AT AN early session of the Locarno Conference, which I attended as Minister of Foreign Affairs for Belgium, I had occasion to remark that Belgian foreign policy was absolutely independent in every respect. The statement was received skeptically by the representatives of Germany, Chancellor Luther and Dr. Stresemann. Those gentlemen -- Dr. Stresemann in particular -- may later on have changed their minds to some extent. For at Geneva in 1926 Belgium joined with Sweden in objecting to the Anglo-French proposal that the award of a permanent seat on the Council of the League of Nations to Germany should be in a measure offset by the admission of Spain and Brazil. All the same, the view is still widely accepted in Germany, and in other quarters too, that Belgium is bound hand and foot to France, that she bears the same relationship toward her that Poland or Jugoslavia does, and that the Franco-Belgian defensive agreement of September 7, 1920, which has never been formally abrogated, constitutes a military alliance of the pre-war type.

In Belgium itself, however, a good half of the population is made up of Flemings who are in general unsubmissive, if not openly hostile, to French influence. Since the war, not to say during the war, Flemish minorities, even though inconsiderable ones, have come out for autonomy or even for downright separation. Their platforms have sometimes demanded a federal system which would all but disrupt the national unity, or have called for a Free State of Flanders along the lines of the Free State of Ireland. At home, the "Flemish movement" has never been taken so seriously as it has been taken in some places abroad. But certainly it has tended, coinciding as it has with a great uprising among the Flemish masses in favor of "parity of languages," to create an impression abroad that the Kingdom of Belgium, embracing populations differing widely in language and traditions, has never been more than an artificial thing destined sooner or later to be discarded. There is a feeling, at the very least, that the problem of national minorities is a critical one in Belgium, so critical as to justify a not very favorable prognosis for the future of the country.

What are we to say to all this? Is there a real nationalities issue in Belgium? And, in view of the fluctuations of a fairly complicated domestic situation, can we say that there is a consistent Belgian outlook on foreign affairs?


"Sire, there are no Belgians: there are Flemings and Walloons." Such the words, studiedly trenchant, with which a Socialist deputy from Charleroi (in the Walloon section), M. Jules Destrée, began an "Open Letter to the King of the Belgians" just before the war. And the letter went on to protest against the centralizing policy that had been followed in Belgium since 1830, in imitation of Napoleon's policy of centralization in France. Destrée was in favor of what was then styled "administrative separation." It would have involved a dual system of administration which left a good measure of self-government to districts and localities but was quite compatible with a unified Belgian state.

As regards the two assertions in Destrée's opening sentence, the first, that there were no Belgians, was questionable to say the least; and Destrée himself eventually withdrew it. The second had a basis in fact. It is altogether true that when groups of people speak different languages they inevitably come to differ in other respects as well. And it is also true that in Belgium, as in Switzerland, there are and always have been two -- or more strictly speaking three -- national languages.

Scattered along the Prussian frontier (and not only in the cantons of Eupen and Malmédy, which were annexed to Belgium under the Treaty of Versailles) there are villages where considerable portions of the inhabitants (41,514 in 1920, as against 77,195 in 1910) exclusively or as a rule speak German. I remember that on a visit to the trenches during the war I met a Belgian soldier who did not understand a word of French or Flemish and knew no other language than that of the enemy he was facing. But from any national standpoint that would be just a curiosity. The country at large, with a population in excess of eight millions in 1932, falls into two linguistic groups of about equal weight: three millions of Walloons speaking nothing but French, three millions of Flemings speaking nothing but Flemish -- or rather "Netherlandish," a derivation of the platdeutsch dialects which are spoken also in Holland. Then, not counting little children of course, would come a group of about a million people who speak both languages and who, it is worth while noting, are nearly all Flemings; for, with the exception of candidates for the civil service, Walloons will as a rule have nothing to do with the other national language of Belgium.

A few basic facts have to be borne in mind if one would understand the conditions under which the so-called "nationalities question" arises in Belgium. Neither in the direction of Holland, nor in the direction of Germany, nor in the direction of France, is there any coincidence at all between linguistic and political frontiers. Antwerp and Rotterdam have one common language;

so have Herbesthal and Aix-la-Chapelle; so have Tournai and Lille or Amiens. Ignoring -- just to make things simpler -- the German fringe on the east, there is a sharply defined internal frontier between the French and Flemish languages, and it has not varied greatly in all the years since the thirteenth century. Running roughly from Ypres to Tongres across the battlefield of Waterloo (some twelve miles south of Brussels), it cuts the country virtually into halves. Brussels is a bilingual city with a preponderance of French, though topographically it lies within Flemish territory.

