By Katelyn Buckles
While the League of Nations was deliberating on the Corfu Crisis, two updates came in which increased tensions within the conference. The first stated that Great Britain has declared a demarcation line 12 miles off the coast of Corfu, and any nation who violates this border will be declared war on. This update is a continuation of an earlier proclamation from the British Foreign Office supporting Greece against an Italian threat.
In a second update, Italy declared Albania a protectorate, and has mobilized to send 30,000 troops to its southern border, as well as parked ships off of Sweden’s shores. Mussolini has announced that airstrikes will begin on the Greek mainland unless Greece pays Italy $100 million lire and demobilizes via exporting its troops out of Albania.
These updates intensified the already divisive atmosphere within the League as they debated Greece’s responsibility in the wake of the assassination of General Enrico Tellini and entourage in the Greek city of Kakavia. Following the updates, the countries debated the merits of two separate directives and their arguments were heavily influenced by the new information that had been brought forth.
In reference to Directive 1.8 advocating the creation of a Special War acts Group (SWAG) that would help evacuate civilians from Corfu, Uruguay opposed the notion on account of not wanting to provoke Great Britain. In the wake of this speech from the delegates of Uruguay the directive failed, indicating a hesitation in the League to provoke war or take military action while the more diplomatic Directive 1.7 – regarding Greece compensating the families of the assassinated Tellini – passed.
The situation continues to develop, both in the Mediterranean and the League, though it seems holistic and unified action is still far off.