Count de Lichtervelde to Mr. Hay.


Mr. Secretary of State: Under instructions of the Government of the King my august “sovereign, I have the honor to bring to your [Page 309] knowledge the organization of a committee in Brussels for the purpose of getting up a body of Belgian volunteers with the intent of cooperating in the military action of the allied powers in China.

That body will be organized at once. It is expected to be able to embark at Antwerp in the second half of the month of September. It will be about six hundred men strong, and will be supplied with the equipment and accessory services that may be required. It will consist of carefully picked Belgians, and chiefly of officers and soldiers of the national army, furloughed for the purpose.

It will carry the Belgian flag.

The Government of the King has approved of the scheme.

Under the circumstances which will govern the mission of that body, we can not, and the powers in interest undoubtedly will not, see anything therein that could possibly be contrary to the position occupied by Belgium in the law of nations.

The Government of the King hopes that the Government of the United States will consent to combine the military action of the body of Belgian volunteers, which will be taken in accordance with international law and usage, with that of the allied forces now operating in China.

The Belgian body would, of course, be placed under the direct command of the leaders upon whom the direction of military operations may devolve.

The Government of the King is entirely confident that the scheme will favorably be received by the Cabinet of Washington. In view of the urgency of the matter, it would set especial value upon knowing the views of the powers at as early a date as possible.

I seize with eagerness the opportunity now offered me Mr. Secretary of State, to present to your excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.