2. During the national liberation struggle, the Macedonian National
Liberation Movement was negated by the other Balkan governments because
they intended to annex certain Macedonian regions.
This is why recognition of the Macedonian revolutionaries' legal rights
was of primary importance if their national liberation struggle was to
succeed. For this purpose the leaders of the National Liberation Movement
made special efforts to preserve the integrity of their struggle as well
as to gain international recognition.
Announcing its request for legal recognition in international affairs,
the Macedonian Inner Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) established itself
as the only organization on Macedonian territory with the legal right to
lead the national liberation struggle of the Macedonian people. The Inner
Organization's aims were to prevent the interventions of the other Balkan
countries, to uncover their plan to infiltrate the National Liberation
Movement, and to destroy their intention to so weaken the movement that
their imperialistic aims would be easier to accomplish.
The supreme right of the Inner Organization to lead and to choose the aims
of the National Liberation Movement is directly connected with its request
to represent the Macedonian nation in international relations.
In the history of Macedonia's National Liberation
Movement these events raised very interesting legislative-theoretical questions
about the legitimacy of a revolutionary movement whose purpose was to liberate
the country and form a new state.
If legitimacy is understood in its more restricted
sense, as an entity which represents the true aspirations of a nation in
its struggle against foreign rule and slavery, then one cannot say that
the National Liberation Movement led by the Inner Organization was the
sole representative of revolutionary authority in Macedonia and the most
vital interests of the Macedonian people. Thus, the Inner Organization,
in the name of the enslaved nation, had the right to be the governing body
and to represent certain legal rights of the whole nation. As a result
of this, the National Liberation Movement rightfully denied the legal right
of some other political organizations (especially the governments of the
other Balkan countries) to represent the interests of the Macedonian people.
Consequently the governments of the other Balkan countries lost the legal
right to represent the Macedonian people in international affairs. Their
intentions to usurp Macedonian territory turned them into aggressors instead
of legal representatives of the Macedonian people. As a result of this,
the Balkan countries refused to aid the rightful struggle of the Macedonian
people. In fact, in specific historical situations they hindered Macedonia's
revolutionary forces in their attempt to conclude successfully their struggle
On the other hand, the Inner Organization in its
liberation program announced new national values and requests designed
to encourage the whole nation to take part in the struggle for liberation
of the country. Announcing its request for creation of a new state on the
Balkan which would serve as a foundation for broader federate relations
among the Balkan states, the Inner Organization assembled all the social
costs in the Macedonian social system at the time as well as all the nationalities
that lived in Macedonia. It showed them the road towards solving the numerous
economic, cultural, religious, social and political questions that existed
among all of Macedonia's social classes.
The Inner Organization continuously strengthened
and secured its legitimacy in the liberation movement through its revolutionary
activities and unyielding struggle to preserve its integrity.
It fought, in particular, to overthrow Bulgaria's request for cooperation,
because Bulgaria's obvious intention was to conquer Macedonia. It strengthened
the cohesion among all the social classes in Macedonian society. It worked
to improve the economic conditions of the Macedonian peasants and tried
to free them from exploitation and the high taxes imposed by the Turkish
Beys. It could see the need to educate the masses in Macedonia and worked
to secure unhindered operation of schools and other educational and cul-tural
institutions. In the struggle against the spread of national intolerance
kindled by the governments of the other Balkan countries (they even tried
to infiltrate the National Liberation Movement itself) the Inner Organization
undertook nationwide operations to uncover this foreign propaganda. In
order to attain and preserve unity within the National Liberation Movement,
the Inner Organization applied sanctions to those who abandoned the principal
ideas of the revolutionary movement and supported the conquering aspirations
of the other Balkan governments. In this context the Inner Organization's
struggle against the activities of the Vrhovist's Organization in Sofia
should be especially emphasized because the Vrhovists wanted to use the
liberation struggle of the Macedonian people as a means for fulfilling
Bulgarian aspirations toward Macedonia.
In its decisions reached at various congresses
and public meetings, the Inner Organization now very frequently and more
openly claimed that it would not allow the Balkan states to annex
Macedonia. In particular, it would not let the idea for creation of "Great
Bulgaria" to infiltrate its own movement  because
that would mean wiping Macedonia off the face of the earth. Thus the Balkan
countries and their governments were losing their direct influence on the
leadership of the Inner Organization. Increasing numbers of its members
stuck to the original her ideas of the revolutionary movements.
These circumstances caused the other Balkan countries
to intervene even more obviously in Macedonia's liberation movement. These
interventions aimed to usurp the legitimate rights to represent the interests
of the Macedonian nation as well as to overthrow the Inner Organization's
influence over the course of events, especially those dealing with the
future status of Macedonia as a state. They were simultaneously carried
out via various institutions which insisted on their "historic rights"
to participate in solving the Macedonian question, always following the
nationalistic and conquering aspirations of their own countries.
Under those conditions the Balkan interventions
acquired characteristics of ideological and military aggression. So the
resistance that those interventions had to face also acquired broader character
and importance because it fought to preserve the essential interests of
the Macedonian people.
3. According to international law, Balkan intervention in the
National Liberation Movement in Macedonia did not qualify as interference
in its internal affairs. Thus, the demand of the Macedonian revolutionaries
to prohibit these interventions requires a more detailed and profound analysis
from the standpoint of international law.
It is a well-known fact that the Balkan interference
in Macedonia's Liberation movement were deliberately aimed against the
Macedonian people and their right to self-determination. Namely, all these
governments, either separately or all together, intended to prevent
the construction of a new Macedonian state in order to annex Macedonia
and so enlarge their countries. (This the Balkan states set up in Turkey
to function as their legal offices. For this purpose they also used the
church chiefs, the commercial agencies, their diplomatic representatives,
the political parties of the citizens and armed detachments. All these
institutions was an alternative because none of these countries by itself
could occupy, i.e. annex, the whole Macedonian territory).
For these reasons it was especially important to
discover the essential characteristics not so much of the interventions
of Balkan countries in Macedonia's liberation movement but of the resistance
with which the Macedonian revolutionaries met these interventions. This
question had importance and complexity that exceeded the definitions and
terms created and accepted as doctrine in international law practice.
