A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 149

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THE OFFER TO BELGIUM


Government cannot but fear that Belgium, in spite of the utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, to repel so considerable a French invasion with sufficient prospect of success to afford an adequate guarantee against danger to Germany. It is essential for the self-defence of Germany that she should anticipate any such hostile attack. The German Government would, however, feel the deepest regret if Belgium regarded as an act of hostility against herself the fact that the measures of Germany’s opponemts force Germany, for her own protection, to enter Belgian territory. In order to exclude any possibility of misunders^nding, the German Government make the following declaration 1. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. In the event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to maintain an attitude of friendly neatrality towards German},^ the German Government bind themselves, at the conclusion of peace, to guarantee the possessions and independence of the Belgian kingdom in full. 2. Germany undertakes, under# the above-mentioned con-dition, to evacuate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace. 3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is pre- pared, in cooperation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase all necessaries for her troops against a cash payment, and to pay an indemnity for any damage that may have been caused by German troops. 4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in par- tic*ilar should she throw difficulties in the way of their march a resistance of the fortresses on the Meuse, or by destroying railways, roads, tunnels, or other similar works, Germany will, to her regret, be compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy. In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations towards Belgium, but the eventual adjustment of the relations between the two states must be left to the decision of arms. The German Government, however, entertain the distinct hope that this eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian Government will know how to take the necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of incidents such as those mentioned. In this case the friendly ties which bind the two neighbouring stales will grow stronger and more enduring, M. Davignon's reply, which is dated 7 a.m. on the following day, August 3, was as follows: The German Government stated in their note of lire 2nd August, 1914, that according to reliable information French forces intended to march on the Meuse via Givet and Namur, and that Belgium, in spite of the best intentions, would not be in a position to repulse, without assistance, an advance of French troops. The German Government, therefore, considered themselves compelled to anticipate this attack and to violate

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