Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][merged small]

"Curses! Blood is more slippery than water! "

[The original was in black and red and vividly represented a dripping globe.]


[graphic][merged small]

[Published before the fall of the German stronghold in China]


Case of the Secret Military Documents Presented by Both Sides

[The Belgo-British plot alleged by Germany is thoroughly aired in the following communications. The text of the secret documents, which, according to the German contention, prove that the Allies did not intend to respect Belgian neutrality-that Belgium herself conspired with England to break itwas discovered in the archives of the Belgian Government after the German occupation of Brussels, and is embodied on Pages 1105 to 1109 in the subjoined article, published in behalf of Germany by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg.

[ocr errors]

The article, called by Dr. Dernburg "The Case of Belgium," as reproduced below, and published between gray covers like the Belgian Gray Book," prompted publications in rejoinder by the Belgian Legation at Washington. The first of these, entitled "The Innocence of Belgium," appears on Page 1110; it states that the secret documents show in their own statements the clearest proof of the innocence of Belgium." The second Belgian article, headed Why Belgium Was Devastated," and appearing on Page 1115, embodies the German proclamations establishing military rule in the violated territory.-EDITOR.]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


"In the Light of Official Reports Found in the Secret Archives of the Belgian Government After the Occupation of Brussels"


Remarks Introductory to the Secret Documents

By Dr. Bernhard Dernburg

EREWITH are published facsimiles of papers found among the documents of the Belgian General Staff at Brussels, referring to arrangements between the English Military Attaché and the Belgian Minister of War regarding British intervention in Belgium.

[blocks in formation]

ests there, whereas the British fleet would safeguard their interests in the north. Of this correspuondence the members of the British Cabinet remained ignorant until the Cabinet meeting immediately preceding the written statement by Great Britain on Aug. 2 that in case a German fleet attacked the French coast or passed into the Channel, England would give all the assistance in her power, ("British White Papers," No. 148,) and it was also, of course, concealed from the British public until the speech of Sir Edward Grey on Aug. 3. It will be remembered that in consequence of this revelation the British Minister of Commerce, Mr. John Burns, and two other members, Lord Morley and Mr. Trevelyan, left the British Cabinet under protest; that the leader of the British Labor Party Mr. Ramsay



Macdonald, resigned from the leadership and that Mr. Arthur Ponsonby in his famous letter denounced Sir Edward Grey's practices.

Mr. Ponsonby said that time and again they had been assured that there were no obligations whatsoever on the part of Great Britain to come to France's assistance, and yet they found themselves now so hopelessly entangled that as a matter of fact the British Government could not back out.

The fact of these consultations, by which, of course, all the plans of mobilization of both the British and French armies were disclosed to the two allies and which include the landing of English troops in France, is now fully established by the annexed documents. They show that these conversations were also held with Belgium, that plans had been concerted to invade Belgium with an army of 100,000 men by way of three French ports-viz., Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne-and that the British plans even considered a landing by way of the Scheldt, thus violating also Dutch neutrality.

The documents, giving all the details as translated and showing that Belgian railway cars were to be sent to the named French ports in order to transport the British troops into Belgium, are dated from 1906.

The Belgian Minister at Berlin, Baron Greindl, a well-known Belgian patriot, protested to his Government. The heading of his protest is also given in facsimile. In it he said that it was not quite safe to trust to the British and French to keep the Belgian neutrality, that it was not wise to take all measures only against a German infraction of Belgian neutrality, and that the British spirit was clearly shown by the words of Col. Barnardiston that the Scheldt might be used for transporting troops into Belgium.

Furthermore, it will be remembered that the British and French Governments violently protested when the plans were made public that the Dutch Government intended to fortify the mouth of the Scheldt in 1906. But in 1912,

when the Balkan crisis became acute, the British went one step further. When Col. Bridges, in a conversation with Gen. Jungbluth, the Chief of the Belgian General Staff, said that England was ready to strike, that 160,000 men were ready to be landed, and that they would land them as soon as any European conflict should break out, Gen. Jungbluth protested that for such a step the permission of Belgium. was necessary. The cool reply was that the English knew it, but thought that, as Belgium was not strong enough alone to protect herself, England would land troops anyway. Gen. Jungbluth answered that Belgium felt strong enough to protect herself, which is in keeping with her declaration to France, when she offered to protect Belgium by five army corps, as reported in the British "White Book." The position of England was therefore that, while in 1906 they had already concerted plans for a joint action, in 1912 England intended action in any case, should a European conflagration break out.

