Eupen and Malmedy

Courtesy Reuters

UNOFFICIAL conversations between Brussels and Berlin, the meeting of French and German ministers at Thoiry, the French Council meeting of September 21st, together with the journalistic variations on these events, have again given prominence to Eupen and Malmedy. The territories to which these names apply lie just within the present eastern frontier of Belgium, having passed from German to Belgian sovereignty as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. They are neither large nor populous -- Prussian statistics of 1910 recorded that Eupen had a population of 26,156 and an area about 65 square miles, while Malmedy's 34,768 inhabitants were found within an area of just less than 300 square miles.

Whether viewed alone or in connection with other international matters, the question of Eupen and Malmedy arises from Articles 34-39 of the Treaty of Versailles, which articles direct that these one-time Kreise of the German Empire be handed over to Belgium. It was provided, however, that within six months of the coming into effect of the Treaty, registers should be opened by the Belgian authorities at Eupen and Malmedy in which the inhabitants of the Kreise should be entitled to record in writing a desire that all or part of the territories remain under German sovereignty. Belgium was engaged to report the result of this public expression of opinion to the League of Nations, and pledged to accept the League's decision in the matter.

Considerations of history, of military protection, of economic interests, of reparation, and of ethnography lay behind these articles of the Versailles agreement.

Belgium might with propriety allege that the great bulk of the districts in question were historically part of those forming the modern Kingdom of Belgium -- the more so since Germany's counter claim rested on the unsubstantial basis that they, or portions of them, had been included in the Circles of the Holy Roman Empire drawn upon the map in 1512. Moreover, Prussia's possession of Eupen and Malmedy dates only from 1814-1815, when they were arbitrarily assigned to her as

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