Nobody can believe in good faith that we are the aggressors; in vain the sacred principles of law and liberty, which rule nations as well as individuals, are assailed. Italy, with the clear conscience of Latin genius, has informed us that she will remain neutral.
This decision has aroused the sincerest joy throughout France. I made myself the spokesman of this to the Italian Charge d’Affaires, telling him how delighted I was that the two Latin sisters, who have the same origin and ideals, and a glorious past in common, are not opposed to each other.
What is being attacked, I repeat, gentlemen, is that independence, dignity, and security which the Triple Entente has restored to the balance of power in the service of peace.
What is being attacked are the liberties of Europe, whose defenders France, her allies, and her friends are proud to be.
We shall defend these liberties, for it is they which are in jeopardy; all else is merely a pretext.
France, unjustly provoked, did not desire war. She has done everything to prevent it. But since it is forced upon her, she will defend herself against Germany, and against every power which has not as yet announced its position but which should later on take sides with Germany in the war between the two.
A free and strong nation, strengthened by venerable ideals, firmly united in defense of its existence, a democracy which has known how to discipline its military acts, and which did not fear last year to impose upon itself additional military burdens to offset those of neighboring countries, an armed nation fighting for its own life and for the independence of Europe—that is the spectacle which we are proud to show the witnesses of this formidable struggle, which has been in preparation for some days amid methodical quiet.
We are without reproach. We shall be without fear.
France has often proved, under less favorable conditions, that she is the most formidable adversary when she fights, as she now does, for liberty and right.
In placing our acts before you, gentlemen, who are our judges, we have the comfort of a clear conscience and the certainty of having done our duty to help us bear the weight of our heavy responsibility.
* * * * *
BEFORE THE MARNE BATTLE.
Proclamation by the Government Announcing Transfer of Capital to Bordeaux, Sept. 3.
People of France: For several weeks relentless battles have engaged our heroic troops and the army of the enemy. The valor of our soldiers has won for them, at several points, marked advantages; but in the north the pressure of the German forces has compelled us to fall back.
This situation has compelled
the President of the Republic and the
Government to take a painful decision.
In order to watch over
the national welfare it is the duty of the
public powers to remove themselves temporarily from the City of