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Speech of and an Interview with 
he Secretary of the International, 


Member of the Belgian Parliament 
and the Brussels City Council. 



Price Sixpence Net. 


A Speech of and an Interview with 
the Secretary of the International, 



Member of the Belgian Parliament 
and the Brussels City Council, 



First published in 7916 

NOTE. The attitude and policy of the International 
has been so often misrepresented that we feel the neces- 
sity of publishing two authentic documents, explaining 
clearly what the International has done and will do. 
Judgment on the attitude or policy we leave to the reader. 




{From the " Petit Parisien " of March 25th, 1916.] 

" M. Camille Huysmans, deputy of Brussels, Seecretary 
of the International Socialist Bureau, is in Paris for a few 
days. He has had interviews with the Executive Committee 
and the Parliamentary group of the French Socialist Party. 
It will be remembered, by the protest in this journal from our 
collaborator Jules Destree, that the ' Social-Demokraten,' of 
Copenhagen has represented M. Huysmans and the Inter- 
national Socialist Bureau as disposed to facilitate a bringing 
together of the Socialists of the allied countries and the 
German Socialists, with the object of convoking a congress 
which would pronounce on the possibility of peace. 

" It was in order that M. Huysmans could explain this 
matter that we have interviewed him. * The war,' M. 
Huysmans has informed us, ' has no more destroyed the Inter- 
national Socialist organisation than it has caused the 


Catholic Church to disappear. The fate of both is inde- 
pendent of the position of belligerent nations. The Centre 
has maintained its contact with all the groups. 


11 'The working of the International Bureau had, more- 
over, been provided for, before hostilities, by resolutions 
which, it may be noted, emanated from the French group. 

" ' Therefore, we could, after the example of the Zimmer- 
waldians those franc-tireurs of parties without troops have 
pronounced a general condemnation on all those who have, 
in the various countries, voted the credits of war, and in- 
cluded them all in a common accusation of Imperialism. 

" M. Huysmans pauses for a moment, then slowly con- 
tinues : ' That position we have not wished to take because 
it would have been unjust. We decided to remain at our 
post, and to keep up relations with all the organisations with- 
out distinction, with the intention of acting only when agree- 
ment had been established between all the interested parties, 
the opposition of any one involving inaction. 

" ' The International Bureau comprises 27 parties, con- 
sisting of 12,000,000 members.' 

" ' A meeting of the Bureau is, at the present time, 
demanded by certain affiliated parties; it is accepted by the 
Germans and rejected by our French and English sections, 
It is, therefore, impossible at this moment, and we are doing 
nothing to bring it about.' 

" ' Have you not been accused of seeking to bring this 
about over the heads of the organisations? ' 

11 ' These are calumnies of which I know the aim. I know 
whence they come and I have only contempt for them. 
What have they insinuated? 

11 * The Zimmerwaldians have condemned me possibly 
because I did not desire to make myself a tool of those whose 
complaint against me is that I would not urge upon certain 
parties the demand for an inconclusive peace. The German 
Party declares itself to be ready to give its explanation at 
a meeting of the International Bureau, which the French 
proletariat rejects. We have no desire to coerce the will of 
France. We will only summon a meeting of the Bureau 
with the assent of all. My personal action confines itself to 
the functions of intermediary, and nothing else. 

11 ' Moreover,* continues M. Huysmans, ' the working 
class is scarcely likely to stop a war it was powerless to pre- 
vent. What is of importance is that, when peace comes, it 
shall be determined that the return to so bloody and costly a 
struggle shall be provided against by an agreement to submit 
henceforward all differences between nations to arbitration. 
It is in this sense particularly that Socialist action is directed. 

' The moment of peace is not our business. The terms 
of peace are what interest us. It is to this end that the 
working class should direct its policy.' 

" ' Is the report of the " Social-Demokraten," of Copen- 
hagen, against which our contributor Jules Destre'e has pro- 
tested, correct when it says that the Belgian Socialists are 
ready for conciliation ? ' 


" ' I have written to the *' Social-Demokraten " that the 
Belgians have come to The Hague to place their views before 
the Executive Committee, composed of Belgians and Dutch. 
I have said no more.' 

