The “Agreement” of 1903.
The third inclosure is this British official communique:
14 October, 1914.
The story of an alleged Anglo-Belgian agreement of 1906 published in the German press, and based on documents said to have been found at Brussels, is only a fresh edition of a story which has been reproduced in various forms and denied on several occasions. No such agreement has ever existed.
As the Germans well know, Gen. Grierson is dead and Col. (now Gen.) Barnardiston is commanding the British forces before Tsing-tau. In 1906 Gen. Grierson was on the General Staff at the War Office, and Col. Barnardiston was Military Attache at Brussels. In view of the solemn guarantee given by Great Britain to protect the neutrality of Belgium against violation from any side, some academic discussions may, through the instrumentality of Col. Barnardiston, have taken place between Gen. Grierson and the Belgian military authorities as to what assistance the British Army might be able to afford to Belgium should one of her neighbors violate that neutrality. Some notes with reference to the subject may exist in the archives at Brussels.
It should be noted that the date mentioned, namely, 1906, was the year following that in which Germany had, as in 1911, adopted a threatening attitude toward France with regard to Morocco, and, in view of the apprehensions existing of an attack on France through Belgium, it was natural that possible eventualities should be discussed.
The impossibility of Belgium having been a party to any agreement of the nature indicated or to any design for the violation of Belgian neutrality is clearly shown by the reiterated declarations that she has made for many years past that she would resist to the utmost any violation of her neutrality from whatever quarter and in whatever form such violation might come.
It is worthy of attention that these charges of aggressive designs on the part of other powers are made by Germany, who, since 1906, has established an elaborate network of strategical railways leading from the Rhine to the Belgian frontier through a barren, thinly populated tract, deliberately constructed to permit of the sudden attack upon Belgium, which was carried out two months ago.
By Arthur v. Briesen.
Of the law firm of Briesen
& Knauth; Doctor of Laws, New York
University; philanthropist; has served the American public as
head of important civic bodies and Governmental commissions.