To be specific, in this case prohibiting intervention
did not refer to interference of other countries in the interior state
affairs of a country that had been already created and recognized as such.
in this case there were no such countries, The revolutionary forces at
this moment were struggling to separate Macedonia from the Turkish empire
and make it a new state.
Balkan intervention, the purpose of which was to
obstruct the birth of a new Macedonian state and thus deprive Macedonia
of self-determination, was in fact a direct attack on the Macedonian liberation
struggle and the fulfillment of the ultimate goal of the Macedonian people.
The other Balkan countries' governments intensified their interference
in the Macedonian Liberation Movement. This activity would prompt the Macedonian
revolutionaries to demand that international law protect their right to
self-determination as well as the territorial integrity of their land although
Macedonia had not yet become a state. The Balkan countries were denied
the right to interfere in the National Liberation Movement of the Macedonian
people. The Macedonian revolutionary forces also deprived them of the legal
right to represent Macedonia in international affairs by claiming their
right to international recognition as the country's legal representative
body. The right of the Macedonian nation to self-determination guaranteed,
to some extent, legal recognition of its National Liberation Movement;
thus, it established itself as a real revolutionary force in world affairs.
Having acquired legal status as a representative
body, the National Liberation Movement claimed, during the Ilinden Uprising,
the right to wage a national liberation struggle and asked the great powers
to regard the rebels as a military force. Therefore, in their Disciplinary
Consti-tution the Macedonia rebels introduced fighting regulations that
complied with the international civilian and military codes, particularly
as regards the protection of Turkish civilians and foreign statesmen. 
The Inner Organization's determination to obtain
the necessary legal authority in international affairs was very clearly
expressed in its request to participate in all the international conferences
which dealt with Macedonia's future status as a state.
According to its legal rights the Macedonian Inner
Revolutionary Organization asked to participate in the signing of the Bucharest
Peace Agreement. It rightfully deserved this right because it participated
in the fight against the Turkish empire and played an important part in
its withdrawal from Macedonia.
I. The Basis in International Law for Presentation of Macedonia at the
Paris Peace Conference in 1919
In the international negotiations at the Paris Peace
Conference in 1919 the Macedonian Inner Revolutionary Organization played
a very important role for the protection and recognition of the right of
the Macedonian people to be internationally accepted. Other progressive
Macedonian political groups from abroad contributed to this purpose, particularly
the communities of the Macedonian students in Switzerland.
As we said in the beginning, the reason for the
requests of the Macedonian people for international recognition was their
desire to form a sovereign state. The most important prerequisite in this
matter was the struggle to acquire the right of self-determination and
to found a state. Therefore, the Macedonian progressive revolutionary organizations
and movements during this period claimed that Macedonia had the right
(despite the fact that this right was given only to a state) to enter into
international law relations and to lead independent diplomatic negotiations,
that is, to sign the international agreements at the Paris Peace Conference.
On the basis of these opinions the Inner Revolutionary
Organization and the other progressive Macedonian groups raised, during
the peace conference in Paris, two principal requests of special importance
from an international law point of view.
The first request demanded that the conference accept
the VMRO as having legitimate interests in solving the so-called Macedonian
question and signing the international agreements regarding Macedonia.
Their second request insisted that the Bulgarian representatives at the
Peace Conference should not be allowed to represent Macedonia nor assume
Macedonia's international law obligations.
The request that the Macedonian nation must be represented
at the Peace Conference by only the Macedonian Inner Revolutionary Organization
was based on ".. the historical truth that only this organization is a
loyal representative of all Macedonia (regardless of the different languages
and different religions) and that the Organization is neither under Bulgarian
nor any other political influence..." These words come from a document
sent to the Peace Conference. Below is the full text:
"To his Excellency, Mr. Clemanceau, the President
of the Council - Paris.
I have the honor to express my loyalty as a delegate
of the Macedonian Committee at the High Peace Conference and to protest
against the speculations of certain persons who pretend to be talk-ing
in the name of Macedonia. These persons are representatives of the so-called
Executive Committee of the Macedonian Organizations. It will suffice to
point out to Your Revered Excellency that Macedonian emigration into Bulgaria
managed in 30 years to assemble a small group of bulgarized Macedonians
who did not completely dedicate their efforts to the interests of their
native country, but to Bulgaria instead. These people, who by the way are
subject to suspicion in both countries are, as we like to call them, undecided.
They suggested that delegates to the Conference should be Todor Aleksandrov
and Alexandar Protogerov, both sworn friends of the Kaiser and Ferdinand
and organizers of the Nish Massacre!
Of course, their corruption does its best to discredit
once and forever the state of affairs concerning Macedonian autonomy in
front of the victor's.
I have the honor to inform you that the Macedonian
Revolutionary Committees assembled in the 'Macedonian Inner Revolutionary
Organization' founded in 1893 are the only Macedonian organizations free
from Bulgarian or any other political influence and that only they loyally
represent all of Macedonia, regardless of its different languages and religions.
That is why I have the honor to beg Your Excellency to receive me, in the
name of neither Bulgaria nor the Bulgarians, that I may acquaint you with
the wishes of the Macedonian people."
II. The Committee for New Countries and its Role in Determining the Jurisdictional
Position of Macedonia in International Relations
The Committee for New Countries played an important
role in the preparations for the international agreements. At the meetings
it held, the Committee discussed questions concerning the future status
of Macedonia as a legal state. It also developed two major opinions which
were sent on later to the Peace Conference for perusal and final acceptance.
According to the first opinion Macedonia was to be given autonomy within
the Kingdom of SHS (Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians - translator's
note) According to the second opinion the so-called Macedonian question
was to be handled together with the question of protecting the minorities
(ethnic groups - translator's note) and the stipulations of which
would guarantee the Macedonian population freedom and protection.
The committee also formulated a third and special
opinion which suggested that the League of Nations introduce a special
control in Macedonia "in order to protect the borders against oppression..."
The first opinion was introduced at the Peace Conference by the Italian
delegation. The second was supported by the French delegation, which strongly
protested against the idea of giving autonomy to Macedonia. The third opinion,
which was meant to reconcile the previous two was expressed in the suggestions
put forward by the English delegation. Let us discuss
more closely each of these opinions put forward by cer-tain delegations
to the Committee for New Countries and Protection of the Minorities.
