A STUDY OF THE
BELGIAN CASE UNDER ITS ASPECTS IN POLITICAL HISTORY AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
DOCTOR OF LAW
NEW YORK AND LONDON
COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
in the United
States of America)
Published October, 1915
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL ASPECT
OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY
I A PAGE FROM BELGIUM'S EARLIER
II THE LONDON CONFERENCE AND THE QUINTUPLE
TREATIES OF 1870 62
OF BELGIUM'S NEUTRALITY 69
V THE EVENTS OF 1914
ASPECT OF BELGIUM'S
VI OBLIGATIONS OF THE GUARANTORS OF
THE QUINTUPLE TREATY 120
VII EFFECT OF "CHANGED
CONDITIONS" ON THE
QUINTUPLE GUARANTEE 132
OF THE TREATIES OF 1870 ON THE QUINTUPLE
IX INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF
NEUTRALIZED BELGIUM 155
X THE RIGHT OF
XI LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE
BREAK-DOWN OF BELGIUM'S
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
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
1 Japan Weekly Chronicle of August 13, 1914, page 309.
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
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.
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.
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.