THE EVENTS OF 1903 IN MACEDONIA

as Presented in European Diplomatic Correspondence

 

Table of Contents

1 Peran, 8 Jan. 1903
Constans to Delcasse (AMAE)
The Exarchate’s attitude to the planned uprising
2 Monastir, 10 Jan. 1903
Stepski to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Preparations for the uprising. The role of the Bulgarian commercial agent in Monastir.
3 Thessaloniki, 26 Jan. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
Patriarchists are intimidated by the committees (central Macedonia). Preparations for the uprising.
4 Thessaloniki, 31 Jan. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
The authorities try to deal with the armed bands in central and N.E. Macedonia.
5 Thessaloniki, 5 Feb. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
A former officer in the Bulgarian army is a teacher in Monastir.
6 Thessaloniki, 14 Feb. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
Turkish atrocities are being used to stir up sympathy in Europe.
7 Thessaloniki, 21 Feb. 1903
Hickel to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Preparations for an insurrectional movement. The organisation of IMRO’s local committees.
8 Thessaloniki, 24 Feb. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
The committees are inciting local people to revolutionary action.
9 Thessaloniki, 25 Feb. 1903
Biliotti to Whitehead (FO)
An insurrectional movement is predicted for the spring. Appraisal of the armed band’s activities.
10 Thessaloniki, 9 Mar. 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
The activities of Bulgarian diplomatic officials as agents in Macedonia.
11 Thessaloniki, 11 Mar. 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
The committees’ political objects in Macedonia.
12 Monastir, 11 Mar. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Preparations for the uprising. Economic pressure and atrocities by the committees.
13 Vienna, 12 Mar. 1903
Reverseaux to Delcasse (AMAE)
Assessment of Bulgaria’s attitude to the uprising brewing in Macedonia.
14 Monastir, 15 Mar. 1903
Gauthier to Constans (AMAE)
Preparations for the uprising. Economic pressure and atrocities by the commitees.
15 Thessaloniki, 24 Mar. 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
Pressure and blackmail by the armed bands in N.E. Macedonia.
16 Thessaloniki, 28 Mar. 1903
Steeg to Delcasse (AMAE)
Commitee activity in E. Macedonia. A letter from Kapetan Alexis in Poroia.
17 Thessaloniki, 3 April 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
Greek reactions in Monastir.
18 Monastir, 17 April 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Sarafov’s activities in the Morihovo disstrict. Preparations for the uprising.
19 Monastir, 20 April 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Chakalarof’s activities. Pressure on Patriarchist communities in the Kastoria district.
20 Sarajevo, 21 April 1903
Excerpt from the newspaper (AMAE)
The commitees’ political asprirations Bosnische Post of 14 April 1903 in Macedonia and the Turkish reprisals.
21 Thessaloniki, 25 April 1903
Hickel to Goluchowski (HHStA)
The reaction of the Patriarchists. The commitees apply economic pressure on the Moslems.
22 Paris, 14/26 April 1903
Note from the French (AMAE)
The committees perpetrate Foreign Ministry on atrocities against Patriarchists. Deliyannis’ memorandum
23 Thessaloniki, 30 April 1903
Telegram from Biliotti (FO)
Participation of the Bulgarian army in the preparations for the uprising.
24 Plovdiv, 6 May 1903
Degrans to Delcasse (AMAE)
Bulgaria’s attitude to the expected uprising.
25 Thessaloniki, 12 May 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
Atrocities by the committees in E. Macedonia.
26 Thessaloniki, 12 May 1903
Hickel to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Bulgaria’s participation in the preparations. Exarchists return to the Patriarchate.
27 Monastir, 21 May 1903
Constans to Delcasse (AMAE)
Exploitation of the atrocities. Bulgaria’s attitude to the uprising.
28 Thessaloniki, 1 June 1903
Biliotti to O’Conor (FO)
Suggested measures to protect the harvest in view of the uprising.
29 Skopje, 1 June 1903
Fontana to Biliotti (FO)
The committee’s political goals and the sentiments of the people of Macedonia.
30 Monastir, 1 June 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Secret briefing of the Bulgarian bands.
31 Monastir, 13 June 1903
Gauthier to Constans (AMAE)
Initiation of villages into the uprising. The case of Andartiko in the Florina district.
32 Monastir, 16 June 1903
Gauthier to Constans (AMAE)
Appraisal of the preparations for the uprising. The people are tired.
33 Thessaloniki, 1 July 1903
Hickel to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Sarafof’s statements at a meeting of leaders of the armed bands.
34
From J. Stephanopoli’s book, (AMAE)
Bulgarian propaganda in Madedonia Bulgares contre Hellenes and the Greeks.
35 Monastir, 22 July 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Karavangelis’ and Chakalarof’s activities in the Kastoria district.
36 Thessaloniki, 23 July 1903
Graves to O’Conor (FO)
Estimates that the uprising is about to begin. Pressure on the Moslem communities.
37 Thessaloniki, 28 July 1903
Steeg to Delcasse (AMAE)
Preparations for and strategy of the uprising.
38 Thessaloniki, 31 July 1903
Graves to O’Conor (FO)
The situation in Gevgelija. The committees’ influence is based on promises.
39 Monastir, 31 July 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
The Patriarchists’ reaction to the committees. Karavangelis’ activities in Kastoria.
40 Monastir, 1 Aug. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
The Patriarchists’ reaction to the committees. Vangelis Stebeniotis’ activities.
41 Monastir, 3 Ayg. 1903
Gauthier to Constans (AMAE)
Tense situation in the town of Monastir.
42 Thessaloniki, 4 Aug. 1903
Graves to O’Conor (FO)
The uprising begins in the region fo Florina and Almoria. Crops are set on fire.
43 Monastir, 4 Aug. 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
The committees’ first acts. The uprising spreads to N. and W. Macedonia.
44 Monastir, 4 Aug. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Escalation of the uprising. Attacks on Moslem villages.
45 Thessaloniki, 6 Aug. 1903
Vernazza to Delcasse (AMAE)
The uprising spreads to N. and W. Macedonia.
46 Monastir, 6 Aug. 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
Account of the uprising. Occupation of Krushevo. Morihovo controlled by the committees.
47 Paris, 10 Aug. 1903
Memorandum from the (AMAE)
Progress of the operations. Attacks Ottoman Embassy to the on Moslem villages. French Foreign Ministry
48 Monastir, 10 Aug. 1903
Telegram from McGregor (FO)
Progress of the operations. The committees occupy Nymfaio.
49 Therapia, 11 Aug. 1903
Constans to Delcasse (AMAE)
Progress of the uprising and the psychological state of the enlisted villagers.
50 Thessaloniki, 12 Aug. 1903
Steeg to Delcasse (AMAE)
The revoit in the vilayet of Monastir. The committees’ strategic and political goals.
51 Athens, 14 Aug. 1903
Maurouard to Delcasse (AMAE)
Protests by the Greek Parliament. Bulgaria’s responsibility.
52 Monastir, 21 Aug. 1903
Gauthier to Constans (AMAE)
The uprising continues. The army’s operations in the Florina and Krushevo districts.
53 Therapia, 22 Aug. 1903
Constans to Delcasse (AMAE)
The uprising streads to the vilayet of Adrianople. Suspicions of Bulgarian collaboration.
54 Ahtens, 22 Aug. 1903
Maurouard to Delcasse (AMAE)
The Greek Parliament protests about the events in Krushevo.
55 Thessaloniki, 25 Aug. 1903
Steeg to Delcasse (AMAE)
The events in Krushevo. Action by the committees and Turkish reprisals.
56 Monastir, 25 Aug. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Bulgarian military presence in Krushevo.
57 Monastir, 31 Aug. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Plans to interrupt the harvest for the sake of the uprising. Collaboration between I.M.R.O. and the Verhovists.
58 Monastir, 1 Sept. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
The Bulgarian military plays a decisive part in the succes of the uprising.
59 Thessaloniki, 5 Sept. 1903
Telegram from Graves (FO)
The uprising is subsiding, but the Bashibuzuks continue to harass Patriarchists.
60 Monastir, 8 Sept. 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
The events in Kleisoura and Nymfaio in the Florina district.
61 Thessaloniki, 10 Sept. 1903
Lazzaro to the Consulate (NAUSA)
The progress of the Turkish General and the Embassy opperations in the Florina district in Constantinople and the recapture of Krushevo.
62 Thessaloniki, 10 Sept. 1903
Lazzaro to Smith-Lyle (NAUSA)
The uprising is subsiding. Fears for the missions.
63 Thessaloniki, 14 Sept. 1903
Steeg to Delcasse (AMAE)
The Verhovist committee and I.M.R.O joined forces, despite their theoretical differences.
64 Thessaloniki, 23 Sept. 1903
Graves to O’Conor (FO)
The Christians fear Turkish reprisals.
65 Monastir, 27 Sept. 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
Denunciation of atrocities and reparations in the vilayet of Monastir.
66 Monastir, 28 Sept. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Men and materiel continue to arrive from Bulgaria.
67 Thessaloniki, 11 Oct. 1903
Graves to O’Conor (FO)
The Turkish army continues its mopping up operations.
68 Monastir, 21 Oct. 1903
McGregor to Graves (FO)
The events in Krushevo according to an on the spot British inquiry.
69 Monastir, 18 Oct. 1903
Kral to Goluchowski (HHStA)
A lieutenant of the Bulgarian army took part in the uprising.
70 Monastir, 21 Dec. 1903
von Alth to Goluchowski (HHStA)
Reaction in the Kastoria district to the Exarchist Metropolitan’s tour.

The Documents

1. The French Ambassador Jean E. Constans to the Foreigh Minister Theophile Delcasse.

Peran, January 8th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.30, ff.23r-25r, No.4].

Monsieur le Ministre,

Dans une depeche adressee le 2 Janvier a Votre Excellence et dont il a communique le duplicata a l'Ambassade notre Consul a Salonique dit que, d'apres ses renseignements, les comites macedoniens auraient resolu de tenter au mois de Mars prochain le soulevement general du pays. Monsieur Steeg, prevoit que, meme si les comitadjis echouaient dans ce plan d'ensemble les troubles locaux , qu' ils reussiraient a causer, compteraient beaucoup plus d'adherents que ceux de l'an dernier et seraient incomparablement plus graves.

Les quelques indices que l'Ambassade a pu recueillir, concordent avec ces previsions de Mr.Steeg. Je puis notamment signaler a Votre Excellence le langage que m'a tenu l'Exarque bulgare quand il est venu me faire visite a l'occasion du jour de l'an. Deja le 4 Novembre, dans ma depeche No.195, j'avais pu indiquer qu'un certain revirement s'etait produit dans les idees de Mr. Joseph; cette foisci, j'ai constate que l'evolution etait complete; aussi bien, lui meme, a pris soin de me le dire... "Jusqu'a maintenant j'avais invariablement soutenu que le seul moyen raisonable et pratique pour aider a la realisation des aspirations bulgares etait la formation de la jeunesse et la propagation de nos sentiments par l'ecole et j'avais toujours condamne, comme insensees, toutes les moindres velleites d'insurrection. Aujourd' hui, je crois que le moment de l'action est venu et que la prudence doit faire place a l'hardiesse. Et l'exarque me laissa assez clairement entendre qu'il appelait de tous ses voeux l'insurrection.

Bien entendu, en public Mr. Joseph tient un tout autre langage et il recommande le calme et la soumission au sultan. J'ai [dans ma depeche no 215 du 29 Novembre] fait incidement allusion a une evengelique qu'il venait d'adresser dans ce sens a son clerge. Mais il est certain maintenant que le mot d'ordre donne en cachette par ce prelat est tout different. Or, en pays d'Orient une inspiration politique venant du chef d'une eglise a sur tous ses coreligionnaires une influence determinante. Si donc d'ici au printemps pour un motif quelconque qui n' existe pas aujourd' hui, une direction opposee ne leur a pas ete donnee par Mr. Joseph, il faut s'attendre a voir tous les tenants de l'Exarchat en Macedoine se lancer unanimement dans l'insurrection.

Constans

2. The Austrian Vice-Consul Ritter von Stepski to the Foreign Minister Count Agenor von Goluchowski

Monastir, January 10th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.1].

Hochgeborener Graf

Am 5. l. Mts. ist in der Leitung der hiesigen, bulgarischen Handels-Agentie ein Wechsel eingetreten.

Der bisherige Agent, Herr P. Mikhailoff, welcher in dieser Eigenschaft seit 2. November 1898 thaetig war, ist abberufen und in den Ruhestand versetzt worden.

Mit seiner Nachfolge -vorderhand als Gerent der Agentie- wurde der fruehere Secretaer der bulgarischen Handels-Vertretung in Salonich, Dr. H. Koluscheff betraut.

Ueber diesen aeusserst schlauen Mann, der unter dem Deckmantel der Humanitaet und politischen Gleichgueltigkeit wohl auch hier die bulgarische Insurections-Bewegung -wenn nicht leiten- so doch nach Moeglichkeit unterstuetzen duerfte, hatte ich, waehrend meiner Gerenz in Salonich des Oeftern zu berichten die Ehre.

Ich gestatte mir, hier auch eine Beobachtung in Erinnerung zu bringen, die Herr General-Consul Hickel anzustellen und anzuberichten Gelegegenheit hatte.

"So oft Herr Koluscheff im Consular-Bezirke Reisen unternommen hatte, wurden, kurz darauf in den von ihm besuchten Ortschaften politische Morde veruebt."

Dass die Thaetigkeit des neuen "Handels" - Agenten nicht zur Beruhigung der hiesigen bulgarophilen Slaven beitragen wird, darf wohl mit ziemlicher Sicherheit vorausgesagt werden.

Die Ernennung Koluscheff's soll, wie ich aus sicherer Quelle erfahre, auf directen Befehl S. H. des Fuersten von Bulgarien erfolgt sein.

Waehrend des verflossenen Herbstes hat Fuerst Ferdinand, Koluscheff des Oeftern zu Sich befohlen und ihn ausgezeichnet.

Das besondere Wohlgefallen Seiner Hoheit soll unter anderem folgende scherzhafte Bemerkung Koluscheffs hervorgerufen haben:

"Der Sultan moege Ferdinand Bey, den Vali von Bulgarien, rasch auch zum Vali von Macedonien bestellen -dann werde daselbst sofort Frieden herrschen."

Stepski

3. The British Consul General Sir Alfred Biliotti

to the British Charge d' Affaires J. B. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, January 26th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.76r-80v, No.20].

Sir,

Two years ago some Greco-Vlachs, i.e. Wallachians who are educated exclusively in Greek schools and embued with Greek ideas, who in some parts speak nothing but Greek, and form, in the Vilayet of Monastir the bulk of the Macedonian Greek population, requested the permission of the Patriarchate to use the Roumanian language in their churches. The Patriarchate refused but the Exarchate acceded to the request, and this false step on the party of the former caused the first split in the Greco-Vlach party by inducing a number of Greco-Vlachs to throw in their lot with the Exarchate.

These new converts were, as is usually the case, more fervent than the Exarchists themselves and bashed by the Committees' bands resorted to intimidation and murder to coarse their compatriots who had remained faithful to the Patriarchate to join them.

One of the first Greco-Vlach villages affected was Oshin in the Caza of Ghevgheli, at the instigation of the Exarchist inhabitants of which two of the most influential Patriarchists were murdered in August last by a Bulgarian band under a certain Giovanni or Yovanoff of Ghevgheli. About three months ago, as I mentioned in my report No. 198 of November 9, 1902, he called at Oshin with his band and that of another leader, Arghiri, turned out at the Greek schoolmasters, appointed Roumanians (non-Bulgarian-speaking) and tried to induce the Orthodox priests to turn Exarchists, but failing in this they insisted on their reading the liturgy in Roumanian. On the priests' pleading ignorance of the language Yovanoff gave them six months to learn it.

Since their other chiefs have joined Yovanoff and Arghiri, viz. Pavlo, who died lately, Athanassi, Karadouka, and Apostoli, but the men under them do not exceed forty, a number which may, however, be increased at any time by recruits from among the natives.

These chiefs have continued the system initiated at Oshin, at Koupa, Houma, Longountza, and Loubnitsa, neighbouring villages of Ghevgheli, where also the Patriarchists are in the majority. In the village of Ghera Kortzi, where they form the minority, one of the most influential among them was murdered in broad day light while working in his field by a Bulgarian band some three weeks ago for refusing to recant. Papa Nicola, Orthodox priest of Livadi, another Greco-Vlach village some five hours distance from Goumendje is being threatened with death for remaining Patriarchist and if he is murdered the whole village will join the Exarchate from fear.

Meanwhile the forty men forming these Bulgarian bands live at the expense and in the houses of the Orthodox (or Roum, as they are officially termed, whether Greeks or Vlachs, in contradiction to the Exarchists), and no longer of the Bulgarian peasants, thus shifting the onus of supposed complicity from the latter to the former, as reported in one of my previous despatches.

The villages in the southwestern district of Ghevgheli, Gorpop, Boemitza, Bogdanza, Bores (or Bogros), Stoyakovo, Matchoukovo etc. are only in part Exarchist but the villages of Yenidje Vardar, Kriva, Barovitza, Tchernareka, Petges, Ramna, Petrovo with Cofalia (or Corfali) in Salonica are entirely Orthodox. None of these are, however, being pressed just now by the bands to join the Exarchate nor to dismiss their Greek schoolmasters but they have been warned to hold themselves ready to take up arms when ordered to do so in a few months. In the meantime they are threatened with death if they should denounce the bands, for whose reception they are ordered to have a house and provisions in constant readiness.

All these details some of which I have already had the honour of reporting, e.g. the payment of the taxes to the Committees agents and not to Government, the submittal of cases to the Committees representatives and not to the local tribunals, the rape of Dimitris' daughter at Moouin for her father's refusal to join the bands and (as I did not know at the time) the exaction from him of twenty five pounds, have only lately come to light. The poor wretches, who suffered, being afraid to even visit Salonica for fear of being suspected of having come to denounce their oppressors and only lately have a few dared to come secretly and, explaining their position, enquire what they can do for themselves or what can can be done for them. They trembled lest the bands should discover what would assuredly cost them their lives.

The Vali himself is at a loss how to relieve the Patriarchists. He told me a fortnight ago that he had summoned the Kaimakams of Ghevgheli and Yenidje Vardar and secretly arranged with them to invest all the villages mentioned above on a given day and in case of need to repeat the operation until successful, and also to send out flying columns. But nothing has been done, nor do I anticipate any very brilland result from such a plan even if carried out properly and thoroughly with the strong force required since many of the Komitajis are villagers against whom it would be difficult to prove anything, while the strangers have secured themselves against denunciation by the terrorism which they have established, and would succeed in slipping through the lines.

Want of foresight on the part of the Government has, I fear, allowed matters to go too far for any remedy to be easily discoverable. The late Halil Rifaat Pasha was induced by the dread of an "atrocities outcry", which has after all been raised, to allow the small minority of new-made Exarchists to share the Churches of the Patriarchists, who naturally regarded them as schismatics and to use the Bulgarian Liturgy -or to cause the closure of the Churches for months, thus depriving their original proprietors of the means of fulfilling their religious duties, even on such holidays as Christmas and Easter. The support thus given to the Exarchists was the more regrettable that it encouraged the revolutionary Committees to attain their end by assassinating the priests whom they could not bribe and the notables whom they could not coerce.

I frequently called the successive Valis' attention to this policy as detrimental to the interests of their Government, but in answer they all said that they were acting orders from the Porte which they could not disregard.

The only other band which is known to exist in this Vilayet is that of Alexis of Poroia. The daring which prompted his attempt on the train (as reported in my despatch No. 13 of the 17 inst.) near the station of Poroia proves how far the bands have established themselves or, at least, how inadequate are the means employed by the local authorities hitherto in coping with them.

The sufferings of the Greeks, described above, extend also to those Bulgarians and Vlachs who are Patriarchists and can only be remedied by the extermination of the few now existing bands, which if not destroyed will form the nucleus of larger bands in the spring. Only exceptionally severe and thorough measures can effect this and only the appointment of the most trustworthy officers for the work can prevent an "atrocities outcry".

Biliottis

4. A. Biliotti to J. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, January 31st, 1903

 

[F.O.195/2156, ff.92v-97r].

...The same European, whom I mentioned above, said: "The disturbances began with the murder at Serbinovo of ten taxcollectors etc. from Kroupnik... where (i.e. Serbinovo) a fight ensued, the most serious in Djouma Bala, during which one hundred Bulgarians and fifty Turks were killed. Though the Bulgarians did their best to rouse the Moslems to outrage they failed... The majority of the peasants returning from their flight to Bulgaria, willingly surrender their arms, the others are beaten until they do."(No. 190 of Nov. 19).Not a word about rapes and not only this, but rapes were said to have been committed at the beginning of December by soldiers in the Caza of Stroumnitza were stoutly denied by Bulgarians, who had come purposely to complain of beating and looting on the part of the troops, and in order to supply this unexpected deficiency the ringleaders had to take up the case of a girl who was carried off by a certain Hassan and of a married woman of doubtful character, who was ravished four months ago by a Bey, who subsequently indemnified her.

...Another statement made by all the deponents in Sofia, viz. that they possessed no arms and that they were obliged to buy rifles at very high prices to surrender to the Turks, is not in accordance with the fact that in Djouma Bala and Menslik alone fifteen hundred were collected. A certain number were given up voluntarily, but the great majority of peasants had to be more or less ill-treated before they dared part with their weapons. For, as the Bulgarians from Stroumnitza declared to me (v. No. 225 of Dec. 28), "the peasants are in a terrible dilemma, for if they do not give up their arms they are excessively beaten, and if they give them up without being beaten they are murdered by the Committees." Everybody, of course, both here and in Bulgaria -the local as well as foreign authorities and the public- knows that very large quantities of arms and ammunition supplied by the Committees were and still are in the possession of the Bulgarian peasants.