For the very first time the question concerning
the jurisdictional position of Macedonia was discussed by the Committee
for New States during its meeting held on 10 June 1919.
At this meeting the Italian delegation suggested that a request to introduce
a Special Administrative System in Macedonia should be put forward. The
French delegation opposed this proposal. So it was agreed that if the Italian
delegation insisted on its suggestion, then it was to come up with a more
definite proposal at the next meeting.
At one of its later meetings the Committee thoroughly
discussed the Italian proposal, which suggested that Macedonia be given
autonomy within the framework of Yugoslavia; in other words, the Serbian
govern-ment should allow Macedonia some kind of self-management.
The pro-posal asked Yugoslavia to allow the Macedonian territory, within
the borders fixed by the Allied Forces and their followers, to become an
autonomous unit within Yugoslavia, and to be given the right of self-management
in accordance with Yugoslav unity.
Further on the proposal suggested that Macedonia
should have its own assembly with responsibilities and duties regulated
and fixed by the constitutional laws of the Yugoslav state. The governor
of Macedonia was to be appointed by the Yugoslav government, but the governor
was called to account by the autonomous Macedonian assembly.
The proposal also suggested that Yugoslavia should
allow the Macedonian representatives to be selected from the population
living on Macedonian territory, and that the Yugoslavian government should
guarantee Macedonia equal representation in the legislative assembly of
the Yugoslav state. Macedonia had its representatives in the assembly who
were selected in accordance with the constitution of Yugoslavia. The representatives
had no right to vote for those questions which were under the jurisdiction
But at the following meeting of the Committee, the
Italian delegation put forward a new and modified proposal about the determination
of the jurisdictional status of Macedonia as an autonomous region within
Yugoslavia. Unlike the proposal put forward earlier, the new proposal suggested
that Macedonia be given only local autonomy.
The major characteristics and the jurisdictional
status of this autonomy were more elaborately explained by the Italian
delegation at one of the following meetings of the Committee. The Italian
delegation also put forward a supplement to the proposal listing specific
suggestions for designing the Macedonian local autonomy. The new proposal
abandoned the previous request that Macedonia become a self-managed region
enjoying all the possible privileges. It suggested religious and cultural
autonomy as well as autonomy for the local administration, while the previous
proposal contained elements for a political autonomy, of the internal self-governed
region (with an independent assembly) as well as of the central government
(both having equal representation in the Yugoslavian assembly). The new
proposal suggested introducing administrative self-management in Macedonia.
This so-called administrative autonomy was to be
constituted as follows: first, the whole Macedonian territory would be
divided into administrative units - regions governed by an administrative
council; second, one central (general) council would be established, with
its headquarters in Bitola, its rights and competence to be determined
in the form of laws enacted by the Kingdom SHS; 
third, every administrative region would have a supervisor appointed by
the government of the SHS Kingdom and selected according to the size, and
social status, nationality and religious conviction of the population.
At one of its meetings during the debate concerning
the future jurisdictional status of Macedonia as a state, the English representative
in the Committee for New Countries put forward a proposal which suggested
that the League of Nations send representatives to Macedonia "…to protect
the border against oppression..." This proposal was
put forward to the Committee in opposition to the Italian proposal for
defining the autonomous status of Macedonia.
The American and Japanese delegations voted for
the English proposal with slight modification, so on the basis of the English
proposal the jurisdictional status of Macedonia was more elaborately defined
in a special supplement formulated during the Committee's meeting on 4
August.  This supplement suggested that the government
of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians should be compelled to appeal to the
League of Nations to appoint proxies who would control its application
of the general clauses for protecting the minorities in Macedonia.
According to the proposal, the proxy and his associates
would have the status of diplomatic representatives and enjoy all diplomatic
privileges. Even the government of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians would
be obliged to give him any necessary assistance in performing his duties.
The mandate of the proxy of the League of Nations was to last for five
years. when the mandate expired it could be extended by the council of
the League of Nations, if the majority of its members voted for it.
As has been already said, three basic variants concerning
the determination of the jurisdictional status of Macedonia as a state
were put forward during the meeting of the Committee for New States. In
the previous pages of this article we discussed the variant introduced
by the English delegation and later accepted by the delegations from the
United States of America and Japan.
The French delegation refused to accept either the first or the second
variant. The members of the French delegation opposed giving autonomy to
Macedonia (the proposal of the Italian delegation) they believed that it
would create new difficulties in the country because the minorities (ethnic
groups) would be exposed to various intrigues, making pacification of the
country difficult. This attitude of the French delegates was based on the
fact that they believed "… Macedonia had no clearly distinct nationality
and that the population was grouped into parties which changed their disposition
according to the circumstances..." The French delegation
objected to the English proposal on the grounds that it violated the sovereignty
of the countries belonging to the SHS Kingdom.
In their proposal the French delegation stated that
the general clauses contained in the other agreements with the new countries
for protecting the rights of the minorities satisfied the Macedonian interests.
Therefore it was not necessary ("there's no reason") to create special
clauses (the insertion of special clauses in the agreement with SHS Kingdom
was in question - A.H.).
Despite the fact that the so-called Macedonian question
was present throughout the work of the Committee for New Countries, i.e.
the Peace Conference, it was not carried beyond the discussion concerning
the rights for protecting the minorities. This idea was dominant in all
the documents brought to the meetings of the Committee for New Countries.
It would finally become a starting point in the jurisdictional status of
Macedonia and in the international agreements concerning the Macedonian
territories annexed by Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. All these agreements
contain the same clause with only slight modifications about which we will
talk later on.
On the basis of this attitude toward the jurisdictional
position of Macedonia, the Conference refused to deal with the idea for
uniting all Macedonian territories into a geopolitical and economic unit.
In other words, when debating the position of Macedonia, the Conference
recognized the division of the Macedonian territories among the other Balkan
countries as being a historic truth, as being something which had been
agreed to at the meetings of the Balkan countries. Therefore, the Conference
did not want to use the unification of Macedonian territories as a starting
point in determining the jurisdictional status of Macedonia in the aftermath
of World War I.
The Italian proposal for local autonomy in Macedonia
within the framework of the newly created Yugoslavian state was nothing
but via facti acceptance of the division of Macedonia and its territory.
