HC Deb 04 May 1916 vol 82 cc102-3

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has any knowledge of the measures Germany is taking to compel Belgians to enter into the German Army; and if he will make inquiry into what is being done?

Sir. E. GREY

His Majesty's Minister at Le Havre has reported that the Belgian Government have received intelligence that the German Government intend to compel all Belgian subjects, who have resided in Germany for three years, to enrol in the German Army. To justify such action the German Government rely on an old provision of the Belgian Constitution, which has now for many years been annulled, to the effect that Belgian nationality is automatically lost by continuous residence for three years outside Belgium. I understand that only a few Belgians will be affected by this decision of the German Government, the illegal character of which is obvious. The Belgian Government will no doubt take such action as is appropriate and possible through the neutral Government that has charge of their interests.