With reference to the last paragraph but one in Mr. Elliots' despatch No. 195 of the 23rd ultimo to His Majesty's Secretary of State, Mr. Acting Vice Consul Theodorides reports "Le bruit que les Turcs poussent les habitants de ce district (i.e. Razlog) a emigrer vers le Sud n'a pas de fondement. Au point de l'emigration je dois ajouter que plus de six cent personnes de Razlog munies de passeports reguliers se sont rendues en Bulgarie avant les derniers evenements." This emigration of sixhundred natives at that time of year before the Turks began their search for arms proves that they were either warned of, or anticipated, the trouble which the Committees brought on the province. And the following extract from a letter from the best possible source confirms this view: "Razlog is Centralist and kept quiet when the Vurhovists rose in Djoumai district. This angered the Vurhovists and they sent bands over just at the beginning of winter to shed blood and get the Razlog Bulgarians into trouble. The coming of these bands convinced the Turks that Razlog is in the Committees business and they began the search for arms. The district is so remote that the Turks had no thought that what they were doing would reach the outer world and so made no particular effort at self control. My impression of the depositions of the witnesses you examined is that they told the truth as to their personal experiences. But the women may have exaggerated in one or two cases in telling what happened to men. All of them evaded or lied as to who instigated them to come. This arouses the suspicion that their coming here was arranged by the Committee."

Biliottis

5 A. Biliotti to J. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, February 5th, 1903

[F.O. 195/2156, f.131r, No.28].

...On January 26 a letter was seized on a schoolboy called Adjacoff travelling from Resna to Monastir, addressed to Paraskeff Sfetkoff, a former lieutenant in the Bulgarian army and only just come as schoolmaster to Monastir by L. Groourtzeff, director of the Bulgarian school and head of the Committee at Resna, the contents of which proved Sfetkoff to be the chief of the Committee at Monastir. It made several suggestions with reference to the employment of certain people as committee agents, among them the family of Hololtzeff. Biliottis

6 A. Biliotti to J. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, February 14th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.140r-142r, No.33].

Sir,

In dealing with the alleged Turkish atrocities in Djouma Bala, Menlik and Razlog, I have hitherto abstained from expressing any opinion on them contenting myself with collating the different sources of information at my disposal and remarking on the discrepancies and other details which it would have been impossible for anyone to grasp readily by merely reading the numerous papers on the subject. I consider myself, however, in duty bound to state my own personal view of the matter.

That the publication of the atrocities alleged to have taken place lately in Macedonia is a newspaper campaign with the object of rousing Europe to intervene actively in favour of the Bulgarians, is, I believe, denied by noone, not even by the interested parties and, since the more public opinion is stirred the more chance there is for the agitators' attainment of their ends, no pains are spared in working up comparatively trifling incidents and opportune rumours into really sensational stories while, as I pointed out in a previous despatch, the principle that to make the world believe one fact five must be stated is rigidly adhered to.

In a word the Bulgarians are doing what others have done before and what others will do after them in a struggle for national emancipation and no more reproach attaches to them than to their predecessors. Noone can blame them for playing upon the emotions of Europe, especially since their statements will be received with the caution due to the utterances of one of two sides. But the case assumes a different aspect when individuals supposed to be impartial critics, in their desire to render a service to an oppressed race by the publication of sensational articles, pick up all the rumours spread abroad, without regard to the facts which they have neither the means nor the leisure to ascertain and go even beyond those whom they aim at assisting without taking into account the possible fatal effects of their line of action on, if not all the Christian races of this part of Turkey, at least for the greater part of them, Greeks, Vlachs, Servians.

The Macedonian question (as a Jewish banker remarked to me the other day) was raised on behalf of all the Christians inhabiting that country -and ought in fairness to include the Moslems, who have as much to put up with- but has gradually been allowed to assume the complexion of a purely Bulgarian concern in no way affecting the other Christians, who -and this is a fact not taken into consideration in Europe- are at the present moment suffering infinitely more from the action of the Committees than from that of the Turkish authorities, on the population. Putting aside, then the atrocities which are alleged by the Bulgarians and their friends to have been committed it is, I think, a fair conclusion to arrive at, that the excesses which the troops etc. and the Moslem villages committed in spite of the earnest endeavours which their officers and the civil authorities undoubtedly made to restrain them, were perhaps more serious than those which would have occurred under the circumstances in Europe, but that they were by no means as serious as they appear generally to have been supposed to be.

Even admitting this, are the Turks to take their cue from the atrocity mongers and, in order to avoid every semblance of excess to abstain from measures calculated to repress revolution? Evidently not, and I would, therefore, suggest that the military attaches of the foreign powers should accompany the headquarters staff on the frontier with the double object of acting as a restraint on the Turks and of testifying to the truth, next time the latter have to act against the Bulgarians, as may occur very shortly.

Biliottis

7 The Austrian Consul General Richard Hickel to A. Goluchowski

Thessaloniki, February 21st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Thessaloniki 1903, vol.407, No.7, strictly confidential].

...Was die bulgarische Agitation anbelangt, kann ich meine im vorjaehrigen Berichte ausgesprochenen Behauptungen nur vollinhaltlich aufrechthalten, naemlich dass die hierlaendische macedono-bulgarische Dorfbewohnerschaft keineswegs aus eigener Initiative umsturzluestern und von hochfliegenden politischen Idealen beseelt und hingerissen ist, sondern von Connationalen und Stammesbruedern aus dem Fuerstentume herueber nur mit grosser muehevoller Beharrlichkeit und mit Terrorismus schwer genug aufgewiegelt und enrolirt wird. Das soll ja der im Oktober vor. Js. als Fuehrer von Banden vielgenannte "Oberst Jankov" in einem unlaengst in Sophia gehaltenen Vortrage selbst bestaetigt haben.

Die Organisation der Banden-Wirtschaft aber hat allerdings seither nicht unwichtige Fortschritte gemacht, und ist dementsprechend gefaehrlicher, jedoch auch fuer Repressivmassregeln unfassbarer geworden. Aus verschiedenartigen Nachrichten und Anzeichen ist zu entnehmen, dass die frueheren, der Mehrzahl ihrer Theilnehmer nach aus Bulgarien ueber die Grenze gekommenen Banden nicht mehr ebenso geschlossen beisammen blieben, sondern sich in die Ortschaften mehr und mehr vertheilt haben, indem die Mitglieder als Agitatoren und Chefs fuer die in den Ortschaften selbst dem Geheimbund angegliederten Localcomite's, welche nur wenige Mann ausuebender Anhaenger zaehlen (etwa 8-20 und mehr), fungiren. Diese Localcomite's stehen untereinander wahrscheinlich districtweise in Verbindung, halten haeufig naechtliche Zusammenkuenfte und bewaffnete Exercitien ab, und entziehen sich jeder Nachforschung oder Ueberraschung dadurch, dass sie bei Tage ihren gewoehnlichen Beschaeftigungen nachgehen. Ihr Zusammenhalten und die Wahrung des heimlichen Treibens ist lediglich nur das Resultat des systematisch von den wie frueher ambulanten Banden ausgeuebten Terrorismus, deren unbekannte, aber diesseits jedenfalls unter den exarchistischen Bischoefen, Geistlichen, Lehrern u.s.w. zu suchende Mandanten einen regelrechten Polizeiorganismus eingerichtet haben, und mit furchtbarem Ernst die jeweils verhaengten Strafen durchfuehren zu lassen verstehen. Man sagt mir, dass ein Uebermass im Genuss von geistigen Getraenken, welches dem Betreffenden die Zunge loesen koennte, beim ersten Betretungsfalle mit einer Anzahl von Hieben bestraft wird; im Wiederholungsfalle ist der Verwarnte schon dem sicheren Tode geweiht. Ueberhaupt wird jeder Fall von Verrat, sei es durch Anzeige an die Behoerden, oder sonstwie, er moege von wem immer begangen worden sein, unnachsichtlich mit dem Tode geahndet, und diess erklaert einerseits die sich wieder haeufenden Faelle von mysterioesen Morden an Mitbewohnern, andererseits die Hehlerschaft der an dem Geheimbunde Nicht-Betheiligten, wozu sogar nunmehr selbst die im Lande begueterten tuerkischen Bey's und sonstigen Tschiftlykbesitzer gezwungen sein sollen. Der herrschende Zustand erinnert durchaus an die beruechtigte "Maffia", und wie es den Anschein hat, ist dieses System in weit reichender Entwicklung im Innern des Landes, nun auch schon bis nahe an Salonich gediehen. Durchaus zutreffend wendete mir gegenueber der Generalgouverneur wiederholt diesbezueglich das kernige tuerkische Wort an: "guenduez kuelahlue, getsche silahlue", um die Schwierigkeit der Ausforschung zu kennzeichnen, was wegen des Wortspieles in "kuelah" nur unzulaenglich uebersetzt lauten wuerde: "bei Tage mit unauffaelliger Kopfbedeckung, bei Nacht zu unheimlicher That bewaffnet".

Nur ganz kurz moegen an dieser Stelle die am haeufigsten angewendeten Mittel skizzirt sein, mit welchen die ambulanten Banden die Theilnahme der laendlichen Bewohnerschaft erpressen, gleichviel ob sie sich zum Patriarchismus oder Exarchismus bekennt. In die Doerfer kommen mehr oder minder zahlreiche Organe von bereits bestehenden Comite's und lassen, nachdem die Gemueter durch Ueberredung, meist jedoch durch fuerchterliche Drohungen mit Ermordung, Einaescherung u.s.w. fuer das politische Ideal der Befreiung Macedoniens genuegend vorbereitet sind, die Bauern ganz theatralisch die Hand auf ein schwarzes Kreuz und einen Revolver legen und schwoeren, dass sie am naechsten Aufstande Theil nehmen werden. Hie und da wird ihnen sogar gesagt, dass es "dem Comite" gleichgiltig bleibe, ob sie sich auch fernerhin zum Patriarchismus bekennen wollen oder nicht, viel haeufiger jedoch geht damit auch der Zwang Hand in Hand, sich zum Exarchismus zu bekennen. Diese Propaganda ist bereits soweit vorgeschritten, dass die bisherigen Patriarchisten von Gumendsche, Gevgelue, Jenidsche-Vardar bis nach Vodena und Karaferia derart eingeschuechtert sind, dass sie ueber derlei Vorkommnisse selbst den patriarchistischen Bischoefen und dem hiesigen griechischen Generalconsul auf Befragen keine aufrichtige Antwort mehr geben, und sichtlich aus Furcht vor Racheakten wegen Verrat ausweichend angeben, sie haetten sich nicht zu beklagen und seien ganz zufrieden. Trotzdem ist es notorisch, dass sie nur unter moralischem Zwange aussagen, und desshalb befuerchten die eben genannten kirchlichen Funktionaere den successive fortschreitenden Abfall vom Patriarchismus, wodurch die thatsaechlichen Nationalitaetsziffern total entstellt zu werden drohen, da ja heirzulande mit dem Konfessionswechsel stets die Entnationalisirung parallel geht.

Ferner werden sodann den Bauern Contributionen auferlegt; naemlich Mehl u. gesalzenes Fleisch muss in die Gebirge gebracht und dort verborgen werden, da damit beim naechsten Aufstande die Approvisionirung vorbereitet wird; ebenso werden die Bauern gezwungen, dem Comite per Kopf und Monat je einen Piaster Abgabe zu entrichten; diese Contributionen werden durch den oben erwaehnten Polizeiorganismus strenge eingetrieben, und die Bauern muessen sich fuegen, ob Exarchisten oder Patriarchisten, denn jede Auflehnung wird frueher oder spaeter geraecht. So ist es denn begreiflich, dass die Propaganda thatsaechlich fortgeschritten ist, keineswegs aber durch allgemein freiwilliges Anschliessen der hiesigen bulgarischen Bevoelkerung.

...Meine Aufgabe kann es natuerlich nicht sein mich darueber auszusprechen, welches Mass von Verantwortlichkeit die fuerstlich bulgarische Regierung fuer die Fortentwicklung des von der Tagesordnung wahrscheinlich ueberhaupt nicht mehr abzusetzenden Problemes treffen muss. Aber ich halte es fuer meine Pflicht an dieser Stelle die Thaetigkeit und Haltung der "bulgarischen Handelsagenten" in Salonich, Serres und Monastir zu beleuchten. Hier herrscht in allen Kreisen, welche nicht mit den bulgarischen Machinationen sympathisiren, sondern die Lage unparteiischen Blickes zu pruefen im Stande sind, nur die Eine Ueberzeugung, dass die "bulgarischen Handelsagenten" die ruehrigsten Emissaerdienste im Interesse der bulgarischen Comite's bethaetigen, also unter dem Schutze und Deckmantel amtlicher Autoritaet, -denn beim Volke gelten sie als' Consulate- die Angelpunkte des Verkehres der Comite's untereinander und offenbar auch mit der fuerstlich bulgarischen Regierung sind. An ihrer Spitze steht der Agent in Salonich, Herr Schopoff, welcher den gegenwaertigen Agenten in Monastir, Herrn Koluscheff frueher als langjaehrigen "Secretaer" herangebildet hat; der fruehere Agent in Monastir, Herr Stoeff, hatte sich noch nicht als genuegend tuechtig und zu wenig schneidig erwiesen, darum wurde er vor kurzer Zeit hieher, im Austausch mit Koluscheff, als "Secretaer" berufen; in Serres fungirt als "Agent" Herr Jurukow, welcher seit der vorjaehrigen Affaire trotz des anfangs kraeftigen Auftretens der tuerkischen Regierungsorgane in Amt und Wuerde wieder eingesetzt wurde.

Von diesem letzteren ruehrt ein Ausspurch her, (dem serbischen Generalconsul gegenueber vertraulich gemacht, als ihn dieser nach den Verhaeltnissen in Serres befragte), welcher die Situation allerdings frappant zeichnet, und uebersetzt lauten wuerde: "die Tuerken haben den Tag, wir aber die Nacht; den Tuerken lassen wir das Thal, uns bleiben die Berge."

Alle diese "Handelsagenten" betreiben sichtlich rein nur politische Agitation; sie dirigiren und redigiren die Beschwerden, welche dem Vali von bestellten Delegirten, sowie anonym in Abschrift bei den hiesigen ConsularVertretungen am Thor abgegeben werden. Allerdings machen sie, insbesondere Herr Schopoff, dieses Alles mit so grosser Geschicklichkeit, dass es unmoeglich waere, gegen sie behufs formeller Anklage sachliche Nachweise zu erbringen. Aber dass seit ihrem Auftauchen im Jahre 1897-1898, resp. ihrer Zulassung durch die tuerkische Regierung, die hierlaendischen Agitationen in zielbewusste Bahnen gelenkt wurden, ist mir selbst von meinem frueheren russischen Collegen, dem vom Dienste zurueckgetretenen Generalconsul Ilarionow, wiederholt bestaetigt worden. Man geht mit der Annahme sicherlich nicht zu weit, dass ein grosser Theil der falschen und uebertriebenen Informationen, welche in die europaeische Presse uebergehen, auf die Informationen Herrn Schopoff's zurueckzufuehren sein mag.

Die Beleuchtung des Treibens dieser Herren erscheint mir insbesondere desshalb wichtig, weil offenkundig einige der hiesigen fremden Vertreter, namentlich der franzoesische Consul, Herr L. Steeg, sowie unter anderen Franzosen, welche an Journale Correspondenzen vermitteln, der Lehrer Mothu, betreffs ihrer Informationen in eine gewisse Abhaengigkeit vom bulgarischen Vertreter gekommen sind, welche in den hiesigen tuerkischen Kreisen sehr wol bekannt ist, besonders seit Erscheinen der Artikel im "Matin", "Temps", u.s.w. nebst Auszuegen aus dem "Livre jaune", die hier natuerlich beharrlich confiscirt werden. Als Curiosum moege auch Erwaehnung finden, dass die Reformvorschlaege, welche Herr Steeg in einem Berichte aufgezaehlt haben soll, textlich einem Operate des grossbritannischen Generalconsuls, Sir A. Biliotti, entlehnt sind. Biliotti hatte sich ebenfalls erst seit einigen Monaten davon ueberzeugt, dass die Informationen Schopoff's einer ganz energischen Censur beduerfen, seitdem er selbst Delegierte der beschwerdefuehrenden Ortschaften des Kaza's Strumnica u.a., welche ihm von Schopoff zugeschickt worden waren, persoenlich ausgefragt hat, u.z. unter Zuziehung eines Arztes, welcher die angeblichen Wunden als Contusionen und Folgespuren von Pruegeleien nicht mehr erkannt hatte. -Ferner hat man tuerkischer Seits allen Grund, den im vorigen Juli erfolgten Wechsel in der Leitung des russischen Generalconsulates zu bedauern, da der neue Titulaer, A. de Giers, einer bedeutend weniger unparteiischen Haltung sich befleisst, als sein Vorgaenger.

Hickel

8 A. Biliotti to J. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, February 24th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.146r-146v, No.43].

Sir,

Mr. Acting Vice Consul Theodorides reports that the inhabitants of the large village of Vrondou and of other villages of the Caza of Serres are being threatened and cajoled by Bulgarian bands into leaving their homes for the mountains, and that several families have already left for fear of emergencies and gone South, not North as the bands would wish.

News of a similar nature has reached Mr. Theodorides concerning other parts of the Mutessariflik and he is of opinion that serious events may be expected shortly, especially as the authorities are taking no administrative measures but rely solely on their military forces.

Biliottis

9 A. Biliotti to J. Whitehead

Thessaloniki, February 25th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.178r-180r, No.44].

Sir,

There is very little doubt, that an insurrectional movement of some sort against the Government will take place this spring in Macedonia and the only question then is how far the movement will spread and what importance will it assume.

As things are now, that is with the bands already existing here and those crossing the frontier against the real wish of Bulgaria, and meeting with a more or less cordial reception from part of the Exarchists in Macedonia it seems hardly likely that the rising can become general.

It is more than doubtful whether the bands will induce any great percentage of the population to take up arms willingly or unwillingly in their favour.

Although, besides the encounters which may be expected to occur along the frontier, where the population has been exasperated by the illtreatment it suffered recently during the Turkish search for arms, and which small parties of armed men may cross in spite of the utmost endeavours on both sides to prevent them, a more determined effort against the Government may be made in some inland centres, such as those of Stroumnitza and Kilkish in this Vilayet and in some Cazas of the Vilayet of Monastir, yet the bands, wellorganized and numerous as they are, cannot exert the pressure on the peasantry as a whole necessary to force it to rise with them, for the latter would require some assurance of subsequent protection from retribution on the part of the Government, an assurance which can only come from without. The movement in the other parts of these Vilayets and in that of Uskub will in all probability be limited to individual and spasmodic efforts.

The new tactic which I hear the bands are about to employ with regard to inland districts where flight to the mountains is difficult namely that of scouring the villages and forcing all the able-bodied men, whether Bulgarians, Greeks, Servians or Vlachs, to follow them will add to their numbers, but they will be leading a host of unwilling victims to the slaughter -which will however, have the great advantage of giving the movement the semblance in the eyes of Europe of an uprising of the Christian population against the Government.

One thing is certain: the larger the band, the less mobile and the more easy to exterminate will it be, whereas guerillas would keep the country in unrest and be very difficult to cope with.

The real danger in my humble opinion is that the Committees may organize a series of incidents, murder etc. to take place simultaneously throughout the whole of the three vilayets, not excepting but rather especially in the capitals and larger towns, with a view to showing that the country is a prey to anarchy and with the object of provoking a panic with its usual disastrous results.

I had the opportunity of witnessing panics in Crete and nobody who has not seen one can imagine, how little it takes to raise one, how much to allay it (if allayed it can be) , and what farreaching consequences it can have.

I thought it my duty to warn the Vali of this possibility in order that he may not be taken unaware, and I have since been confirmed in my expectation by the news given me today, that among a number of plans devised for creating a panic, it is arranged that the Bulgarians of some neighbouring farms shall in case a foreign warship appears in the harbour, rush down shouting wildly that massacres have begun in the interior. This together with the murder of a handful of peasants would produce a very appreciable panic.

I do not wish to prophesy, but I thought it right to let you know the course into which events may drift.

Biliottis

10 A. Biliotti to the British Ambassador Sir Nicholas R. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, March 9th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.215v-216r, 217r-219r, No.53].

...Mr. Pissurica has, ever since the transfer of the British Vice Consulate from Monastir to Uskub, reported freely and with what I consider commendable impartiality on current events in the Vilayet of Monastir, as he would not have dared to do had he not felt himself completely assured against attacks by his position as a British Dragoman -in which capacity he has acted in reality though not in name as a Vice Consul or Consular Agent.

But the bands have grown so bold owing to the abject terror into which they have succeeded in plunging the populations of Macedonia, that they now actually dare to turn their attention to Consular officials who have in execution of their duty reported facts, damaging to the Committees, as they really were -without favour or prejudicewhich Mr. Pissurica has fear as his reports on misdeeds by Moslems and Bulgarians alike show.

...In my despatch No. 6 Confidential of February 4, 1900, of which I enclose a copy, and No. 18 Confidential of February 24, of which I enclose extracts -to which I would particularly refer Your Excellency- I gave a sketch of the condition, in which Macedonia was at that moment, and of the work done by the so called Commercial Agents of Bulgaria, adding a forecast of what the situation would develop into in this and the neighbouring vilayets, if no means were taken to check the system of terrorism, which had already been inaugurated by the Bulgarian bands and which was causing a state of insecurity of which even the Moslems were complaining.

The Russian Ambassador's scathing criticism of these Commercial Agents, as reported by Your Excellency a year later in your despatch of February 23, 1901, is a strong corroboration of the statements contained in my reports, and I would draw your Excellency's attention to the striking coincidence between what I said in the former concerning the Bulgarian Secretary, Mr. Koloucheff, and the fact that Mr. Pissurica is threatened a month or two after Mr. Koloucheff is appointed Bulgarian agent at Monastir.

