trality. The declarations of war which followed some days afterwards, did however away with this eventuality.
As to the use of the Western Scheldt during the war, the Dutch government have scrupulously observed the prescriptions which in their opinion resulted from the laws of neutrality. The Convention of the Hague forbids all passage of naval forces. All the special measures taken by the Dutch government in August 1914 with regard to the pilotage, the buoying and lighting, the examination of vessels entering the Scheldt, the laying of mines, the occupation of the river by Dutch men-of-war etc. received the unqualified assent of the Belgian government. In a letter to the Belgian representative at the Hague, communicated to the Dutch government on August 12* 1914, the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs declared himself in full accord with these measures. There are, therefore, no reasons for asserting to-day that the taking of these measures constituted a violation of the Belgian rights of the Treaty of 1839.
The Scheldt has remained absolutely closed to the armed forces of all the belligerent powers in the same degree and without exception.
Though Belgium complains of our refusal to allow passage to the German vessels captured by the Belgians at Antwerp, it will yet be necessary to acknowledge that the decision taken by the Dutch government was perfectly correct. The removal of vessels captured or requisitioned by one of the belligerents from their enemies must be regarded as the continuation of a hostile act, and can therefore not be permitted in neutral waters. It should further be remembered that the same prohibition was afterwards applied to the vessels which the Germans captured at Antwerp.
Holland's action of interning some armed Belgian vessels with their crews and the soldiers who were on board of them, which vessels attempted to join the Belgian army at Ostend by way of the Scheldt after the fall of Antwerp, has also been subjected to