" ' What is the object of your visit to Paris? ' 

" ' Only to learn the opinion of the French Socialists. As 
the mountain does not come to Mahomet, Mahomet has 
come to the mountain. I have explained my position to the 
Administrative Committee and to the. Parliamentary group, 
and I can say that the French delegation approves in every 
respect the action I have taken. I am about to do the same in 
London, where I meet on Monday the English and Aus- 
tralian Socialists.' 

" However ardent may be the convictions of an Inter- 
national Socialist, M. Huysmans is a Belgian. He has seen 
the horrors of the invasion. What does he think of the 
shameful aggression let loose on his country ? Though mea- 
sured and carefully-chosen his words, they do not conceal 
his feelings. 

" ' One does not discuss,' said he, ' the lot of a victim. 
As Belgians we have been attacked, we defended ourselves, 
and if the task recommenced to-morrow we should meet it 
with the same resolution.' 

" ' Were you not the only Belgian deputy who did not 
vote the war credits?' 

" ' Yes, but only because I was away when the vote was 
taken. I had been called to Paris to the funeral of Jaures. 
Had I been there I should have voted them.' 

" And the militant Socialist went on with a voice which 
betrayed his emotion : 

"'The Germans have made many mistakes. They 
thought at first, wrongly, that they would gain time by 
invading Belgium; then they hoped to terrorise our popu- 
lation by massacring civilians, under the pretext of the exist- 
ence of " franc-tireurs." Nothing excuses their cruelty; 
they are covered with shame.' " 



Secretary of the International Socialist Bureau 
and Depute for Brussels, at an Extraordinary 
Congress of the Social-Democratic Party of 
Holland, held at Arnheim, 9th January, 1916. 

It is particularly agreeable to me to greet you in the 
name of the Executive Committee of the Bureau. 

I have been told of ten, in these days, that the International 
is dead. Our comrade, Gustave Herv, notably has 
interred it solemnly in several articles. Wolfgang Heine has 
delivered the funeral oration of our organisation, in Germany, 
and even in Holland, where thought is generally calmer, and 
where the situation, we can truly say, is less tragic, I have 
heard the same opinion enunciated. 

Dear Comrades, the International is not dead. The 
International has never given up its soul. The International 
cannot die. While there exists a revolutionary working class, 
with the object of establishing a movement throughout the 
world for the abolition of the domination of capitalism, it will 
be necessary to establish and to maintain an international 
bond between the organised workers of all countries. 


The International is dead, say some, because it could not 
prevent the war. The answer to that is very simple. The 
International alone has done its duty. But it has not yet the 
power to hinder and prevent war. Better still, we all knew, 
in 1914, that it had not that power. It has deceived no one, 
and wished to deceive no one. 

Others say, the International is dead because the German 
Social-Democrats voted the war credits. Neither is this argu- 
ment decisive. The attitude of part of an association can 
indeed break the common unity, but that disagreement does 
not wipe out the organisation. Has the Catholic Church 
ceased to live because some German Catholic soldiers found 
themselves face to face with Catholic Belgian soldiers, on the 
two banks of the Yser ? 

There are again those who pretend that the International is 
dead because Socialists defend their country. That Quaker 
opinion is even propagated in certain Social-Democratic 
quarters, where they seem to forget that defence against 
aggression is not only recognised as legitimate by all inter- 
national congresses, but rests upon simple human right. 

Finally, others say that the International is dead because 
it gives no sign of life. 

This is truly the gravest reproach. But I know an old 
Dutch proverb which says, "a dumb fish is not yet a dead 
fish." I know a Latin translation of that in the Holy 
Scriptures. Tempus tacendi, tempus loquendi. "There is 
a time to be silent, there is a time to speak.*' 

The Executive Committee of the Bureau is of opinion that 
the time to speak has come. But if we have been silent, that 
does not mean that we have not acted. The Executive Com- 
mittee has missed no favourable opportunity of acting in con- 
formity with its dutv. 


What, in effect, do the resolutions of Stuttgart, Copen- 
hagen, and Bale say? 

They say : 

(1) When the danger of war menaces, the Bureau should uX 
do all that is possible to avoid it. 

(2) When war breaks out, nevertheless, the Bureau should * 
do what is possible to bring it to an end quickly. 

What have we done? 

I will go through the record of our activity. Here are, for 
example, some extracts from the agenda of the months of 
October and November, 1912, when the danger of the Balkan 
war also menaced Western Europe : 

Oct. 7. Interpellation in the Bavarian Parliament. 

