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The Dutch-Belgian Question.



Among the problems that have occupied the minds of statesmen since the conclusion of the armistice, that of the reconstruction of Belgium justly takes up a position of the very first importance. Holland, Belgium's neighbour, is not less anxious than any other nation that this reconstruction shall be of the most satisfactory kind. The part imposed on Holland by the war was very different to that forced on Belgium. Holland was never faced by the duty of taking up arms in defence of her territory and of espousing the cause of the Allies in doing so. Her neutrality has never been violated. Her bitter and often thankless task, therefore, was limited to the maintenance of this neutrality. The Dutch government have endeavoured to perform this task conscientiously, often, so to say, in the very teeth of the war raging on all borders of the kingdom. Even if some of their measures and decisions may possibly be considered open to legal objections, it must neverthéless be acknowledged that the government were always led by the sole desire of preserving an honest neutrality. The majority of the nation were pro-ally in their sympathies. More especially did the Dutch people pity the fate of the. Belgians. This was proved by the profound emotion caused by the violation of Belgian neutrality; by the succour afforded to hundreds of thousands of Belgian fugitives who found shelter and assistance on Dutch soil; by the spontaneous protest