Did Canada Stop Near East War?
Refusal to Take Precipitous Action Saving Factor. Sane Thinking Essential to Peace
Lieut.-Col. John Bayne Maclean
WE CANADIANS have spent over one-third of our entire resources in the war. Every day every man, every woman, every child must give one to two hours’ time to pay the interest on this vast loss. No one escapes. And this is only a part of what the war cost us.
We were recently asked by cable to answer at once by cable that we were ready to embark on another and greater war.
Some men, not Canadians, who have unusually good sources of world-wide information, whose judgment is generally sound and whose views are held in high esteem, are positive that had our Premier succumbed to the Lloyd George-Churchill demands, preceded as they were by propaganda and scheming for Canadian participation, the British Empire would undoubtedly have been at war now with Turkey, Russia and perhaps India, Afghanistan, Persia, and God knows who elie or what the end would have been. We are now on bad terms with all of them.
The same men say further that the Imperial military leaders, knowing the facts, knowing there was no excuse or necessity for a war, knowing the fearful developments from such a war, and, finally, knowing the motives inspiring such a war, had to fight bravely with their backs to the wall to save the Empire. They knew much themselves directly but have learned mainly and indirectly from our wonderful Intelligence Service.
The excellence, and particularly the loyalty, of the three British and American Intelligence Services—political, military and naval—and to some extent the French and Italian, was referred to in these columns during the war and since. The leaders, loyal to their nations, trusted not to their politicians. Many times they refused to pass on or divulge very important information or sources of information to Premiers, Presidents and leading Cabinet executives, knowing that it would be transmitted unwittingly or sometimes with disloyal intent to their nation’s enemies within and without. The superior section of the British Intelligence Service has been a thorn in the side of Lloyd George and his friends since the war. They very properly refused to give him some important information. They refused to desist from some very important investigations of what they considered some suspicious disloyalties among Lloyd George’s friends in the Cabinet and outside. Their chief, Sir Basil Thompson, was dismissed and an effort made to break up his organization. It has had the opposite effect. Enough of the loyal elements in the Empire have gathered round him to give us a stronger active Service than ever; while he has the sympathy and assistance of big labor leaders and hundreds of thousands of the rank and file, and of retired army and naval officers and men who are ready to step in and save the Empire should occasion arise. That they are causing a great deal of anxiety to those who regard the British Empire as a tool to exploit their selfish schemes is shown by the strenuous efforts put forth in Canada and certain foreign countries to find what these loyalists are actually doing.
This Intelligence Service did know a good deal about the ins and outs of the Near East situation and they have excellent co-operation from similarly loyal peoples in other nations, even in Germany and Austria as well as among our Allies. They know that the Turks as a whole were, all through the war, friendly to us, and have been more anxious to be friendly since. They have been in close touch with the insidious propaganda which sought to create trouble. They have followed the war supplies from the dealers to the Greek, Turkish and other armies that used them. It has been going on for two years at least. They can tell you that one able international propagandist receives a salary of $20,000 a year and expenses to supply the biased or false information to the world’s press—newspapers, magazines, etc., and they can tell you exactly who pays it. The funny thing is that so many newspapers give this as “Special from our own correspondent.” They have “put it over” my own associates on several occasions and it seems to me that not a week passes that I do not see a thoroughly loyal contemporary aiding in this underground work. Such good papers as the Montreal Gazette, and Mail and Empire are constantly used. It is an interesting fact that these propagandists and their agents in Canada should have known in advance the exact terms of the “strictly secret and confidential” message to the.Canadian Government —known it at least twenty-four hours before the Canadian Prime Minister had any hint of the shock of a new war that was awaiting this country -an emergency on the surface only, for the plans had been made and the zero hour for setting it off had been fixed long before. Saving the Christians; keeping the Dardanelles open; keeping the Turks out of Europe were pure fake cries put out to catch different interests to conceal a continued series of minor reverses, retreats and defeats in the Eastern area beginning in 1920, and to start a war to retrieve them. It
is only by such false appeals professional politicians can draw their people into unnecessary conflicts. Curzon’s diplomacy is blamed primarily for these developments.