With this proposal the Italian delegation recognized and accepted the attitude
of the Balkan countries, who claimed that if the question concerning the
unification of Macedonia was put on the program and discussed during the
Peace Conference it would violate their sovereignty.
Special clauses concerning Macedonia suggested in
the English delegation's proposal and inserted into the peace agreements
could not radically change the state of affairs nor hide the Balkan countries'
intentions to divide Macedonia and its territories among themselves. The
special clauses referring to the League of Nations representative, who
was to make sure that the SHS Kingdom performed its obligation toward Macedonia,
were suggested by the English delegation as a result of the pressure of
public opinion throughout the world, particularly from the well-known English
public workers who insisted that the solution of the Macedonian question
must be grounded in the right to self-determination.
As a result of all this we can say that the Peace
Conference did not solve the Macedonian question. On the contrary, the
question was treated in a manner that made it even more difficult to throw
light on all of its characteristics - historical, ethnic and national -
from an international jurisdictional point of view.
By allowing some parts of Macedonian territory to
be annexed by neighboring countries, the Peace Conference did not answer
the Macedonian question, and it continued to cause a great many disagreements
and conflicts on the Balkan peninsula. The previously performed division
of Macedonia and its territory by the Balkan allies had an imperceptibly
bad effect on the economic, national, cultural and educational progress
of Macedonia. The Macedonian people could never accept the division of
Macedonia into three parts, so nobody asked for its opinion nor its consent
to the international agreements calling for its division.
The Italian proposal for an autonomous Macedonia
was inappropriate because it neglected the most essential interests of
the Macedonian nation. The English proposal for protecting the rights of
the minorities in Macedonia contained many errors, unclear points and inconsistencies,
and was thus inadequate.
The request for giving autonomy to Macedonia was
inconsistent because it was sent only to the government of the SHS Kingdom
and not to the Bulgarian or Greek governments. This indicates that the
proposal for an autonomous Macedonia within the framework of the new Yugoslavian
state did not follow the principle of self-determination for every nation.
On the contrary, it followed certain (ad hoc) and clearly defined interests
of this or that country which could influence the course of the negotiations
at the international conference. As a result of this, the Italian delegation
very quickly abandoned their request for giving complete autonomy to Macedonia
and replaced it with another request for local administration, that is,
local autonomy, in Macedonia.
The English proposal for introducing special clauses
concerning the protection of the rights of the minorities in Macedonia
is inconsistent because it does not specify which minority is in question.
The international negotiations at the Peace Conference concerning the protection
of the rights of the minorities began to sound as if the Bulgarian minority
was in question. (In fact, it was the Macedonian population that was in
question, but the other nationalities who lived in Macedonia should have
been included, as well).
This attitude toward the question concerning the
protection of the rights of the minorities suited Bulgarian ends. Bulgaria
made efforts to have the Macedonian question treated similarly in the international
negotiations. This resulted in the emergence of a new irredentism toward
the Macedonian people and represented a permanent threat to the peace in
this part of the world.
During the international negotiations at the Peace
Conference the Macedonian question was identified and treated under the
formula for protecting the rights of the minorities.
So the Peace Conference reduced the Macedonian question to those points
of the agreement which concerned the right of option (the right of emigrating
as for example between Bulgaria and Greece), the right of migrating, the
question of reparation and reciprocal stimulations.
The Bulgarian diplomats at the Paris Peace Conference (as on many other
occasions) tried to justify their old belief that Macedonia was part of
the Bulgarian territory populated by Bulgarians. On the basis of this,
Bulgaria claimed its right to interfere in the negotiations concerning
Macedonia. The actual reason was Bulgaria's wish to annex either all of
Macedonia or certain Macedonian regions.
But Bulgaria's big ideas for creating a Great Bulgaria
couldn't penetrate the negotiations at the Peace Conference because Bulgaria
had been a member of the Central Forces; in other words, it was on the
side of the defeated coalition. As a result of this, Bulgarian diplomacy
in the course of the negotiations used other ideas to justify the main
theory that Macedonia was part of Bulgaria. Namely, Bulgarian diplomacy
demanded that the population living in those parts of Macedonia that were
to be annexed to Greece and SHS Kingdom should be treated as a Bulgarian
At the Peace Conference Bulgaria tried to explain
and justify this demand before the Committee for New Countries when the
question concerning the protection of the minorities was on the program.
On that occasion Bulgaria put forth its hypothesis that it was Bulgaria's
moral right and obligation to support and protect the interests of its
fellow citizens living outside its borders.
Thus the Bulgarian delegation expressed and explained
their opinion concerning the protection of the minorities in a written
document that reads as follows: "... If the territorial decision (that
is, the decision to allow Bulgaria to annex Macedonia) for which Bulgaria
claims to have an indisputable right is not accepted, then the Bulgarian
delegation is convinced that the protection of the minorities living in
provinces annexed to neighboring countries would not slacken the emigration
to Bulgaria. It can be decreased as Bulgaria proposes if the emigrants
are guaranteed the right of option within three years to return to their
homes. The Macedonians could accept neither of the
Bulgarian proposals put forward at the Peace Conference because they prevented
the fulfillment of their legitimate national interests.
III. The Macedonian Revolutionary Movement's Resistance Against the Decisions
of the Peace Conference
The Bulgarian activities at the Peace Conference in
Paris could not but meet with opposition from the Macedonian revolutionary
organization since their purpose was to thwart the interests of the Macedonian
nation. The Macedonian revolutionary organization expressed this resistance
in its request forbidding the Bulgarian delegation to represent the interests
of the Macedonian nation at the Peace Conference.
On the basis of Macedonia's indisputable right to self-determination,
the true followers of the revolutionary movement led by the original organization
VMRO (Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) sent a memoir to the
Bulgarian authorities denying the Bulgarian dele-gation the right to represent
the Macedonian nation at the Peace Conference. The introduction to this
document refers to the situation in Macedonia after the war. It reads-
"In these crucial days Macedonia has the right to lift its voice for liberation,
for its freedom. Macedonia lifts its voice before the whole world and before
the Bulgarian people and their authorities."
