Well, looking at the face of it, there are a few important points to note.
- Belgium asked for diplomatic support, not material or military
- Germany gave it’s word of honour even after Belgium was invaded effectively stating, we are going to go back once our work is done and that Germany violated Belgian neutrality because France was about to.
And we need to understand why the North Coast of France became British responsibility to defend – all French fleet is in Mediterranean as if it’s a plan all along to drag Britain to save an undefended France. If that’s the case, who did that and with whose authorisation. Edward Grey categorically said the day before that I have already given war promise to France and we are honour bound to fulfil it.
Looking at all three, it looks as if someone in the British Government already decided it’s time to crush Germany and is waiting for the first opportunity, even if it means Britain is morally wrong. And the last line, on what basis, do they decide the communication is unsatisfactory? Unless, there is a pact already, making Belgium a part of the war well ahead or Belgium was promised military support if invaded and this is just posturing….
We received this morning from our Minister at Brussels the following telegram:—
“German Minister has this morning addressed Note to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that as Belgian Government have declined the well-intended proposals submitted to them by the Imperial Government, the latter will, deeply to their regret, be compelled to carry out, if necessary by force of arms, the measures considered indispensable in view of the French menaces.”
Simultaneously—almost immediately afterwards—we received from the Belgian Legation here in London the following telegram:—
” General staff announces that territory has been violated at Gemmenich (near Aix-la-Chappelle).
We also received this morning from the German Ambassador here the telegram sent to him by the German Foreign Secretary, and communicated by the Ambassador to us. It is in these terms:—
“Please dispel any mistrust that may subsist on the part of the British Government with regard to our intentions by repeating most positively formal assurance that, even in the case of armed conflict with Belgium, Germany will, under no pretence whatever, annex Belgian territory. Sincerity of this declaration is borne out by fact that we solemnly pledged our word to Holland strictly to respect her neutrality. It is obvious that we could not profitably annex Belgic territory without making, at the same time, territorial acquisitions at expense of Holland. Please impress upon Sir E. Grey that German Army could not be exposed to French attack across Belgium, which was planned according to absolutely unimpeachable information. Germany had consequently to disregard Belgic neutrality, it being for her a question of life or death to prevent French advance.”
I have to add this on behalf of His Majesty’s Government: We cannot regard this as in any sense a satisfactory communication.