Perhaps never in its history has the Empire suffered such a series of far-reaching defeats. Powerful allies have become dangerous enemies, and great prospective regions of wealth brought to us by the war, have slipped away.
Hence the frantic efforts by the politicians to get us in, and the equally strenuous and fortunately successful efforts of the nation represented by General Harrington and his two able assistants, to keep us out.
BASED on all past experiences, Canada was expected to respond quickly to this false appeal, with a socalled loyal response that we were with the Empire right or wrong. This the British Government would have used
as propaganda to club the opposition at home and have at once declared war. But the war and the experience of the years since, have opened wide the eyes of Canadians to the terrible crookedness among British politicians. Our own Sir Herbert Holt, it will be remembered, pointed this out in a courageous interview during the war one of the most accurate, concise and strongest condemnations of modern British political leaders ( hat has ever appeared. It had far-reaching effect for it brought national moral support to our own political leaders and to senior officers overseas. Consequently, when Premier King received the secret official despatch, hours after the international exploiters for whom Lloyd George and Churchill are acting had passed it to their agents out here, he cabled back to know what it was all about. In effect, he wanted to know
exactly wherein the Empire was in danger or' whether this was merely an effort of Lloyd George and his friends to bring us, by a species of camouflage, into a war to aid them in some of their selfish schemes.
So ignorant had the Canadian public been kept of the true facts and so thoroughly had they been prepared with false information that, based on investigations, I am sure the Premier in that action did not represent national sentiment.I collected all the press comments across the Dominion —editorials and opinions of local leaders, and wd interviewed a number in our own special fields,— men big in business and finance—and the great majority were disappointed with the Premier, were for Canada getting right back of Lloyd George. Even Hon. Mr. Meighen’s belated—and notwithstanding the criticism, there can be no doubt of his sincerity—support of Canadian participation received strong national approval. Subsequent developments — and the Canadians are getting only part of the exposures—show clearly that in refusing to back Lloyd George the Canadian Government voiced exactly the sentiment of the masses in the Mother Country. Nowhere has the British situation been put more clearly than in a cable from Sir Philip Gibbs to a western paper, the Lethbridge Herald, I think, when he said:
“There was not a soul who did not know that if this new war happened it would put an intolerable strain on the British people, exhausted, overtaxed, facing poverty. There was no wild outburst of hysteria, anger or alarm, but there was something far more remarkable; that is, a very cold, stern demand from every class of men and women in the Kingdom to know what necessity there was for this new call to arms. They refused to be bluffed into a new war by politicians. They refused to be stampeded into another sacrifice of youth to save the face of any Government convicted of atrocious blundering.”
We thus see what a frightful tragedy Canada and the Empire have evaded for the time being at any rate.
The objective of this article is suggested in the last sentence. The danger is not by any means over. It is true Lloyd George is out. But the men who were using him, the men who pulled the wires at the Peace Conference and for whom he was continually changing his principles and policies, turning up with new ones each morning causing renewed discussions, new settlements, again and again as these interests saw new alignments, are still in control. Two years ago they realized he was losing his hold on British voters. Winston Churchill was selected to succeed and he and the public were carefully prepared. All his important enemies were get at and quieted. He was blessed with a wife of great charm and tact who increased popularity. There was no man in sight with his ability, energy and capacity to overcome defeat. He had one weakness—the tendency to say or do fool things. Experience, it was thought, had overcome this. But he broke out in the Near East message to Canada. He went out with Lloyd George to appease popular indignation. But the group of Empire exploiters did not lose hold for one minute. Some of the leaders change, but exactly the same men made Bonar Law new Premier as directed Lloyd George in his numerous changes. The cables say our brilliant fellow countryman was the medium through which the plot was worked. They don't put it that way, but, boiled down, that is what happened. Mr. Law is an entirely different type from Lloyd George. He is a highly respected and conscientious servant of the Empire. No breath of scandal has ever been associated with his name. But he is easy-going, trusting, one who will allow things to be done in his name.
