File No. 763.72/989

The Ambassador in France (Herrick) to the Secretary of State

No. 661]

Sir: I have the honor to forward, in copy and translation, a note from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs notifying the United States Government of the opening of hostilities between France and Germany, the alleged infraction of certain conventions by the Imperial [Page 113] German Government and the intention of the French Government to observe the same with reservation of such reprisals as it may find necessary to take.

I have [etc.]

Myron T. Herrick


The French Minister of Foreign Affairs (Doumergue) to the American Ambassador (Herrick)

The Imperial German Government, after having permitted its troops to cross the frontier and to commit on French territory various acts of murder and violence; after having violated the neutrality of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg in spite of the stipulations of the Convention of London of May 11, 1867, and of Convention V of The Hague of October 18, 1907, on the rights and duties of neutral powers and persons in case of war on land (Articles I and II), conventions signed by it; after having addressed an ultimatum to the Royal Government of Belgium with a view to exacting the passage of German troops across Belgian territory, in violation of the treaties of April 10, 1839, also signed by it, and of the above-mentioned convention of The Hague;

Declared war against France on August 3, 1914, at 18.45 o’clock (6.45 p.m.).

The Government of the Republic finds itself, under these conditions, obliged, on its part, to have recourse to arms.

It has therefore the honor, by this note, to inform the Government of the United States that a state of war exists between France and Germany from August 3, 1914, at 18.45 o’clock.

The Government of the Republic protests to all civilized nations and especially to the Governments signatories of the conventions and treaties above referred to, against the violation by the German Empire of its international obligations; it reserves to itself the liberty of using such reprisals as may be found necessary against an enemy so careless of his word. The Government of the Republic, which intends to observe the principles of the rights of man, will conduct itself during the continuance of hostilities according to the stipulations of the international conventions signed by France in regard to the laws of war on land and water.

The present notification, made in conformity with the provisions of Article 2 of the Third Hague Convention of October 18, 1907, relative to the opening of hostilities, and sent to Paris, August 4, 1914, at — o’clock.