Oct. 10. Protest of Sakanoff in the Bulgarian Parlia- 

Oct. 10. Demonstration against war at Prague. 
Oct. 16. Demonstration against war in Italy. 

Oct. 17. First demonstration against war with Troelstra 
at Prague. 

Oct. 20. Demonstration for peace by the German and 
English Socialist and Labour Parliamentary 

On the same day meetings at Diisseldorf, Dortmund, 
Bremen, Kiel, Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Spandau, 
Cassel, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart. 

Oct. 22. Interpellation of Nemec and Pernerstorfer in 
Austrian Parliament. 


Ocl. 28* Meeting of International Socialist Bureau at 
Brussels to organise our Bale Congress. 

Meeting at Brussels with Jaures, Adler, 
Haase, Bruce Glasier, Roubanovitch and 

Oct. 30. Demonstrations in all Hungarian towns. 

Oct. 31. Meeting at Dresden. 

Nov. 1* Manifesto of Austrians against the war. 

Nov\ 4. Demonstrations in Vienna and throughout 

Nov. 10. Fresh demonstrations in Vienna and through- 
out Austria. 

Nov. 17. Meeting at Amsterdam with Vliegen (Dutch), 
Molkenbuhr (German), and Deswarte as 

Nov. 17. Meeting at London with Anseele (Belgian), 
Ludwig Frank (German), Drakoules (Greek), 
Barnes, Quelch, and Keir Hardie as 

Nov. 17. Meetings at Bremen and Hanover. 

Nov. 17. Meeting at Christiania with Branting (Sweden) 
as speaker. 

Nov. 17. Meetings at Stockholm, Malmo and several 
other Swedish towns. 

Nov. 17. Meeting at Copenhagen. 

Nov. 17. Meeting at Paris with Scheidemann, Vander- 
velde, Pernerstorfer, Roubanovitch and 
MacDonald as speakers. 

Nov. 17. Meetings in twenty other French towns. 


Nov. 17. International meetings at Strasburg, where 
Cachin (French) spoke ; at Rome, with 
nerve" (French); at Milan, with Compere- 
Morel (French); at London, with Longuef 
and Rognon; and at Berlin, where Jaurea 
was to have spoken. 

Nov. 21. French Party's Congress at Paris. 

Nov. 24. Extraordinary International Congress at Bile. 

Nov. 26. Manifesto of Bale signed in Austria. 

Nov. 28. Adler protests in Austrian Parliament against 
the seizure of the Bale manifesto. 

Etc., etc. 
And it went on like that up to the eve of July 24th, 1914. 

Three weeks before that it was stated in the parliamentary 
circles at the Reichstag that towards the end of the harvest an 
ultimatum would be sent by Austria to Serbia. But no one 
believed in this statement, so the Bureau was informed. 
Fresh demonstrations were, however, organised at Vienna,. 
Berlin, Buda-Pesth, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and else- 

I ask you in all sincerity, what party, what organisation, 
what political group, social or religious, has done as much 
against the coming of war as we have done ? 

I answer, none. 

We have not only spoken. 

Our action against war has resulted in hundreds of com- 
rades being sent to prison, to the accompanying jeers of all 
those who to-day reproach us for not having been able to 
prevent the war. 


The judges who, in past years, have condemned us to 
severe punishment, wish now to make us responsible for an 
act that they themselves have committed. 

The capitalist governments made the war. They prepared 
the mind for it. They sounded the war trumpet. They 
created the conflict. And when the results of their action went 
farther than they wished, the rulers in arms hypocritically 
reproached the unarmed feeble for not having had the power 
to defeat and to annihilate what their rulers had willed. 

On July 24th Austria sent her ultimatum. 

On July 25th the Executive decided to take counsel as to 
whether it was necessary to summon the Bureau, by telegraph 
with Jaures, Adler, Molkenbuhr, Vaillant and others. 

July 26th the Executive decided unanimously, in agree- 
ment with the comrades whom they had consulted, to summon 
the International Bureau for July 29th. 