. Curzon a Source of Danger
CURZON, who the French and Italians and many British, including some Cabinet colleagues, and Indians, say is the primary cause of the whole Eastern trouble, is once more placed where he is a great source of danger. His ability is over-shadowed by a vanity that is easily influenced by astute flatterers, to the extent of sacrificing the Empire to serve them, sincerely believing the while that he is serving the Empire. He is so superior to surrounding conditions that he fails to understand them. Our troubles in India began in his term
The close of the war found us practically in moral and physical control of the great territory lying between the Mediterranean and India. Since then we have suffered continuous diplomatic and military defeats and retreats such as have never happened in British history. No wonder even the British intellectuals for whom Scott in the Manchester Guardian is speaker -who have hitherto belittled business men, particularly in public affairs, are beginning t.o ask that Imperial affairs be put Continued on page 38
Did Canada Stop Near East War?
Continued fr> m paye 21
in business men’s control that they may save the Empire from the mess into which it has been brought by politicians.
By political trickery or exigencies, the present group may retain power. They will no doubt attempt to retrieve these lost fortunes by force of arms instead of business common-sense. The Empire may be once more prepared by the usual insidious and misleading propaganda. We will almost certainly be called to join another war, nominally to save the Empire but really to aid its exploiters in their varied interests—money, power, titles, etc.—in the eastern area. They are busy to-day, particularly in the Canadian churches, clubs, and among the Canadian colleges, spreading false theories and wrong principles of loyalty—not always directly but often through our own agitators.
How easily the most loyal can be misled is shown by recent experience in Winnipeg. The Free Press is edited by Mr. Dafoe, who maintains the ultra-loyal traditions of his family—one of these known as United Empire Loyalists who were driven out of thé States after the Revolution because of their adherence to the Mother Country. He took an immediate stand against any Canadian assistance in the Near East until we knew whether we could approve of the objects—whether they were in the interests of the Empire. An effort was made to organize a mass meeting of leading citizens to boycott this great editor and fearless newspaper. Most respectable persons were unconsciously worked up to a state of indignation against Mr. Dafoe for not supporting Lloyd George. But the cables came quickly indicating that the British people themselves took the same view. Those who know are quite certain that the same group that helped to inspire the Winnipeg strike pulled the wires that made respectable citizens believe they were expressing Imperial loyalty by attacking one of the Empire’s chief loyalists.
These things are going on all the time. They are likely to happen again. And we may not always have a student with an investigating mind in the Premier’s chair.
I had many similar experiences during the war—some disagreeable, many interesting and amusing, and a few very serious. Part of an issue of MacLean’s Magazine had to be destroyed under threat of seizure of our entire plant because we exposed Ler.ine and Trotzy before the public learned of their plot. An Ottawa official was in with them. We published many articles that went very strongly against an uninformed public opinion. Some times it was thought advisable for me to do so and I took personal responsibility for them. Accusations were made against me all the way up from being a friend of the Jews to High Treason. It was said I was not a Canadian, not even a British subject. No harm can now result from giving some
Colonel G. T. Denison, Police Magistrate in Toronto, was appealed to on several occasions when there seemed to be no doubt as to my disloyalty. He invariably assured these public-spirited citizens, some of whom we knew were unconsciously inspired—includingthe Crown Prosecutor—by enemy agents that I was certainly a very dangerous character, that he was just waiting until he had a sure case to send me down for life. This sent them away happy. The funny part of it was that Colonel Denison was the one man in Canada to whom I showed all im-
portant matters as they came through to me. Many of them by personal messengers-officers returning from Europe or elsewhere. The Colonel himself had such a thorough knowledge of world conditions and such excellent judgment as to the wisdom or otherwise of letting out information that some of our influential friends thought should be made public, that his counsel was invaluable. On two or three occasions matters were passed to war ministers like Sir Sam Hughes or General Mewburn and one other man at Ottawa who always acted with great intelligence and promptitude. Sir Sam tried to reward me by putting me among the “immortals” on the Headquarters Staff with a general’s rank. To which I responded that he give the title to someone who had served overseas, that I preferred my present rank attained after thirty-five years’ continuous Active militia service, and I do not know how many more on the Reserve. I intrude this because many times I have been charged with having no militia service—that I was one of Sir Sam’s numerous “Honorary Colonels.”