But from the linguistic standpoint there is one essential difference between the two regions so defined; and it explains most of the difficulties that have arisen during recent years and especially since the war. Wallonia is positively unilingual. In the Charleroi section one might find some few settlements of Flemish factory hands, but they have rapidly become acclimated and their children are more aggressively Walloon even than the Walloons themselves. The natives, for their part, have a dialect closely related to French. They not only speak French as their ordinary language: they refuse to speak any other. Most of them regard it as a sheer waste of time to learn Flemish. They have always objected, and are now increasingly hostile, to any effort on the part of the government to make what is called "compulsory bilingualism" the rule, at least as regards holders of public office, for the two sections of the country.

The situation is quite different across the linguistic frontier, in Flanders. There too, as is the case with Wallonia, the bulk of the population is unilingual, speaking one Flemish dialect or another and using Dutch, which they choose to call "Netherlandish," as their written language. But all the way down from the Middle Ages, when the leliaerts, or "men of the fleur-de-lis," quarreled with the klauwaerts, who always had a "claw" out for France, there have been "Frenchies," or frasquillons, in Flanders -- Flemings who have been "gallicized." Down to recent times such people constituted an influential element -- they were the dominant portion of the ruling class. The old noble families, the more important business men, the members of the professions, made it a point to exemplify the best French culture, they thought of Flemish only as an illiterate form of speech of which one had to know just enough to get along with one's servants or farm hands. In very general terms, one might almost say that forty years ago the gulf between the French-speaking middle classes and the masses on Flemish territory was as great as was the gulf in the eighteenth century between the nobles in Russia, who could write as a rule only in French, and their muzhiks.

Professor Henri de Man, a Fleming by birth and enthusiasm, explains that in the nineteenth century the dominion of the rich business classes on Flemish soil was reënforced by the linguistic domination of French. He writes:

The origins of the Flemish movement are not to be sought in the fact that there are Walloons and Flemings in Belgium, but in the fact that the Flemish masses are under the control of a French-speaking class of property owners. From 1830 on, the Flemish factory hand received his directions in French. The Flemish soldier was drilled in French, the Flemish defendant was tried in French, the Flemish citizen was governed in French, the Flemish tax payer was taxed in French. If the Flemish schoolboy chose to go on from the primary school, he was taught in French. In the eye of the Fleming the Walloon figured, if at all, only because, speaking the language of "the bosses," the office holders, the army officers, the higher clergy, he seemed obviously to be serving as a prop for the dominion of the "Frenchies" -- he was not the principal enemy, but the ally of the principal enemy. A matter of common knowledge is the extent to which the supremacy of the French language in Flanders contributed to make nineteenth century Belgium what Marx very properly called 'the paradise of capitalists.'[i]

That state of things prevailed as long as the Flemish masses remained, as an economist in grim humor put it, "a mere exhibit of sociological infusoria." Around 1848 they were not much better off than the Irish. They lay passive, inert, sunk in all the miseries of illiteracy and in a moral as well as material pauperism. Those were the days when only taxpayers beyond a certain amount could vote. Parliament did not contain a single workingman, a single representative of the masses. The political class was made up exclusively of businessmen and aristocrats, all of them speaking one language -- French -- whether they were Flemish or Walloon. The Belgian Constitution had declared that "the use of either of the languages common in Belgium shall be optional;" but I doubt whether a speech in Flemish was ever delivered in the National Parliament building before the year 1894, when the first suffrage reform bill was passed. Save in the rural hamlets of Flanders, all business was transacted in French. Belgium looked like a French country. Hence an outward appearance of unity; it was correlated, however, with the fact that two great masses of people, Flemish and Walloon, were left almost without mutual contacts and entirely beyond the pale of political life. All that changed, as it had to change, with the abolition of the property basis for the vote (1894), and especially after the World War, when universal suffrage, purged of plural voting, was established by a sort of tacit revolution (1919) that dispensed with formal amendments to the Belgian Constitution.

