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Findings Presented by the Belgian Royal Commission to President Wilson at Washington, Sept. 16.
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Acts at Linsmeau and Orsmael.
Belgium, which wanted peace, has been obliged by Germany to resort to arms and to oppose a legitimate defense to an aggression which nothing can justify, and which is contrary to the solemn pledges of treaties.
Belgium is bound in honor to fight loyally and to observe all the rules, laws, and customs of war.
From the beginning of the invasion of its territory by German troops, the Belgian Government had posted each and every day, in all the towns, and the papers have each day repeatedly printed, instructions warning the non-combatant civilians not to offer any resistance to the troops and soldiers invading the country.
The information on which the German Government believes today that it can base its contention that the Belgian population contravenes the law of nations and is not worthy of respect is absolutely unfounded.
The Government protests most vigorously against these allegations and against the odious threats of retaliation. If any deed contrary to the rules of warfare should ultimately be proved, to understand such fact it is only necessary to realize the well-founded excitement which the cruelties of the German soldiers are provoking among the Belgian population—a population which is thoroughly honest but energetic in the defense of its rights and in its respect for humanity.
If we were to publish a list of these atrocities, of which the first ones are here recorded, this would indeed be a long list.
Whole regions have been ravaged and abominable deeds perpetrated in the towns.
A committee attached to the Department of Justice is drawing up a list of these horrors with scrupulous impartiality.
As an example, a few facts are here published, facts which will depict the state of mind and the procedure of certain German troops:
1. German cavalry, occupying the village of Linsmeau, were attacked by some Belgian infantry and two gendarmes. A German officer was killed by our troops during the fight, and subsequently buried at the request of the Belgian officer in command. None of the civilian population took part in the fighting at Linsmeau. Nevertheless the village was invaded at dusk Aug. 10 by a strong force of German cavalry, artillery and machine guns. In spite of formal assurances given by the Burgomaster that none of the peasants had taken part in the previous fighting, two farms and six outlying houses were destroyed by gun fire and burned. All the male population were then compelled to come forward and hand over whatever arms they possessed. No recently discharged firearms