I have also been charged with always aiming at sensationalism, but I have turned down the exclusive opportunity to publish a number of internationally sensational stories. It was, and is to-day. harder to keep away from them than to get them. In 1914 strenuous efforts were made by one of our leading diplomats—a leader in rank, not in ability— to have me, in allied interests, let out a most sensational story based on a set of documents offered for sale to the British. The object was to weaken a very important public man very unfriendly to the allied cause. Most flattering inducements of preferment were held out to me. The matter was one of the most dangerous and its character entirely outside our policy. I kept absolutely away from it. Later, the documents were secured for $100,000 by an enemy agent who was finally rewarded by appointment to the highest position to which his ambition soared. Some months later I was talking to Hon. Curtis Guild, former Russian ambassador, who knew the full details. He said publication by us at that time would have been fatal to the allied cause. He had himself been an objecting partner in an almost identical political experience. It proved a boomerang.
Enemy Machinations in Canada
AMONG the documents shown Colonel Denison was one that has since become world famous, the so-called Jewish “Protocols.” This was in 1917. It was not until three years later that other copies got out and the Morning Post in London, Henry Ford, Detroit, and scores of pamphleteers and writers of books have since made them famous. The interest to us lay, notin the original document or the covering Russian letter which accompanied them to London and Washington, but the two other reports attached to them made by our own people and by the U. S. Service, involving in enemy activities not alone the German _ and Russian Jews, but a number of British, American and Canadian Christians and of Moslems in acts of great disloyalty. Subsequent developments showed the accuracy of the latter memoranda which were later turned over to Chief Commissioner Perry and one Cabinet Minister. One could not blame German Jews for attempting to aid their native
land and I certainly could not blame the Jewish race for any anti-British activities outside Canada when so many prominent English, Irish, Scotch and Canadians were so closely allied with them, profiteering or propaganding with them. There was more active and known disloyalty among a little group of English speaking Montrealers—who sat in regularly at secret international conferences over the border—than among all the French Canadians. At no time were there any complaints among the allies of the latter. Even ultra-loyal Toronto once sent a powerful deputation to Ottawa to support a man whose enemy activities reached to all allied capitals. But they were known to one Minister and, while he said nothing, no attention was paid to the Toronto pleaders.
No reference whatever was at any time made in our columns to the “protocols.” Instead, we were getting after the men directing enemy activities ,in Canada. On several occasions reference was made to the influence German agents had on our national and provincial legislation and there were few who did not regard these references as fairy tales. Important Cabinet Ministers refused to believe such things were going on. Instead they interfered with the little Intelligence organization Sir Percy Sherwood had to assist him, so that, while Perry covered Western Canada most effectively, the East had to depend upon two groups of British workers, one under Sir Robert Nathan, who had made himself known to only two persons in Canada when he arrived in 1914 but he was in some way eventually uncovered. They really did Canada’s work, but at no time, as far as I know, did they ever report to Ottawa. Even in some emergencies Ottawa refused to assist. I remember on one occasion the capture of a very important German and his wife carrying valuable documents was imperative, Canadian authorities were adamant; a highly placed C. P. R. official came to the rescue with a couple of rough-neck plainclothesmen. The documents were captured and when the pair again saw light they were many miles away over the American border. The C. P. R. man received official thanks. These two groups were wonderful organizations— neither knew anything of the other, I have been told. Each was directed independently from London. Sir Robert uncovered the group of German agents who were preventing effective legislation to suppress German activities in Canada. The director of this work was Nuorteva who was on friendly terms with our political leaders at Ottawa, from the Premier down, judging from the massive correspondence.
