Слике страница
PDF
ePub

namely, to restore her territory to her after the war.15 Three days later (August 9), after Liège had fallen, Germany again approached Belgium through the Dutch minister for foreign affairs. She renewed the promise to restore her territory to her after the war, if Belgium would come to terms with her.16 This offer was flatly declined by Belgium.17

On the same day (August 3) on which Belgium declined to meet Germany's demands, King Albert asked the King of England to have his Government intervene diplomatically to safeguard the neutrality of his country.18 The Belgian Government contends, however, that it did not ask for military aid until after its territory had been invaded by Germany.19 In the meantime (August 4) Britain announced to Belgium that she expected her to uphold her neutrality and also promised aid if her neutrality were violated.20

After Brussels had been captured by the Germans, certain documents were found in the Belgian archives, which were published to support the charge of Germany that Belgium had before the war surrendered her neutrality. These documents show the following:

(1) In April, 1906, General Ducarme, Chief

15 B. G. B., 36.
16 B. G. B., 60, 62, enclosure.
17 B. G. B., 65.

18 B. G. B., 25.
19 B. G. B., 78.
20 B, G. B., 28.

of the Belgian General Staff, reported to the Belgian minister of war the results of some conversations that he had had with Lieutenant Colonel Barnardiston, military attaché of the British legation at Brussels. At these interviews plans were discussed for sending British troops to Belgium to aid her against Germany in case war broke out. Colonel Barnardiston “referred to the anxieties of the general staff of his country with regard to the general political situation, in view of the possibility of war soon breaking out." The discussion covered details as to the number of British troops to be furnished, places of disembarkation, methods of transportation, etc. It is also stated that Colonel Barnardiston gave General Ducarme much secret information regarding the “military circumstances and the situation" of Belgium's “Eastern neighbor.” The term “allied forces" was used in the documents for the British and Belgian troops. At one of these conferences an agreement was reached as to a plan of combined operations in case Antwerp were attacked by the Germans.

Colonel Barnardiston is represented as saying that this plan had the approval of the chief of the British general staff; but he insisted that these conversations were not binding on his Government, and that they were not known by any one except the general staff, the English

19 21

minister at Brussels, and himself. He "did not know whether the opinion of his sovereign had been consulted."

On the margin of the document was the following statement: “The entry of the English into Belgium shall not take place until after the violation of our [Belgian] neutrality by Germany.

On April 23, 1912, a similar conversation was held between the British military attaché in Brussels, who was now Lieutenant Colonel Bridges, and the Belgian chief of the general staff, who was now General Jungbluth. At this meeting “Lieutenant-Colonel Bridges told the general that Great Britain had, available for dispatch to the Continent, an army composed of six divisions of infantry and eight brigades of cavalry, in all 160,000 men. She had also all that she needed for home defence. Everything was ready.

“The British Government, at the time of the recent events, would have immediately landed troops on our territory, even if we had not asked for help.

"The general protested that our consent would be necessary for this. The military attaché answered that he knew that, but that as we were not in a position to prevent the Germans passing through our territory, Great

21 B. G. B., appendix 4 (1), S., 845–6.

Britain would have landed her troops in any event.

“The general added that, after all, we were, besides, perfectly able to prevent the Germans from going through." 22

One of the documents found was a dispatch from Baron Greindl, Belgian minister at Berlin, to the Belgian minister for foreign affairs, dated December 23, 1911. The burden of this dispatch was that the Belgian Government was acting unwisely in making arrangements as if the only danger of attack was from the side of Germany. Belgium's neutrality, he thought, was in as much danger from the French as the German side. He said: “From the French side the danger threatens not only in the south from Luxemburg; it threatens us along our whole common frontier. For this assertion we are not dependent only on surmises. We have positive facts to go upon.?' 23

Another document found was "a map showing (it is alleged) the method of deployment of the French army.

These documents were published on October 13, 1914, by the North German Gazette and were also afterwards printed in English and commented on by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, Ger

[ocr errors]

22 B. G. B., 4 (2), Col. Doc., 360_1.
23 B. G. B., appendix 2, Col. Doc., 351.
24 B. G. B., appendix 5, Col. Doc., 363.

man agent in America. These two advocates for Germany contend that these documents prove that England had intended, in case a Franco-German war broke out, to send troops to Belgium and thus violate the neutrality of Belgium; that Belgium by listening to and keeping secret the "whisperings" of Great Britain had compromised her neutrality; and that she should have notified the other signatories of the treaty of 1839, especially Germany, of the suggestions of England. They charge that the negotiations prove that Belgium had entered into a convention with Great Britain against Germany, and that the French military map, together with other facts mentioned in the documents, go to show that France was a party to this convention.25

Belgium's defense to these charges is as follows:

“It is recognized that Belgium has the right to make defensive agreements for putting into operation the guarantees given by the guaranteeing powers." Now the arrangement contemplated by the Belgian and English officials was just such an agreement. These discussions, however, did not result in a convention between Belgium and Great Britain, and no evidence that such a convention existed has been adduced. These negotiations went no

25 S., 839–40; Col. Doc., 364.

« ПретходнаНастави »