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BELGIUM’S NEUTRALITY

GERMANY’S TEMPTATION RESISTED (Continued from Thursday’s Issue.) • -Germany’s Second Attempt.— On August 9 the Dutch (Minister of Foreign Affairs consented, evidently with some reluctance, to transmit as intermediary a renewed German invitation to Belgium. 'The U.S. representative had declined to undertake tho task. The German offer was as follows: —- The fortress of Liege has been taken by assault after a courageous defence. The German Government regret that, as a consequence of tho attitude of the Belgian Government against Germany, such bloody encounters should have occurred. Germany does not want an enemy in Belgium. It is only by tho force of events that, she has been forced (by reason of the military measures of France) to take the‘grave determination of entering Belgium and occupying Liege as a base for her further military operations. Now that tho Belgian army has, in a heroic resistance against a great superiority, maintained the honor of its arms (in the utmost brilliant fashion, the German Government pray His Majesty the King and the Belgian Government to avert from Belgium the further horrors of war, Tho German Government are ready for any agreement with Belgium wnich would be reconciled in any conceivable way with their conflict with France. Once more Germany offers her solemn assurance that she has not been actuated by any intention to appropriate Belgian territory, and that that intention is far from her. Germany is always ready to evacuate Belgium as soon as the state of war will permit her. This praise of Belgian valor was a high compliment from a great military nation like Germany. Tie temptation to Belgium was subtly conceived and cleverly put. Belgium, to her eternal honor, withstood it. She simply answered that the German request, despite its compliments, was merely a repetition of the demand in the previous ultimatum, and that all that Belgium could do was to repeat her former answer, “ the more eo as since August 3 her neutrality has been violated, a dolorous war has been brought into her territory, and tlie guarantors of her neutrality have loyally and at once responded to her appeal.

—Offer to Holland and Norway.— At one stage England took a rather curious step. She called upon all the small neutral countries—Norway, Holland, and Belgium— to preserve their neutrality against pressure from Germany, and apparently offered an alliance with the '1 nple Entente Powers in the event cf a German attack. On August 4 the Belgian Minister in London telegraphed to Tiis Government :

London, August 4. The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Sir E. Grey) has informed the English Ministers in Norway, Holland, and Belgium that England expects that these three kingdoms will resist pressure from Germany, and guard their neutrality. In their resistance they will he supported bv England, which in that case is ready to co-operate with France and Russia if such is the desire of these three Governments, while offering alliance to the aforesaid Governments in order to repel the use of force against them by Germany, and a guarantee for tho future maintenance of the independence and integrity of the three kingdoms. 1 made the remark that Belgium is neutral in perpetuity. The Minister of Foreign Affairs replied: “It is for tho case of neutrality being violated.” ’ No mention of this offer by Sny E. Grey to the Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian Governments has appeared in our own Blue Book. A later message on tho same day from the Belgian Minister in London to his Government states that this “ British proposition is annulled for the moment.”

The ‘ Nation ’ (London) makes this caustic comment on German perfidy : On August 2 the came German Minister gave to Belgium “his personal opinion upon the security Belgium was entitled to feel in regard to her eastern neighbor.” It was only on the afternoon of the came day that Belgium was ordered to give Germany free passage or bo treated as an enemy. On the following day the excuse for this unexampled perfidy was given. Tills was that French cavalry had crossed the frontier, and committed acts of war. “Where?” ashed the Belgian officials. “In Germany,” was the reply, followed by the impudent rider that if France committed one breach of international law she might bo expected to commit another. Anticipating that act, Germany proposed to step in and do her own bit of law-breaking. It was not alle'ged that France had committed any offences against Belgium or Belgium against Germany; merely that some lamb had meant to foul the stream at some point other than that at which th^^jytjKsiasseii^

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141128.2.15

Bibliographic details

BELGIUM’S NEUTRALITY, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914

Word Count
759

BELGIUM’S NEUTRALITY Issue 15662, 28 November 1914

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