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.
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____________________