The Italians in particular were negative, fearing the competition
of a reinforced Greek presence in the eastern Mediterranean. They invoked
the Treaty of St Jean de Maurienne of 1917, according to which Smyrna and Iconium were
conceded to them, in order to give up their intention of signing a separate
peace treaty with Austria. The Americans, in turn, contested the
credibility of the very will of the Greeks of Ionia to unite with Greece
and estimated that the Asia Minor coast was organically, geographically
and economically linked with Anatolia, and should be autonomous.
The discontent of the British and the French caused by the coercive claims of Rome
on the one hand and the towering pressure of the Turkish nationalist movement on
the other hand pushed them, their Italian counterpart being absent, to grant on
6 May 1919, in a session of the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference,
their approval to Greek troops landing in Smyrna with the objective of preserving order
and protecting the Christian populations of the region. Thus, on 15 May 1919 the Greek army
landed in Smyrna amid a climate of national enthusiasm on the part of native Greeks
who thought of the landing as the beginning of liberation.