At the end of April the dispute between President Wilson and the Italian Delegation about Fiume came to a head. Partly for the sake of opinion at home and partly as a bluff designed to put pressure upon the President to be more agreeable, the Italian Delegation evacuated Paris and declared that they would take no further part in the proceedings until the President was ready to show himself more accommodating to their vital national interests. The effect on the Conference was surprisingly small. The Italian bluff was called. The Conference went on exactly as before, the presence of one Ally less expediting a little the work of the sub-committees. But the departure of the Italians had one indirect effect of some importance. It stiffened the attitude of the Belgians. For the Belgians characteristically calculated that whilst the Conference could suffer with equanimity the loss of one participant, the loss of two would be really serious and would damage the prestige of the whole affair in the eyes of the outside world. Thus, a Belgian bluff superimposed on the Italian bluff might have a good deal more validity than the latter had had by itself.
KeywordsInformal Debate High Flight Vivid Picture General Melee British Prime Minister
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