The Case of Nuorteva
HE HAD a big underground pull at Ottawa and he kept the British constantly on the alert to outwit him. On one occasion in 1918 a group of very dangerous enemy agents, particularly in Ontario, were rounded up and about to be arrested, in fact some were arrested. Mr. S. Nuorteva with his chief agent, J. W. Ahlquist of Toronto, appeared on the scene and their work was so effective on politicians and departmental officials that important regulations for the defense of the realm were cancelled and some of our most dangerous enemies treated with great cordiality. But the British intelligence Service never lost sight of them. There were few letters or telegrams that did not eventually come into their hands and they were able to checkmate some of their worst activities. Nuorteva, it may be recalled, after being entertained by leading financiers and politicians an Ottawa, sailed secretly in 1920 from Quebec in spite of the efforts of loyal Americans and Canadians to hold him; but he was nabbed immediately on his arrival in England by Sir Basil Thompson. He claimed to be a Finnish citizen and not a German. “All right,” said Sir Basil, “I’ll send you to Finland,” and insisted upon doing so, which brought Mr. Nuorteva to his knees with tears running, down his cheeks and pleading not to be sent to his own country, that he knew they would cut his throat. Sir Basil was inexorable, but again political friends in England interfered—Just as they did to save Von Rinteliv who planned and ordered the sinking of the Lusitania: even Government House, Ottawa, was appealed to in his case. Nuorteva was allowed to proceed by another route to Russia, where
he was until recently in charge of an important department of the Soviet Foreign Office. It may interest some of those who believed these influences were fairytales to see some documentary evidence. I have picked from an immense mass belonging to the British Intelligence Service here three sample telegrams which deal mainly with the cancellation of Orders-inCouncil which were checking enemy activities. There are many other letters and telegrams bearing on these, a most friendly one from Premier Borden’s secretary being among them. One interesting telegram was sent to Nuorteva by Ahlquist on October 5th from Toronto urging him to be in Ottawa the following Monday, pointing out that they were “not getting much help from their English comrades In this country but that officials of the Trade and Labor Congress at Ottawa had promised to assist them. And one member of that Congress did give them very great assistance which cost Canada some hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct. On October 10th, Ahlquist telegraphed Nuorteva not to send Sloboden, to wait for further instructions—“The party with which we are affiliated must wait for the official interpretation of the Order-in-Council.” Sloboden’s name appeared many times in German papers captured by the British.
On another date, Mr. Ahlquist wired from 27 Alcorne Avenue, Toronto: “Yesterday I telegraphed you asking to go to Ottawa. It is better to come to Toronto. Wire immediately.” And again: “Nuor-
teva has not arrived. We are waiting for him very anxiously as our decision is tied up and his presence is most urgently required. Could you give us some reason as to delay and destination? Is there any possibility of his arrival these days? Wire answers immediately.”
Only Parliament Must Speak for Canada
AS RECENT experiences show, exploiters have a habit of putting their agents in strategic places. They have done so in Canada. Should we not safeguard ourselves as the U. S. did by making it clear now that only Parliament can commit us to any great venture; make it clear that no words of encouragement from a Prime Minister can, by trickery or otherwise, be twisted into a debt of honor?
And next, should we not organize for our protection a Political Intelligence Service—strong enough, independent enough to be superior to any party or clique with a man like Col. Denison at its head to study, and report upon world conditions? , , , ,, ,
If Colonel Denison had been called to Ottawa in 1914 to organize our job for which he was peculiarly fittedmany, many of our troubles would not have risen. All classes, including the misinformed and misled French Canadians, would have had entire confidence in his information and advice. It was he who swung Laurier back of the Empire in the South African War and brought his own province loyally with us at all times. As evidence of the accuracy of his information: when I told him in June 1914 we were leaving for Central Europe he was surprised and pleaded with me not to go or at any rate not to be more idiotic by taking my family. He was positive the Germans would attack in July. I told him he was wrong. The war would not come until 1915 according to the Russian and French plans. But the Germans forestalled them.