The document stated that Macedonia should become
an independent state within its original geographic borders in order to
protect its people from a new type of political oppression. Furthermore,
all the nationalities living on Macedonian soil, no matter how numerous,
should be given equal rights, and the neutrality of Macedonia should be
protected by the League of Nations. It also stated that the countries that
signed this document did everything they could to inform the public opinion
throughout the world about the unification of all Macedonian territories.
This was done just before the beginning of the Peace
Conference in Paris. The countries that signed the document claimed that
these ideas would prevail at the Peace Conference because they were supported
by genuine arguments, unless ".. the idea about human rights is crossed
out at the Peace Conference and crude force wins, resulting in the introduction
of rule by force..."
The document stated that in establishing the future
status of Macedonia one must not apply the right of force; that is, one
must not follow the right of the winner and must not use crude force because
the idea about an independent Macedonia had been working its way for a
long time bringing peace and understanding among the nations living on
the Balkan peninsula.
This document also accused the Bulgarian authorities
of not giving their support to this idea, of taking a different road toward
solving the so-called Macedonian question. "... That road (the road followed
by the Bulgarian authorities) very clearly and distinctly leads toward
the erasing of the very name of Macedonia as a historic fact as well as
toward the destruction of the Macedonian political union and its future
The countries that signed the document believed that they would successfully
resist and oppose both the Serbian and Greek aspirations toward certain
Macedonian regions because they were convinced that "in spite of the crude
force at the Peace Conference, justice, to a certain degree, would also
dominate." "But for successful resistance against these aspirations it
was necessary that the Bulgarian government change its attitude concerning
the solution of the problems that pertain to Macedonia." This is said in
In the document are also given the reasons for sending this appeal
to the Bulgarian government and the Bulgarian general public. At the same
time the document explains why this appeal had not been sent earlier. It
states that the "Temporary Representative Body of VMRO" feared that their
appeal might have appeared to interfere in both the internal affairs of
Bulgaria as well as in its foreign policy. It also said that the Temporary
Representative Government of VMRO believed that "... Bulgaria was in the
process of turning away from its earlier policies which had not only plunged
it into catastrophe but had brought total collapse of Macedonia as a state
The Temporary Representative Government of VMRO
openly attacks, in the document, the Bulgarian government and its attitude
toward the Macedonian question. The Bulgarian government strongly opposed
the idea for independent Macedonia. "With such an attitude," the document
states, "the Bulgarian government aids the obvious Serbian and Greek intention
to reinforce and strengthen their rule over foreign territories and foreign
nations." At the same time the Temporary Representative Government of VMRO
raised the question: "why does the Bulgarian government not want to accept
the idea for giving autonomy to Macedonia, for it is obliged to give this
concept its frank and unreserved support."
In order to support this policy, the Temporary Representative
Government (Body) of VMRO insisted that the Bulgarian government should
make a solemn promise at the Peace Conference and to the whole world that
Bulgarian nationalistic aspirations would be fulfilled if a separate political
unit were created on the Balkan and guaranteed international protection
against future territorial encroachments from outside.
The document also states that the Macedonian people could not understand
why the Bulgarian government persistently considered the Macedonian question
from the aspect of some kind of "national unity" because this Bulgarian
attitude did not lead to any national unity at all. On the contrary, it
contributed to the weakening of the moral aspect of the idea for an independent
Pointing out that in this way the Bulgarian government
was continuing its old policy of dividing Macedonian territory and destroying
the unity of the Macedonian people, the memoir emphasized that the Bulgarian
government, as a government which fought for "nationalism, unity and for
the freedom and integrity of the Bulgarian tribe," threw the Macedonian
people into slavery and disgrace because it wanted to occupy a part of
Macedonia. So the Bulgarian government was against the idea of giving Macedonia
status as an independent, sovereign state.
In the conclusion of the memoir, the Temporary Representative
Government of VMRO warns the Bulgarian government that it will strongly
oppose Bulgaria's intention to represent the Macedonian nation at the Peace
Conference. At the same time, by doing this the Temporary Representative
Government of VMRO states that it will work for the creation of an independent
Macedonia and for the protection of its terri-torial integrity.
2. The Seres Revolutionary Branch of VMRO, which strongly supported
the original VMRO organization's aspirations for an independent Macedonia
and its request for a Peace Conference immediately after the end of the
First World War, published a declaration of the fundamentals for the constitution
of the new Macedonian state.
The starting point in the declaration was the request
for giving Macedonia complete territorial integrity and for making it a
republic much like the Swiss Federative Republic. The declaration claims
that in this way "... the Balkan countries, motivated by their imperialistic
interests, will not be able to conquer foreign territories nor impose their
authority on other nations..."
Emphasizing the nation's right of self-determination
and giving its support to the idea for constitution of a Macedonian state
within its natural, ethnographic and geopolitical borders, the declaration
very determinedly opposes the idea for dividing Macedonia because "the
division of Macedonia will create a precedent for every Balkan state to
occupy foreign territories, to enlarge, geographically and economically,
their own territories and states."
The declaration points out that "the very act of
dividing Macedonian land, an act which is not and can never be in accord
either with the national principle or with the real state of affairs from
a geographic point of view, will represent a first sign of infidelity in
their relations (the relations between the Balkan states - A.H.). As a
result of it the Balkan countries will not give each other a helping hand
unless they outlive their blood shedding conflicts and rivalries. This
can be done only with the triumph of the republican democracy."
Following the particular interests of the Macedonian
people for the constitution of a Macedonian state, the declaration claims
that "neither the Bulgarian, Serbian nor Greek state policies have anything
to do with the Macedonian question because Macedonians, being a separate
nation, have their own right to take care of their country and their own
fate..." In this way the authors of the declaration increasingly em-phasized
the need for protecting Macedonia's particular national interests from
the conquering aspirations of the other Balkan countries.
The declaration carefully exposes the conquering
plans of the Balkan countries toward Macedonia. It reveals their nationalistic
policies that prevented Macedonia from attaining its own right of self-
determination. Thus, the declaration states that "... these ideas (the
ideas of political nationalism and national unity - A.H.) of the Balkan
countries went beyond their original purpose as well as their purpose for
national self-determination and unity, and now they actually expressed
the Balkan countries' aspirations for occupying foreign countries regardless
of the nationalities that inhabited these countries." "Furthermore, this
nationalistic goal of the Balkan countries to attain political and economic
hegemony on the Balkans plunged them into deep antagonism and conflicts
that always end in nothing but war."