The Flemings had long since demanded -- and partially though inadequately obtained -- ameliorations of their wrongs, or at least of their more crying wrongs. But with the advent of universal suffrage a compact group of Flamingants came into being in the Chambers. Then when all but unanimously the Flemish districts declared for "linguistic parity in fact as well as in law," the Flemish movement became an avalanche sweeping all before it. In response to the Flemish slogan of "Flanders for the Flemish," French has been systematically eliminated from the region. Flemish is now the language of the courts in Flanders. Flemish soldiers are commanded in Flemish. Flemish is the one official language in government offices. The University of Ghent, where not so long ago the lectures were all in French, has been "Flemishized" at one fell sweep. The same thing has been done in the lower schools; now all the way from kindergarten to university French is taught on Flemish soil as a mere secondary language, on a footing with English or German.

These changes have not occurred, of course, without vigorous resistance on the part of the French-speaking middle classes in Flanders, almost all of whom now speak the popular dialect but who have all along looked upon the University of Ghent as the stronghold of their traditional French culture. All the same, the so-called "Flemishization laws" were passed by overwhelming majorities the moment that Parliament, under pressure from the Labor Party and the Christian Democrats, had reached virtual unanimity of sentiment on the formula: "Flemish in Flanders, French in Wallonia, both French and Flemish in the Brussels section."

So the language question in Belgium is practically settled (one more law is still required and is about to be passed, regulating the use of languages in civil actions in Flanders). But it would be a mistake to imagine that the question as to the relations between Flemings and Walloons in respect of Belgian institutions has also been disposed of. Quite the opposite, if anything!

As long as the two groups of three millions each, speaking different languages and virtually cut off from each other, were held together politically by a unilingual ruling class, the 1830 system of state centralization, tempered by a certain amount of local self-government, managed to function without too much creaking and groaning. That is no longer the case today. Now in possession of the vote, the deep-lying masses of Flanders and Wallonia have become politically active. It is not simply that there is a solid Flemish group of deputies in Parliament. There are "Flamingants" who would make a mess of it if they tried to deliver a speech in French; and there in front of them sit a good third of their colleagues -- the whole contingent of representatives from Wallonia -- who do not understand a blessed word of what they say when they speak in Flemish.

One need hardly observe that such a state of things is most embarrassing, especially when "burning issues" are up for discussion. When a Flemish deputy takes the floor, the French-speaking deputies make for the exit; and they come back to reply to speeches which they have not heard or not clearly grasped. Whence misunderstandings and "incidents." A first effort to deal with this situation was made by compelling all holders of public office -- judges, army officers, civil servants, deputies -- to learn the other language. But in that direction one brought up against an energetic non volumus on the part of the Walloons, who were resolutely determined not to put up with any "compulsory bilingualism." Now Belgian thought is seeking some modus vivendi whereby each of the two groups can "flavor its soup to its own taste," and (aside from special regulations for the Brussels district) some dual system of government which will give equal opportunities to Flemings and Walloons and allow anybody to reach the upper rungs of public service with knowledge of just a single language.

This kind of a solution of course has defects. It really comes down to reducing friction through a reduction in the number of points of contact. Such a course is continually criticized by groups of bitter-enders -- French-speaking Flemings, for instance, who bitterly denounce the Walloons (their natural allies in the battle for French culture) for handing them over to the "Flamingants;" and also by groups in Brussels who are afraid that now by one concession, now by another, under pretext now of decentralization, now of home-rule, now of federalism, Belgium will get back to the situation it was in under the Old Régime -- to a hodgepodge of regions and localities held together by such tenuous bonds that Belgian unity will be a thing of the past.

Personally, I do not underestimate the soundness of such fears and the seriousness of the objections that can be made to certain formulas that approximate the platform of the Flemish Separatists.[ii] There can be no doubt that the establishment of a Free State of Flanders, tied to Wallonia by a personal union under the sovereign, or the erection of any system of absolute federalism which would not pay due regard to centralization in the essential attributes of government, would unchain unmanageable centrifugal forces and spell mortal danger to Belgian unity. But, as was apparent during and after the war, such formulas are never defended by more than a handful of eccentrics; and between the centralized system of 1830 and a deliberately separatist régime there is room for any number of compromise solutions.