I stand by every word I wrote three years ago concerning the complicity of the Bulgarian Commercial Agents in Macedonia in the doings of the Committees -a complicity which if it has altered at all has altered only in the sense of affording yet greater encouragement to the bands, and it therefore lies with Your Excellency to decide whether rendering the Bulgarian Government and its agents responsible for the safety of Mr. Pissurica, and other British officials who may incur the displeasure of the Committees will tend to their greater security. It is quite beyond my power to make any suggestion as to any efficacious means of protecting Mr. Pissurica against the execution of the threat conveyed to him by Daniel Rizoff other than his removal from Macedonia.

In any case since, as I understand, Mr. McGregor has been appointed Vice Consul at Monastir and is about to proceed to his post, I would beg Your Excellency, before he does so, to instruct him as to the protection he should give or cause to be given to Mr. Pissurica. But I have little doubt that any measure directed against an individual Komitaji or a band would only accelerate the carrying out of the threat made against him.

Now that the bands have begun intimidating those who are bold enough to report against them, I fear that Mr. Theodorides, acting (and unpaid) Vice Consul at Serres, who has done his duty with as much energy, impartiality and ability as Mr. Pissurica, may be the next official to attract their attention, or that of the Commercial Agents or of whoever may be their directing genious. And my anxiety is based on the fact that, ever since the lowering of the Bulgarian flag etc. at Serres, Mr. Theodorides has been an object of special aversion to Mr. Schopoff, who (as I reported in my despatch No. 130 of August 2, 1902), bears him a grudge founded on idle gossip and street scandal. Mr. Schopoff has of late been indulging again in bitter and intemperate remarks against Mr. Theodorides for statements published lately in the Blue Book.

Nor in my opinion will Mr. Theodorides be the last of native Consular Servants to be threatened, unless some very energetic steps are taken not only to protect Mr. Pissurica, but also to stop Bulgarian Commercial Agents from criticizing them in a manner likely (this not intended) to provoke the hostility of the Committees against them.

I cannot abstain, before ending this despatch, from pointing out how exactly events have turned out as I anticipated in my despatches of February 6 and 24, 1900 how the bands have since then rendered life in the three Vilayets impossible to the inhabitants and how they are beginning now to attempt to make it so for Consuls, who do not abstain from reporting Bulgarian intrigues etc. as they see them to be.

Biliottis

 

A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, February 4th, 1900

[Attached to report No.10, ff.220r-221r].

Sir,

In returning to Your Excellency the copy of a despatch addressed by Mr. Elliot to the Marquis of Salisbury concerning the activity of the Macedonian Committee, I have the honour to point out, that all my reports and those of Mr. Vice Consul Fontana point to the same conclusion, as that come to by Her Majesty's representative at Sofia, viz. that Macedonia is at present in an unusually disturbed condition consequent on Bulgarian political intrigues, which mostly take the form of murders and armed attacks and have as object the terrorizing of Christians of other races. All the Bulgarian schoolmasters, and they are to be found everywhere, are members, and frequently as reported, the death-bearing agents of the Committees. They are apprehended where unavoidable, but for some reason or other they are, to my knowledge, not punished.

The Bulgarian authorities in Macedonia appear to command large sums of money and some of the Turkish functionaries are devoted to their cause, while it is said, that bribery is rife in the highest official quarters of the Vilayet. According to all I hear, the recall of the Caimakam of Ghevgheli, who gives them unbounded support, would much tend to restore confidence among the other Christian races of that district.

The so-called Bulgarian Commercial Agents are nothing but central Committees the chief of which is at Salonica. I have heard since my arrival here, but have hitherto refrained from reporting the rumour that political murders by Bulgarians, almost unknown till three years ago, date from the appointment of that time of Mr. Schopoff to the post of Commercial Agent in this Vilayet, and have during the last two years greatly increased.

It has also often been pointed out to me, that Mr. Schopoff's Secretary is frequently travelling about in the Vilayet and that his itinerary can be traced by the murders and other disturbances which follow in his wake in different districts.

I beg to call Your Excellency's especial attention to the incident reported in my immediately preceding despatch, which allowed to pursue its present course will form a precedent enabling the Bulgarians to carry out their political intrigues and sit the whole of this and neighbouring vilayet ablaze at their will. Hitherto they have been terrorizing the populations, now they have taken to terrorizing such of the Turkish authorities, as dare to oppose them -and Turkish opposition is growing steadily weaker in consequence of the reasons mentioned in my despatch No. 3. They are thus armed with a two edged sword and perfect masters of the situation. I consider very opportune the incident of Mehmed Pasha and the Bulgarians, whom he arrested -as having forced them to unmask their batteries, long perhaps before they were ready all along the line.

The Powers are thus given time to devise some measure for checking Bulgarian propensities. But if this timely warning is neglected, the consequences may be most serious for the tranquillity of Macedonia in the coming spring.

Biliottis

11 A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, March 11, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.224r-224v, No.54].

 

...The Committees have doubtless a political object, be it autonomy or annexation, and their leaders may be men of highest motives, but among those affiliated to their bands there are a great number of mere brigands whose only object is perpetrating murders etc. is their own personal gain. But whatever the motives each party has one and the same object in view, to keep the country in disorder and oppose by all means the introduction of any measure which could calm it. Had their object been the amelioration of the condition of the native Christians they would have tried to induce them from the beginning to join the movement and not have murdered and otherwise ill-treated them as they have done. And so deep rooted is the dislike of the non-Bulgarians of the bands, that notwithstanding their desertation of Turkish rule, the latter will not side with them although they suffer much for not doing so.

And -be it noticed- even now that the Committees are attempting to attract Greeks, Serbs and Vlachs to themselves by promises of better things, the improvement they say they are working for is not reform but always the supersession of the Turk.

Biliottis

12 The Austrian Consul August Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, March 11th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.22].

...Die Gelderpressungen vollfuehrt das Comite mit unbeschreiblicher Kuehnheit bei Bulgaren, Griechen, Walachen, bei Christen und Mohammedanern. Den Christen droht im Falle des Nichtzahlens Ermordung, den reichen, gutbewachten und bewaffneten mohammedanischen Gutsbesitzern Brand ihrer Landgueter. Bei Geldeintreibung machen die Comite's unter den Christen schon deswegen keinen Unterschied, weil sie behaupten, ihre Bemuehungen seien auf Verbesserung des Looses saemmtlicher Christen in Macedonien gerichtet. Die Hoehe der zu fordernden Geldsumme wird in Anbetracht der Vermoegensund Einkommensverhaeltnisse des Einzelnen genau erwogen, doch laesst das Comite in beruecksichtigungswuerdigen Faellen mit sich reden. Weniger bemittelten Leuten wird manchmal selbst die Haelfte nachgelassen, vermoegenden nichts. Das Ausmass der Beitragsleistung bewegt sich zwischen 5 und 100 Ltq, selten mehr. Im Kreise Perlepe, wo die Mohammedaner in Minoritaet sind, soll fast ein jeder Aga gezahlt haben, desgleichen die meisten Griechen (resp. Walachen) Monastirs und der walachischen Doerfer wie Gopes, Mollovista, Tirnovo, Krusevo u.s.w.

Sogar eine Anzahl von Haeusern dieser nichtbulgarischen Staedchen ist -meist wohl durch Drohung- den Comite's gewonnen worden, da dieselben in jenen wichtigen und von den Tuerken weniger verdaechtigen Ortschaften ein pied-a-terre benoetigten.

...Die fortgesetzten, noch nie mit solchem Hochdruck wie gegenwaertig ausgefuehrten Erpressungen haben die Beunruhigung unter der nicht bulgarischen, namentlich der griechischen Bevoelkerung auf einen hohen Grad gesteigert, Alles schwebt in Furcht, Niemand wagt Widerstand. Gerade waehrend dieser Schreckenswirtschaft fuehlt ein Jeder doppelt die Schutzlosigkeit, welcher er durch die Unfaehigkeit, Schwaeche und Corruptheit der tuerkischen Regierung ausgesetzt ist. Die Sehnsucht nach Ordnung dieser unertraeglichen Zustaende und einer neuen starken Regierung wird immer brennender, und -wie ich schon oefter zu behaupten die Ehre hatte, man will gar keine Reformen, keine Autonomie oder was immer; die Majoritaet der Macedonier wuenscht sich nichts Anderes als -ich bitte um Verzeihung ob meiner Aufrichtigkeit- das Schicksal von Bosnien.

Die Strafexecutionen fahren fort, ein staendiges Kapitel in der Bandenthaetigkeit zu bilden, und waeren aus den letzten 14 Tagen zu erwaehnen die Rachemorde am griechischen Priester von Zelenic, am Lehrer von Strebeno, einem griechischen Parteigaenger aus Ajtos (saemmtlich im Kaza Florina), am serbischen Priester von Vrbjani und einem albanesischen Grundbesitzer aus Lenista (Kaza Perlepe), welchem der Hals durchschnitten wurde. Insbesondere das Verbrechen von Vrbjani hat Aufsehen erregt, weil schon zwei Jahre lang kein Attentat der Bulgaren gegen Serben zu verzeichnen war, und die Serbophilen sich den Banden nie gegnerisch erwiesen haben. Die Moerder waren -wie der serbische Generalconsul durch persoenliche Nachforschung an Ort und Stelle feststellte- drei, jetzt fluechtige Bewohner des Dorfes (darunter Einer ein langjaehriger Freund des Priesters), die den Mord als eine Art Aufnahmspruefung in das Comite zu vollfuehren gezwungen worden waren.

Kral

13 [AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.31, ff.214v-215r, "Rapport confidentiel d' un agent secret envoye en Macedoine pour sonder les dispositions de Sarafoff et des comites macedoniens", attached to report No.25, submitted by the French Consul in Vienna, Marquis de Reverseaux, on March 6th, 1903].

...Presque tout l'element intelligent de la Bulgarie professeurs, employes, officiers- est macedonien et que son irritation peut amener a des exces en Bulgarie meme.

Actuellement, l'explosion de ce mecontentement est retenu par l'espoir que, lorsque le premier appel des revolutionnaires se faira entendre en Macedoine, le Prince n'osera pas resister a ce sentiment populaire, et que, au lieu de permettre la rupture, de tous les liens de discipline et du pouvoir d'etat, il preferera ecouter son peuple plutot que les Puissannces, car il ne consentira pas a etre renverse , victime de la desillusion qui s'emparerait de tous les cercles bulgares.

 

14 The French Vice-Consul Max Gauthier to J. Constans

Monastir, March 15th, 1903

[AMAE/NSTurquie-Macedoine, vol.32, f.22, No.56].

...Plusieurs grecs a Monastir meme, ont ete invites par le comite a lui verser de fortes contributions faute de quoi ils savent quel sort leur est reserve (...) Les comites les poussent de toutes leurs forces a la revolte et continuent activement leurs menees qui trouvent un terrain bien prerare. Il ressort des faits cites plus haut qu' ils assassinent impitoyablement les traitres et ceux qui refusent de se laisser ranconner. Les villages valaques de Milovichta, Nejepol, Tirnova-Magarovo et surtout Pissoder qui n'ont jamais ete perquisitionnes ni inquietes par les troupes sont sollicites de s'affilier au comite, beaucoup d'entre eux ont ete contraints de verser de l'argent et une vingtaine de personnes de Tirnova-Magarovo auraient ete gagnees a la cause revolutionnaire...

Gauthier

15 A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, March 24th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.269r-270r, No.69].

Sir,

Mr. Acting Vice Consul Theodorides reports, that Alexis of Poroia, the notorious Bulgarian chief, carried off two men, one Greek, and the other Vlach from that village, for whom he asks eighty pounds ransom, and cut the telegraph wires between Demir Hissar and Petritch; and that three aides-de-camp to the Sultan arrived at Serres on the 21st instant to institute an enquiry into the Vrondou incidents (See my despatch No. 46 of February 28).

Mr. Vice Consul Gregoriades38 reports that the Committees, greatly encouraged by the amnesty, are showing greater energy than ever in Drama. At Gornitza, a village which has remained completely faithful to the Patriarchate, they murdered the Khodjabashi, Dimitri Martsou, whom they have long threatened for his refusal to recant.

I hear, that amnestied Bulgarians have persuaded some of the seven hundred inhabitants of Gornitza to join the movement and that the murder was committed as an example to the rest; also that the murderers of Balabani, whose son, Mr. Gregoriades reports, is being threatened with death, if he does no desist from his prosecution of his father's assassins, live in the neighbouring village of Skrivotza, which is a hotbed of Committee intrigue.

Three Bulgarians entered the shop of a Bulgarian baker in Salonica some days ago and one of them fired four shots at him and his companion, wounding one of them severely. The baker refuses to give any explanation, but the reason for the crime is said to be the appropriation of one hundred pounds given to him last year or the year before to distribute in such a manner as to cause the release of certain Komitaji prisoners.

The would be assassin, a youth of eighteen or twenty, died in his house the same evening apparently of a fit brought on either by fright or by remorse.

While the police were searching for the other two in some vegetable gardens outside the town they found a man, with a bullet wound, who after repeated examinations, has finally confessed to being one of the Boemitza band (see my despatch No. 55 of the 12th instant), to have been wounded in the encounter and to have "come" here for medical treatment.

Biliottis

16 The French Consul Louis Steeg to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, March 28th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.32, ff.62v-63r, No.11].

...Le 23 un fil de service a ete coupe sur la ligne de Jonction entre les stations de Poroi et d'Hadji-Beylik. On a trouve a cet endroit une lettre en bulgare pleine de menaces et fixee sur un baton et dont j' envoie a titre de curiosite la traduction litterale a Votre Excellence. Cette lettre est signee du brigand Alexis de Poroi,de meme qu' une autre lettre trouvee sur la meme ligne le 15 Janvier dernier (voir rapport du Janvier no 2). Le Valy de Salonique suppose que la signature de la derniere lettre est apocryphe Alexis ayant, d'apres lui, du quitter le pays. On me signale cependant de sources differentes de nouveaux exploits de ce brigand aux environs de Poroi ou il aurait ranconne deux grecs et oblige un bey turc a lui fournir des vivres et des chaussures.

Les grecs se montrent assez emus du recent assassinat du primat grec d'un village du caza de Zihna ou les revolutionnaires bulgares n' avaient jamais penetre jusqu' a present...

L'opinion generale parmi les personnes en etat de suivre le mouvement revolutionnaire c' est que le vilayet de Monastir est la region ou se presenteraient en ce moment les plus grands dangers de soulevement. On signale de divers cotes le retour dans cette province d'un grand nombre d'ouvriers bulgares qui paraissent obeir a un mot d'ordre general soit qu' ils se prerarent a prendre part a une insurrection soit qu' ils veuillent etre aupres de leurs familles pour les defendre en cas de danger...

Steeg

 

17 A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, April 3rd, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.330r, No.81].

Sir,

I have been told that the Greeks at Monastir, roused at last to action, have warned the Bulgarians resident in the same town that for every Patriarchist murdered by the bands in the country they will murder two Bulgarians in the town. Whether this news is true or not, the fact is that reports of murders from that Vilayet have been less frequent of late and that the bands appear to be limiting themselves to the more profitable employment of exacting money...

Biliottis

18 A. Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, April 17th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903,vol.392, No.44, confidential].

 

Hochgeborener Graf,

Entgegen den Zeitungsnachrichtenk, dass Boris Saraffof42 sich am Wege nach Sofia zu einer Berathung befinde, weilt derselbe seit mehreren Wochen in diesem Vilajete und beabsichtigt nicht, Macedonien sobald zu verlassen.

Er kam ueber Morihovo, hatte in einem Dorfe oestlich der Crna (3 1/2 Stunden von Monastir entfernt) eine Unterredung mit Delegirten des hiesigen Provinzcentralcomite's43 und zog dann ueber Setina-Banica in die Kaza's Florina und Kastoria. Beim Verlassen Bulgariens war er von etwa 55 Officieren der bulgarischen Armee begleitet und fuehrte mehrere Pferdeladungen Dynamit mit sich. Die Officiere vertheilten sich au fur et a mesure; beim Betreten Morihovo's verblieben noch 15, jetzt nur mehr 3 an seiner Seite. Von Setina aus (Dorf s.w. des Kaimakcalan) waren bloss noch 3 Pferdeladungen Dynamit weiterzutransportiren.

Auch eine groessere Partie neuer Mannlichergewehre wurde vor nicht langer Zeit durch Saraffof wieder eingeschmuggelt, doch bewaehrten sich dieselben fuer die Banden wegen des leichten Rostens und der Schwierigkeit der Reparatur nicht. Am geeingnetsten fuer die Insurgenten sei nach wie vor das System "Gras".

Nach Monastir waere Saraffof -entgegen den Behauptungen zahlreicher Leute, auch von Consuln- nicht gekommen. Wahr sei hingegen, dass dies zwei seiner Officiere thaten, welche auch die naechstgelegenen Doerfer (Bukavo, Orehovo, Brusnik etc.) besuchten.

Kral

19 A. Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, April 20th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.46].

...Auch die Serben haben in diesem Vilajete keine Ursache mehr, die Unschuldigen zu spielen, weil serbophile Doerfer, namentlich in Porec (Krcevo) die Banden aufnehmen -mag sein, manchmal widerstrebend- und sich bewaffnen. -Als besonders kuehner Fuehrer zeigt sich in juengster Zeit der ehemalige Lehrer Cilio Cekalaroff aus Smrdes, der die recherchirenden Detachements schon mehr als einmal als Frau verkleidet zu taeuschen wusste. Seit 14 Tagen besteht sein Sport in der planmaessigen Vertreibung der griechischen Lehrer, hie und da auch der Priester, aus den, dem Patriarchate anhaengenden slavischen Doerfern der Kaza's Florina und Kastoria, indem er ruft: "Nieder die Griechen, hoch Bulgarien!"...

 

Kral

20 [AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.33, ff.6r-10r, "Le mouvement macedonien", traslated extract from the journal Bosnische Post of April 14th, 1903, attached to report No.47 submitted by the French Consul in Serajevo on April 21st, 1903].

L'opinion publique europeenne malgre l'abondance des nouvelles qui de Macedoine inondent la presse depuis des mois, n' a pu se faire une idee exacte de l'essence et de l'etendue du mouvement revolutionnaire parce que, sans parler du tranvestissement des faits qui resulte du manque de critique ou d'un calcul fait a dessein, la longue chaine des symptomes de la rebellion pourait faire croire qu' il s'agit de l'emouvant spectacle d'un soulevement populaire contre la domination ottomane.

Cependant, ainsi qu' on le confirme de Salonique de source autorisee, une telle importance manque absolument a l'action fanatique de l'agitation bulgare. Les representations repandues dans une partie de la presse, surtout en France et en Angleterre qui voudraient faire croire qu' en Macedoine les masses populaires opprimees preparent un combat desespere entourent les entreprises d'une petite fraction de la population d'une aureole que sont loin de meriter les equipees de la propagande revolutionnaire. Cette propagande et les violences des bandes bulgares ne sont pas le debordement d'un courant populaire, mais ce sont, au contraire les chefs de cette agitation qui cherchent a creer un courant populaire dans cette direction. Il ne suffit pas pour decrire la situation dans les provinces macedoniennes de constater que les Serbes et les Grecs, dans toute la region dont il s'agit sont absolument eloignes de la pensee d'extorquer par la rebellion des ameliorations du gouvernement turc: pour etablir la verite complete, il est necessaire de signaler le fait que parmi les Bulgares egalement la partie atteinte par le mouvement revolutionnaire ne forme qu' une petite minorite. Les instigateurs de ces menees deploient les plus grands efforts pour produire un etat de surexcitation et de passion que pourrait conduire a la lutte a outrance et au moyen des violences inouies pour aiguillioner vers des represailles sauvages les troupes destinees a retablir l'ordre, aussi bien que les Musulmans en general, afin que la Macedoine offre le spectacle d'un conflit effrayant entre une population chretienne et "l'opresseur ottoman". Ils n' ont jusqu' ici atteint ce resultat, du moins en ce qui concerne la force armee. C' est au contraire un fait indiscutable que les troupes, a part quelques cas isoles, ne se sont pas en aucun endroit rendues coupables d'exces et que nullepart l'action repressive n' a pris le caractere d'une destruction sans distinction des coupables et des innocents.

Or rien ne peut etre plus mal venu pour les chefs de l'agitation bulgare que la moderation du cote turc, car, pour justifier la revolution aux yeux de l'etranger et pour produire en Europe un torrent d'indignation, ils ont absolument besoin d'atrocites turques. Les regisseurs des Comites se sont en consequence inquietes depuis des mois, de mettre en scene, la representation d'horreurs de ce genre, repandant incessament des nouvelles exagerees ou entierement inventees. Il leur arrive d'ailleurs egalement de temps a autre, de completer ces produits de leur imagination par de sanglantes realites, en amenant par des violences cruelles qu' ils commettent contre les Musulmans des represailles analogues de leur part. C' est ainsi que pour prendre un exemple qui jettera une vive lumiere sur les evenements, sur 30 meurtres commis pendant le mois de Mars dans le vilayet de Monastir en l'espace de 12 jours, plus de la moitie ont des Bulgares pour auteurs tandis que les autres ne sont que des actes de vengeance de la part des Turcs. Le fanatisme du comite et de ses emissaires ne fait d'ailleurs pas seulement des victimes parmi les Musulmans mais aussi parmi les Serbes et les Grecs, et on pourrait dresser une longue liste des crimes odieux exerces par les Bulgares contre leurs" freres chretiens" et qui rapelle les exploits de Boxers.

En outre, les comites exercent un vrai regime de terreur sur leurs compatriotes pour les contraindre a se joindre a la revolution ou du moins a aider a l'execution de leurs desseins.