Pointing out the fact that in that "bloody and terrible
war" Mace-donia was oppressed and dominated, forced to make great sacrifices
and to suffer, the authors of the declaration insist that the Balkan countries
should accept the idea for creation of an independent Macedonian state
because it is the only safe way to secure a permanent peace on the Balkan
3. The General Council of all the Macedonian Communities in Switzerland
sent an appeal to the Peace Conference in which they insisted on allowing
Macedonia to be represented at the Conference by its own delegates. And
it also stated that the so-called right of the conqueror could not be applied
to Macedonia (its application to the Macedonians was condemned by the Allied
Forces themselves) because the Macedonians "gave holy and priceless examples
of their heroism and love for freedom during the wars they fought against
their enemies in the past. 
Thus, the telegram that the General Council of the
Macedonian Communities sent on 23 February 1919 to the secretariat of the
English delegation at the Paris Peace Conference said:
"Regarding the explanations given by the prime ministers,
referring to the Serbian and Greek territorial requests, the General Council
of all the Macedonian Communities in Switzerland once again takes the liberty
to appeal to the esteemed Peace Conference to let the Macedonian nation
determine and define its own future according to the principle that no
nation will ever put up with foreign rule if it is harmful and unprofitable.
We sincerely believe that the Paris Agreement signed in 1919 will be as
just Macedonia as to the other nations.
The numerous demarches, appeals, memorandums and declarations
put forward at the Peace Conference by the Macedonian communities in Switzerland
have one thing in common: their starting point is their request for giving
the Macedonian nation the right of self-determination.
The Macedonians, who have already given worthy evidence
of their bravery and their love for freedom during past wars against their
enemies, cannot be subjected to the right of the conqueror (occupier),
a right condemned even by the Allied Forces themselves. If this second
principle is not followed, the freedom fight will inevitably continue.
We believe that Their Excellencies Mr. Venizelos
and Mr. Pashich, who willingly gave the nation the right of self-determination
proclaimed and acknowledged by the Allied Forces, will, by no means, deny
the Macedonian people their right to determine their own future existence.
The errors in a few past agreements referring to Macedonia cost the Macedonian
people many tears and much bloodshed.
So the Peace Conference is obliged to destroy the
memories of those events and to prevent more tragedies by giving the Macedonian
people what they want, that is, their holy right to decide their own future.
Hoping that you will support our legitimate requests at the Peace Conference,
we remain your most devoted and obedient servants."
In its memorandum sent on 11 January 1919 to Arthur
Balfur, Great Britain's Foreign Secretary, the General Council of the Macedonian
Communities in Switzerland insists on giving the Macedonian people their
right of self-determination. It states:
"... First of all we talked about the difficulties
and the suffer that the Macedonians had to put up with during their freedom
fight, so is it not evident that the Macedonians deserve to be guaranteed
the right to decide for themselves their fate? This privilege was guaranteed,
for example, to the Croats, Dalmatians, Slovenians, Germans, Arabs and
other nations. Why must Macedonians be treated as slaves by neighboring
countries? We Macedonians believe that the great democratic ideals brought
by the 20th century will help us in our fight for the right of self-determination.
The Macedonian revolutionaries connected their right
to represent their country in international relations, particularly in
the Peace Agreement negotiations in Paris, with their demand for forbidding
the other countries to interfere in solving the so-called Macedonian question.
We not only demand our right, but feel it also our
most crucial duty to make sure that our voice is heard before they decide
our future existence.
We, the General Council of the Macedonian Communities
in Switzerland are fully convinced that a just and permanent solution to
the Macedonian question can be reached only if the Macedonian nation is
given the opportunity to declare freely its will concerning the future
form of its constitutional system.
This can be attained by the following actions:
1. By the occupation of the country by the American,
French, English and Italian forces;
2. By allowing all the Macedonian refugees, regardless
of race or religion, to return in peace to their homes and to take part
in organizing and managing the state affairs of the country;
3. By handing the local administration of Macedonia
over to the local population, controlled by the occupying armies.
Strongly believing that the decisions of the next
Peace Conference will be based on real facts, justice and impartiality,
we are pleased to leave our fate in the hands of the Peace Conference members.
We take this opportunity to express our hopes that the Peace Conference
will succeed in its epochal project" 
The other political groups and factions of Macedonian
intellectuals from abroad carried out similar activities. They not only
denied Bulgaria's right to represent the interests of Macedonia at the
Peace Conference in Paris, but they also openly attacked Bulgaria because
of its attitude toward protecting minorities. It wanted to turn the Macedonians
into a weapon of the new irredentism, thus making the Macedonians a in
the hands of imperialistic policy toward Macedonia.
Thus, in a demarche presented to the Peace Conference; the Macedonian students
from Switzerland wrote:
"We do mot want to become a weapon of Bulgarian irredentism in Macedonia,
because Macedonia has never been a part of the present Bulgarian kingdom.
The Bulgarian diplomats who are partly responsible for the tragedy of the
Macedonian nation are neither competent nor rightful representatives of
our interests. " 
In this same document the General Council of the Macedonian
students also presented a new proposal concerning the future legal status
of Macedonia as an independent state. Namely, in the document it insisted
on giving Macedonia autonomy within the framework of Yugoslavia. It also
protested as follows the decisions that sanctioned the division of Macedonia:
"We protest loudly against dividing our country,
and we declare that we shall accept no solution to the Macedonian question
that does not give Macedonia the right to determine freely its own future.
Macedonia seeks a solution that would allow it independent status, similar
to Switzerland's under the protectorate of one of the impartial powers.
By dividing Macedonia, the Peace Conference will be fully responsible for
any new conflicts and wars that will erupt on the Balkan Peninsula.
Was the Peace Conference prepared to set a precedent
and allow the real representatives of the Macedonian nation to take part
in its work? On the basis of which international law could the Peace Conference
turn down the Macedonian revolutionaries' request for allowing their delegates
to demand Macedonia's right to self-determination and to put forward the
request concerning the legal status of Macedonia as an independent state?
