criticism. Yet this internment resulted directly from the normal application of the Proclamation of Neutrality, published in August 1914 by the Dutch government, and based on the Convention of the Hague of 1907. By this proclamation it was announced that no warships whatever would be admitted into Dutch waters. It was no more possible to make an exception for these Belgian vessels than it would have been possible to allow an armed vessel from Germany to proceed down the Rhine. The measures in question did in fact only affect one mine-layer and its crew as well as certain small groups of persons on board of tugs which were making for the sea. Clearly, Belgium did not suffer much from them.
Another accusation, founded on anything but the truth, levelled against the Dutch government, is that of partiality in favour of Germany in the application of the neutrality regulations to the Dutch ports. The right of using Dutch ports and waterways was prohibited to German vessels as much as to any others. Once only during the war a German warvessel, the V-69, has taken advantage of the exception made by the Proclamation of Neutrality in case of damage, in conformity with international law with regard to sea-warfare.
As to the transportation of sand and gravel from Germany by way of the Rhine and the Scheldt, the Dutch government have amply justitieel their attitude in their diplomatic publications. It is sufficiënt to say here that this transportation has been prohibited, except for limited quantities under restricting conditions, justified by the normal requirements in times of peace. The Dutch Government found themselves obliged to admit this limited amount of transit of the goods in question because of the economie stipulations in the International Convention concerning the navigation on the Rhine (Rhine Treaty).