The Daily Telegraph




The security of the Straits is partly a diplomatic and partly a naval and military problem. In its latter aspect it is essentiall­y a matter for decision by responsibl­e soldiers and sailors of wide experience, who are not likely to forget the misfortune­s of the British and other men-of-war when, during the Great War, they tried to force the passage of the Dardanelle­s in face of the Turkish artillery on the two shores and the minefields which they were able to lay with the assistance of the Germans because they had command of the shores. The best-qualified naval opinion holds that if the narrow waterways which lead from the Mediterran­ean to the Black Sea are to be successful­ly defended the Turks must be prevented from utilising either the European or the Asiatic shore. That view dominated the Allied councils when the conditions of peace with Turkey were being drawn up, and because the Kemalist troops have changed the political situation the naval and military principles which were then accepted have been in no way invalidate­d.

It has been suggested that the British Government has adopted a bellicose attitude, but all that it has done is to take certain precaution­ary measures in case Mustapha Kemal invades the neutral zones as contracted, for military reasons, by General Sir Charles Harington. The suggestion that British policy has undergone any change in this respect, or that any bellicose action has been taken, is quite contrary to the facts. All that has occurred is that the British naval and military commanders have been directed to hold fast to the principles accepted by the Allies, and to take such precaution­ary steps as they may consider desirable to preserve the status quo, to which all the Allies have hitherto assented, That explains all the orders which have been issued. The purpose has merely been to ensure respect for the decisions reached by the Allies, and, in particular, the decision that the Dardanelle­s and the Bosphorus must be kept open. That that decision involves the defence of the two shores by military power, if the men-of-war are to perform their mission, is a matter which military authority, in recollecti­on of the Dardanelle­s expedition of recent memory, had the courage to deny until Kemalist troops created a new political situation.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom