Nevertheless, for long months, the Government has patiently striven to find a compromise, with the object of restoring to the agreement the reason for being which it had lost. These negotiations were, however, limited not only by time, but by our national dignity. Beyond these limits the interests both of our honor and of our country would have been compromised.
Signor Salandra was interrupted time and time again by rounds of applause from all sides, and the climax was reached when he made a reference to the army and navy. Then the cries seemed interminable, and those on the floor of the House and in the galleries turned to the Military Tribune, from which the officers answered by waving their hands and handkerchiefs. At the end of the Premier’s speech there were deafening “vivas” for the King, war, and Italy.
Only thirty-four Intransigent Socialists refused to join in the cheers, even in the cry “Viva Italia!” and they were hooted and hissed.
After the presentation of the bill conferring full powers upon the Government the President of the Chamber submitted the question whether a committee of eighteen members should be elected. Out of the 421 Deputies who voted 367 cast their ballot in the affirmative. The other 54 were against. The opposition was composed of Socialists and some adherents of ex-Premier Giolitti.
Foreign Minister Sonnino then rose, and, taking a copy of the “Green Book” from his pocket, said: “I have the honor to present to the Chamber a book containing an account of all the pourparlers with Austria from the 9th of September to the 4th of May.” He handed the book to Signor Marcora.
The Chamber then adjourned until 5 o’clock, when the committee reported in favor of the bill, and it was adopted.
[Illustration: Italy and the Austrian Frontier
The shaded portions on the Austrian frontier represent
the provinces of
“Italia Irredenta,” which Italy would win back.]
The first complete official statement of the difficulties between Italy and Austria-Hungary, which forced the Italian declaration of war against the Dual Monarchy, was made public in Washington on May 25 by Count V. Macchi di Cellere, the Italian Ambassador. It took the form of a carefully prepared telegraphic statement to the Ambassador from Signor Sonnino, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, with instructions that it be delivered in the form of a note to the Government of the United States. After presenting the communication to Secretary Bryan, Count Cellere made public the following translation of its full text:
The Triple Alliance was essentially defensive and designed solely to preserve the status quo, or, in other words, the equilibrium, in Europe. That these were its only objects and purposes is established by the letter and spirit of the treaty as well as by the intentions clearly described and set forth in official acts of the Ministers who created the alliance and confirmed and renewed it in the interest of peace, which always has inspired Italian policy.