Monday, Sep. 22, 1924
M. Luigi Criscuolo, head of the Manhattan Branch of the Committee for Montenegrin Independence, sent a memorandum to the League of Nations at Geneva requesting justice from that body for Montenegro, forcibly annexed by Yugo-Slavia in 1921.
Points from the memorandum:
Nearly six years have elapsed since the question of the independence of Montenegro was first brought to the attention of the nations of the world.
There is no abatement in the practice of the Serbs in imprisoning, torturing and murdering Montenegrin men, in mistreating and even violating women, in persecuting old men merely because they have refused to swear allegiance to the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and persist in maintaining that they are Montenegrins and that the sovereign rights of their country shall not be violated.
The ostensible object of the League of Nations is to prevent wars. For years, those who sympathized with the aspirations of the Montenegrin people have been pointing out to the world that the inhuman policy of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes towards its minorities would only lead to another struggle in the Balkans. The attitude of the Croatian separatists under M. Stefan Radich, of the Macedonian insurgents under Alexandrov, of the Montenegrin insurgents under the late Savo Raspopovich gives proof that the spark exists that can kindle another war, if it be not extinguished. The League of Nations is hereby petitioned to appoint a Commission to investigate the condition of the minorities in the Balkans— in Montenegro in particular—in order to ascertain the truth of the assertions which we have made, and with a view of conducting an impartial plebiscite in Montenegro at the earliest possible moment. If it is possible for small nations to be forcibly annexed by large ones and no objection is forthcoming from an international tribunal such as is the League of Nations, then this is proof that civilization is declining rather than advancing. There is no one question that would inspire more faith in the League of Nations and gain for it many thousands of adherents and supporters than an immediate solution of the question of Montenegrin independence. This is particularly so in the United States, where the question has been brought to the attention of the American public and has received srong support— by the press of the country which, while realizing the almost hopelessness of the fight, has, nevertheless, in many instances maintained that the forcible annexation of Montenegro by Serbia was a crime against humanity as well as against International Law.
—An overstatement. While various sections of the U. S. press have from time to time published letters and articles on the plight of Montenegro, it is untrue to say that any paper has given “strong support.”