At that meeting it was agreed to strengthen again the 
action against war, and to support the proposition that the 
Austro-Serbian dispute should be submitted to arbitration. 
The German and French members went home with the mis- 
sion, on the one hand, to insist at Berlin, that the Austrian 
Government should be reasonable in its demands, and, on the 
other hand, to insist at Paris that Russia should not take 
part in the conflict. The English and Italian sections had 
authority to do all that they could at London and Rome to 
support this pacific action. 

That same evening there took place in Brussels the great 
International meeting against war, where Vandervelde, Troel- 
stra, Roubanovitch, Mprgari, Keir Hardie, and Haase spoke, 
and where Jean Jaures made his last speech. 


In the afternoon of July 31st I received a telegram from 
Berlin informing me that Miiller (one of the secretaries of the 
German party) wished to confer with me on behalf of his 
Executive. That evening at 11.0 I learnt by telephone that 
Jaures had just been assassinated. 

On August 1st, at 3.0 in the morning, Mtiller was at my 
house, and after a consultation in the course of the morning 
with the Executive Committee Miiller and I took train for 
Paris, with de Man as translator. At 6.30 in the evening 
we had a meeting with the Parliamentary group at the Palais 
Bourbon, and, at 9.30, with the Executive Committee of the 

What Miiller said, you know through the articles which 
have appeared recently in the French and German Press. 
He gave the impression, even at that time, that they, 
the parliamentary party in Germany, would probably 
not vote the war credits. The French Socialists de- 
clared that if Frarfce were attacked they must vote their 
war credits. My personal opinion then was and I expressed 
it twice that the German party ought at least to abstain. 
My conviction was that France would not attack, but I felt 
the difficulty of the position of the Germans, a difficulty which 
was recognised later by Vandervelde. On the one side 
France, democratic France, on the other side Russia, Czarist 
Russia. I thought of the position of Bebel in 1870:" If 
I vote for the credits," he said, " I support the Prussian 
policy. If I vote against the credits, I give the impression 
that I approve of the policy of Bonaparte.'* 

That seemed to me to be the situation of the German 
Social-Democrats in 1914. In my judgment it was necessary, 
after the vigorous propaganda of our German comrades 
against Czarism, of which they felt the reaction in Germany, 
to take note of the Russian peril. I was also mindful of the 
definite pronouncements published by the German Socialist 


journals just prior to the month of August, 1914, and 
directed, not only against the German policy, but also against 
the criminal carelessness of the Austrian Government. 

Comrades, you are not unaware that, latterly, Kaulsky; 
has also declared that he was in favour of abstention, 

War broke out on the 4th of August. 

In all their statements, in every country, the Social-De- 
mocrats have been able to say that they had no share in re- 
sponsibility for the crime. 

Belgium was devastated, and she was invaded in spite of 
her determined resistance. 

We were isolated from the whole world. But the first 
direction issued by the Executive Committee was 
for the maintenance of relations between the centre 
and the affiliated parties. This was in conformity 
with the last resolution of Bale: " The Congress 
instructs the International Socialist Bureau to main- 
tain, whatever happens, communications with the Parties 
of all countries," We realised that, at that moment, there 
was no time to think about the intervention or the meeting of 
the Bureau, neither from the side of Germany nor from that 
of any of the other nations at war. It was a time of war mad- 
ness. However, little by little some projects saw the light 
in other places, to save the International, which truly had 
no need of saviours. Some comrades thought that they knew 
better how to manage things, and that fresh pronouncements 
were sufficient to put an end to the war. Others felt them- 
selves called upon to play an international role. We let all 
that pass, and, after the occupation of Brussels, we, on our 
own initiative, transferred the Bureau to The Hague. 

There we kept up correspondence, directly and in- 
directly, with all parties, so well, indeed, that even if rela- 


tions among the parties themselves from party to party 
did not always exist, those with the Centre, with the Bureau 
at The Hague, did not cease for an instant. It is hardly, 
necessary to say that it has not always been easy to achieve 
this result, It is not necessary to say, also, that to a Belgian 
it was not always very pleasant to find himself with Social- 
Democrats who had approved the credits which had served 
to put his country to fire and sword. But I considered it to 
be my duty not to write a word which would have wounded 
one of the affiliated parties, I did not wish that it could be 
said afterwards that through our fault we had allowed to be 
broken in our hands a proletarian weapon with whose care 
we had been entrusted. I thought that in an International 
alive and united oppressed and menaced nationalities would 
find their support and their re-establishment. Therefore, I 
considered it my duty to respect my trust more than my senti- 
ments and my heart, and I do not regret having remained 
International Secretary of all the parties of the International. 