I am well aware that even these attenuated solutions arouse alarm for the unity of Belgium, but I think the alarm is exaggerated. People are forever repeating an untruth which was trite as long ago as the days of Napoleon III: that Belgium is an artificial state, a fiction of diplomacy. The truth is that Belgium was born of a revolution, in fact of the first of the liberal revolutions that broke into the treaties of 1815. She was born of a spontaneous uprising of Catholics and Liberals, of Walloons and Flemings alike, and also of the inhabitants of the Limberg (on the right bank of the Meuse) and of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (which were torn unwillingly from the Belgian community by the treaties of 1839). It is true that save towards the sea Belgium has no natural frontiers. She is separated from the lower Scheldt by Flemish Zeeland, a Dutch province. The frontier toward Prussia is purely political, running through a district of meadows and pastures. On the south, the line often cuts through an industrial plant where French and Belgian citizens work at the same machines and use the same languages. I have already pointed out that Belgium has no linguistic frontiers as regards her neighbors. It is also true that in spite of the many common traits which willy-nilly do create a Belgian type, the Fleming and the Walloon present appreciable differences which are commonly attributed in the one case to a predominance of the Germanic element, and in the other to the predominance of the Celtic element.

Professor Laurent Dechesne seems to me to strike the sound note when he writes:[iii]

The Walloons and the Flemings complement each other admirably. Quite apart from the traits that distinguish the two races, there are other traits that draw them together. The constant and uniform pressure of identical living conditions has finished by constituting, if not a Belgian race, at least a Belgian type. Varlez in his time noted the particularism that is common to all Belgians -- a love of individual independence which at times is carried to refractoriness to discipline. Add to that a conception of life that is realistic rather than idealistic. The Belgian has his own ideas as to individual liberty. He regards it less as a sum of positive moral or material advantages than as a manifestation of independence, of impatience of all constraint.

One may argue forever as to whether there is a Belgian nation, whether Walloons and Flemings represent two races or are of a common type. The fact nevertheless remains that within the lines drawn in the treaties of 1839 there is a little country with a population, made up to be sure of heterogeneous elements, but which came together in 1830 in a common resolve on freedom and which feels held together today not only by a common fund of memories and experiences, but by other bonds which are tending to grow stronger rather than weaker. By no means insignificant is the fact that in the Labor Party, which represents about two-fifths of the population of Belgium, Flemings and Walloons belong to the same labor centrals and to the same political organism -- whence the tribute of a party adversary to the effect that Socialist unity is one of the pillars of Belgian national unity. And there are other reasons, to say nothing of international considerations, which justify the existence of an independent Belgium. Politically speaking, the country cannot be divided. Brussels, the capital, is located within Flemish territory but is essentially bilingual, and could not be incorporated in a hypothetical State of Flanders without losing its principal reason for existence by that simple fact. Then Antwerp, which is a strictly Flemish city, would lose incalculably if it were to be cut off by a customs barrier from its industrial hinterland, Wallonia. The economic texture of the Belgian state is so firmly knit that powerful interests will always be opposed to the establishment of any system giving undue play to centrifugal forces as regards the essential functions of government. From the moral standpoint, finally, it is, as Renan said, the memory of great things achieved by common endeavor that makes a country. What holds the Belgians together in spite of all differences is their having won free institutions by a revolution in 1830, and their having successfully defended them in the war of 1914-18.


Political and social struggle is intense in Belgium. It is therefore the common remark that foreign policy is the one important subject not productive of sharp disagreement. Three-quarters of a century of obligatory neutrality have accustomed the Belgians to living as it were to themselves, without too much interest in what is going on across their borders. Then again, Belgium is a pacific country, fundamentally, convincedly, in all classes of her population. One might repeat of her today a remark made by von Bülow in his Memoirs in connection with Leopold's visit to Berlin in 1904: "No territorial ambitions, no room for temptation!" Belgium wants nothing but her independence, but on that she insists. To be sure, just after the World War one might note in various quarters an itching for annexations at the expense of Germany or of Holland. But when the fevers induced by four years of occupation had worked themselves out, a rational frame of mind returned, and the one general thought was to make sure of security and to seek it through the guarantees of some new international agreement that would replace the treaties of 1839.

But if the thought was nation-wide and the sentiment common to all Belgians, there was precious little unanimity as to how to guarantee security; and in that connection there were conspicuous differences of opinion as between Flemings and Walloons.

Even when they are Socialists and internationalists, the Walloons, generally speaking, as well as the French-speaking elements in Brussels, have an inclination toward France. The inclination sometimes finds expression in fantastic proposals looking to a customs' union with France or at least to some system of preferential rights which would imply Belgium's abandonment of the most-favored-nation clause. It also prompts the advocacy of a common organization of defense on the eastern frontier in anticipation of another invasion in case of another war, which is held to be as probable now as it was in 1914. In addition there is a little nationalist group, more noisy than influential, which has connections with the action française of Maurras and Leon Daudet. Since 1918 that group has occasionally agitated for the annexation of Flemish Zeeland and the Dutch Limberg, for Belgian support of an independent Rhineland, and for a Franco-Belgian mailed-fist policy toward Germany.