Since 1912 Macedonians have suffered the terrible
bondage imposed by the Bulgarian and Serbian authorities which successfully
replaced one another. The Macedonian nation will no longer put up with
this martyrdom which, it appears the Peace Conference would make everlasting.
We are determined to continue our struggle for Macedonian independence
using all available means. "
At the time of the Peace Conference, international
law did not recognize the principle of self-determination as an approved
and accepted right of every nation. At the peace conference it was recognized
as being more or less a political principle and applied only in cases when
it contributed to the interests of the major powers. As a result, international
law neither accepted nor supported the idea that a nation at any given
time could acquire a certain degree of recognition by international law
and so enjoy certain privileges regardless of whether or not it was an
Until the Second World War, the opinion that a country's
sovereignty was the basis for its other major rights, principles and obligations
prevailed. After the Second World War the opinion that nations are recognized
from an international law point of view became more prevalent. In other
words, as some law theoreticians remarked, something new was happening
in international law theory and practice. It is believed that the declaration
contained elements that indicate this tendency in the development of international
law because now not only countries but nations as well were under protection.
The international law theory also states the following:
"If the thesis is accepted which makes sovereignty the basis of the
whole international law structure, then this sovereignty must be understood
in a larger and more democratic sense than its classic label "state" conveys.
In this case sovereignty may cover some elements of a nation's right to
self-determination, and the state and its nationalities are not to interfere
in one another affairs."
The mutual conflicts and the concessions that the delegations made to one
another in order to fulfill their countries' imperialistic aspirations
and create spheres of influence prevented the spirit of the principle of
equality and the right of self-determination of these nations present at
the Peace Conference. In fact, as far as Macedonia was concerned, "the
spirit of conspiratorial silence prevailed. Refusing to hear the requests
of the delegates who were the real representatives of the Macedonian nation,
the Peace Conference could not bear to hear ..... the sound of weeping
coming from this unhappy country.."
IV. The Right of the Minorities in Paris and other International Treaties
One very important question concerning the status of
the minorities and their rights in those countries that signed the Paris
Peace Agreement was regulated by special international acts which were
actually an annex to the question. The winning armies
and their allies such as Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia signed a peace
agreement with the defeated countries of Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and
Turkey. This agreement regulated the status of the minorities. All international
laws contained the same texts, as far as the rights of the minorities were
concerned. Of all these international acts the St. Germain and Neilly treaties
(September 10, 1919) are most interesting for us.
These international acts contain the main principles
regarding the status of the minorities living in those countries referred
to. The countries that signed the agreement and guaranteed certain rights
to the minorities were compelled to make sure that their constitutional
laws, their political activities and their jurisdiction in general would
not stand in opposition to the principles given in the above named international
acts. According to these international acts, the countries that signed
the agreements would not have any internal jurisdiction over the clauses
which referred to the minorities.
The international acts concerning the rights of
the minorities did not specify which minorities they referred to. They
did not state which nationalities were in question nor in which country
they lived. So the texts of these international acts indicate that every
country was to formulate its own laws regarding nationalities on its territory,
determine where they lived and what their ethnic identity was. If we interpret
the clauses of these international acts referring to the rights of the
minorities, we shall see that the conditions a population had to fulfill
in order to be classified as a minority were very vague. It was all up
to each country that signed the treaty to decide whether an ethnic group
would be so classified.
The main principles found in these international
agreements about the rights of the minorities can be classified into several
major groups. To the first group belong the civil rights of the minorities,
the rights that they enjoy as subjects of a particular country. Among these
rights belong the right to protect life and freedom, the right to hold
public office and the right to be self-employed. In other words, they were
given all political and civil rights. The rights found in these international
treaties refer to all subjects "…regardless of their origins, nationality,
race, language or religious conviction..."
In the second group of rights belong those referring
to the freedom of using the native language in publication, that is in
the press, in professional communication and in public meetings. The international
treaties (Neilly and St. Germain) state this right as follows: "There must
be absolutely no prohibition of the use of any language spoken by the different
nationalities living in SHS Kingdom." (Art. no.3 of St. Germain Treaty)
The Neillyy Treaty contains a similar paragraph.
The countries that signed these treaties pledged
themselves to present no obstacles to the use of any language different
from the official one. They were also obligated to help the minorities
in using their own language, particularly in court.
The clauses of these international treaties also
provided various exemptions, such as allowing the children of those citizens
who spoke different language, different from the Serbo-Croat and Bulgarian
to use their native language in school.
In the third group of rights concerning members
of the minorities belong those rights which allow the citizens of ethnic,
religious or language minorities to establish and manage, at their own
expense, various charitable, religious and social institutions, schools
and other institutions. According to these treaties the members of the
minorities would have the right to use some public funds from the state
budget and the district budgets to invest in education and other religious
and charitable institutions.
These international treaties stated that the countries
that signed the treaty were given certain obligations which could not be
changed without approval of the majority of the League of Nations' Council.
In effect, then, the rights of the minorities were guaranteed and protected
by the League of Nations. The clauses in these treaties provided that every
member of the League of Nations had the right to inform the Council if
it discovered that these obligations were not respected. The Council, in
turn, had the power to undertake certain measures to protect these rights.
On the basis of these international treaties, Macedonians
had the right to request recognition as a minority and to enjoy the rights
granted to minorities. The Macedonians had their own native language that
differed from the official languages used in the SHS Kingdom, Greece and
Bulgaria. Because of this fact, at this point two questions can be asked:
whether any of the countries that signed these international acts recognized
the Macedonians as a minority; and whether Macedonia and its annexed territories
intended to use the main principles of these international acts in obtaining
Before trying to answer these questions, we should
look at some regulations in the peace treaty between Greece and Bulgaria
signed at Sev(?). This treaty contains two decrees which refer to the minorities
covered by the St. Germain and Neilly treaties. It also contains decrees
which regulate the right of option (emigration). "The Bulgarians" living
in Macedonia, Western Thrace and Greece were given the opportunity to emigrate
to Bulgaria "on a voluntary basis."
V. First Attempts in Recognizing the Macedonian Minority
The first campaigns aimed at recognizing and affirming
the Macedonian minority appeared in Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and later
on in the SHS Kingdom between the two world wars. These manifestations
were most clearly expressed in the declaration issued by a group of Macedonian
representatives from the part of Macedonia under Bulgarian authority (Pirin
The very act of constituting this group "... as
being an independent Macedonian parliamentary group operating within the
limits of a legal campaign..." indicates that this was not a formal act
of constituting one common party in the parliamentary system of parties.
