few of the Asiatic questions which have been debated in the British and Continental Press during the last week. And as time goes on they will become more and more formidable. What
the Balkan States have done Armenia will also try to do one of these days. The French are
already reminding the world that Syria is their sphere of influence, while Russia has marked out a like sphere for herself in North-Eastern Anatolia, where she possesses railway preferences similar to those which have given her Northern Manchuria. Whether Germany will put forward a parallel claim to Mesopotamia we have not yet heard, but it is extremely likely. And then we have the Zionists, whose title to Palestine was set forth at great length by Dr. Max Nordau in last Monday’s Times. These new phases of the Eastern Question will keep European diplomacy employed for yet a few generations. When they are solved on the approved plan the difficult prob
lem of finding a land of refuge or an autonomy for the Turks themselves will probably present itself.
von Kiderlen- Waechter was or was not a statesman is difficult to say. To resolve that question we must know more
exactly the part he played in those consultations with the Emperor and the Imperial Chancellor at which the main lines and even the tactical details of German Foreign policy are settled.
Certain it is that in his political activities he was much misunderstood. Hailed as a Bismarckian,
he assumed the Foreign Secretaryship as the hope of the German Jingoes, and yet, on the whole, he pursued a moderate and conciliatory policy. Even Agadir, if closely studied, does not weaken this judgment. Did he pursue this policy in deference to the notorious pacifism of his Imperial master and his hierarchical chief, or as the result of his own personal conviction? No
one who ever met him will have any difficulty in answering this question, for he was, above all, an honest man and a sturdy patriot. The truth is he was not a Bismarckian in the vulgar sense of the term. When Polstorff caricatured
him as “Spatzle, ” and received a bullet in his shoulder for his pains, it was understood that he was acting in the interest of the Bismarckians. The idea, too, that he was ever a farouche Anglophobe is ridiculous. His disgrace in 1893 was due to the out
spokenness with which he remonstrated with the Emperor on certain tactless happenings at Cowes which were calculated to ruffle British susceptibilities.
I do not pretend that he was a lover of England or an enemy of Bismarck. He was
too shrewd a man to allow himself to be dominated by secondary principles. He practised an intelligent eclecticism,
and was always intent on doing the best for his country. But if we cannot measure his stature as a statesman, we can, at any rate, appreciate the loyal and jovial humanity of his personal character. He was a staunch friend and the most delightful of good fellows—a wit, a raconteur, an exhaler of good
humour and a perpetual stimulus of Laughter. That is better than statesmanship, as statesmanship goes nowadays.
A fortnight still separates us from the French
Presidential Election, and it is, consequently, much too early to attempt a forecast of the result. The candidature of M. Poincare is
essentially a khaki candidature. It is an attempt to dish the narrow parochialism of M, Combes and the Radical-Socialists, who will certainly com
mand a majority of the Versailles Congress, by raising the cry of " the Fatherland in danger! ”
Far be it from me to suggest that foreign politics is not the best of all possible politics; but I confess
I have often found that when a statesman asks to be judged exclusively by his attitude towards foreign nations he is not quite confident of a majority in matters of domestic legislation. M. Dcschanel’s candidature is, in this respect, very similar to that of M. Poincare, and so is that of M. Ribot, though he puts it on the wider ground of political experience and personal integrity.
annexation or partition at the hands of the Balkan Allies are regarded in Macedonia itself. For years past the Autonomists have been the strongest party in Macedonia. They have been perfectly willing to be rescued from the Turks by Bulgarian or Greek intervention, but not at the cost of annexation by their rescuers. This feeling dates from the Eastern Roumelian Revolution. The Macedonians who made that revolution were guileless enough to think that a sort of Bulgarian Dualism would be the result, and that the Roumeliotes would enjoy Home Rule. Instead of that the country became a happy hunting-ground for the bureaucrats of Sofia. The Macedonians have no desire to see this experiment repeated. Their country is a geogra
phical unit with a history of its own. They are,
moreover, conscious of being well able to govern themselves. In these circumstances they are in no hurry to be parcelled out among Bulgarian, Serb and Greek prefects. There was a time,
indeed, when the Macedonian Autonomists dreamt of giving the law to the Balkans. They now find themselves in danger of being treated worse than