The ‘ingenious enthusiasm’ of Dr Burrows and the ‘unsatiated hatred’ of Professor Toynbee
On 9 March 1920, almost a year after the fateful Greek landing in Smyrna in May of 1919, Admiral Sir John de Robeck, the British High Commissioner in Constantinople, penned a remarkably percipient dispatch which its recipient, Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary, looked on as ‘frank but exceedingly important’. In this, he expressed grave doubts about the peace terms with the Ottoman Empire that were soon formally to be incorporated in the Treaty of Sèvres of August of that year – the treaty that was, albeit ephemerally, to usher in the vision of a Greece ‘of the Two Continents and of the Five Seas’. What particularly alarmed de Robeck was the prospective cession of Smyrna and Thrace to the Greeks, the ‘Turks’ secular enemies’. For such a move, he maintained, would be a ‘flagrant violation’ of one of the cardinal principles for which he understood the Great War to have been fought, namely, that of self-determination. The provisional Greek occupation of the Smyrna region, which had been sanctioned by the victorious Powers, had already proved to be the ‘canker in the Near Eastern situation’.
KeywordsTurkish Government Grave Doubt Romanian Study Slavonic Study Greek Community
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