Among the Flemings precisely opposite tendencies prevail. Almost all strata of the population (the shop-keeper in Antwerp, the farmer in the Campine, the factory hand in the mills at Ghent or Courtrai) are not only inclined toward peace -- that would be true of all Belgians -- but are emphatically anti-militarist and hostile to any policy which might drag Belgium into the French orbit. That is far from meaning that the average opinion is anti-French; much less that it is pro-German or pro-Dutch. In Flanders the "Catholics," considered as a political party, are in the majority. Many of them would reaffirm for themselves the particularist credo of a Catholic of fifty years ago: "We Flemings do not care to be either French sans culottes, or Prussian slaves, or Dutch heretics." Flanders is being rapidly industrialized and the Socialists there have increased in numbers. As a matter of principle, they see eye to eye with their Walloon comrades on all matters of foreign policy, except that they are not influenced to such an extent by ideas coming from France. In Flanders too there is a group of nationalists. It is small, but it exerts an influence on public opinion in matters of foreign policy which is entirely disproportionate to its numbers. These Flemish nationalists are as excessively anti-French as the nationalists of Brussels or Liège are anti-German. So Belgian foreign policy is courted at the two extremes by frankly opposite tendencies; and all Belgian ministries since the war have tried to follow a course midway between them.

The international status assigned to Belgium by the treaties of 1839 -- a status of perpetual and obligatory neutrality, under guarantees from England, Austria, France, Prussia and Russia -- became a thing of the past in the World War. The idea has therefore been to find some other status. Ready to hand was the League Covenant, which people in Belgium -- in spite of many disappointments on which it is superfluous to dwell just here -- continue to regard as a real guarantee for small countries. But could not some supplementary guarantee of Belgian independence be found in addition? Merely to return to the pre-war situation was manifestly out of the question. Of the five powers signatory to the treaties of 1839, two had deliberately eliminated themselves -- Prussia (Germany) and Austria. Russia was off the map. But England and France were left. Could not their former pledges be again obtained in the form of some defensive agreement?

The Belgian Government applied to them both as far back as 1919. England was in no great hurry to answer. France, instead, accepted at once, and it was announced the following year that the two governments represented respectively by MM. Millerand and Delacroix had approved the military accord which had been signed September 7, 1920, by the chiefs of staff of the French and Belgian armies, and which was entitled: "A Franco-Belgian defensive agreement in case of an unprovoked aggression." That agreement was registered at Geneva, though it never became a formal treaty and has no bearing on the international status of Belgium. It was, at bottom, a strictly military arrangement, the technical specifications of which were never published and did not have to be. It was of course inevitable that it should arouse mistrust and suspicion in Germany, and also in certain quarters in Belgium. Our nationalists have done their best to foster this feeling, and in fact it has proved long-lived.

In the thought of the Belgian Government which was in power in 1920 -- the three great parties, Catholic, Socialist and Liberal, were represented in it -- the defensive agreement with France was to be balanced by a similar agreement with England; and that agreement was almost concluded at the Cannes Conference in 1922.[iv] But when those negotiations failed, another solution was sought and in a different spirit. The idea of unilateral agreements (aimed, whatever one says, at somebody) was abandoned. And in 1925 the Locarno Agreements were reached, and under the guarantee of England (Italy joining at the eleventh hour) they constituted, on a basis of mutuality, a "defensive agreement in case of unprovoked aggression."

The formula was identical with the terms of the Franco-Belgian agreement of 1920. In view of that fact, was there any reason for the latter to continue in existence? Had it not been covered, and as it were absorbed, by the Locarno Agreements? Was it not then the part of wisdom, with a view to allaying suspicions once and for all, to say as much, and to give notice that the 1920 agreement had lost all point?