I speak of Denison as the type we need. Only two other names occur at the moment: Major General A. B. Perry, late of R. C. M. P., and General Mitchell, late Chief of Intelligence.
The expenditure on such a superior service would be an insurance that could pay current profits. Foreign misunderstandings cost us a lot of money. The new U. S. tariff is hurting both countries. A grasp of the situation at Ottawa and the sending of a man like, say, Hon. P. C. Larkin, who has done so much for us in London, to the U. S..could have awakened some serious thinking in high quarters and saved Canada many millions. Few of us think even when it comes to war.
Canada’s Colossal War Costs
IF YOU ask the average man just how much the war cost Canada he will promptly tell you just over a billion and
a half dollars. Few of us think beyond that; think of the other direct as well as the many indirect costs. Last week MACLEAN’S made a rush call on Mr. Coats, Statistician, Ottawa, with suggestions for preparing figures of several of these unthought of charges. It might be well for us to have them before us when estimating what a new war, brought on by misgovernment might cost us. Mr. Coats had not completed the work when it was time to go to press, but already we find that the cost is more than three times the popular estimate.
Elsewhere in this issue we publish a rough estimate by Mr. Coats, which takes account only of the principal positive and negative elements of cost. The total amounts to the appalling sum of $5,200,000,000. Mr. Coats had already estimated our national wealth at $16,000,000,000 and our national income at $2,400,000,000 in 1919. Therefore, the war cost, direct and indirect, amounts to the equivalent of onethird of the accumulated wealth of the country as it was appraised in 1919. No one escapes—the savings and earnings of the smallest workman, as well as the capital and income of the multi-millionaire are affected. Taking the annual interest which is payable on the positive and is lost on the negative elements in this war cost at 5%, we, our children, and our children’s children to perpetuity will pay, in one way or another, over $250,000,000 annually, which is one-tenth of the national income of 1919. That is to say: the great war has already destroyed the equivalent of one-third of the national wealth, and in consequence has mortgaged forever one-tenth annually of the national income as it stood in 1919.
The significance of these statistical indices of cost is not impaired by the necessarily approximate character of the basic data; and if, as is probable, these •estimates of national wealth and income are based on the high values of the war period, the actual proportions of the capital and income of the Canadian people that have been destroyed by the war are still greater than those given above.
Empire Should Be Militarist
Finally, I hope no reader will infer from what appears above that I am a pacifist or Little Imperialist. Forty years of actual experience and observation make me feel more strongly than ever that our future safety, prosperity, comfort and happiness lie in universal military service at home, aggressive militarism; and a continued sane but bold and aggressive development and extension of the Empire’s alliances, areas of control and influence. An ever ready sword and an offensive war may often be our best defense. Lloyd George was one of the Empire’s greatest political factors in preventing our defeat, but it must not be forgotten that it was he and his Little Englander pacifist friends who persistently interfered with the necessary military preparations.
Further, though I had much British and International information forced upon me, I was never in or of the Intelligence Service, even indirectly. I do not think I know more than fifteen or twenty of the entire International services and they are almost all political, and few of them were engaged in actual work themselves. I have been merely a medium through whom information came to help the allied cause in Canada. This was an incident. My real work in the war was more important but far from spectacular; and it was to my associates not to myself the credit was due.
Nor had I the most remote connection with Intelligence work in Mexico, as was made to appear before a committee at ! Washington—see printed report—The I only thing I ever knew of that country was when some foreigner dropped in to say he ¡ was following up the associations of an ¡ Ontario clergyman who was acting as an j errand boy for Germans from Mexico to Washington, London, and other allied centres. He and a London journalist gave more trouble to the French than to ! us. The nearest I came to official connection was in 1916 when I was called ; to Washington and asked to take charge ] of certain work in which the British | were very weak. I suggested a very j much better man who accepted and made ; a brilliant success.
Uplift and Leagues of Nations are useful in theory, but the nations who rely on them have no more chance in this world j than a drove of sheep in a lions’ jungle.