L'arsenal des moyens de contraindre par lesquels les comites cherchent a produire un boulversement dans la Turquie d'Europe ne se borne pas la. S'ils ne reussissent pas a l'aide des attrocites turques a exciter l'indignation morale de l'Europe a amener par la son intervention dans les troubles de Macedoine, les revolutionnaires bulgares veulent essayer d'attirer la sympathie de l'etranger et de l'amener de cette facon a agir pour un dommage sensible cause a ses interets materiels. Avec une sceleratesse digne d'un complot anarchiste ils forment le dessein de detruire les voies de communication qui servent au trafic de toute l'Europe, et par la d'aneantir d'un grand nombre d'etres humaines qui n' ont rien a faire avec les evenements de Macedoine. Cette conduite criminelle a deja , comme l'on sait, commence a s'exercer contre la ligue d'Orient et selon toute apparence, le Comite ne manquera pas de matieres explosibles, car il est prouve que de l'etranger des quantites considerables de dynamite ont ete introduites en fraude a travers les frontieres turques. Le public europeen ne devrait par aucune espece de representation, se laisser conduire a l'idee fausse qu' il se livre pour le moment en Macedoine une guerre d'independance digne de la sympathie du monde civilise, mais au contraire considera les evenements qui s'y jouent sous leur veritable jour et en consequence les juger, comme les menees criminelles d'une tres petite minorite d'une des nationalites chretiennes. Les comites et leurs partisans ne veulent pas de reformes, ils ne veulent pas que le sort des chretiens en Turquie se presente peu a peu dans des conditions plus favorables, ils ne veulent pas d'une amelioration tranquille et progressive de l'administration turque, telle que l'action de la Porte commancee sur les conseils de l'Autriche et de la Russie, permet de l'attendre, si elle est poursouivie avec perserverance. Ce qu' ils cherchent a l'aide des procedes anarchistes c' est exclusivement la revolution politique, bien que l'effervescence qui forme la condition de ce genre n' existe, sans parler des Serbes, des Grecs et des Kutzovalaques, pas meme parmi les Bulgares.

21 R. Hickel to A. Goluchowski

Thessaloniki, April 25th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Thessaloniki 1903, vol.407, No.28].

...Ein gewisser Stoiko aus dem Dorfe Kukles hat am 21 l.M. seinen Landsmann Pehlivan Vassili aus dem Grunde ermordet, weil letzterer angeblich vor einiger Zeit der tuerkischen Behoerde Spuren von Banden angezeigt haette. Wahrscheinlich aus dem gleichen Grunde hat Stoiko unmittelbar darauf im Dorfe Ormanlue einen Tuerken, Namens Redschel getoetet; dieses Mal aber musste er die Unthat mit seinem eigenen Leben bezahlen, er wurde von den Tuerken dieses Dorfes ermordet. Stoiko war seinerzeit als eines der fanatischesten Organe des bulgarischen Bischofes von Strumnica, Gerasinos, bekannt, vor zwei Jahren zu lebenslaenglicher Festungshaft verurtheilt und in Folge der juengsten Amnestie freigelassen worden, worauf er sofort die fruehere agitatorische Thaetigkeit aufgenommen hatte.

...Jedenfalls dauert die Thaetigkeit der Comite's auch bezueglich der forcirten Waffen-Ankaeufe, selbst in patriarchistischen Doerfern an und ebenso die Ranconnirung um Summen von 20-100 Ltq. und mehr an Bemittelten aller Confessionen, selbst Muselmaennern, welche sich aus Furcht thatsaechlich insgeheim zu executiren pflegen, weil sie ihr Leben im gegentheiligen Falle nach zahlreichen Vorfaellen fuer verwirkt erachten...

Hickel

 

22

Paris, April 14/26th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.33, f.70r, On the note submitted by Mr.Delyanni on April 28th 1903 on order of the Greek government].

Le Consul General de Grece a Salonique telegraphie a son gouvernement qu' une famille grecque Saramento, composee de quatre membres, dont deux femmes, a ete assassinee la veille... Saint... au village Babiani, par la bande Bulgare Jovani, qui, ensuite, obligea le seul survivant de la famille a apporter au Caimacam une lettre annoncant etre l'auteur des quatre meurtres.

Cette nouvelle venant apres celles que le Gouvernement hellenique a eues dernierement de Serres, Castoria, et Florina sur la situation devenue de jour en jour plus grave par suite des meurtres commis contre les Grecs a produit sur le Gouvernement hellenique la plus penible impression...

23 Deciphered Telegram by A. Biliotti

Thessaloniki, April 30th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, f.420r].

[Band?] of 500 partly in Bulgarian uniform crossed the frontier yesterday surrounded a party of 30 soldiers near Radovishta -detachments from Radovishta and Stroumnitza came up and fighting lasting all day- two lieutenants seven [men?] thirty Bulgars killed the rest being hotly pursued. Perfect [tranquillity?] at Salonica.

Biliottis

24 The French Consul L. Degrand to T. Delcasse

Philippopolis, May 6th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.33, f.147r].

Les journaux de la Principaute relatant les attentats commis a Salonique par les agitateurs macedoniens sont lus ici parmi les Bulgares avec un interet voisin de l'enthousiasme et j' ai pu constater qu' aucun sentiment de pitie n' a ete manifeste a l'egard des victimes innocentes qui ont succombe dans cette circonstance, il n' y a pas eu de surprise, personne n' ignorait les intentions des comites et leur programme de represailles; au meeting signale dans la depeche que j' avais l'honneur d'adresser a Votre Excellence le 22 Fevrier dernier, un de leurs representants n' avait-il pas dit" rendons nous memes la vie impossible aux etrangers" cette menace ne devait que trop tot se realiser. Les partisans de la cause macedonienne et le nombre en est grand maintenant tant l'idee a fait des progres, se preoccupent peu des lamentables resultats de l'acte commis a Salonique car ils esperent qu' il aura pour effet d'obliger les Puissances a intervenir directement au lieu de recommander des reformes dont ils persistent a proclamer l'inefficacite.

L'abandon si brusque de leur cause par la Russie a provoque une irritation qui n' est pas calmee et dont on semble dans les comites decide a donner la preuve en dirigeant un attentat contre son ambassade a Contantinople.

Quant aux officiers jusqu' a ce jour renfermes dans une silencieuse reserve, ils dissimulent a peine leur mecontentement; ce que la Bulgarie devait de reconnaissance a la Russie pour le sang verse est largement, disent-ils, aujourd' hui compense par les consequences nefastes de sa diplomatie; ils reprochent au cabinet d'avoir suivi les avis de St Petersbourg, d'avoir neglige les preparatifs militaires que necessitaient les circonstances et d'avoir enfin laisse au Gouvernement Turc le temps de concentrer en Macedoine et sur leurs frontieres des forces dont l'importance devient inquietante.

Les consequences de ce mecontentement n' ont pas tarde a se manifester: la surveillance est moins stricte et de nombreux partisans me dit-on s'acheminent vers la Macedoine par le Rhodope. Recemment parait-il le chef d'une bande operant en Macedoine est venu dans un village voisin de Peroustiza avec quelques uns de ses hommes pour demander des vetements. Él a en outre recu 400 francs quelques fusils et des munitions, puis a de nouveau passe en Turquie; on m' a assure que le Comite de Philippopoli etait parvenu a recueillir une nouvelle somme de onze mille francs.

Deux wagons de munitions sont partis de Tatar-Bazardjik pour Sofia, ils seraient destines a Kustendil; ici 18 chariots de munitions ont ete transportes dans un magasin militaire situe pres de la station...

Degrand

25 A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

 

Thessaloniki, May 12th, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.563r-564v, No.147].

Sir,

Mr. Acting Vice Consul Theodorides reports as follows: May 5. The Greek Community of Serres have petitioned the Government to close the Bulgarian school in that town, because the absence of Bulgarian families makes the existence of a Bulgarian school unnecessary, and because recent events at Salonica prove the complicity of the masters and pupils in the Bulgarian disturbances. The latter have been concentrated by the Serres Authorities in one or two houses in order that they may be closely watched.

On May 4th a Bulgarian school-master of Banitza was arrested near Serres in possession of several Mannlicher cartridges. He was imprisoned and made certain statements which led to the blockading of Banitza and the subsequent conflict (reference to my telegram No. 31 of the 5th instant). The women and children were withdrawn from the village of which a greater part was burned. The band consisted of twenty Bulgarians proper and thirty natives, and was annihilated with the exception of Gheorghi of Vrondou. Among them were the chiefs Deltzeff, (the man who planned Miss Stone's capture) whom the Missionaries describe as the most capable and most honest of the Komitajis, Dimitrioff and Kostanoff.

On the 7th there was an encounter at Goleshiovo (Demir Hissar). The Vali informs me that, while a flying patrol was watching the village, they were taken in the rear by a band of some twenty Bulgarians who were allowed to come up owing to their being dressed in Turkish military uniform. Another detachment, however, coming up, they were put to flight with slight loss on each side.

As a result of the Banitza fight, the village of Vrondou was subjected to a thorough search and about forty of the inhabitants were arrested. The villagers gave up to the authorities all the arms, ammunition, bombs, moneys, subscription lists which they had from the Committee and, declaring that they had been duped by it, begged to be taken back into the Patriarchist fold.

If this is true and if there is a retrograde movement on the part of villagers in the interior, it is one that should be encouraged by all possible means. For Exarchist means Komitaji, and no greater blow could be struck at the revolutionary organization than for the Exarchist Bulgarians to go back to their original sect.

One means of giving this movement a very strong forward impulse would be the settlement of the disputed churches question. In several parts of the interior, to mention only Vissotchan (reference to my Report No. 200 of Nov. 20th) and, I believe Koumanova, Greek churches were taken, more or less without fair reason, from the Orthodox and given to the Exarchists; in others the churches were closed, pending an understanding, and have remained closed; and in others again the Orthodox and Exarchists worship alternately.

If these churches which have been, in part or wholly, taken from the Orthodox for no adequate reason, or which have remained closed, were formally handed back to the Patriarchists, there would in my opinion be a strong reaction, especially among those who have been compelled under threat of death to change their religious appellation, given that an anti-Exarchist movement has really sprung into existence among the peasantry of Macedonia.

Biliottis

26 R. Hickel to A. Goluchowski

Thessaloniki, May 12th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Thessaloniki 1903, vol.407, No.33].

...Nach hierortigen Informationen wuerde bulgarischerseits darauf gehofft, dass groessere Banden aus Bulgarien demnaechst die Grenze ueberschreiten sollen, auf deren Cooperation gerechnet wird. Freilich ist es sicherlich nur Ruhmredigkeit, wenn die Zahlen dieser Zuzuege mit Tausenden beziffert werden -man nennt 10-20.000! Auf deren Ankunft scheint nun das Schlagwort: "Des allgemeinen Aufstandes" aufgebaut zu sein.

...Es bleiben nun noch die ambulanten Bandenfuehrer, von denen jedoch angeblich in den letzten Engagements hie und da gefaehrliche Personen ihren Tod gefunden haetten, nebst mehreren bei den Banden befindlichen bulgarischen Officieren, welche nach tuerkischer Behauptung sei es der regulaeren bulgarischen Armee, sei es der Reserve angehoert haetten. Es bleibe dahingestellt, ob es sich nicht vielleicht doch um Verkleidungen handelt, um das Volk diesseits zu taeuschen, wie ja auch aus Kriegslist sogar schon tuerkische Militaer-Uniformen zur Verwendung gelangt sein sollen.

...Mehrseits wird auch in letzter Zeit wieder gemeldet, dass sich ehemals patriarchistische Gemeinden, welche nur unter dem Terrorismus der Bandenfuehrer sich zum Exarchismus bekannt haben, neuerdings an die patriarchistischen Bischoefe und auch an die Localbehoerden zu wenden beginnen, um ihren Ruecktritt in die patriarchistische Kirche zu erklaeren. Wenn diess vorlaeufig auch nur als vereinzeltes Symptom gelten kann, so sollte es vielleicht dennoch nicht unbeachtet bleiben; es beweist jedenfalls, das die Begeisterung im Allgemeinen keineswegs so spontan ist, wie die Comite-Chefs gern glauben machen zu wollen scheinen.

Hickel

27 J. Constans to T. Delcasse

Monastir, May 21st, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.34, ff.47r-48r, No.85].

...Le sentiment national, en effet, est trop surexcite chez la population de race bulgare pour que son hostilite contre la domination turque cede devant la seule crainte d'une repression par les armes. Il faut donc nous attendre a voir se continuer dans les campagnes la guerilla actuelle; il faut, nous attendre aussi a voir se produire dans les villes des attentats pareils a ceux de Salonique. Sans doute, ces attentats nuisent a la cause macedonienne, au lieu de la servir; mais dans leur exasperation, un grand nombre des macedoniens n' ont plus de scrupule dans le choix des moyens, et pour attirer l'attention de l'Europe sur leurs revendications, ils n' hesitent pas a commettre des actes criminels contre des etrangers, au risque d'amener sur toute la race bulgare la reprobation generale. L'histoire de l'emancipation italienne a presente, il y a quelque cinquante ans, des aberrations semblables.

D'autre part, l'insurrection macedonienne a des reserves de force considerables et ce n' est qu' a la suite d'une lutte longue, difficile et meurtriere que celles-ci seront epuisees. En dehors des adeptes que les comites ont recrutes sur le territoire meme de l'Empire l'insurrection, en depit des denegations du Gouvernement Princier de Bulgarie et meme, je crois, contre le gre de celui-ci,-ne cesse de s'alimenter dans la Principaute; non seulement elle trouve la un lieu de refuge, mais elle y puise journellement des renforts en argent, en munitions, en hommes. Dimanche dernier, par exemple, on me signalait du Palais l'entree en Turquie de plusieurs officiers de la garnison de Philippopoli qui allaient grossir les bandes.

Aux reclamations de la Porte a cet egard, le Gouvernement princier repond qu' il surveille de son mieux la frontiere, mais qu' il ne peut etre tenu a faire l'impossible; et, d'ailleurs, ajoute-t-il, non sans justesse, si les insurges reussissent a passer et a introduire leurs engins, la faute en est pour moitie a l'autorite ottomane qui a, elle aussi, le devoir de surveiller la frontiere...

Constans

28 A. Biliotti to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, June 1st, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, ff.666r-666v, No.171].

Sir,

I have the honour to report that I lately drew the Vali's attention to the danger of the Bulgarian bands setting fire to the crops before they could be safely garnered and to the consequent necessity of adopting measures for expediting as much as possible the collection of the tithes.

Dismissing the old system of selling the tithes by auction to the usual tax-collectors as causing just that delay which one would wish to avoid, I suggested that, in case peasants refused to buy up their own tithes, there were two ways of proceeding to their collection:

(1) The appointment of special taxildars, paid by the Government, to levy the tithe in kind: or

(2) The assessment of the tithe on the basis of an average for the past few years to be paid after the crops had been stored.

The Vali assured me that he was perfectly alive to the danger mentioned -which might mean a loss of 10% to the Government, but a loss of 90% to the peasantry- and that he had already taken steps for the appointment of government taxildars, since the collection of the tithes on past averages after the crops had been stored would present considerable difficulties.

Biliottis

29 The British Consul Raphael A. Fontana to A. Biliotti

Skopje, June 1st, 1903

[F.O.195/2156, 690v-691r, 692v-694v, No.39, confidential].

 

...In the town of Ishtip there are at present sixteen Christian gendarmes who, the Notables declare, are not men of solid reputation, nor were they selected from the respectable classes. It is, however, to be surmised that members of those classes did not desire to serve as gendarmes. Leading Ishtip Bulgarians state that the influence of the Committees is somewhat on the wane, but that nevertheless the whole Bulgarian community voluntarily contribute to the Committee funds. They consider the movement and exploit of the bands to be indispensable as a reiterated protest against reforms which they consider reforms only in name. They are working for a general Bulgarian rising, and are prepared to face massacre in order to attain the end they hold in view viz. : "Macedonia for the Macedonians" meaning, no doubt "Macedonia for the Bulgarians".

...A representative Bulgarian at Uskub tells me that the increased activity of the Committees and of the bands this sprig, and more especially, the outrages at Salonica, are the logical outcome of the disappointment inspired by a scheme of Reforms which, although approved by the Powers, has no real backbone, and which, above all, lacks the sanction of those Powers. Were the reforms serious and the position of the Inspector General entirely independent of Constantinople, and solely dependent upon such sanction, the work of the Committees and bands would, he says, die a natural death. Of this I entertain doubts. The peasantry of many localities nourish, it is true, but a few aspirations and but a half-hearted desire to rise. They play hero-songs and patriotic skirlings on the Bulgarian bag-pipe, they accept rifles, extend hospitality to roving bands and contribute to committee funds with more or less stoical, if not heroic, patience. But it is doubtful whether their general idea of patriotism or nationality oversteps their fostered hatred of the Turk, and dislike to paying him taxes. In the towns, however, the feeling prevalent among Bulgarian notables, school-masters and the majority of the Bulgarian citizens is far deeper, and the education of the pupils in the Bulgarian high-schools is merely a re-echo of that feeling.

The end they hold stead fastly in view, the aim of the Committees and the goal of the bands is the prize of their hoped-for high calling as free Bulgarians, an autonomy for Macedonia and that a Bulgarian autonomy. Nothing less will satisfy them, nothing less will long stay them whilst the Bulgarian Principality exists as a neighbour. They would very likely nail any change which would tend to ensure the swift realisation of their dream, but they would not cease to labour until that dream was a dream no longer. Serious and complete reform under Turkish auspices -even were such reform possible- would, I think redouble their ardour, and perhaps precipitate a crisis upon which they are already staking so heavily.

 

Fontana

 

30 Monastir, June 1st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, Standing orders of I.M.R.O.'s armed bands attached to A. Kral to A. Goluchowski No.63 of June 1st 1903].

...

1) [Village information services].

2) Die Dorfbewohner (Maenner, Frauen und Kinder) sollen, sei es im Guten sei es durch Gewalt, angehalten werden, ueber die Uebergriffe der Detachements in der Vilajetshauptstadt Klage zu fuehren, u. zwar zunaechst bei den Consuln, dann beim Vali.

3) [Financial matters].

4) Auch schaedliche und nutzlose Christen sollen getoedtet werden und zwar unter Umstaenden, dass die Schuld den Feldhuetern, Gutsverwaltern, Zehentpaechtern und Beys unterschoben werden kann. Zwei Leute aus dem Dorfe muessen in der Lage sein, vor Gericht in rechtsgiltiger Weise dafuer Zeugenschaft abzulegen, was mit voller Ueberzeugung und Sicherheit zu geschehen hat...

Kral

31 M. Gauthier to J. Constans

Monastir, June 13th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.34, f.168r, No.29].

 

...Le 4 de ce mois, la bande de Tchakalaroff forte, dit-on, de 150 hommes, est arrivee a Gelovo, caza de Castoria. Le chef voulait penetrer dans l'eglise qui obeit au rite grec pour amener les habitants a se rallier au rite bulgare. Ceux-ci ont averti le chef de bande Kote, grecisant hostile a Tchakalaroff, lequel prevint a son tour les troupes de Pissoderi. La bande Tchakalaroff dut alors se retirer par des gorges ou la poursuite etait difficile, en tuant quatre soldats; de son cote elle n' a perdu qu' un homme...

Gauthier

32 M. Gauthier to J. Constans

Monastir, June 16th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.34, ff.192v-193v, No.30].

 

...A chaque retour de la belle saison, on predit une insurrection generale et un dernier et decisif effort du comite macedonien, mais jusqu' a present il n' a reussi qu' a produire ces quelques bandes qui troublent periodiquement le pays jusqu' aux approches de l'hiver. Chaque fois qu' elles se rencontrent avec les troupes, elles sont impuissantes a resister et s' echappent en laissant sur place 10 ou 15 de leurs qui perissent toujours avec bravoure, mais sans aucun profit pour la cause bulgare.

En sera-t-il ainsi longtemps encore? Un observateur attentif peut noter depuis peu, quelques indices successifs d'une modification fort au desavantage des comitadjis. Les paysans semblent las de leur fournir sans cesse des vivres et des subsides en argent et d'encourir les consequences desastreuses de leur presence dans les villages.

Il est a peu pres certain que la presence de Svetkoff et de sa bande a Moghila, a ete denoncee par les paysans eux memes preoccupes de se soustraire a l'extorsion de la forte contribution exigee par lui. Jusqu' a present les bandes traquees dans les villages occupaient librement les montagnes. Or le 11 Juin, ce n' est pas a Banitza meme que la bande Papantcheff a ete decimee, mais sur les montagnes avoisinantes. Le meme jour, sur la montagne de Nicodim, entre Racle et Teplitze, qu'une autre bande perdait 8 hommes. Le 13 encore, c' est entre Dumbini et Smordeche que 15 comitadjis ont trouve la mort. Les troupes paraissent aujourd' hui prevenues de la presence des bandes avant qu' elles aient le temps de s'introduire dans les villages, ce qui indique une tendance des paysans a les en eloigner dorenavant. Si ces mouvements s'accentuent dans le Vilayet, les bandes n' y pourront plus facilement subsister...

 

Gauthier

33 R. Hickel to A. Goluchowski

Thessaloniki, July 1st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Thessaloniki 1903, vol.407, No.45, strictly confidential].

...Das Meeting der Banden-Chefs hat unter Leitung Sarafoff's stattgefunden. Wiewol mir auch derzeit aus dieser Nachrichten-Quelle der Rendez-vous-Ort nicht genauer bezeichnet werden kann, muss ich auf Grund von Andeutungen frueheren Datums annehmen, dass hiezu die Kosuf planina (von Bulgaren: Kosuhowska planina genannt) ausgewaehlt war; also der Gebirgszug, welcher sich in der Richtung von Strumnica nach Monastir (Marianska-, Blatec- und Kosuf-planina) erstreckt. Auch hiess es schon damals, dass von den etwa 60 im macedonischen Agitationsgebiete vertheilten Banden (mein englischer Collega beziffert deren Anzahl auf 80) je 2 Delegierte zu dem Meeting zu erscheinen hatten.

