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V.

THE USE OF THE SCHELDT IN TIMES OF WAR.

Holland's position would, as we have said before be very greatly affected by admitting foreign naval forces on the Scheldt in times of war

Once such a permission granted, Holland would in spite of herself, become the scène of conflict in a future European war. For this reason Holland has always considered the" question of the passing up the Scheldt of foreign naval forces as a question of the most vital importance.

In times of peace the passage of foreign war-ships has never been refused. This principle has been recognized in all the regulations resulting from the treaty of 1839 as for instance in those allowing the freedom of pilotage dues for ships of war bound for Antwerp.

The closing of the Scheldt in war time, however, is the inevitable consequence of the fulfilment by a neutral country, of its duty in maritime warfare.

It is however to be expected, that the application of the principles of the League of Nations will bnng about a radical change in such duties. If Holland and Belgium join the League, the Scheldt will no longer be closed to naval forces sent to the assistance of a member attached by an enemy

It should moreover be noticed that the Dutch Government recognized in August 1914 the^ right o passage of war vessels belongmg to non-belligerent states which these might be sending to Belgium s assistance in their capacity of guarantors of her neu-

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