THE NEUTRALITY OF BELGIUM
A STUDY OF THE BELGIAN CASE UNDER ITS ASPECTS IN POLITICAL HISTORY AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
BY ALEXANDER FUEHR
DOCTOR OF LAW
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
NEW YORK AND LONDON
COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
(printed in the United States of America)
published October, 1915
THE HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL ASPECT
OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY
|I.||A PAGE FROM BELGIUM'S EARLIER HISTORY|
|II.||THE LONDON CONFERENCE AND THE QUINTUPLE TREATY|
|III.||THE TREATIES OF 1870|
|IV.||BREAK-DOWN OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY|
|V.||THE EVENTS OF 1914|
THE LEGAL ASPECT OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY
|VI.||OBLIGATIONS OF THE GUARANTORS OF THE QUINTUPLE TREATY|
|VII.||EFFECT OF "CHANGED CONDITIONS" ON THE QUINTUPLE GUARANTEE|
|VIII.||EFFECT OF THE TREATIES OF 1870 ON THE QUINTUPLE GUARANTEE|
|IX.||INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF NEUTRALIZED BELGIUM|
|X.||THE RIGHT OF SELF-PRESERVATION|
|XI.||LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE BREAK-DOWN OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY|
|A.||THE QUINTUPLE TREATY OF APRIL 19, 1839|
|1. TREATY BETWEEN THE GREAT POWERS AND HOLLAND.|
|2. TREATY BETWEEN THE GREAT POWERS AND BELGIUM.|
|3. ACT OF ACCESSION ON THE PART OF THE GERMANIC CONFEDERATION, ETC.|
|B.||TREATY BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND PRUSSIA OF AUGUST 9, 1870|
|C.||TREATY BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE OF AUGUST 11, 1870|
|D.||THE FRENCH PLAN OF CAMPAIGN. (From the North German Gazette of September 30.)|
|E.||EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH OF THE GERMAN CHANCELLOR, MADE ON AUGUST 4, 1914.|
|F.||FAC-SIMILE REPRODUCTIONS OF THE "BRUSSELS DOCUMENTS."|
|2. REPORT OF GENERAL DUCARNE.|
| 3. MINUTES OF THE JUNGBLUTH-BRIDGES CONVERSATIONS. (From the North
German Gazette of November 25, 1914.)|
page one, page two, page three, page four
|G.||REPORT ON ENGLAND'S SECRET MILITARY GUIDE BOOKS OF BELGIUM. (From the North German Gazette of December 2, 1914.)|
|H.||REPORT ON ANGLO-BELGIAN MILITARY PREPARATIONS FOR THE WAR. (From the North German Gazette of December 15, 1914.)|
|I.||EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH OF THE GERMAN CHANCELLOR, MADE ON DECEMBER 2, 1914|
|K||AFFIDAVITS REGARDING THE PRESENCE OF FRENCH TROOPS ON BELGIAN SOIL PRIOR TO THE GERMAN INVASION.|
|L.||ENGLAND'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY IN 1887. (From the Labour Leader of February 4 and 11, 1915.)|
When the news of Germany's invasion of Belgium reached the Far East, where I was living at the outbreak of the war, it did not create any particular measure either of surprise or of indignation.
In the official communication of the British to the Japanese Government on the reasons for Great Britain's intervention in the war, given out by the Tokio Foreign Office on August 5th, the Belgian incident was referred to in the following manner:
"Germany, however, committed a hostile act towards Belgium in invading her territory, the permanent neutrality of which was guaranteed by the Triple Alliance (sic) and by an understanding between the Great Powers."[ 'Japan Weekly Chronicle of August 13, 1914, page 309.]
Altho the alleged guarantee of Belgium's neutrality on the part of the Triple Alliance was a mystery to everyone, the nature of the "understanding" in question was fairly well known to many a member of the cosmopolitan communities of the Far East. However, very little at the time was made of it out there. Most of the foreign residents of Eastern Asia having lived, only nine years before, at close range through the Russo-Japanese War, which was almost entirely fought on neutral Chinese soil, it did not strike them as anything particularly surprising or criminal that part of the hostilities between Germany and France should take their course across neutral Belgian territory.
Several weeks later, I came to America, in order to regain my country; but found myself "marooned" in New York.
Here I met with a very different sentiment regarding Germany's invasion of Belgium. Germany was, and still is, accused of having violated the principle of the sacredness of treaties, whilst credit is claimed for Great Britain on the ground that she is fighting to vindicate that high principle.
Such being the case, I undertook to examine a little more closely than seems to have been done by others the "sacredness" of the treaties invoked by the British and the Belgian Government. The result of my studies is this little book, the publication of which I have purposely delayed in order to offer some material for quiet reasoning to work upon after the waves of emotionalism, raised by the fate of the Belgian people, have somewhat abated.
This study treats the subject of Belgium's neutrality under two aspects,---the aspect of political history and the aspect of international law.
The first part will outline the origin of that legal institution, as well as its breakdown, revealing, in either phase, the traditional deep concern of Great Britain in Belgium as her continental bulwark.
The second part will deal with the question whether, under the established rules of international law, Germany, by her invasion of Belgium, violated international obligations, and whether, under the said rules, her action presents itself as right or wrong. In this connection, I shall have to quote a number of recognized authorities who have established the doctrine on this matter. I could, of course, have brought in any number of quotations from German authors. But I shall confine myself to expert opinions of American and English origin, because I wish to show just what the attitude of Americans and Englishmen has been in parallel cases, and because this affords me the advantage of inviting the reader to follow up the matter himself, by turning to the original works, throughout available in the Public Library of New York City and, doubtless, in most of the many other excellent libraries of this country.
I wish to point out that the present study does not concern itself with events following the entry of German troops into Belgium, especially not with the so-called "Belgian atrocities." The invasion of Belgium and the subsequent military actions on Belgian soil are two totally different subjects which, in my opinion, have to be kept strictly separate. I have taken it as my task only to investigate Germany's case with regard to the former subject. As for the charges in connection with the latter, I beg to refer the reader to the recently published German White Book on the Belgian People's War, with its very comprehensive evidence; to the excellent treatise on Belgium's case by Dr. Richard Grasshoff; and to a little pamphlet, entitled "Der Franktireurkrieg in Belgien," being a compilation of characteristic, incentive utterances of the Belgian press, in the early days of the war.
New York City, July, 1915.
Chapter One: A Page from Belgium's Earlier History