Ich erfahre nun, dass die Betheiligung eine recht zahlreiche war; von Salonich waeren 8 Delegierte erschienen, reichlichere Contingente vertraten ferner Koepruelue, Monastir, Florina, Istib u.s.w. Aus der laengeren Ansprache Sarafoff's wird folgende Stelle hervorgehoben, deren Wiedergabe mir bezeichnend erscheint: "... Salonich gehoert Bulgarien an, -vor den Augen Gottes und der Welt wird Salonich Bulgarien's Ehefrau. Am 16. April (alt. St., also ganz richtig: 29 April neuen Styls) hat in Salonich die Braut-Schau und Brautwerbung stattgefunden. Am 25 Juni (alt. St., also heute in 8 Tagen) wird die Verlobung mit noch groesserem Prunke gefeiert werden. Die Hochzeitsfeier wird einige Monate spaeter mit Alles an Glanz uebertreffenden Festlichkeiten begangen werden. Geht in Frieden nach Salonich! Vier unserer verlaesslichsten Brueder sind in Salonich eingetroffen, -von ihnen sollt Ihr die noethigen Instructionen erhalten..."...

Hickel

34 [AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, ff.99v-101v, Extract of the book by Jeanne Stephanopoli, Bulgares contre Hellenes. Appendice (Athenes, 1903), p. 4-8].

...L'obstacle pour les convoitises bulgares c' est l'Hellenisme... Il est une menace constante de dissolution pour toutes les races inferieures, par l'attrait qu' il exerce sur elles sa gloire et son genie.

Du moins telle est l'opinion des Bulgares. Voici M. Sarafoff, directeur du gymnase (lycee) bulgare de Salonique dans un rapport qui fut repandu en Allemagne: "Le pire ennemi du Bulgare est le Grec". Voici M.Kintscheff, inspecteur des ecoles bulgares de la Macedoine, dans un discours a la Societe Macedonienne de Sofia: "Nous avons a compter en Macedoine, moins avec l'islamisme qu' avec l'hellenisme . Le premier agonise visiblement; mais le second se developpe de jour en jour, dans toutes les communes, avec une vigueur et une activite inquietantes. Par le commerce et l'industrie, par les ecoles et les eglises, mais surtout par un patriotisme ardent l'hellenisme s'est considerablement fortifie en Macedoine, durant les dernieres annees, et il pese aujourd' hui dans la balance comme un facteur serieux. Il s'est accru surtout dans la moitie meridionale de la Macedoine, specialement dans les districts de Drama, Serres, Salonique, Monastir et Castoria.

A Monastir notamment les ecoles grecques occupent un rang tres eleve. En outre la partie la plus riche et la plus puissante de la population Koutzovlaque se tourne exclusivement du cote des Grecs; beaucoup de Vlaques se donnent meme comme des Hellenes fanatiques".

On commenca par faire a l'Hellenisme une guerre sournoise. Ce fut d'abord dans un village macedonien une nouvelle ecole qui s'ouvrit et une nouvelle eglise. L'instituteur parlait d'Alexandre, car ce nom est encore aussi populaire que du vivant du grand roi: seulement il expliquait que Philippe, Alexandre, Aristote, tous les hommes illustres de la Macedoine, consideres a tort comme Hellenes, etaient d'authentiques Bulgares, que toute la Turquie d'Europe appartenait, primitivement aux Bulgares sur lesquels les Hellenes, falsificateurs de l'histoire, avaient reussi d'enlever quelques villes du littoral. Le pope officiait en bulgare, mais il revetait le costume grec. La Russie avait pese de tout son poids sur la Porte pour empecher les modifications demandees par le Patriarcat dans la tenue des pretres schismatiques, qui aurait a jamais ecarte de l'Eglise bulgare des populations en litige, sensibles surtout aux formes exterieures de la religion. Puis la propagande se fit plus audacieuse. Des villages elle entra dans les villes, des confins de la Bulgarie elle descendit vers l'Egee, jusqu' a Salonique ou une colonie bulgare avait commence a immigrer; a l'epoque du schisme suivant la composition ordinaire, au chiffre pres, des communautes bulgares dans les villes de Turquie, elle consistait en un petit nombre de porte-faix et de macons. La propagande avait commence par couter annuellement un demi-million de francs au tresor de la Principaute. Elle etait arrivee, avant l'ouverture de l'agitation actuelle, a peu pres d'un million et demi en chiffres ronds. En effet sur le budjet bulgare de 1895 les credits relatifs a la Macedoine s'elevent a 1,169,897 frs repartis sur divers chapitres entre les eglises et les etablissements scolaires de la province convoitee. Ce sont la les credits avoues; il est impossible de connaitre le chiffre des fonds secrets, des subsides des comites panslavistes, des contributions volontaires et involontaires obtenues par les comites bulgares.

Quand, au grand nombre des annees revolues, la propagande jugea ses progres suffisants, elle entreprit de mesurer les pertes qu' elle etait sure d'avoir infligees a l'ennemi. Elle dressa le bilan de ses millions, de ses peines, de ses histoires fantastiques offertes gratuitement avec distribution de vetements et de vivres, et de ses gains sur l'Hellenisme. C' etait la faillite.

M.Sarafoff, le directeur deja nomme du gymnase de Salonique, se voyait dans la necessite d'ecrire: "Le bulgarisme ne progresse pas en Macedoine. Ses communautes ecclesiastiques s'atrophient, ses ecoles restent desertes. Mr. Rizof, ancien directeur de la propagande bulgare en Macedoine, adressait au Prince Ferdinand de Bulgarie une lettre ouverte qui accentuait les memes conclusions par un langage plus violent: "C' est un aveuglement du ministere Grecof et qui porte en soi la ruine du bulgarisme, de croire qu' il soit possible d'augmenter les succes remportes jusqu' ici par les Bulgares en Macedoine au moyen du systeme ecclesiastique et scolaire. L'activite de la Bulgarie est arretee dans cette direction, nous ne pouvons plus rien gagner par l'eglise et par l'ecole. Plus la situation actuelle se prolongera, plus nos adversaires gagneront du terrain et plus nous serons en mauvaise posture".

Il etait impossible d'avouer en termes plus clairs l'echec complet de la propagande pacifique. Un changement de methode etait inevitable...

La lettre de M. Rizof, qui synthetisait tous les projets a l'etude et toutes les idees en discussion dans les milieux bulgares, avait paru en avril 1899. Ce meme ete, les bandes qui faisaient des essais depuis deux ans, recurent l'organisation definitive pour l'accomplissement de leur quadruple mission: Entrainer les villages bulgares a la revolte, briser la resistance des populations hellenes, alimenter les caisses des comites et provoquer de la part des Turcs des represailles devant amener l'intervention europeenne...

35 A. Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, July 22nd, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.81].

 

...Vor kaum einer Woche widerfuhr 4 Leuten aus Smrdes (worunter eine Frau) dasselbe Schicksal, weil sie mit dem als Angeber bekannten griech.-orthodoxen Metropoliten von Kastoria Beziehungen eingegangen waren.

Der genannte Bischof (Mgre Germanos), welcher mich erst gestern besuchte, befindet sich wegen des, der griechischen Partei durch den Terrorismus der Banden, insbesondere Cakalaroff's, zugefuegten Schaden in grosser Aufregung. Der groessere Theil der ihn anerkennenden slavischen Doerfer ist dem Exarchate beigetreten, an vielen Orten sind die griechischen Lehrer, oefter auch Priester, verjagt, die Kirchen gesperrt, und bald werden die Bulgaren durch die Petitionen aus dieser Eparchie zu beweisen in der Lage sein, dass der District ihnen gehoere, worauf die Erwirkung eines Bischofberates fuer Kastoria nur eine Frage der Zeit waere. -Trotzdem die Revolutionaere zeigen, dass sie Abfall und Spionage auf der Stelle mit dem Tode zu bestrafen entschlossen sind, ermuthigt der Bischof die Seinigen zum Verrathe, was die Demoralisation und gegenseitige Erbitterung in seiner Eparchie auf den Siedepunkt steigert.

In Nered (K. Florina), wo Cakalaroff vor 3 Wochen 5 Inwohner wegen Treulosigkeit hatte ermorden lassen, beguenstigte Mgre Germanos sogar die Bildung einer Contrebande unter einem gewissen Vangel, der mit einigen 20 Mann bei Reisen seine Escorte bildet und patriarchistische Ortschaften auch mit den Waffen in ihrem Widerstande gegen die Bulgaren unterstuetzen soll. In Aitos und Zelenic bemaechtigte sich der Bischof eigenmaechtig und gewaltsam der bulgarischen, gesperrt gewesenen Kirchen, wird aber durch solche kuehne Handstreiche den Griechen nicht viel nuetzen koennen, sondern den Gegnern nur Anlass zu neuen Mordthaten bieten.

Kral

 

36 The British General Consul Robert W. Graves to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, July 23rd, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.171r-172r, No.222, confidential].

Sir,

I have the honour to report that, on the very eve of his departure from Salonica, my predecessor, Sir Alfred Biliotti, obtained from what appeared to him to be a trustworthy confidential source, important information on the subject of the prospective activity of the insurgent bands in Macedonia. This information is briefly to the following effect.

The Committees, having so far failed to coerce the Bulgarian villagers into taking part in a general rising, are said to have resolved to turn their chief attention to their second objective and organize direct attacks on the Mussulman population, with a view to provoking Turkish reprisals grave enough to insure foreign intervention. Sir Alfred Biliotti's informant believed that trouble was to be expected in about ten days from the date of speaking, July 21st, i.e., about the last day of July or first of August. It must be admitted that the time is well chosen. A very abundant harvest has just been reaped, and the mere act of simultaneously firing the crops which are still awaiting the tithe-collector's visit in some scores of Turkish villages would probably suffice to raise the growing exasperation of the Mussulman population to an uncontrollable pitch.

Sir Alfred Biliotti communicated this intelligence privately to the Governor General, Hassan Fehmi Pasha, who is inclined to regard it as valuable, as His Excellency has lately received information from other sources tending to the same conclusions, and is resolved to take every precaution in his power to guard against this new danger, which might have been to some extent avoided had not the Public Debt Administration, as reported in my predecessor's despatches Nos 171 of June 1st and 187 of June 16th, rejected the Vali's proposal to let the villagers buy their own tithes at once on the basis of last year's prices, and so expedite the removal of the crops to some place of safety.

Graves

37 L. Steeg to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, July 28th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, f.155r, No.32].

...Il est, parait-il, question dans les milieux bulgares d'une reprise probable de l'activite des bandes prevue pour la fin du mois d'aout, epoque a laquelle les principales recoltes seront mises a l'abri. La region destinee a former le theatre de ce prochain mouvement serait celle qui s' etend entre Castoria, Ochrida, Florina et Perlepe dans le Vilayet de Monastir, Vodena, Guevgheli et Kavadar (Tickveche ) dans le Vilayet de Salonique. Les comites projetteraient de former des bandes assez nombreuses pour pouvoir attaquer avec succes des villages musulmans et provoquer ainsi des represailles sanglantes...

Steeg

38 R. Graves to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, July 31st, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.200r-203v, No.231].

Sir,

I have the honour to report that in view of the rumours of a concentration of revolutionary activity in the Karadjova district, referred to in my telegram No. 43 of the 28th instant, I requested the person who has been employed by my predecessor to collect information in the interior of this province, to visit the cazas of Ghevgheli and Vodena and report on the situation there.

He describes the condition of Ghevgheli as very unsatisfactory. The Bulgarian villagers appear to be falling more and more under the influence of the Revolutionaries, whose promises of Bulgarian and Russian help, coupled with the failure to apply any of the promised measures of reform, have not been without effect in bringing fresh recruits to the bands. The greed of the peasants is also appealed to by the promise that they will be made owners of the soil and their debts to the money-lenders wiped off. The Turks of this district are said to be quite disheartened by the failure of the authorities to repress the bands or even to punish the Revolutionaries who fall into their hands, and believe that the country has been sold by the Sultan to the Bulgarians, and that the futile repressive measures are taken only to save appearances...

 

Graves

39 The British Vice-Consul Peter McGregor to R. Graves

Monastir, July 31st, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.218r-220r, No.105].

Sir,

A new factor in the present situation has appeared in the shape of two armed Patriarchist bands in the Kaza of Kastoria, each composed of twenty-five men and seeming by regarded with approbation by the Turkish Authorities as well as by the Orthodox Metropolitan of the Eparchy.

It appears that one of these bands, led by a certain Vangel Nikolaou, was formed some time ago, but the fact became known quite recently in connection with a journey made in that district by Mgr.Ghermanos of Kastoria who was accompanied by a Turkish escort and also by the band in question. This Orthodox Prelate, whose ardour in combating the Bulgarian element so far outruns his discretion that during his recent stay here he announced his intention of calumniating and otherwise injuring the Bulgarians by every means in his power, visited Zelenich, Aitos, Neveska and several other villages and, finding that the churches there had been closed for some time owing to disputes between the two hostile sections of the Orthodox community, caused the sacred buildings to be opened by force, whereupon he performed a religious service and handed the keys to his supporters in each village.

On quitting his diocese, Mgr. Ghermanos dismissed the band which shortly afterwards, near Neveska, encountered a body of Bulgarian insurgents, several of whom were killed, one, who had been severely wounded, being subsequently conveyed to Monastir under military escort. It is uncertain whether in his engagement the troops who had formed the Metropolitan's escort actually co-operated with Vangel's men, or whether, according to the Vali, they arrived on the scene after all was over; but the former hypothesis appears more plausible, and, in any case, the Authorities to whom observations have been made both by the Russian Consul and myself, have been unable to explain away the fact that those Christian bashibozuks traversed the district with a detachment of imperial troops. The Vali, whom I saw today, had telegraphed to the Kaimakam of Florina for explanations, but that official, who like his colleagues at Perlepe and Kyrchevo, seems to treat His Excellency's orders with contempt, replied that his was unable to furnish any information.

The desirableness of organising "counter-bands" was mooted to me in March by Mr. Pezas, the late Greek Consul whom I earnestly dissuaded from encouraging such a scheme; but, in view of the desperate position of the Patriarchist population, the adoption of these measures of self-defence is scarcely surprising.

The Bulgarian Acting Commercial Agent has informed his Government that the bands are armed with rifles supplied by the Turkish Authorities through the agency of the Greek Metropolitans, a statement which I hesitated to discredit as it has come to my knowledge that several Patriarchists in Monastir who had, for one reason or another, allowed themselves to be enrolled in the Macedonian Committee and now dread the consequences of refusing to obey the call to arms, have been supplied with revolvers by the secret police.

McGregor

40 A. Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, August 1st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.87].

...Die in den Kreisen Florina-Kastoria mit Zustimmung der Regierung gebildete und von mir schon angezeigte griechische Contrebande unter Fuehrung des griechischen Patreigaengers Vangel aus Strebreno attaquirte im Verein mit Truppen am 26. v. M. bei Negovan (K. Florina) den Capetan Alexo von Eksi Su, welchem ein Verlust von 5 Mann beigebracht wurde. Einen am Fusse durch eine Grasgewehrkugel -also nicht durch ein tuerkisches Armeegewehr- verletzten Insurgenten schaffte man hierher. Die Soldaten hatten 2 Todte.

...Einige grausame Rachethaten des Comites machten am Lande bedeutenden Eindruck: in der Nacht des 26. v.M. umstellte Cap. Sugareff mit etwa 120 Mann das Dorf Capari, berief dann 10 bestimmte Individuen in den Han, wo er sie der Reihe nach durch Kugel oder Bajonett niedermachen liess. Dreien wurden zum Zeichen ihrer Treulosigkeit Zungen und Lippen abgeschnitten. Das Entsetzen der Uebrigen nach dieser Blutthat war ein tiefes, doch fast alle gaben zu, "die Gerichteten haetten ihr Schicksal verdient, sie seien Verraether gewesen!"

In Hassanono schleppte die Bande 4 Bauern fort, in Eksi Su 2, von welchen 3 um's Leben kamen, in Staravina (Morihovo) ereilte den griechischen Lehrer der denuncirt hatte, das selbe Geschick, in Zabjan (suedl. Monastir) einen gewissen Josif und 3 Bauern aus Popolzani, welche voriges Jahr massenhafte Anzeigen erstattet, thatsaechlich viel Unheil angerichtet hatten und seither gebrandmarkt waren.

...Ich hoere von der Ankunft einer Reihe frischer Officiere aus Bulgarien, Oberst Jankoff war schon in Cegan am Kaimakcalan, was recht bezeichnend waere, wenn er thatsaechlich der Mann des Fuersten Ferdinand sein sollte, als der er gilt...

Kral

41 M. Gauthier to J. Constans

Monastir, August 3rd, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, f.175r, No.36].

Depuis ma derniere lettre du 24 Juillet, il n' est survenu aucun evenement emportant avec lui quelque consequence et je n' ai a signaler que la perserverance des comitadjis a tirer vengeance des traitres. Dans la recente affaire de Tsapari les paysans n' avaient evidemment pas montre de disposition a favoriser la bande qui occupait les hauteurs dont les turcs l'ont delogee. Aussi dans la nuit du 26 au 27 Juillet, 150 Bulgares sous les ordres de Souvaroff, ont subitement envahi le village et ont egorge ou fusille dans le Han dix paysans dont ils avaient particulierement a se plaindre... On peut donc dire que la precedente semaine s' est ecoulee tranquillement, toutefois la panique est prete a renaitre a Monastir a la moindre occasion et hier, les magasins de farine ont ete vides en un instant sur le bruit que tous les jeunes bulgares de la ville avaient recu l'ordre de rejoindre les bandes.

Quelques uns, en effet sont partis et il est certain que les insurges se renforcent et se preparent a une action plus vive des que la moisson sera terminee.

Je persiste a penser qu' ils ne peuvent arriver a d'autre resultat qu' a se faire decimer. Le seul danger a redouter est que le comite adopte une nouvelle tactique et lance les bandes sur les villages turcs pour les incendier et massacrer des femmes et des enfants. Les represailles seraient immediates et terribles contre les villages bulgares et il pourrait en resulter une conflagration generale des plus dangereuses.

Gauthier

P.S: La crainte que j' exprimais plus haut parait fondee et les bulgares ont precisement commence cette nuit a s' en prendre aux villages turcs. Ils ont menace les villages turcs de Lera, Ramna, Dolentzi, Kozana du caza de Monastir et des coups de feu ont ete echanges. Une ou deux maisons a Lera et quelques meules de foin ont ete incendiees. Des paysans turcs de ces localites sont venus demander des secours au Vali.

...Les nouvelles ne parviennent plus ici par courrier les bulgares ayant coupe les fils telegraphiques d'Ochrida, Perlepe, Êastoria et Florina, qu'on s' occupe de reparer.

L'exode des bulgares valides continue a Monastir et dans les villages. Les autorites sont fort inquietes et prennent des mesures de protection plus severes encore dans la ville.

Gauthier

42 R. Graves to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, August 4th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.221r-223r, No.238].

Travellers who arrived by yesterday's train report that the inhabitants of Tekesova, Banitza, Ekshisou and Patele, all in the same district have risen, the men joining the insurgent bands and the women and children taking to the mountains, and a rumour is also current that the insurgents have attacked three Turkish villages on the Monastir side and set fire to the ricks.

It would seem from all this as if the attempt was being made to carry out the plan referred to in my despatches No. 222 of July 23rd and 231 of July 31st, and my telegram No. 43 of July 28th, to concentrate the activity of the bands in the mountainous districts of the three Karadjovas (Vodena, Yenidje and Ghevgheli) and endeavour to bring about a general rising of the Bulgarian villagers.

 

Graves

43 P. McGregor to R. Graves

Monastir, August 4th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.254r-257(a)r, No.109].

 

Sir,

In confirmation of my telegram of today's date to His Majesty's Ambassador posted to you for transmission to His Excellency on account of the interruption of telegraphic communication, I have the honour to report that on the evening of the 2nd instant, the Feast of the Prophet Elias (C.S.), the signal for an insurrectionary movement in the plain of Monastir and the adjacent districts was given by the simultaneous firing of several stackyards on the outskirts of the town and in the outlying village of Brusnik.

One of the first acts of the insurgents was to cut the telegraph wires connecting Monastir with Salonica, Perlepe and Okhrida, the telegraph poles with wires and insulators being removed along a tract of nearly a mile in the neighbourhood of Ekshi-Su, where dynamite was also used to destroy a small bridge and a "point" on the railway line. The Vali informs me, moreover, that several hundred metres of rail near Batitsa had been tampered with by the removal of the connecting bolts; but, as the daily train arrived only an hour late on the following evening, the damage must have been speedily repaired.

Simultaneous attacks were made on Resna, Dolentsi, Ramna and Lera in the Kaza of Okhrida, where the Mussulmans, being well armed, were able to repulse the insurgent onslaught after some hours fighting, the only casualty on the Turkish side being, as far as I am aware, one woman killed and several barns and stackyards reduced to ashes. The mail which had left Monastir for Koritsa on the same evening was obliged to return here as the road for Resna was rendered impassable by the fusillade and it was not till twelve hours later that it started again accompanied by twenty-five gendarmes.

As the Vali had in the meantime received news of an attack on the small body of troops at Smilevo, he immediately despatched 350 men thither with the others to pass through the Resna district and report on what had taken place there; but this afternoon he was still without news and it is rumoured that the road between Monastir and Resna has been cut. This is the case with the road leading from Resna to Koritsa which has been destroyed in several places along the western shore of Lake Presba.

Severe fighting took place on the same night at Pribiltsi, south of Krushevo, and it is stated that the insurgents have occupied both Krushevo and Kyrchevo, murdering the Turkish officials and burning the Government buildings in the former. It will probably be a day or two before authentic information regarding these towns is available, but a force of nearly 800 men has been sent in that direction and the Vali admits that the situation there causes him the greatest anxiety. At present no travellers can approach Krushevo and I have learned that the insurgents have seized three cartloads of foodstuffs on the way to that town from Monastir and have murdered the Turkish drivers in charge.

It is impossible at this moment to estimate the proportion of the rural population which has abandoned the villages, partially or en masse, and retired to the mountains in obedience to the summons of Sunday evening; but they must number several thousands, including not only Exarchist Bulgarians, but Patriarchists and Vlakhs hitherto represented as staunch adherents to the Hellenic propaganda.

