File No. 763.72119/753

The Minister in Belgium ( Whitlock) to the Secretary of State


84. De Broqueville, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has returned from the front where he has been in consultation with the King concerning the Pope’s appeal. They have prepared a preliminary note which De Broqueville showed me, acknowledging the reception of the appeal. It will be sent to Rome to-morrow. It expresses the warm gratitude of the Belgian Government for the Pope’s interest in Belgium and states that Belgium is at war to protect her sovereignty and independence and to lend her aid in enforcing universal respect for the “highest moral principles of international law” and that with these ends in view the Government will carefully study the Pope’s proposals before making a final answer.

In the meantime the Belgian Government has asked the opinion of the English and French Governments in their capacity of guaranteeing powers as to whether the reply should be made conjointly or separately. England has answered favoring separate replies while France suggests a joint reply. De Broqueville says that the King and he agreed that the Belgian Government should look especially to President Wilson for guidance feeling that in him their nation has a disinterested friend with an instinctive understanding of Belgium’s needs and aspirations and that he has the moral vision that the situation demands. The Belgian Government would therefore like to be advised of the President’s views and to have his suggestions as to the nature and form of the reply eventually to be made.