The constitution of this party was proof of the search for special forms
of activities aimed at attaining Macedonia's right to self-determination.
Moreover, the constitution of this parliamentary group in the Assembly
of Bulgaria, the sovereignty of which stretched over part of Macedonian
territory, shows that there were elements that requested a special status
for the Macedonian territory under Bulgarian authority.
That is why this declaration with which the parliamentary
group appeared before the Bulgarian public proclaimed certain basic ideas
concerning the future internal make-up of the Bulgarian state. At the same
time it expressed the conditions under which this parliamentary group was
prepared to cooperate with the Bulgarian government. Because of this the
declaration itself contains some very important elements for regulating
future relations between Bulgaria and the part of Macedonia which was under
In its declaration the Macedonian parliamentary
group claimed that it would give a vote of confidence only to a Bulgarian
government that supported the rights of the working class, both from the
cities and villages, a government that could guarantee democratic privileges
such as personal integrity, freedom of speech and press, the right to organize
meetings and join various organizations, the right of political asylum
for immigrants from the occupied countries and nations and so forth.
The Macedonian parliamentary group pointed out in
particular that it would give its vote of confidence to "…the Bulgarian
government that would break the chains of slavery created by the Paris
Peace Treaty and introduce the right of national self-determination…"
In its declaration the Macedonian parliamentary
group protested against the government's domestic policy "... which suspends
the most elementary democratic principles such as the freedom of
personal integrity, of speech, thought and conviction."
The group also protested the "unlawful imprisonment
and internment of hundreds of Macedonians in Bulgaria as well as the ban
placed on the Macedonian emigration press in Bulgaria." It concluded that
"... these measures make the Bulgarian government an enemy to the Macedonian
nation and its liberation movement."
The representatives of the Macedonian emigration
and the Macedonian people who lived on Macedonian territory under Bulgarian
authority were determined, through a legal campaign which would not collide
with the existing constitutional law of Bulgaria, to obtain the legal right
to represent the interests of the Macedonian nation. The declaration distinguished
very distinctly the imperialistic Bulgarian interests from the interests
of the Macedonian nation. It also gave details about the Bulgarian foreign
policy and condemned it as being against the interests of the nation. It
accused the Bulgarian government of making various treaties with the governments
of the neighboring countries for dividing Macedonia, which would plunge
the Macedonian nation into new hazards. The Macedonian Parliamentary Group
also accused the Bulgarian government of refusing to establish diplomatic
relations with Albania, Turkey, and Russia because it was against the creation
of a Balkan Federation, which alone could fairly and safely resolve the
so called Balkan question.
At the end of the Declaration it is emphasized that
the Macedonian Parliamentary Group would cooperate with all the political
parties in the Parliament if doing so contributed to the "liberation of
The Macedonian emigrants belonging to the Ilinden
Organization sent the Bulgarian government in 1934 a memorandum protesting
its decisions to ban the work of the Organization and the publication of
its newspapers. In this memorandum the representatives of the Macedonian
political emigrants in Bulgaria expressed their belief that this action
destroyed the rights given to Macedonia by the international peace agreements
They also pointed out that their organization was legal and that their
work did not conflict with the country's constitution.
Explaining and justifying their right to create
an organization and to publish their own newspapers, the authors of this
document pointed out in the introduction that the Bulgarian government
bore the responsibility for solving the historic Macedonian question The
Macedonian emigrants of the Ilinden Organization further remarked that
every Bulgarian government, along with the other Balkan governments, had
always wanted to divide Macedonian territory into spheres of influence
or annex certain parts of it. The document concludes that, as a result
of this tendency, "... those governments whose activities are against the
interests of the Macedonian nation have no right to act as if they were
initiators in solving the Macedonian question."
The memorandum also draws another conclusion "The
Macedonian emigration, scattered in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and America,
cannot follow the political ideals of the country inhabited at the moment,
although in many cases the Macedonian emigration was a united organization.
On the contrary, it follows and propagates its own political ideals and
protects them with every possible legal means."
Explaining the conditions in which the Macedonian
emigration lived and worked in the given countries, the memorandum emphasized
that "… once and for all it should be understood that the Macedonian emigration
in Bulgaria, always working in accordance with the constitutional law of
the country where it received hospitality, cannot follow the political
ideals of the Bulgarian government and will not make any sacrifices for
the Bulgarian interest if these sacrifices are used against the successful
solution of the Macedonian question." The document continues: "Once and
for all it should be understood that the Bulgarian patriotism with which,
since 1890, the Bulgarian statesmen have ornamented themselves (they even
do it at the present moment) are not only two completely different things,
but they also stand in opposition…"
The authors of the memorandum opposed the Bulgarian
government's claim that the Macedonian emigration, i.e., its organizations,
were the "avante garde of the Bulgarian state policy." They opposed its
claim that "the Macedonian question and the activity of the Macedonian
emigration be subordinate to the Bulgarian state interests." They expressed
their determination to preserve the integrity and independence of their
The Macedonian emigration's demand for its organizations
and its newspapers to maintain Macedonian national identity and to express
freely its sense of belonging to the Macedonian nation is based on the
right to be recognized as a minority, a right provided by the international
This demand of the Macedonian emigration is expressed
precisely in the following:
"We believe that it is our duty, in the name of the very ideals that
we cannot sacrifice to your (Bulgarian state) interests, to state that
we (the Macedonian emigration) should be finally treated not as part of
the Bulgarian state but as an independent political element... In the name
of this independence we have our independent rights as do such other guests
in Bulgaria as the Turks, the Armenians, the Russians, the Greeks and other
nationalities. As a result of it, we managed to protect and finally preserve
our alphabet from the assaults on it by the former cabinet of the Bulgarian
government. We want to protect ourselves from similar assaults by the present
Bulgarian government on the Macedo-nian press and Macedonian social life,
because of the Neilly Treaty guarantees these rights to our brothers in
Serbia and in Greece, then how ironic it will be to be deprived of them
here in Bulgaria."