Greek War Party’s victory

Venizelos challenge to the King

There is very little to add to the statement published in the Argus yesterday as to the probable or possible side effects of the Greek Government defeat and the resignation of M Zaimis and his Cabinet.

Further enlightenment as to the position of affairs may be forthcoming during today but at the time of writing it is impossible to go beyond surmise.

If the Premier was riding for a fall it will soon become apparent that M Venizelos took the opportunity to exert his power just when the time was ripe for active Grecian intervention in the war but if the crisis arose quite spontaneously and unexpectedly it is difficult to forecast what shape developments may take.

M Zaimia must have known that, on a division, a vote of confidence in the Government would be defeated; and if he is really in favour of the demobilisation of the army and the maintenance of neutrality, his “defeat” may be a virtual victory for non-intervention for the simple reason that a general election postpones a decision for a month, by which time much may have happened to make the question of Greece’s attitude one of quite a secondary importance.

On one point there is absolute clearness. There were only three absentees from the division and the vote therefore correctly indicates the feeling of the Chamber.

It has also been clear all along that M Venizelos was in a position to bring about the downfall of the Cabinet at any time he desired and there may be something in the contention that it was more by design than accident that the present crisis arose.

As was mentioned yesterday, and the various indications were duly set out, a change of feeling has been noticeable lately in the attitude of ministerial newspapers towards the Quadruple Entente and even the King had been credited with a statement that he was his own counsellor and not amenable to the pressure of influence upon which various comments have been passed in this country.

So many strange things have happened in Greece, however, that it is just as likely that a wrong as right interpretation may be placed upon even the (apparently) most unambiguous statement or happening, and we may as well consider ourselves still in the dark until King Constantine shows his hand. He may still show himself opposed to the popular will.

The speech which M Venizelos delivered just prior to the vote being taken was couched in such emphatic terms that no member could possibly be under any misapprehension as to what the result of the division would imply.

“Greece,” he said (and a glance at the very vulnerable coast line affords sufficient proof of his assertions), “cannot exist without the good will of the Maritime Powers.”

In conclusion, addressing himself directly to the government he used these words: “You are unconsciously heading the country and the entire nation to ruin without any prospect of salvation.”

Then the vote was taken, with the result a majority of 33 against continued non-intervention and in favour of making war against Bulgaria. With regard to the military situation no improvement is shown so far as the immediate operations are concerned.