WWI: Belgium telegraphs

Count Charles de Lalang, Belgian Minister at London, telegraphed to Julien Davignon:

Germany, having rejected the British proposals, Great Britain has informed her that a state of war existed between the two countries as from 11 o’clock.

Julien Davignon, Belgium Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Belgian Ministers at Paris, London, and St. Petersburg:

After the violation of Belgian territory at Gemmenich, Belgium appealed to Great Britain, France, and Russia through their representatives at Brussels, to co-operate as guaranteeing Powers in the defence of her territory.

Belgium undertakes the defence of her fortified places.

Julien Davignon wrote to the Belgian Ministers at Paris, London, and St. Petersburg:

In my dispatch of August 4 I had the honour to inform you of the sequence of events which had attended the international relations of Belgium from July 31st to August 4th. I added that the Cabinet was considering the question whether Belgium, whose territory had been invaded since the morning, should appeal to the guarantee of the Powers.

The Cabinet had decided in the affirmative when the British Minister informed me that the proposal which he had communicated to me, and according to which the British Government were disposed to respond favourably to our appeal to her as a guaranteeing Power, was cancelled for the time being.

A telegram from London made it clear that this change of attitude was caused by an ultimatum from Great Britain giving Germany a time limit of ten hours within which to evacuate Belgian territory and to respect Belgian neutrality. During the evening, the Belgian Government addressed to France, Great Britain, and Russia, through their respective representatives at Brussels, a note, of which a copy is enclosed herewith.

As you will observe, Belgium appeals to Great Britain, France, and Russia to co-operate as guaranteeing Powers in the defence of her territory and in the maintenance for the future of the independence and integrity of her territory. She will herself undertake the defence of her fortified places.

As yet we are not aware how our appeal has been received.

No. 44.

M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the Belgian Heads of Missions in all Countries having Diplomatic Relations with Belgium.
Brussels, August 5, 1914.

Sir,

By the treaty of April 18th, 1839, Prussia, France, Great Britain, Austria, and Russia declared themselves guarantors of the treaty concluded on the same day between His Majesty the King of the Belgians and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands. The treaty runs: “Belgium shall form a State independent and perpetually neutral.” Belgium has fulfilled all her international obligations, she has accomplished her duty in a spirit of loyal impartiality, she has neglected no effort to maintain her neutrality and to cause that neutrality to be respected.

In these circumstances the Belaian Government have learnt with deep pain that the armed forces of Germany, a Power guaranteeing Belgian neutrality, have entered Belgian territory in violation of the obligations undertaken by treaty.

It is our duty to protest with indignation against an outrage against international law provoked by no act of ours.

The Belgian Government are firmly determined to repel by all the means in their power the attack thus made upon their neutrality, and they recall the fact that, in virtue of article 10 of The Hague Convention of 1907 respecting the rights and duties of neutral Powers and persons in the case of war by land, if a neutral Power repels, even by force, attacks on her neutrality such action cannot be considered as a hostile act.

I have to request that you will ask at once for an audience with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and read this despatch to his Excellency, handing him a copy. If the interview cannot be granted at once you should make the communication in question in writing.

No. 45.
Baron Beyens, Belgian Minister at Berlin, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, August 5, 1914.
(Telegram.)

I have received my passports and shall leave Berlin to-morrow morning for Holland with the staff of the legation.

No. 46.

Baron Guillaume, Belgian Minister at Madrid, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
St. Sebastian, August 5, 1914.
(Telegram.)

THE Spanish Government undertake the custody of Belgian interests in Germany, and are to-day sending telegraphic instructions to their Ambassador at Berlin.

(See No. 33.)
No. 47.

Baron Guillaume, Belgian Minister at Paris, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Paris, August 5, 1914.

Sir,

I have the honour to enclose herewith a copy of the notification of a state of war between France and Germany, which has been communicated to me to-day.

Enclosure in No. 47.
(See No. 157 of French Book, page 252.)
No. 48.

Communication of August 5, from Sir Francis Villiers, British Minister at Brussels, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I am instructed to inform the Belgian Government that His Britannic Majesty’s Government consider joint action with a view to resisting Germany to be in force and to be justfied by the Treaty of 1839.

No. 49.

Count de Lalaing, Belgian Minister at London, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, August 5, 1914.
(Telegram.)

Great Britain agrees to take joint action in her capacity of guaranteeing Power for the defence of Belgian territory. The British fleet will ensure the free passage of the Scheldt for the provisioning of Antwerp.

No. 50.

Baron Fallon, Belgian Minister at The Hague, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Hague, August 5, 1914.
(Telegram.)

The war buoying is about to be established.

Julien Davignon to Baron Grenier, Belgian Minister at Madrid:

Please express to the Spanish Government the sincere thanks of the Belgian Government.

Julien Davignon telegraphed to the Belgian Ministers at Paris, London, and St. Petersburg:

I have the honour to inform you that the French and Russian Ministers made a communication to me this morning informing me of the willingness of their Governments to respond to our appeal, and to co-operate with Great Britain in the defence of Belgian territory.

Count von Berchtold telegraphed to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburg:

I ask Your Excellency to hand over the following note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs:—

“On the instructions of his Government, the undersigned, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, has the honour to inform His Excellency the Russian Minister for Foreign Aflairs as follows:—

” In view of the threatening attitude adopted by Russia in the conflict between the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Servia; and of the fact that, according to a communication from the Berlin Cabinet, Russia has seen fit, as a result of that conflict, to open hostilities against Germany; and whereas Germany is consequently at war with Russia; Austria-Hungary therefore considers herself also at war with Russia from the present moment.”

After handing over this note Your Excellency will ask that passports may be prepared, and you will leave without delay with the entire staff of the Embassy with the exception of any members who are to be left behind. At the same time M. Schebeko is being furnished with his passport by us.

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