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Cabled to Royal Commission at Washington from Belgian Foreign Office. Cablegram Received Sept. 8.
You have received the reports of the commission of Aug. 25 and 31. Since then a great many localities, situated in the Vilvorde-Malines-Louvain triangle, an extremely fertile and densely populated district, have been partially pillaged and totally destroyed by fire. Their inhabitants have fled, while a number of them, among others women and children, were arrested and shot without trial, and without apparent reason, except to inspire the population with terror. This was done in Sempst, Weerde, Elewyt, Hofstade, Wespelaer, Wilsele, Bucken, Eppeghem, Houthem, Tremeloo, Tistelt, Gelrode, Herent. At Wavre, where the population was unable to pay a levy of 3,000,000 francs, fifty-six houses were set on fire. The largest part of Cortenberg is burned. To excuse these attacks the Germans allege that an army of civilians resisted them. According to trustworthy testimony, no provocation can be proved at Vise, Aerschot, Louvain, Wavre, and in other localities situated in the Malines-Louvain-Vilvorde district, where fire was set and massacres committed several days after the German occupation.
Cablegram Received Sept. 15.
Inform the Belgian Commission that the Belgian Committee on Inquiry continues to report ruins and devastations and pillage, systematically organized by German troops in the towns invested by them. The City of Termonde was destroyed without any hostile participation on the part of the civilian population. Out of 1,400 houses, only 295 remain standing, others were destroyed by fire and razed from the ground, after the Germans entered the city. Several civilians were imprisoned and executed with bayonets in the presence of their relatives and fellow-citizens. In Melle nine civilians were killed and forty-five properties destroyed, without any reason.
The re-occupation of Aerschot by the Belgian Army reveals disastrous deeds. Dwellings, which were not destroyed by fire were completely sacked and pillaged on Sept. 6 before the return of the Belgian troops. Four hundred civilians, among them thirty clergymen, were locked since Aug. 30 in the church without food, carried off, and sent to destinations unknown. Localities in the neighborhood are completely destroyed, and everywhere along the road are corpses. Women and young girls were outraged. Systematic pillage.
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Published by Belgian Commission of Inquiry on Sept. 10 to Complete Its Report of Aug. 31.