Paris Peace Conf. 850a.0146/3: Telegram

The Minister in Belgium ( Whitlock ) to the Chargé in France ( Bliss )

164. For Mr. Lansing. The Belgian Foreign Office has given me a copy of an instruction it was about to send Cartier at Washington with the request that I forward [it] to Mr. Lansing at Paris. I condense it as brief[ly] as possible: Marshal Foch invokes difficulties of a military nature as a reason why Belgian troops should not enter the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, which is not in the French zone. [Page 444] He has a regiment of French infantry as a personal guard of honor, which he never had at his headquarters. At the request of the Belgian Government Pichon reminded Foch of the agreement by which Belgian troops were to participate in the occupation of the Grand Duchy. Foch did not welcome Colonel Menshaert of Belgian army and replied to Pichon that he would examine that question later. The Belgian Government has the impression that Foch’s action indicates ulterior political motives on the part of the French Government [an impression] that is confirmed by the intense French propaganda in the Grand Duchy, despite the solemn promises made to Belgium. Foch’s delegate at the Inter-Allied conference stated the other day that Luxemburg must be treated as a French Department and declared to the Belgian representatives that he was admitted to the conference merely as a neighbor and not because of any priority of interests in Luxemburg. The Marshal’s delegate announced the intention to name a territorial Commander in the Grand Duchy, and the Belgian Government has demanded at Paris, that this Commander be a Belgian officer. The Belgian Government would be gratified if General Pershing could aid in securing the assignment of a Belgian regiment to Luxemburg. The Belgian Government is assured that the friendship for Belgium in the Grand Duchy is unanimous, and that the great majority would favor at least a personal union with Belgium as soon as the influence of the German Grand Duchy could be prolonged [be put aside]. The Belgian Government is displeased by the French propaganda which it considers very much out of place and would be happy if the American Government could approve the Belgian point of view.