Saloniki is Full of Enemy Spies

Richard Harding Davis

San Francisco Examiner/September 2, 1916

Writer Explains Probable Intent of Aeroplane Raid; May Not Presage Attack by Troops

PARIS, January 1.- The raid of Bulgarian and German aeroplanes over Salonikl reported in the French bulletin does not necessarily mean that an attack by troops will follow. London and Paris were raided by aircraft, but no troops have yet reached those cities.

Nor is it probable that the raid was for the purpose of observation. There is no need to send a man conspicuously in an aeroplane to count the warships in the harbor when an inconspicuous man on the wharf has for weeks been furnishing more accurate information, and when Saloniki is full of spies who are able to communicate with Doiran, Guevgheli and Monastir.

Object of the Raid

An observer 2,000 feet in the air would be unable to the central powers anything of which they are not already informed. Their agents are on the quays, streets and roads leading to and beyond the military camps and even at work building roads in the camps.

The object of the raid was more likely for moral effect or to throw bombs on transports and warships. The bomb reported dropped upon a battalion of Greek soldiers was probably launched by mistake, owing to the Greek uniform being of khaki colored cloth similar at a distance to that of the British.

French Surprised

It is evident that the French squadron of aircraft were taken by surprise, and that if the raiders return they will receive a warmer welcome, as during the Serbian campaign the French aeroplanes showed splendid efficiency and furnished valuable information. This was accomplished under most unfavorable conditions of snow, fog and treacherous cross currents above valleys and over a territory barren of landing places.

In arresting and removing the consuls of the enemy in reprisal for the raid, Sarrail followed the only possible course. The consulates have been the headquarters of army and navy officers of the Central Powers, Turkey and Bulgaria, besides furnishing a clearing house for all the spies.

Saloniki is supposed to be neutral territory, but the presence of foreign consuls at the base of two armies has been a most serious menace. Their enforced departure will add to the responsibilities of the American consul in looking after their interests.