Appendix 17
Text of the Protest Communicated by the Belgian Government
to the Foreign Governments Following upon the German Aggression of
May 10th, 1940

ALTHOUGH Germany had not declared war, the German Army has just crossed the frontier of the Kingdom of Belgium and has attacked the Belgian Army with considerable forces. All the facts and all the documents in the possession of the Belgian Government prove that the aggression was premeditated. No complaint was brought to its notice before the act of aggression. Moreover, there was nothing in the relations between the two countries, for the most part good, to suggest that a conflict was


likely to arise. The Belgian Government protests against this outrage. It points out that for the second time in twenty-five years Belgium has been the victim of an aggression by Germany. In its declaration of October 13th, 1937, the German Government solemnly confirmed its determination in no circumstances to impair the inviolability and integrity of Belgium and stated that "it will at all times respect Belgian territory, except, of course, in the event of Belgium's taking part in a military action directed against Germany in an armed conflict in which Germany is involved," declaring that it was prepared to assist Belgium should she be subjected to an attack or to invasion. On August 26th, in a spontaneous declaration, solemnly renewed its undertaking of October 13th, 1937. Since making the Declaration in 1937, Germany has on many occasions paid tribute to the correctness of the attitude maintained by Belgium. Public opinion is unanimous in recognizing that the Belgian Government has done everything in its power to avert the scourge of war which threatened Europe. On the eve of the European War, the King of the Belgians, in conjunction with the Heads of other States, and more particularly with Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, took steps to aver the danger. It is sufficient to recall the appeal made from Brussels on August 23rd, 1939, on behalf of the Heads of the States of the Oslo Group and the offer of good offices on the 29th of the same month. A further offer of good offices was made on November 7th by the Queen of the Netherlands and the King of the Belgians, with a view to facilitating enquiry into points on which agreement could be reached. During the conflict, Belgium has always observed strict and scrupulous neutrality. She was attacked suddenly at dawn. The aggression was consummated when the Government appealed to the guarantor Powers. Just as in August 1914, Germany violated Belgian neutrality which she had guaranteed in virtue of the treaties of April 19thy, 1839, so t-day she has attacked Belgium in contravention of an undertaking contracted in 1937 and renewed in 1939, the validity of which is not open to question. As in 1914, an act of aggression against a neutral State, while not justified in itself, is made worse by the violation of undertakings that had been entered into. This new outrage will deeply shock the conscience of the world. The German Reich will be held responsible by history for the sufferings which this act of aggression will inflict on the Belgian people. Belgium has never accepted servitude. She will suffer her ordeal courageously. The Belgian Army will defend Belgian national territory with all its force, with the help of Belgium's guarantors, who will not fail to fulfil their promises.


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