In 1931 the Belgian Socialists made a formal declaration in that sense, and I defended the view personally before Parliament. But the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France and Belgium respectively, MM. Briand and Hymans, thought it preferable to make a joint statement on the matter. It may be worth while to quote the statement here in full, for it defines very accurately the relations obtaining between France and Belgium. Said M. Hymans on March 4, 1931: "In view of the series of Locarno Agreements which I have just described and which has been solemnized by an international agreement signed at London with imposing ceremonies, and which in Belgium has been approved by an act of Parliament in turn signed by the King and his ministers and proclaimed in the Monitor, how are we to define the status of the agreement reached in September 1920 by Marshal Foch, General Maglinse and General Buat? In the view of the Belgian Government, in accord with the French Government, its significance is as follows: By its very nature, such an arrangement between chiefs of staff has never had and could not have any other purpose than to prepare and assure in a practical sense the technical prerequisites for giving effect to military coöperation between Belgium and France in case of an unprovoked aggression by Germany. The obligation of such coöperation, already present in principle in the stipulations of the Covenant, is today specified in the most definite manner by the stipulations of the Treaty of Guaranty concluded at Locarno on October 16, 1925, which has defined the undertakings which, along with the Covenant, bind the two nations as regards mutual assistance. I am able to add that the interpretation I have just given is the common view of the French and Belgian Governments."

Although that statement was clear, decisive, and in exact conformity with the facts, it did not result in clearing up, even in public opinion in Belgium, the objections and misunderstandings to which the unilateral character of the 1920 agreement had given rise. Certain nationalist organs, both in Paris and Brussels, continued referring to a "brotherhood in arms," or to a "military alliance" between France and Belgium, "the advance guards of Latinity." There has been no failure to notice, furthermore, that though there is nothing under the Locarno system to prevent the various general staffs from proceeding to similar exchanges of views or to the conclusion of similar arrangements in anticipation of specific eventualities, the Franco-Belgian military agreement has remained the sole specimen of its kind. And in 1931 M. Jaspar's ministry proposed the organization of a system of fortifications which, to use the language of the Minister of War of the day, reproduced in an up-to-date manner "the fortification system of Belgium before the war." But under pressure of nationalist elements in the Walloon districts he was forced to organize the defenses on the eastern frontier as a prolongation of the French system. All this still provokes hostile comment in the Flemish districts, where the one consolation is that Antwerp will not again be made a stronghold: "Let the Walloons dig in if they choose, but let them leave us alone!"

As regards the general lines of Belgian foreign policy, however, these movements in opposite directions must not be credited with an importance they do not really have. M. Henri Jaspar, who headed the government in Belgium between 1928 and 1931, has recently published a specific and well-documented article on the guiding principles of Belgian foreign policy since the war.[v] He states once more the real significance of the Franco-Belgian agreement of 1920, and rightly points out that the three Ministers of Foreign Affairs who have succeeded each other during these past fifteen years, and who have come characteristically enough from the three great political parties (Liberal, Catholic and Socialist), have all, with minor variations due to circumstances or personal inclinations, been faithful to a policy which was excellently defined by a former Premier, M. Poullet: "Belgium aims to be an active agent of international coöperation in Europe. She attaches the greatest importance to fostering relations of peace and confidence with other peoples. She has not become vassal to any particular group of Powers. She reposes full confidence in the League of Nations and offers her heartiest coöperation in its activities. That policy is stamped with the seal of continuity. It is independent of those political groupings on which our governments are based."

Those words reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of Belgians. Since 1919 Belgium has not been under any obligation to be neutral. But she aspires with increasing energy to be neutral of her own accord. For members of the League of Nations, however, no absolute neutrality is possible. By virtue of the Covenant all nations have not rights only but also duties. In 1914 the Belgians took their arms in hand to fulfill their obligations. Now in peace time, and in the interests of peace, they are ready to fulfill with the same enthusiasm the obligations which the Covenant imposes upon them and which they freely accepted. They may differ with each other on many things. They do not differ on that thing; for the interests of a little country like ours coincide exactly with the general interest.

[i] "Nationalisme et Socialisme," Brussels, Eglantine, p. 17. See also Pirenne, "La Belgique et la Guerre Mondiale," New Haven, Yale University Press, p. 31.

[ii] An insignificant minority in the country: 8 deputies in 187.

[iii] "Histoire Économique et Sociale de la Belgique." Paris: Sirey, 1932.

[iv] The proposed agreement included the following: Art. I: In case of a direct, unprovoked attack by Germany on Belgian territory, Great Britain will at once come to the support of Belgium with all her naval, military and air forces. Art. II. Belgium will use all her military, naval and air forces to defend her frontiers in case of an attack or a violation of territory by Germany.

[v] L'Esprit International, January, 1933.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • EMILE VANDERVELDE, leader of the Socialist Party in Belgium; formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice
  • More By Emile Vandervelde