Innocent Abroad: Belgium at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

By Sally Marks | Go to book overview

SEVEN
THE SECONDARY SKIRMISHES

The pattern of indifferent Belgian success in achieving the kingdom's major goals at the Paris Peace Conference applied as well to lesser issues and for the same reason: lack of support from the major powers or, at best, division among them. As de Gaiffier sadly noted in early June 1919, "When France supports us, England disappears and conversely."1 Although this was true, there were some questions on which none of the great powers had much sympathy with Belgian aspirations. Some of the secondary issues were matters of real substance; others were genuinely trivial. However, Belgian opinion tended to become most exercised over some of the least important issues, and Hymans responded to it, unwisely expending his limited diplomatic capital on minor questions where sometimes the Belgian case was weak.


DUTCH AND GERMAN QUESTIONS

The reluctant and divided support of the major powers for Belgium during the long effort to revise the 1839 treaties carried over as well to a variety of other issues concerning the Netherlands. Belgium never enjoyed much Allied support vis-à-vis Holland and, as time passed, such little sympathy as she had gained quickly dwindled. As early as January 1919, Belgium began to protest the Allied policy of supplying the armies of occupation in Germany through Rotterdam instead of Antwerp. Feeling ran high on the issue in Belgium, especially because the economic implications for the revival of Antwerp were profound.2 The American delegation initially refused to reconsider, arguing that

____________________
1
De Gaiffier to Hymans, 6 June 1919, no. 4777/1929, BMAE FR / 1919.
2
Whitlock to ACNP, 30 Jan. 1919, tel. 8, 811.20 / 4, ACNP / 437; Moncheur to Hymans, 14 Mar. 1919, no. 1855 / 535, BMAE GB / 1919 / I; Maskens to F.O., 21 Mar 1919, no. 2010, F.O. 371 / 3645; Defrance to Pichon, 11, 25 Jan. 1919, tels. 22, 63, Vin 6N/ 128; Fallon to Hymans, 30 Jan. 1919, no. 1268/217, BMAE B-348.

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Innocent Abroad: Belgium at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • One - PRELUDE 5
  • THE BATTLE OF THE SEINE 103
  • Two - SEEKING A VOICE 105
  • Three - THE ANNEXATIONIST ATTEMPT 137
  • Four - THE STRUGGLE FOR REPARATIONS 170
  • Five - THE QUEST FOR LUXEMBURG 206
  • Six - THE SEARCH FOR SECURITY 255
  • Seven - THE SECONDARY SKIRMISHES 307
  • Eight - POSTLUDE 339
  • Index 445
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