Among the insurgent villages in the immediate vicinity of Monastir I may mention the following: Khristofor, Pozdesh, Gorno Crizari, Dolno Crizari, Karaman, Tyrnovo, Magarevo and Zhabyani, while in a more northerly direction are Kukurechani, Tsyrnaboka and others.

There is no definite news from the Kazas of Perlepe and Kyrchevo where, however, the movement is said to be general: and in the Presba district the only villages whose names I have ascertained as having joined the insurgents are Kozyak, Tsaridvor, Dyrmeni and Gherman.

The Vali informs me that the Christian Villages in the district around Buf and Florina, such as Resna, Armensko, Popolzhani, Zabyrdeni, Banitsa, Hassan Oba, are deserted, and the same is said to be the case in the Koreshta region between the Lakes of Presba and Kastoria where only children and aged people remain.

Krushograd has been burned down by the inhabitants, and in many instances the peasants, who had previously sold as much of the harvest as had been gathered in, took the opportunity of destroying by fire the houses and other property of Greek and Mussulman landowners before leaving.

The outbreak of the revolution, although generally expected to take place within the next fortnight or three weeks, seems nevertheless to have come as a surprise to the Authorities and on Saturday last the Vali treated with ridicule the idea of impending disturbances. His Excellency's first act was to apply for reinforcements, and eight battalions are expected here tomorrow or next day from Uskub, while others are said to be on their way from Upper Albania via Prizren, Lyuma and Debra. The Vali has assured several of the Consuls that he has taken every precaution to prevent disturbances in Monastir itself where the Mussulman population is irritated and restless, and he has placed strong pickets on the surrounding heights on order to guard against an insurgent attack on the town.

The railroad has been repaired and it is hoped that by tomorrow telegraphic communication with Perlepe, at least, will have been restored.

McGregor

44 A. Kral to A. Goluchowski

Monastir, August 4th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.89].

Hochgeborener Graf,

Das, was seit wenigen Tagen immer wahrscheinlicher wurde, ist eingetreten: der bulgarische Aufstand hat begonnen. Es wird nun klar, wie irrig die Meinung Jener war, welche glaubten die macedonische Insurrectionsgefahr sei vorueber, die Reformen haetten die Bevoelkerung beruhigt u.s.w., waehrend in Wirklichkeit die revolutionaeren Vorbereitungen nie unterbrochen wurden und entschieden betraechtliche Erfolge gezeitigt haben.

Die Gruende, welche zum Losschlagen schon jetzt, vor Beendigung der Erntearbeiten, also um etwa 14 Tage frueher als vorgesehen war, bewogen, scheinen oekonomischer und klimatischer Natur gewesen zu sein. Es duerften auch die letzhin so schwunghaft betriebenen Folterungen und Durchsuchungen am Lande den Commite's sowol an Menschen als Material Schaden zugefuegt haben, so dass man offenbar weitere Verluste fuerchtete.

Freitag, Samstag und Sonntag machten Abgesandte der Banden den Doerfern die Eroeffnung, dass Sonntag Nachts den 20[Juli]/2 August die Erhebung proclamirt werde, welche Nachricht allenthalben nit Begeisterung aufgenommen und wie eine Erloesung begruesst wurde. Zur angegebenen Zeit in der Sonntagsnacht, bildeten Braende von allen Seiten das Signal zum Auszug der Insurgenten.

In Monastir vekuendeten Kanonenschuesse 2 Feuer an der Peripherie der Stadt, die Gelegt waren, sowohl als Signal fuer die Umgebung, als auch, um in dem allenfalls entstandenen Durcheinander das Entweichen von Insurgenten zu erleichtern. Seither schreckt jede Nacht Feuerlaerm die Bevoelkerung auf, ohne dass die bisherigen Braende (Heudepots, Muehle, Getreidevorraethe) betraechtlichen Schaden anrichteten.

In den meisten bulgarischen Doerfern erschienen Banden oder Bandentheile, welche die Wehrfaehigen mit sich nahmen. So geschah es draussen am Lande, wie in den, der Vilajetshauptstadt zunaechst liegenden Ortschaften z.B. Kristofor, Pozdes, Zabjani, Vrizari, Kukurecani, Crnobuki, Srpce u.s.w. Die Insurgentenstreitkraefte zaehlen demnach gegenwaertig nach Tausenden, und ist noch nicht abzusehen, welche hohe Wellen die Bewegung schlagen wird.

...Aehnliche Coups, jedoch mit weniger Erfolg, geschahen gegen Pribilci, Novoselo und andere mohammedanische Orte in Demirhissar, wo die Bulgaren in grossen Scharen mit flatternden Fahnen herumziehen. Tuerkische Landleute dort verlangten von der Regierung Waffen und Munition...

Kral

45 The French Vice-Consul N. Vernazza to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, August 6th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, ff.193r-195r, No.35].

Les nouvelles qui nous arrivent de Monastir et des regions intermediaires entre cette ville et Salonique sont toujours assez alarmantes. Presque toutes les nuits les revolutionnaires bulgares essayent de faire un coup serieux sur la voie ferree. Les fils telegraphiques du gouvernement sont toujours coupes ceux de la ligne du chemin de fer ont seuls ete repares et c'est par cette voie que les autorites correspondent avec Monastir...

D'apres mes informations tous les habitants bulgares hommes, femmes et enfants des villages de Tzerovo, Banitza, Rossen, Zaboritzeni entre Florina et Ekchi-Sou se sont refugies dans la montagne.

Deux fermes appartenant a un albanais grec et a un musulman ont ete incendiees dans cette region.

Un employe de l'Agence Commerciale de Bulgarie me disait hier que jusqu' aujourd'hui les bandes bulgares se tenaient sur la defensive mais que depuis dimanche dernier elles avaient decide de prendre l'offensive et qu' elles seront serieusement secondees par les paysans bulgares.

J' ai en effet constate moi-meme que plusieurs jeunes bulgares avaient quitte recemment notre ville et les environs pour aller s' enroler dans les bandes qui sont dans les cazas de Guevgheli et de Koukouch, cependant ces bandes n' ont plus fait parler d'elles depuis l'affaire de Postolari.

A mon avis je crois que les bulgares ont voulu tenter un dernier coup dans la region de Monastir ou ils sont en majorite. En effet des passagers venus de Monastir affirment que plusieurs villages musulmans auraient ete incendiees en partie et depuis hier matin la nouvelle de la destruction par la dynamite du Konak de Krouchevo persiste. Cette ville ayant 1.700 maisons environ est habitee par des bulgares, des valaques et quelques albanais musulmans.

On raconte que plus de 30 personnes la plupart des fonctionnaires du Gouvernement auraient peri dans cet attentat commis par des bulgares qui ont voulu immiter l'exemple de leurs affilies de Salonique...

Vernazza

46 P. McGregor to R. Graves

Monastir, August 6th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.259r-264r, No.110, copy].

Sir,

In continuation of my immediately preceding despatch of the 4th instant I have the honour to report that, although but little entirely reliable information is forthcoming from the disturbed districts, it is evident that the revolutionary movement is daily gaining in intensity and that the Imperial troops have not so far succeeded in inflicting any serious loss on the insurgents.

It appears that two days previous to the outbreak special messengers had been sent to all the villages, and on the 2nd instant religious services were held at which the revolution was solemnly proclaimed and the insurgent banners consecrated by the priests.

I am endeavouring to draw up a list of the villages whose inhabitants have taken to the hills, but at present I can do no more than state that the movement is general throughout the districts of Monastir, Resna, Presba, Okhrida, Kyrchevo, Krushevo, Koreshta, Kastoria, Florina, and Morikhovo; and the Patriarchist of Slav and Wallachian nationality have apparently cast in their lot with the insurgents, the villages of Bukovo, Tyrnovo, Megarovo, and Nizhopole, in this neighbourhood, having each furnished from 15 to 35 recruits.

In certain villages the departure of the inhabitants was preceded by sanguinary excesses committed on the Turks; in others the entire population has disappeared, and in some instances the women, children and infirm persons have now returned to their homes. Among the latter I may mention Khristofor, near Monastir, where the women returned after twenty-four hours and offered hospitality to a band which departed with two cartloads of foodstuffs.

The burning of "kules" and non-Bulgarian property has been going on steadily for the last six days, and following list may be regarded as a sample of what is happening throughout the disturbed districts:

On the 4th instant at Krushograd a "kule" and a barn belonging to Fehim Bey were burned.

On the same night flourmill, the property of Ismail Petorak, within five minutes of Florina, was burned, the same fate overtaking a country-house belonging to Ibrahim Haji Mustafa, on the outskirts of Monastir, and a "kule" and a barn owned by Ibrahim Dudakayz at Bukri in this Kaza.

Kiant Pasha's "kule" and barn at Bach have been burned.

On the 2nd instant the khans at Shur on Lake Presba and at Krushye near Resna were burned, and it was with difficulty that 25 soldiers who were passing the night in the former escaped, leaving their rifles and equipment in the hands of the incendiaries.

On the same night at Zabyrdeni, near Banitsa, the peasants, before taking their departure, burned down a farm belonging to a Greek called Khristaki who has escaped hither, wounded and penniless. The villagers of Brod murdered Abdullah Agha, the steward of the local proprietor whose barns were also destroyed.

I have a further list of twelve "kules" burned down in various villages and at the present moment the plain of Monastir is blazing at six different points.

It may be regarded as almost certain that the whole of the mountainous district between Florina and Kastoria is in the hands of the insurgents, who are said to have occupied the important positions of Pissodere and Klissura, putting to flight or destroying the insignificant detachments of troops at Zhelgovo, Rulya, Biglishta etc... Concentration camps for the women and children have been formed in this district and bakers, tailors and shoemakers are also plying their trade in these strongholds. These details were supplied to me by a muleteer who has just arrived here from Pissodere and, while not refuted by the Authorities, who profess entire ignorance, they are in harmony with statements made some time ago by the Greek Metropolitan of Kastoria. It is also said that the bands in that district are acting under the joint leadership of Chakalaroff and Yankoff; a fact which would imply a fusion of the Saraffovist and "Vyrkhovist" sections of the Committee.

On my questioning the Vali today, he informed me that the engagement at Smilevo on the 2nd instant began by an attack on the sixty soldiers stationed there at the moment of the usual evening parade. His Excellency had received no detailed report, but he believed that the insurgents were at least six hundred strong and ten soldiers were killed at the first volley. Reinforcements from Monastir arrived next morning and, after twenty-four hours fight, routed the enemy who fled into the mountains. Similar success, according to His Excellency, attended the troops in attacks made by the insurgents on Resna and Okhrida; but he could give no details and I am indisposed to attach unquestioning credence to these statements any more than to those hitherto coming from other quarters. It appears, however, to be certain that the insurgents have retired from the vicinity of Smilevo and that Sarafoff has now transferred his headquarters to Paralovo, a Patriarchist village in the mountains three hours due east of Monastir.

With regard to affairs at Krushevo, it is admitted that on the 2nd instant the town was occupied by the insurgents in great strength, the small detachment of troops there being immediately overpowered. I should mention that the population of Krushevo is almost entirely Bulgarian and that the town is strongly situated on the top of a high hill. The Vali declares that, on entering the town, the insurgents proceeded to set fire to the Government buildings, telegraph-office, etc., having previously sprinkled them with petroleum with the aid of the municipal fire engine. The Chief of Police is said to have been hanged and the Vali fears that all the officials have been murdered. About eight hundred troops from Monastir and Perlepe under the command of Suleiman Pasha, Commanding the cavalry regiment at the latter town, and hitherto entrusted with the inspection of the railway line, had been despatched to Krushevo and the Vali, who stated that at least seventy insurgents had been killed, gave me to understand that the town had finally been occupied by the troops. I regret, however, to say that this latter detail seems to be inaccurate for I have since heard several persons, including a soldier who was wounded outside Krushevo yesterday evening, that the town was at that time still held by the insurgents and the entire population under arms, that it is surrounded by a double line of intrenchments, and that the officer in command of the beleaguering force has had to apply for reinforcements.

Nothing definite is known with respect to the Kyrchevo district, the Vali affirming that everything there is normal, while rumour has it that the entire Christian population has taken to the hills.

All the bridges on the road from Okhrida to Monastir have been destroyed and a detachment of soldiers has been cut to pieces at Petrina, ten wounded having been conveyed to Monastir. It was rumoured that a considerable portion of the town of Okhrida had been burned down by the Mussulmans, but this is now denied.

Contrary to what had been plausibly reported, it would seem that the region around Perlepe is quiet, but the Morikhovo district, regarding which the Vali says he has no information, is said to be up in arms and inaccessible to the troops, which are generally considered unequal to the stress of the present crisis.

Ali Riza Pasha informs that Pribiltsi, an important Mussulman centre south of Krushevo, has thrice been attacked in force, but that the enemy has finally been repulsed with a loss of sixty killed.

It may seem strange that the Authorities still affect to make light of the rising, but the best evidence to the contrary is that ten battalions of Redifs have been summoned for immediate service in their respective districts, and three battalions out of the eight summoned from Uskub have already arrived at Perlepe via Gradsko. Another battalion has been transferred from Vodena to Sorovich, half of it being stationed temporarily at Florina, and 400 men from Dibra have been despatched to the Okhrida district. The delay in the arrival of the remaining five battalions from Uskub is regrettable, as the Bulgarians are much elated by their success at Krushevo and the garrison at Monastir is now reduced to its simplest expression while the excitement and panic among the population are increasing hourly in spite of the well meant exhortations of the Vali.

Yesterday a railway bridge between Vladovo and Ostrovo was blown up by dynamite, causing a delay of two hours in the arrival of the train, and this will probably not prove to be the last attempt of the kind, seeing that the committee has warned the Company to accept no passengers for the next two months. This fact is known to the Vali who states that two months ago he advised the Ministry of Public Works to insist on the removal of the station-master and other employees at Ekshi-Su where the line was first tampered with.

The telegraph wires are cut as fast as they are repaired and it is a mere matter of luck if messages sent by this means slip through during the day.

McGregor

47 Note admitted by the Imperial Ottoman Embassy in Paris to the French Foreign Ministry.

Paris, August 10th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, f.230r].

 

Les bulgares se trouvant en tres grand nombre dans la commune de Klissoura et ses environs ont envahi les villages de Djivarek, dependant de Kesrie, massacre tous les habitants musulmans, femmes et enfants et incendie leurs maisons. Ils continuent a attaquer avec fureur les autres villages de ce district ou ils ont deja capture un grand nombre d'habitants. Une partie de ces malheureux ont ete brules vifs. La population grecque et musulmane se trouve saisie d'une grande terreur par suite de cette terrible boucherie.

Aux environs de Monastir les brigands bulgares ont brule huit granges situes dans differentes fermes avec les cereals qui y etaient emmagasinees.

Ces attaques violentes auxquelles les villages musulmans qui dans les communes de Resna et de Persie sont en lutte de la part des dits pertubateurs ont provoque une grande froyeur parmi les musulmans.

Dans le district d'Ochri[da] le courrier de Janina a ete cerne par des bandits bulgares et un grand nombre d'objets appartenant a des musulmans ont ete incendies par les malfaiteurs bulgares.

48 Deciphered Telegram by P. McGregor

Monastir, August 10th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, f.247r].

My tel. of yesterday sent by post.

Neveska an important position was captured by insurgents on the 7th instant.

Krushevo is surrounded by 4.000 troops and the bombardment began yesterday. The insurgents have lost heavily in Debirsko district and it is rumoured that Albanians of Dibra and Reka are attacking the Bulgarian population in the adjacent region. The mail from Kastoria has been seized near (? Sorovitch) and Kastoria is surrounded by bands. The rebels have made important seizures of stores near Koritsa and elsewhere and burning and pillage continue.

Heavy fighting is going on at Chegani in the Department of Florina and the Diavat near Monastir.

There are only seven battalions in Monastir.

McGregor

49 J. Constans to T. Delcasse

Therapia, August 11th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie- Macedoine, ôïì.35, ff.243v-244r, No.129].

 

...On ne peut se dissimuler que la situation est grave, en particulier dans le vilayet de Monastir que les insurges paraissent avoir pris pour centre de leurs operations. Chaque jour de nouveaux mefaits sont signales de la part des bandes: incendies de villages turcs ou de recoltes appartenant a des musulmans, fils telegraphiques coupes, stations de chemin de fer detruites, ouvriers de la voie enleves ou tues. Jamais a aucun moment le mouvement insurrectionnel n' avait deploye une pareille activite, jamais non plus un aussi grand nombre de revolutionnaires n' avait tenu la campagne. Des gens en general bien informes assurent qu' ils sont plus de 30.000 sous les armes.

Je sais bien que dans ce chiffre l'on comprend les paysans qui excedes d'avoir a subir successivement les avanies des troupes regulieres et des bandes revolutionnaires, de toujours craindre d'etre fusilles par les uns comme complices des Bulgares, ou par les autres comme espions des Turcs, ont abandonne leurs villages et leurs familles et se battent peut-etre sans grand enthousiasme. Je sais egalement que tous ne sont pas parfaitement armes . Mais il n' en reste pas moins qu' a l'heure actuelle dans le vilayet de Monastir , les troupes turques cependant nombreuses sont impuissantes a retablir l'ordre et que, fait unique jusqu' a present , le village de Krouchovo est depuis plusieurs jours entre les mains des insurges sans que l'autorite ait pu parvenir a le reconquerir.

Quelle tournure vont prendre les evenements? Il est assez dificile de le dire d'une facon certaine. Ce qui est a craindre, c'est que devant l'echec complet du programme des reformes austro-russes, le Gouvernement Imperial, qui ne croit pas a la neutralite du Gouvernement Princier ne veuille revenir a ses anciennes methodes et tenter de retablir l'ordre par une repression peut-etre peu mesuree.

 

Constans

50 L. Steeg to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, August 12nd, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, ôïì.35, ff.254r-259r].

 

...Tous les renseignements apportes a Salonique par les voyageurs venant du vilayet de Monastir confirment que cette province est le theatre d'une grande insurrection dont l'importance intrinseque depasse considerablement celle des mouvements bulgares de 1876.

Ces evenements ont, je dois le dire, cause une surprise generale: on s' attendait sans doute, a une reprise assez prochaine de l'activite des bandes, a des soulevements locaux plus ou moins graves, mais personne, et les autorites turques moins que qui que ce soit, ne supposait que dans plusieurs cazas a la fois, la population bulgare put se soulever toute entiere et surtout, reunir assez d'armes et de munitions pour mettre en ligne des milliers de combattants. On considerait en general que le mal dont souffrent les provinces macedoniennes etait en voie de passer a l'etat chronique; le printemps dernier s' etant ecoule sans qu' eut eclate la crise aigue annoncee pour cette epoque; il etait difficile de ne pas se laisser impressioner quelque peu par l'optimisme des autorites turques affirmant qu' elles avaient detruit ou disperse les bandes, saisi leurs armes et leurs munitions. On avait bien annonce de source bulgare que le mouvement insurrectionnel, apres une accalmie pendant les mois de mai, juin et juillet, renaitrait au mois d'aout du calendrier orthodoxe, si d'ici la il n' avait pas ete accompli de reformes ameliorant d'une maniere appreciable le sort des populations chretiennes.

Il y avait, semble-t-il, tout lieu de croire que rien d'important ne se produirait avant que fussent rentrees les recoltes qui precisemment cette annee, apres une longue periode de misere, avaient ete d'une importance exceptionelle. Or avec le systeme demeure en vigueur pour la perception des dimes, de longues semaines s' ecoulent entre le moment de la moisson et celui ou l'on peut battre et engranger les meules qui attendent en plein champ le passage du dimier.

 

C'est precisement la fin de cette periode qu' ont choisie les chefs du mouvement insurrectionnel dans le vilayet de Monastir pour provoquer une levee generale des boucliers dont le signal a ete donne par l'incendie des meules de ble. Le Gouvernement, disent-ils, y perdra sa dime, les proprietaires turcs la part prelevee sur le travail des paysans bulgares, quant a eux, ils n' y perdront que le pain necessaire pour soutenir une existence qui leur est devenue intolerable. Ils ont pris pour devise "La liberte ou la mort" et ils semblent croire que si, par impossible, ils triomphent, tout le reste viendra de soi.

Couper les ponts derriere eux, placer les insurges dans l'alternative de vaincre ou de mourir, tel a ete le but des premieres manifestations du mouvement actuel qui avec l'incendie des recoltes, a fait coincider le massacre des fonctionnaires musulmans et de la petite garnison turque de

Krouchovo ou l'insurrection reste maitresse depuis 10 jours, malgre plusieurs attaques des troupes ottomanes qui en font le siege.

Sans doute ces actes odieux ne visent pas moins a provoquer de la part des populations musulmanes des actes de violentes represailles, dont on espere que l'Europe finira par s' emouvoir au point d'intervenir directement et de prendre en mains la solution de la question macedonienne. Mais ce calcul a ete si souvent decu et l'intervention europeenne, quand elle s' est manifestee, est restee jusqu' ici si peu efficace qu' il convient, semble-t-il, d'attribuer surtout les derniers evenements a une sorte d'exaltation maladive et contagieuse qui ne fait pas le moindre danger de la situation actuelle.

Qu' il se produise des maintenant parmi les populations musulmanes une excitation semblable a l'encontre des bulgares en particulier et des chretiens en general, le fait est malheureusement hors de doute, mais il faut reconnaitre que l'administration turque a su jusqu' ici en arreter les effets.

...Les nouvelles qui parviennent ici du theatre des hostilites engagees contre les insurges restent bien vagues et bien incompletes, il en resulte cependant que ces derniers resistent encore avec un certain succes. Krouchovo reste entre leurs mains, Ekchi-Sou que les turcs annoncaient avoir cerne avant d'y donner l'assaut, a ete trouve vide de defenseurs; il en a ete, parait-il, de meme a VlahoKlissoura occupee quelque temps par les insurges. Cette petite ville qui domine la route de Florina a Kastoria est exclusivement valaque. Des habitants qui se sont enfuis a Salonique disent que la troupe au lieu de poursuivre les insurges s' est etablie dans la ville ou elle fait des perquisitions dans chaque maison.