Now, it must be recollected that as early as July 28, 1914, Sir Edward Grey said to Prince Lichnowsky, as mentioned in his communication to Sir E. Goschen: "The situation was very grave. While it was restricted to the issues at present actually involved, we had not thought of interfering in it. But if Germany became involved in it and then France, the issue might be so great that it would involve all European interests, and I did not wish him to be misled by the friendly tone of our conversation-which I hoped would continue into thinking that we should stand aside." (British "White Papers," No. 89.)

This was at a time when the Belgian issue had not been raised at all. It only came about by Sir Edward Grey's notes written on July 31. Thus the British entanglement with France, as evidenced by the British "White Book," prevented England taking the same attitude in 1914 which she had taken in 1870, when she made a treaty with France as against the German invasion of Belgium and with Germany as against the French

invasion of Belgium. A similar agreement was suggested by Prince Lichnowsky to Sir Edward Grey on Aug. 1, 1914, as reported in the English "White Book," No. 123, when the former asked Sir Edward Grey whether if Germany gave a promise not to violate Belgian neutrality England would engage to remain neutral, upon which Grey replied that he could not say that.

unknown to the British Military Attaché in Brussels. It is furthermore impossible to believe that the French railway for the shipping of British troops from Calais, Dunkirk, and Boulogne into Belgium in Belgian cars could have been used without the knowledge of the French authorities. Secondly, that Belgium did not heed the advice of Baron Greindl and did not try to insure her independence in the same way by approaching Germany and making a similar contract with her. This disposes of the contention that the Belgian conversation had war a purely defensive character as against all comers. It shows the one-sidedness of the inclination, which is evidenced also by the placing of all Belgium's fortresses on the eastern frontier.

It is therefore perfectly evident, in the first place, that in case of a German war, that was sure to be brought about by Russia's mobilization against Germany, England would go to against Germany, and it has been proved. that the English assurance to that effect has strengthened the hands of the Russian war party, which thereupon got the upper hand and forced the Russian Czar into the war, (see report of Belgian Chargé d'Affaires at St. Petersburg to the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Brussels, July 30.)

In the second place, it is shown that England meant, with or without Belgium's will, to land her troops, in violation of Belgium's neutrality, in Belgium, irrespective of whether German troops were marching through Belgium or not, because no such declaration had been made in 1912 or any time thereafter until Aug. 4 in the German Reichstag. It is further evident that as soon as Russia mobilized, Germany would have to fight Russia as well as France and England, and that in such a fight she was forced to draw quickly when she saw her enemies reaching for their hip pockets. And only the prompt action at Liége that put this important railway centre commanding the railway connections to France and Germany into German hands prevented the English landing and invading Belgium.

The guilt of the Belgian Government in this matter consists, in the first place, in making and concerting plans with the English and French Governments as to what steps to take in case of war. A plan of the French mobilization was found in the same docket, and it cannot be presumed that the conference between British and French experts was

The Belgian people had been told at the beginning of the war that Germany demanded that the Belgian forces should fight with the Germans against the French and the English, and the truth had become known only three full months later, when the Belgian "Gray Book " was published. Then Belgium was practically occupied territory. While Belgium pretended neutrality and friendship toward Germany, it was secretly planning for her defeat in a war which was considered unavoidable. The poor Belgian people, however, must suffer because of the large ambitions of King Leopold of Congo fame and of a broken-down diplomacy.

The Imperial Chancellor has declared that there was irrefutable proof that if Germany did not march through Belgium, her enemies would. This proof, as now being produced, is of the strongest character. So the Chancellor was right in appealing to the law of necessity, although he had no regret that it violated international law. This law of necessity has been recognized as paramount by nearly every prominent statesman, including Gladstone, and by all teachers of international law, even by the United States Supreme Court's decision, Vol. 130, Page 601, stating in regard to the treaty with China concerning Chinese immigration into the United

« AnteriorContinuar »