In the Tripoli war, when the energetic Duca degli Abruzzi made his advance in the Adriatic against Prevesa and wished to force the Porte to yield through a serious action in the Dardanelles, and when Italy wished to extend her occupation of the Aegean Islands, which lie as advance posts before the Dardanelles, she was obliged to forego her aims, and did loyally forego them, because Austria at that time did not yet desire a movement on the then still quiescent Balkan Peninsula. According to the Italian view, Austria, in determining to liquidate her matured account with Serbia without coming to an agreement in the matter with Italy, canceled the treaty in an important and essential part, irrespective of the assurance that she contemplated merely punishment of Serbia and not the acquisition of territory in the Balkans. The Italian policy considered itself from that moment free from every obligation, even if the speech of Premier Salandra in December could not be interpreted as a formal denunciation of the Dreibund....
We have today good grounds for assuming that much as we must reckon with the fact that the country is determined to go to war if nothing is granted to it, just so little would it support a Government bent on making war because it does not receive anything.
It will be as impossible to solve the Trentino question from the point of view of abstract right as to solve any other iridescent question in that way. The Trentino question, which was long a question of national, historical, and ethnological idealism, has now become a real question of power. The European war and its developments have placed Italy in a position to use her power in order to expand. This is not unusual in history....
But it should be carefully noted that only to an Italy remaining within the Triple Alliance can compensation be given, and, of course, only on the basis of complete reciprocity—(zug um zugleistung gegen leistung). To demand anything whatsoever Italy has no right. On the other hand, the ignoble exploitation of the needs of an ally fighting for her existence would correspond neither with the generosity of the Italian nature nor with her real interests.
The honest path for Italy, who finds herself unable to enter the war on the side of her allies in accordance with the spirit of the Alliance, is to preserve unconditional neutrality. A simple discussion between the leading statesmen of all the three powers will banish every shade of misunderstanding and clear the situation. Italy will spare her strength for the great task on the other side of the Mediterranean and for her correct and sensible attitude will receive, under the guarantee of her friend, (Germany,) the promise of the fulfillment of her comprehensible desire. Any other policy would be foolish and criminal.
ITALY AND ENGLAND.
From the Giornale d’Italia, March 26.