L'insurrection proprement dite n' a pas encore fait son apparition dans le vilayet de Salonique ou l'on ne signale depuis quelque temps aucune rencontre entre la troupe et les bandes: il parait que celles-ci se sont actuellement eloignees des villages; on assure qu' un grand nombre d'insurges occupe la chaine de montagnes qui s' etendent entre Yenidje-Vardar et Guevgheli. De la plupart des villages de la region et de Salonique meme on signale la disparition d'un grand nombre d'hommes et de jeunes gens partis pour rejoindre les bandes. J' apprends de bonne source que les bandes se concentrent et s' arment au village de Konsko, situe a l'ouest de Guevgheli.

La partie orientale du vilayet de Salonique, particulierement celle qui avoisine la frontiere bulgare (Djouma-Balia et Razlog) serait actuellement tres tranquille. On se demande si les bulgares de cette region n' ont pas ete decourages par l'insucces de leur rebellion d'Octobre dernier; il est possible d'autre part que le plan des comites insurrectionnels soit de n' y engager la lutte qu' apres que les troupes turques se seront concentrees a l'ouest de la Macedoine et qu' ils auront reuissi a faire des degats serieux sur les voies ferrees de maniere a entraver les mouvements militaires.

Tout est calme encore dans le vilayet d'Uskub. Le Gerant de notre Vice-Consulat m' ecrit qu' il a de serieux raisons de croire que les delegues des comites ont fait de vaines tentatives pour y soulever les paysans slaves: ceuxci, effrayes par le voisinage de nombreuses populations albanaises dont ils redoutent de promptes et sanglantes repre sailles, auraient refuse de prendre part au mouvement.

 

Steeg

51 The French Charge d' Affaires L.Maurouard to Ô.Delcasse

Athens, August 14th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.35, ff.288r-289r, No.131].

 

...Le President du Conseil a manifeste a la suite des nouvelles et graves incursions de bandes bulgares signalees en Macedoine. D'apres les informations parvenues au Gouvernement hellenique, ces envahisseurs seraient au nombre de plusieurs milliers, comptant dans leurs rangs des officiers de l'armee bulgare, ils operent dans les vilayets de Kossovo et de Monastir et seraient apparus notamment en des points intermediaires entre Monastir et Salonique et relativement assez rapproches de cette derniere ville, ce qui cause ici une profonde sensation. Ils se seraient attaques a plusieurs centres de populations de race hellenique, usant envers ces villages religieusement rattaches au Patriarchat des plus violents procedes d'intimidation: incendies, pillages, extorsions et traitements barbares a l'egard des personnes, enlevement des femmes et des enfants vers la montagne, dans le but de compromettre ces communes vis-a-vis de l'autorite turque...

On releve la coincidence qui se produit pour la derniere fois entre l'absence du Prince Ferdinand de ses etats et la levee de boucliers des agitateurs bulgares en Macedoine et on en tire interrogativement des indices d'une preparation prealable du mouvement non ignore du Gouvernement bulgare.

Enfin, ces jours derniers, a la nouvelle que la Turquie mobilisait des troupes de reserve, on a fait courir le bruit de l'imminence d'une guerre avec la Bulgarie, la Puissance suzeraine devant etre inevitablement forcee d'aller etouffer au coeur de la Principaute un foyer d'agitations sans cesse dirigees sur son territoire, ainsi qu' elle l'avait fait vis-a-vis de la Grece en 1897 a la suite des incursions beaucoup moins serieuses des andartes de l' "Ethniki Etairia".

 

Maurouard

52 Ì.Gauthier to J.Constans

Monastir, August 21st, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.36, ff.68v-70r, No.42].

...L'insurrection eclatant inopinement avec le depart en masse des villageois de toutes les localites bulgares, avait d'abord donne des craintes qui confirmaient les premiers coups de main des insurges tels que leur entree dans Krouchovo, Klissoura et Neveska, mais leur succes n' a pas dure, les troupes ont repris ces trois villes, elles grossisent chaque jour et les comitadjis sont impuissants a leur resister en face .

Il n' en faut pourtant pas conclure que les forces considerables placees dans les mains d'Omer Ruchdi Pacha vont terminer completement la rebellion. Elles auraient raison d'adversaires agglomeres qui accepteraient le combat, mais ici c'est la lutte du lion contre des moucherons insaisisables qui s' envolent de tous cotes pour revenir le harceler. Rien ne surviendra dans tous les points importants qu' occupent les troupes, mais elles n' empecheront pas une serie continuelle de petits engagements un peu partout qui laissent chaque fois, des maisons brulees ou pillees et quelques femmes deshonorees et egorgees dans les villages ou ils se livrent.

Quant a une fin, je ne la prevois pas. Les troupes ne resteront pas toujours massees dans les centres en aussi grand nombre, tandis qu' il restera toujours des bandes de quelques hommes inattaquables sur les hautes montagnes et qui suffiront a troubler le pays. Voici les derniers incidents que j' ai a signaler:...

...Le 17 un millier d'insurges s' etaient fortifies sur les collines entre Pissoderi, Tarsia et Armensko, caza de Florina, et avaient arbore un etendard. Les troupes les ont attaques et d'apres la version turque, 200 bulgares auraient ete tues. D'apres la version bulgare, les soldats auraient entierement brule Tarsia et auraient ensuite pille Armensko, apres avoir tout tue, femmes et enfants.

Il est certain que les soldats commettent des exces et se livrent au pillage. Les autorites le reconnaissent et disent poursuivre la punition des coupables.

D'apres des informations precises 366 maisons et 204 magasins ont ete brules a Krouchovo dans le quartier GrecoValaque, tandis que le quartier bulgare est reste intact, ce qui s' explique diffilement...

Gauthier

53 J.Constans to T.Delcasse

Therapia, August 22nd, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.36, ff.76v-78r, No.138].

...Dans le vilayet d'Andrinople, jusqu' ici a peu pres tranquille, l'activite des bandes vient aussi d'etre constatee. Dans la nuit du 16 au 17 courant pres de KouleliBourgas, station de la ligne de Constantinople-Andrinople de nombreux coups de feu ont ete echanges entre les soldats charges de la surveillance de la ligne et les revolutionnaires. Enfin au lendemain de l'arrivee de la division navale russe au mouillage d'Iniada, les Bulgares ont attaque et detruit deux villages grecs situes entre cette baie et Kirk-Kilisse qui a ete egalement attaque et dont le conak a ete incendie.

Si l'on rapproche de ces faits, les divers attentats commis par les rebelles sur les chemins de fer de Salonique a Dedeagatch, de Salonique a Monastir et de Salonique a Uskub, on est amene a constater que la circulation des voyageurs et des troupes deja fort difficile, deviendra bientot absolument impossible.

...Il devient evident que l'insecurite est partout et que la population paisible de la Macedoine doit redouter egalement les exces des bandes bulgares et l'intervention des troupes chargees de les reprimer.

...Comment les bandes s' approvisionnent-elles? Comment le nombre de ces bandes augmente-t-il sans cesse malgre les pertes serieuses qui leur ont ete infligees? Comment les explosifs, la dynamite notamment, foissonent-ils partout dans le pays? A toutes ces questions que l'on se pose, il n' y ' a pas de reponse possible si l'on se refuse a admettre que le Gouvernement Bulgare met tout au moins quelque

negligeance a empecher le passage par ses frontieres des armes et des explosifs.

...Mais les crimes commis par les Bulgares, les actes de barbarie des bandes ne sont ni moins nombreux ni moins atroces que ceux qu' ils reprochent aux Musulmans. Comment des lors mettre en oeuvre des reformes dans un pays ou les pires exces sont partout et ou la tranquillite et le calme ne se trouvent nullepart?

 

Constans

54 L. Maurouard to T. Delcasse

Athens, August 22nd, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.36, f.83r, No.135].

...Au cours de la derniere reception diplomatique, le President du Conseil, faisant suite a ses entretiens de la semaine precedente, a communique aux representants des Grandes Puissances des nouvelles complementaires recues par lui concernant les maux soufferts par des villages helleniques des districts de Monastir et de Castoria de la part des insurges bulgares. Plusieurs de ces villages auraient eu un certain nombre de leurs habitants et leurs maisons detruites. A Krouschevo notamment, les perturbateurs auraient detruit par l'incendie ou la dynamite l'eglise et l'ecole helleniques et plus de deux cents maisons appartenant a des habitants de race grecque. Douze cents de ces paysans se trouveraient sans toit et sans pain.

Maurouard

55 L. Steeg to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, August 25th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.36, ff.108r-110r, No.38].

Les informations qui me sont parvenues depuis l'envoi de mon dernier rapport semblent indiquer que le rayon d'action des bandes d'insurges du vilayet de Monastir tend a se restreindre en presence de l'enorme accumulation de troupes turques dans cette region. Mais elles ne signalent aucun succes notable de ces derniers: les insurges demeurent a peu pres insaisissables et l'armee s' en prend a la population chretienne sans dinstinction de race; de toutes parts de source bulgare, grecque et meme turque, arrivent chaque jour a Salonique des recits de pillages et d'incendies commis par les troupes.

De nombreux details sur l'entree des turcs a Krouchevo sont parvenus a Salonique tant par des refugies que par de nombreuses lettres adressees par leurs familles a des personnes originaires de cette ville et etablies a Salonique.

La population de Krouchovo (environ 10.000 hommes) se compose pour plus de deux tiers de valaques grecisants qui vont gagner leur vie et parfois faire fortune dans les principales villes de Turquie et meme a Alexandrie et a Vienne; plusieurs d'entre eux s' etaient fait construire dans leur ville natale de grandes et belles maisons.

Les insurges qui au debut du soulevement dans le vilayet de Monastir sont entres a Krouchovo, et y ont organise un gouvernement provisoire apres avoir tue la plupart des fonctionnaires turcs ainsi que la petite garnison de la ville, n' etaient pas plus de 400 dont 200 a peine armes de fusils, les autres n' ayant que des haches et des pioches.

Ils ont tue deux habitants chretiens de la ville dont un notable valaque, le Dr. Battalia: ils ont leve des contributions s' elevant a 1.200 ou 1.500 Ltq. Ils ont contraint les habitants valaques a travailler a des tranchees autour de la ville...

...Des l'entree en ville de ces dernieres le pillage du quartier valaque commenca: une cinquantaine de personnes, dont plusieurs femmes et enfants furent massacrees.Les maisons les plus riches furent mises a sac et incendiees; plus de 700 maisons furent pillees; 366 maisons et 203 boutiques furent ensuite detruites par le feu. Beaucoup de femmes et de jeunes filles furent violees, toutes celles que l'on trouva furent depouillees de leurs bijoux; les robes furent dechirees pour se saisir des colliers que les femmes valaques portent sur la poitrine; a plusieurs d'entre elles on dechira les oreilles en enlevant les boucles qu' elles portaient, a d'autres, les doigts furent coupes pour en enlever des bagues. Beaucoup parmi les plus riches habitants de Krouchovo ne possedent plus autre chose que leurs vetements.

Le quartier bulgare, plus pauvre, habite par de modestes cultivateurs fut seul epargne. Peut-etre la crainte d'explosions de dynamite n' a-t-elle point ete etrangere a ce fait.

Si j' ai cru devoir insister sur le sac et l'incendie de Krouchovo c'est que les details ci-dessus sont parvenus a ma conaissance par des temoignages divers et concordants...

 

Steeg

56 Á. Kral to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, August 25th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.105].

Hochgeborener Graf,

 

Eine der interessantesten Episoden aus dem in ungeschwaechter Kraft fortdauernden Aufstand war jene von Krusevo.

In der Nacht vom 2. zum 3. l. M. hatten sich die Insurgenten der Stadt bemaechtigt. Sie zaehlten 800-1.000 Mann, worunter jedoch nur etwa 300-350 Bewaffnete, die Uebrigen versehen mit Aexten, Keulen u.s.w. Ihre Anfuehrer hiessen Andrea, Ivanoff, Panajotoff, Gjurcin, Popeff und Pito Vule, von denen die beiden Ersten von den Behoerden als bulgarische Officiere bezeichnet werden.

...Dann schritt man an die Anlage von Schanzen und Schiessgraeben laengs den die Stadt umsaeumenden Hoehen und erzaehlt mir der, unter der Maske eines Correspondenten hier weilende deutsche Generalstabsoberlieutenant Goeben, dass die Art und Placirung der vorgenommenen Erdaushebungen militaerische Kenntnis der Fuehrer verrathe.

Kral

57 Á. Kral to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, August 31st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.392, No.109].

 

Hochgeborener Graf,

Ueber die Absichten der Revolutionaeren erfahre ich, dass diese in der allernaechsten Zeit, wie bisher, nur am Lande resp. in den Bergen kaempfen, dann aber -wenn auch in einem spaeteren Zeitpunkte noch kein positives Ergebnis zu erblicken sein wuerde- zu anarchistischen Mitteln in den groesseren Staedten, vornehmlich Monastir, Ueskueb, Salonich greifen wollen, ganz ohne Beruecksichtigung der voraussichtlich schweren und verhaehgnisvollen Folgen.

Binnen weniger Tagen soll das Vilajet Salonich mit dem Aufstande eingreifen.

An der Vardarlinie befinden sich gegenwaertig Oberst Jankoff und General Zonceff, welche also -entgegen den Zeitungsnachrichten- an der bulgarischen Grenze nicht aufgehalten worden sind. Ihr Auftauchen beweist, dass das "obere" Comite mit der inneren Organisation doch bis zu einem gewissen Grade Friede gemacht hat, und dass man in Bulgarien aus begreiflichen Gruenden die heuer zu pflueckenden Lorbeern nicht die Sarafoffisten allein einheimsen lassen moechte.

Die innere Organisation behauptet, durch die Uebereiltheit des "oberen" Comite's vom vorigen Herbste heuer zum Losschlagen gezwungen worden zu sein. Jene Unvorsichtigkeit der Zonceffisten trage die Schuld, dass den Tuerken ueber die Bewaffnung die Augen geoeffnet wurden, weshalb sie dieses Jahr mit umso schaerferen Verfolgungs- und Repressivmassregeln einsetzten. Es sei gar kein anderer Ausweg geblieben als Proclamirung des Aufstandes, wenn nicht die Frucht muehevoller, jahrelanger Arbeit haette aufs Spiel gesetzt werden sollen. Ohne jene Voreiligkeit haette die innere Organisation warten koennen, bis Europa den Moment fuer gekommen erachtete.

...Dass fuer den Beginn des Aufstandes im Vilajet Monastir gerade der Monat August gewaehlt wurde, wird -neben mehreren anderen Erwaegungen- mit der Absicht in Zusammenhang gebracht, durch Stoerung der Erntearbeiten Nothstand und materielle Schwaechung der Tuerken zu erzeugen, wogegen Bulgarien volle Zeit verbliebe, seine aus gezeichnete, reiche Ernte unter Dach und Fach zu bringen.

 

Kral

58 Á. Kral to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, September 1st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.393, No.110].

...Die Fuehrung liegt in den Haenden der bekannten Capetane und Vojvoden, wie bekannt, verstaerkt durch eine grosse Anzahl bulgarischer Officiere und Unterofficiere. Die tuerkischen Functionaere und das Volk lassen sich es aber nicht nehmen, dass auch einige russische Officiere vorhanden sind, und sollen zwei der Officiere in Krusevo nicht bulgarisch, sondern russisch gesprochen haben, was ich doch nich recht glauben kann.

Bei den Sprengungen, besonders auf den Bahnen, stehen entschieden bulgarische Geniesoldaten in Verwendung, wie aus der sachkundigen Placirung der Bomben bei der Zerstoerung der Sakulevo-bruecke zu beurtheilen war.

Kral

59 Deciphered Telegram by R. Graves

Thessaloniki, September 5th, 1903

 

[F.O.195/2157, ff.437r, No.78].

...Trustworthy intelligence from Monastir shows as the result of recent drives the insurrection in that province is practically crushed as far as bands are concerned but that the Turkish authorities are waging war of extermination against the Bulgarian population in which Bashbibazouks are being largely employed and Greek and other non-Bulgarian Christians are suffering heavily.

Graves

60 P. McGregor to R. Graves

Monastir, September 8th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.493r-494r, No.125].

 

Sir,

In continuation of my despatch No. 122 of the 4th instant, I have the honour to report the following trustworthy details regarding recent events at Klissura and Neveska.

On the 5th ultimo Klissura was occupied without resistance by 600-700 insurgents, half of whom took up their quarters in the town while the remainder camped on the surrounding hills. During the twenty-two days of the Bulgarian occupation contributions to the amount of 1.300 were raised and the insurgents lived at the expence of the inhabitants; but no excesses were commited and local administration was carried on without a hitch.

On the 19th ultimo 350 of the insurgents went to join Chakalaroff who occupied Neveska next day, and when, on the 26th ultimo, the approach of a large Turkish force under Edhem Bey was announced, the remainder of the Bulgarians retired slowly from Klissura, taking up positions on the hills in the neighbourhood where a sharp engagement of short duration ensued. 120 insurgents, including the Voivoda Popoff, were killed and the Turks lost twenty or thirty killed and six wounded.

The bands were not pursued by the Turks who, before entering the town, proceeded to the villages of Zagorichani, Bobishta and Mokreni which they sacked and burned after massacring 150 of the inhabitants, thus making up the figure of 300 ultimately quoted by the Authorities as representing the insurgent losses. (See the official communiques inclosed in my despatch referred to above).

No excesses appear to have been committed by the Turkish at Klissura.

With regard to Neveska, the garrison of 120 men was overpowered by Chakalaroff, and 50 or 60 soldiers were killed the Mudir and the civil officials fled to Sorovich and the barracks and Government buildings were destroyed. The insurgents levied contributions to the amount of £1.300 and remained in the village till the 27th when, on the approach of five or six battalions from Florina and Monastir, they retired without risking an engagement.

No Turkish excesses are reported from Neveska.

McGregor

61 The American Consul Pericles Lazzaro to the Consulate General and the Embassy

Thessaloniki, September 10th, 1903

[NAUSA, roll 2, vol.1 from July 5, 1902 to February 2, 1910, ff.26r-29r, inclosed in Nos 605 XI].

The most important events since my last report are: The taking and burning of Kruchevo, the burning of Smilevo and the fights around Neveska. In the other Macedonian Vilayets, except Monastir, the rev[olutionary] movement is more sporadic and less intense.

The reb[el]s to the number of 250 (corrected figures) entered Kruchevo on Aug. 2nd and held the place till the 12th, date in which they left through a road not watched by the T[urkish] troops. One version is that the Turks had not guarded that road because they did not have enough men (5.000 regulars were camped before Kruchevo) the other version is that Bahtiar Pasha, the general commanding the forces recd [received] a bribe of tq.1.000 in order to allow the reb[el]s to escape. After the B[ulgarians] left, the Turks bombared Kruchevo for 7 hours without however doing much damage. One hour before sunset on the 12th Bahtiar Pasha entered the town and his troops began a systematic looting of the place under the eyes of their officers confining themselves to the Greco-Wallachian quarter which contains five houses with riches accumulated throughout generations. Sums of money had been confided to the care of the women, who concealed it about their persons; but the soldiers roughly stripped the women of all money garments and secured the money together with costly jewellery and other objects of value. Many wives and daughters were treated in the most shameful manner. Details Which are not fit for reproduction, I personally secured from eye witnesses and sufferers. Four days the soldiers remained in the town, thoroughly looting and then burning each house separately (the houses are isolated, lying in gardens). 368 residences and 290 shops were burned. The large Greek church was polluted rifled and burned. On the unarmed citizen 68 women men and children were massacred. The extraordinary part is that not a Bulg[garian] was touched and that soldiers did not even enter the B[ulgarian] quarter. This quarter is poor, besides the troops had gathered from the Greeks all the booty they could carry. Heavy booty such as furniture, etc. was heaped outside the town and removed later by T[urkish] peasants in over 2.000 cartloads. This booty is now offered for sale in Monastir and Prilep. -Bahtiar Pacha having been called by Hilmi Pacha to account for the conduct of his soldiers, tried to obtain from the remaining inhabitants of Kruchevo the signature of a document stating that the looting and killing had been done by the B[ulgarian] reb[el]s and that no complain could be made against the T[urkish] soldiers. But notwithstanding the pressure, nobody of consequence seems to have signed this paper-.

The case of Kruchevo is typical, because it shows that the tactics of the B[ulgarians] consist in compromising Greek towns, and that the Turks have neither learnt anything, not forgotten any of their old tricks.

Reports show that about 35 Bulg[arian] and Greek villages have been plundered and burned by the T[urkish] troops in the Monastir Vilayet since the recent outbreak. The number of T[urkish] villages treated likewise by the B[ulgarian]s is about 20. Many hundreds of bodies are lying unburied all over the country. Smilevo has had the same fate with Kruchevo, and there also no difference was made between those who had remained loyal to the Gov[ernment] and those who were in sympathy with the rebels.

On Aug. 26th 400 reb[el]s entered the Graeco-Wallachian town of Neveska, near Klissura (Exisou station) on their way they came across a detachment of 150 soldiers, of these 20 only succeeded in escaping, the others, it seems, were killed by the reb[el]s. After ransoming the town the B[ulgarian]s fortified themselves in the stone barracks which are outside Neveska. Four battalions of troops having arrived the next day from Kastoria and Florina, the reb[el]s retreated with hardly any losses, as far as I can make out.

I reproduce here in extense the copy of a letter emanating from the Committee and s[ign]ed by all the foreign Consuls at Monastir.

6th(19) August. Florina region.

"Day before yesterday Aug. 4 the insurg[ents] to the number of 400 had an engagement with 2.000 T[urkish] troops in the place (Exercito) between the villages of Armensko, Zelovo, Teercie and Pisodere. The ins[urgents] were able to hold their position with firmness and heroically forced the T[urkish] troops to retreat and collect their forces in well fortified Florina. Of the insurgents there fell bravely 5 young men but on the side of the Turks about 200(!) Enraged at their failure, the T[urks], on going to Florina, on the highway which passes to the rear of Armensko, they bombarded the village then plundered, killed and set fire to whatever remained. Burned: All the houses, 250 barns, 240 head of swine, 20 yoke of oxen, 30 horses. All the remaining cattle was driven to Florina. Of the villagers 8 males and one baby were burned (follow the names). Then follow the names of 49 males, 18 females and 2 infants shot and butchered to death. Badly wounded: A list of 31 names is given, 17 being females. Ages 5 to 60. Outraged: the names of 19 women and girls are given. Ages 13 to 40. Of these 5 were killed together with 3 infants. One child, a year old, was hacked to pieces and thrown to the dogs. Some of the girls and women were shamefully wounded.

The church of St George was robbed. These are the items in brief from our side which we present above after having seen and verified them.

 

(No signature)"

 

This letter seems to contain grossly exaggerated facts. Anyhow the insurgents have committed over and over again all the crimes of which they accuse the Turks.

Lazzaro

62 P. Lazzaro to the American Vice-Consul in Constantinople W. Smith-Lyte

Thessaloniki, September 10th, 1903

[NAUSA, roll 2, vol.I from July 5, 1902 to February 2, 1910, ff.31r-32r, No.607].

Sir,

I beg to confirm my last despatch of Sept. 1st. In the meantime and for the present the insurrectional movement in the West has lost its intensity while concentrating its forces in the Adrianople Vilayet. Various encounters however took place in the Monastir Vilayet in which it seems the reb[el]s) had the worst of it. The long planned encircling of the rebel head quarters on Mount Peristeri has not succeeded.

In the Salonica Vilayet the bands are much similar, generally numbering from 30 to 50 men, and no attacks on towns have been made. Even the Razlog district in the N.W. part of the Vilayet where Miss Stone was captured and which is entirely Bulgarian, is comparatively speaking quiet. On the other hand many rumours circulate of projected attacks in the cities of Salonica and Monastir, andas it is said that the Am[erican] missions have been specially designated by the Committee in this connection, I again saw the Vali yesterday and earnestly urged him to take strong measures in order to protect the missions, both against coup de main of the reb[el]s or a possible outbreak of Musulman fanatism. The latter eventuality gives rise to serious apprehension owing to the fact that in case of a panic many Bulgarians, Protestants and others, would certainly take refuge in the Am[erican] missions.

The insurrectional movement in Macedonia is of a very special nature, and while being limited to the Bulg[arian] element only, the exactions of the bands have alienated to their cause such a large number, even those who have been forced to take up arms, that the feeling of allegiance towards the principality has given way to the fear of changing the domination of the Turk with that of a more exacting master.

Men well informed with the conditions in Eastern Roumelia assure that a fair vote of the population there would now show their preference for the state of things before the annexation to Bulgaria. This feeling is also predominant among the Macedonians who are taking an active part in the present movement. They want to get rid of the Turk, but also of Bulgaria as represented by the Committees.

Public opinion among the Musulmans here demands now a war with Bulgaria which alone it renders responsible for the present state of affairs. The principal causes however, which in my opinion will bring the war about, are the great concentration of troops in European Turkey, the expense needed for the maintenance of over 300.000 men on the war footing and the lack of discipline and discontent among Albanians and other regiments -especially redifs- who by rights should be only called out in case of war. If muting breaks out in one of those regiments, others would soon follow suit, and the consequences would be disastrous to the country.

Lazzaro

63 L. Steeg to T. Delcasse

Thessaloniki, September 14th, 1903

[AMAE/NS Turquie-Macedoine, vol.36, ff.311r-313r, No.44].

 

...J' ai signale a maintes reprises la presence sur divers points des montagnes de ce vilayet de bandes nombreuses mais qui restent la plupart du temps inactives, paraissant attendre le signal d'entrer en campagne. Des informations diverses indiquaient que ce signal serait probablement donne vers le milieu du mois de Septembre. J' ai recu dans la journee du 13 un avis provenant d'une personne en mesure d'etre bien renseignee et d'apres lequel devaient commencer le jour meme des operations dirigees par le General Zontcheff. La partie du vilayet de Salonique situee a l'Est du Vardar serait divisee en huit sections ayant pour chefs: le General Zontcheff, le Colonel Yancoff, le Colonel Nicoloff, le Capitaine Protogheroff, Stoyannoff, Stoyantcheff, Darvinghoff et Anastassoff. Comme on le voit le personnel superieur de cette organisation est celui du comite exterieur ou "verkoviste" alors que l'insurrection du vilayet de Monastir est dirigee par le comite central ou " organisation interieure".

S' il est vrai qu' une entente est aujourd'hui etablie entre les deux associations rivales et souvent ennemies une insurrection assez serieuse pourra eclater dans ce vilayet et la repression en sera rendue assez difficile par le voisinage de la frontiere bulgare au travers de laquelle les bandes trouveront toujours a se ravitailler.

D'apres ce que j' apprends le plan du comite Zontcheviste ne serait pas de provoquer un soulevement en masse des populations bulgares, mais de mettre en campagne un grand nombre de bandes destinees a harceler les troupes turques et a les obliger a se tenir pendant tout l'hiver sur le pied de guerre. Ils comptent qu' une campagne ainsi poursuivie pendant toute la duree de la mauvaise saison ferait fondre les effectifs turcs en meme temps qu' elle acheverait d'epuiser les dernieres ressources financieres de l'Empire. Ainsi a l'arrivee du printemps la principaute bulgare qui ne pourrait eternellement demeurer indifferente n' aurait plus devant elle qu' un adversaire epuise et qu' elle aurait des chances serieuses de vaincre.

Pour des raisons similaires et afin d'economiser le plus possible le sang bulgare on ne demanderait guere aux villageois que de procurer aux bandes des vivres et a l'occasion des abris. Ces dernieres seraient en regle generale commandees par des officiers bulgares d'origine macedonienne assistes par d'anciens officiers de l'armee bulgare; leur personnel devrait egalement comprendre autant que possible des hommes ayant fait leur service militaire dans la principaute.

Il semble qu' une pareille organisation des bandes auxquelles les villageois bulgares ne refuseront jamais leurs concours les mettra en mesure de tenir longtemps la

campagne dans les massifs montagneux compris, sur la rive droite du Vardar, entre la ligue du chemin de fer de Jonction et la frontiere bulgare. Il se peut, d'ailleurs, que l'entree en campagne des bandes du comite exterieur se trouve encore retardee, surtout si, comme il le semble, leur but est d'occuper les troupes turques pendant toute la duree du prochain hiver.

Steeg

64 R. Graves to Í. 0'Conor

Thessaloniki, September 23rd, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.535r-536r, No.271].

Sir,

I have the honour to report that, on the 19th Instant, the Greek Church at Sorovitch on the Monastir Line was pillaged, and the altar desecrated, by soldiers said to belong to the Ilave40 battalion of Drama. The Binbashi41 in command, who is also said to have assaulted the Moukhtar of Sorovitch when he complained to him, has now, I hear, been sent to Monastir under arrest together with sixteen of his soldiers.

The unruly behaviour of the Turkish troops has caused some alarm of late among the Greeks and Wallachs of the South-Eastern districts of Monastir. Several families have just arrived at Salonica from Neveska, who state that they left their homes fearing that their women were not safe, as the soldiers had carried off some fifty Bulgarian women from neighbouring villages, and had refused to give them up when ordered to do so by the Authorities.

It has also been stated persistently for several days past that soldiers have pillaged the Greek Convent of Panaghouda near Klissura, but I have not been able to verify the report.

Graves

65 P. McGregor to R. Graves

Monastir, September 27th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.590r-593r, No.130].

 

Sir,

I have the honour to transmit herewith a translation of a document purporting to be a declaration by Chakalaroff and other insurgent leaders and giving an account of events during the insurrection in the Kastoria district together with a detailed estimate of the loss of life and property caused by the Imperial troops.

The number of villages and towns destroyed is given as twenty-two; so that, according to Kuncheff's statistical description of Macedonia, at least 16.000 persons are at present homeless in that region, and if the detailed list of murders committed in the eight villages whence reliable information is said to have been obtained, is correct, the loss of life may be calculated at more than 2.000 souls.

As I had the honour to state in my immediately preceding despatch of the 23rd instant, the Authorities, while attributing the destruction of the villages to the insurgents, admit the accuracy of the Bulgarian statistics in this respect and, in cases where I have been able to make representations, such as those of Krushevo, Shtyrkovo, and Slivnitsa, do not attempt to deny the excesses committed by the Bashibozuks. Hilmi Pasha informs me that, in addition to the six Bashibozuks already sentenced for pillage at Krushevo, 30 more have been arrested and that similar steps have been taken with regard to a score or two of individuals, including several Beys, who were implicated in the sack of the other villages mentioned. Other arrests have also been made in the Kazas of Kastoria and Florina and the act has been made public in the official newspaper.

A partial confirmation of the amount of havoc said by the Bulgarians to have been wrought in the district is afforded by the attitude of the Authorities towards six hundred women and children belonging to fifteen villages in that Kaza who arrived here in a deplorable condition a few days ago. They were not allowed to enter the town, but I went to see them and afterwards made representations to the Inspector General,42 urging upon him the necessity of affording them shelter and relief. His Excellency was evidently determined that they should not enter Monastir, but he provided them with bread and then had them conducted to the neighbouring village of Bukovo where they remained for two days, making several ineffectual attempts to enter the town in a body, a step which I have no doubt had been dictated to them by the Committee. Hilmi Pasha, who personally questioned a deputation of these people, made no demur when they related their tale of spoliation and violence, and finally sent them back to their villages escorted by a Major of Gendarmerie who, in my presence, received orders to see that they should be housed in various monasteries until their own cottages could be repaired. The local Authorities of Kastoria have also been instructed to provide timber for the reconstruction of the ruined houses, a mill is to be built in each village at the public expense, assistance is to be given to enable the crops to be harvested; all stolen livestock is to be restored or paid for, and the taxes for the current year are to be remitted.

It is evident from the enclosed document that the troops made a complete sweep of the Kastoria district and that, wherever the main body of the insurgents may be, their confidence has been rudely shaken. As a matter of fact, no engagements have been reported in that district for the last fortnight and Hilmi Pasha informs me that Chakalaroff, with a band of eighty men, has fled to the neighbourhood of Kolonia where he is being actively pursued.

I believe that the rebels are still holding their own in the Kyrchevo district and that operations against them are in course of preparation.

At the present moment the general situation may be said to have improved as far as active hostilities are concerned, but troops have been despatched in some numbers to Sorovich where more than twenty battalions are now concentrated; for what purpose is unknown, as the Inspector General professes ignorance, stating that the movement has been ordered by the Palace.

On the other hand, I hear that the last insurgent reserves have been ordered to hold themselves in readiness and it is said that many of the troops now at Sorovich will return here immediately.

An outburst of fanaticism took place at Sorovich last week when a number of soldiers plundered and defiled the Greek church. Hilmi Pasha has ordered that the guilty parties shall be tried by Court Martial and similar steps are to be taken with regard to the officers and soldiers responsible for the sacking of the Monastery of Jebren, in the Morikhovo district.

The soldiers are still openly selling their loot in the streets of Monastir and one of my colleagues assures me that several officers have likewise been engaged in this traffic.

McGregor

66 Á. Kral to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, September 28th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.393, No.127].

 

...Hie und da lassen sich die Freischaren im Bilde verewigen, doch bleibt die Entwickelung der Platten, welche versteckt gehalten werden, in den meisten Faellen bis nach dem Aufstande verschoben. Veroeffentlicht wurden bisher nur aehnliche Aufnahmen aus dem Fuerstenthume und den Grenzgegenden.

...Die Freischaren haben wohl Verluste, vornehmlich durch die Auslieferung von Gewehren* seitens der sich wegen des Herannahens des Winters ergebenden Landleute, erhalten aber andererseits immer wieder Succurs, sei es durch in Bulgarien neu ausgeruestete Scharen. So sind vor kaum 14 Tagen im Morihovo- und Kaimakcalangebiete erst neuerdings groessere, 150-200 Mann starke und sehr gut equipirte Banden unter dem bekannten Gjorce Petroff mit frischen Officieren, mehreren Aerzten und einigen Pferdeladungen Dynamit angekommen.

* Die Anzahl der von den Tuerken erbeuteten und confiscierten Gewehre duerfte bis jetzt im Vilajete 1.2[00]-1.400 betragen.

Kral

67 R. Graves to N. O'Conor

Thessaloniki, October 11th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.633r-635r, No.279].

Sir,

During the past week there has been a decided abatement of activity on the part of the insurrectionary forces throughout the disturbed districts of Macedonia.

The invasion of the Vilayets of Salonica and Kossovo by bands formed in Bulgaria, which began on the 27th September, seems to have lasted only for about a week. It took place along the whole frontier line from Nevrocop to Zibeftche, and, though the heaviest fighting took place in the Razlog district, one band penetrated as far south as Kalopot and Banitsa, two large Bulgarian villages situated a little north of Serres, both of which have been destroyed by the troops, while encounters occurred at Loucovo, in the Caza of Kratova, on the Kitka mountain opposite Kustendil, at Malo Jirnovo near Palanka, and at Bilatz in the Preshova district.

The fighting seems to have been of an inconclusive character, the bands occupying strong positions which they held until large Turkish forces were concentrated, on which they retired into Bulgaria again without great loss, carrying with them a considerable number of the inhabitants of frontier villages which had been burnt during the fighting. It does not seem to have been their object to penetrate into the interior of Macedonia and, joining hands with the local bands, to raise the districts which have not yet openly revolted; nor yet to endeavour to establish themselves in some mountainous tract of frontier territory, as had been thought probable. The whole affair appears rather to have been a demonstration intended, no doubt, to draw a large Turkish force to the Bulgarian border and perhaps to create frontier incidents involving a declaration of war.

In Central Salonica the bands in Karadjova continue to elude the pursuit of the Turks, and skirmishes of no importance have taken place near Vlacho Livadi and Kriva in the Kaza of Ghevgheli.

In the Vilayet of Monastir the Military authorities have achieved a distinct success in the Peristeri range, west of Monastir city, where a band of about 100 men, commanded by Naki of Tirnova, was broken up by a Turkish column 3.000 strong after a running fight which lasted two days. Naki himself was killed, as well as over fifty of his men who were surrounded on a mountain top near Magarevo. No prisoners were taken nor were any wounded insurgents brought in.

Operations still continue in the Morihovo district, east of Monastir, where Said Pasha appears to have conducted another unsuccessful "drive" in the neighbourhood of Kaimak Tchalan.

The insurgent band under Tchakalaroff which recently raided Kolonia, in the extreme south-west, has last been heard of near Koritza. My informant states that they were about 500 strong and well armed and accoutred, but so far no organized attempt has been made by the military authorities to deal with this enterprising partisan leader.

Graves

68

Monastir, October 18th, 1903

[F.O.195/2157, ff.681-683, Summary of an enquiry held at Krushevo by an English gentleman, attached to P.McGregor to R.Graves October 21st, 1903, ff.679r-680r].

...The Greek priest deposed to having buried 47 persons belonging to his community, including 7 women. All these had been killed during the engagement. The insurgents had left the town before the troops entered. On taking possession of the town, the insurgents had killed about 20 persons, including 3 Greeks and 2 Turkish women. The Bashibozuks burnt 400 buildings, including 180 houses. He had heard of two cases of violation. The troops and Bashibozuks pillaged the town, killing whoever refused to give them money.

The Roumanian priest deposed to having buried one one woman belonging to his community. The insurgents had extorted £11.200 from the inhabitants and had burnt homes and shops. No Vlakh woman was violated. The troops and Bashibozuks pillaged the town for two days.

The Bulgarian priest said that 16 of his community had joined the insurgents. 36 Bulgarians were killed while fleeing on the entrance of the troops. Of those arrested by the Authorities 5 were shot on the way to Monastir. There were no violations and there was no general massacre. Two Bulgarian houses were burnt.

The Servian priest said that none of his community were killed or violated, but they were robbed of £T.500.

A Greek deputation deposed that the insurgents murdered eight Turkish officials and killed a Turkish woman and three children with hatchets. The insurgents took £T.1.200 and burnt thirty houses. Forty-seven Greeks were killed, but there was no general massacre. Many people were killed in their houses by the troops. The Bashibozuks murdered several persons for the sake of their money. No case of violation was proved. The Greek community had petitioned the Authorities for an increase of the garrison for a mouth previous to the attack, but no attention was paid to their request.

Hilmi Bey, a sublieutenant in the 4th battalion of the 21st regiment, said that some days after the entrance of the troops there were still insurgents in the town and that firing consequently continued. Five of these insurgents finally surrendered. The Greek church was burnt by the Komitajis. The Bashibozuks entered the town after the troops.

Ali Bey, Commanding the above battalion, denied that there had been either assassinations or violations. He had found four mule-loads of dynamite in the town. He had also found a bag of jewellery on the body of a dead Komitaji and had caused the contents to be distributed among the lawful owners.

A Bulgarian deputation confirmed the stories of murder and pillage by the troops. There were no insurgents in the town when the troops entered.

A second Greek deputation declared that the Greek church was burnt by the soldiers. (This is confirmed by the Greek Metropolitan of Monastir).

The Mudir of Krushevo, who arrived five days after the troops, said that 366 houses and shops had been burnt and that 64 persons had been killed. A paralytic woman and a child had been burnt. Thirty three corpses had been found in the forest. No case of violation had been proved. It was the case that the town had been pillaged by the troops and Bashibozuks. On the day of his arrival several houses were still held by the insurgents and the houses in question had to be shelled. The official lists of killed furnished to him by the priests mentioned only 32 men and no women.

69 Á. Kral to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, October 18th, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.393, No.141].

...Heute Nachmittag ist in einer hiesigen bulgarischen Schule der bulgarische Oberlieutenant Dimitri Stojkoff verhaftet worden. Derselbe hatte mit seiner Bande gleichfalls in Demirhissar operirt, anfaenglich allein, zum Schluss zusammen mit dem Officier Detscheff.

Der Generalinspector will den Officier, den er nicht im Gefaengnis, sondern in einem eigenen Zimmer im Regierungsgebaeude internirte und mit grosser Delicatesse behandelt, begnadigen und schon dieser Tage ueber Constantinopel in seine Heimat nach Sofia senden.

Kral

70 The Austrian Consular Attache W. von Alth to Á. Goluchowski

Monastir, December 21st, 1903

[HHStA PA XXXVIII/Konsulat Monastir 1903, vol.393, No.158].

 

Hochgeborener Graf!

Vor ungefaehr einem Monate unternahm der hiesige bulgarische Metropolit Monsignore Gregori eine Reise ins Innere des Landes um der nothleidenden Bevoelkerung die ihm aus Bulgarien zugekommenen Spenden zu vertheilen. Er fuhr ueber Florina nach Kastoria, Ohrida und Resna und verfolgte hiebei auch den Zweck sich ueber die in mehreren Doerfern des Kaza Florina und namentlich im Kaza Kastoria seitens der Griechen geuebten Propaganda und zwangsweise Bekehrung der Bevoelkerung zum Patriarchate zu informiren. Bereits als er im Kaza Florina weilte, verbreiteten die Griechen das Geruecht, dass er in einigen Doerfern namentlich in Zelenic die Einwohner zum Uebertritte zum Exarchate zu bewegen trachte und durch die in seinem Gefolge befindlichen Personen auch gegen die griechische Kirche demonstriren lasse. Der Gerent des hiesigen russischen Consulates trat damals diesen "verleumderischen Ausstreuungen" beim Generalinspector entgegen, welcher ihm auch versicherte, dass er von dem rein humanitaeren Zweck der Reise des Metropoliten ueberzeugt sei und den ueber ihn verbreiteten Geruechten keinen Glauben schenke.

Das Erscheinen des Monsignore Gregori in Kastoria, dem Mittelpunkte der griechischen Propaganda, gab zu einem Incident zwischen ihm und dem dortigen Kaimakam, sowie zu Ruhestoerungen Anlass, die den Metropoliten noethigten die Stadt zu verlassen.

Als derselbe in den um Kastoria liegenden Doerfern weilte, erhielt er einen Brief vom Kaimakam, in welchem Letzterer ihn aufforderte, baldmoeglichst nach Kastoria zu kommen. Der Metropolit machte sich sofort auf den Weg nach Kastoria, bei seiner Ankunft jedoch leugnete der Kaimakam -der mit obiger Massregel die Entfernung des Metropoliten aus den Doerfern bezweckt haben soll- einen Brief an denselben gesendet zu haben.

Sofort nach seinem Eintreffen veranstaltete die Bevoelkerung bulgarenfeindliche Demonstrationen und verlangte die Entfernung des Metropoliten aus der Stadt, da derselbe nur gekommen sei um die Wiedereroeffnung der gesperrten bulgarischen Schule zu veranlassen.

Der Kaimakam forderte ihn den naechsten Tag ueber Befehl des Vali auf, die Stadt zu verlassen. Monsignore Gregori verlangte zuerst dass ihm dieser Befehl, dessen Urheber angeblich der Generalinspector gewesen sein soll, schriftlich eingehaendigt werde und verliess, nachdem diesem seinen Ersuchen nicht Folge gegeben wurde die Stadt, da es ihm nicht gestatet wurde, sich selbst telegraphisch nach Monastir zu wenden. Waehrend seines Aufenthaltes in Kastoria war er von jedem Verkehre abgeschnitten und daher auch nicht in der Lage die Unterstuetzungen an die nothleidenden Bulgaren zu vertheilen.

Nachdem der Gerent des russischen Consulates von dem Zwischenfalle Kenntnis erhielt, versaeumte er nicht neuerdings beim Generalinspector Protest zu erheben und duerfte die Angelegenheit nach Rueckkehr des Metropoliten, der gegenwaertig in Resna weilt, noch ein Nachspiel haben.

Alth

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