That action has not wanted attack. At the beginning, it 
was insinuated that I was only an agent of the Entente, and 
that I had thus lost the confidence of certain parties. Lately, 
another tale has been heard. It is now insinuated that I am 
sold to Germany. 

Dear Comrades, for the duration of the war we have 
organised the Executive Committee in such a way that it could 
rely upon the confidence of the parties in all the belligerent 
countries. The Belgian delegation has remained at its post 
since it had the confidence of the parties and because of the 
express request of numerous affiliated parties. It was neces- 
sary to act so, inasmuch as those who had been entrusted 
with a task, by International Congresses, were bound to 
accomplish their task. The Belgian delegation has also re- 
mained because it would have been a shameful act to strike 
the Belgians twice once as Belgians and a second time as 
Socialists. The Belgians have not desired the war. The 


Belgians are the victims of the war, and to take away from 
them a position of trust because they are victims would have 
been an act of injustice. That expropriation has not taken 

We have not permitted it to take place. But, to give a 
guarantee of our impartiality to the comrades of the Central 
Powers, we have added, for the period of the war, to the 
Executive Committee a Dutch delegation, which enjoys equal 
rights. That has been agreed to unanimously by the Execu- 
tive Committee. We have also had this modus vivendi con- 
firmed by a vote of all the affiliated parties. The proposal 
was approved by all parties, except one, France, which ab- 
stained from voting. The French abstained not from 
hostility, but because they were of opinion that the Executive 
Committee ought to have remained where it was and what 
it was. 

The Secretariat and the Executive Committee, as they are 
constituted to-day for the duration of the war, function with 
the authority of the whole International. 

The first duty of the Executive Committee was to act. 

From all sides a meeting of the Bureau was demanded. 
(We could not comply with these requests. Suppose that 
we had summoned the Bureau. We knew with certainty 
that some representatives would not come. Could we, at 
such a moment, play off a majority against a minority? The 
majority itself would never have consented. It would have 
been a waste of time. It would have meant, in all probability, 
a complete break-up. We did not want to follow this franc- 
tireur policy. 

Our aim is, indeed, to bring the parties together at the 
proper time, but not by hasty action. Our duty is to bring 
together the Bureau with the consent of the responsible parties 


of the belligerent nations. A meeting, without the adhesion 
of France, of Germany, or of England is it possible? Our 
reply is " No." 

We take full responsibility for this policy. 

This method of action has been strongly criticised in cer- 
tain quarters, in which there have been voted resolutions of 
censure. Impatient comrades have summoned International 
Conferences, but you have seen that the interested principals 
have been conspicuous by their absence. They have even 
disavowed the Conferences. With such a result a body of 
amateurs, who do not understand that patience is a political 
virtue, can be content, but we cannot expose ourselves to such 
a result since we are representatives of an International which 
knows how to make its laws respected, and which, whatever 
some may say or think, has a certain political experience. 

I will not enlarge on this subject. I will only say that 
the intention may have been good, but that I persist in de- 
claring in the name of my colleagues that in spite of all plans 
of expropriation the Bureau is and remains fixed at The 

To be in a position to act, we had to make the situation 
clear. To attain that aim, our plan was twofold : 

1. To secure separate and successive deliberations, 
of the Socialist Parties of the neutral countries, of the 
Entente countries, and of the Central Powers, upon the 
four points which constitute the basis of all our resolu- 
tions relating to militarism and peace ; 

2. To call separately at The Hague the various dele- 
gations with the object of elucidating and making con- 
crete these four points. 


As you are aware, the neutral Socialists met at Copen- 
hagen on January 17th and 18th, 1915, the Entente at London 
on February 14th, 1915, and the Central Powers at Vienna 
on April 20th, 1915. 

Some resolutions were voted at these Conferences, and it 
is true that they do not agree on all points. 

But at Copenhagen, at London and at Vienna, the Social- 
Democrats demanded, for all nationalities, the right to dis- 
pose of themselves freely. 

At Copenhagen, at London and at Vienna, the Social- 
Democrats demanded the democratisation of diplomacy and 
the strengthening of Parliamentary control. 

r At Copenhagen, London and Vienna, the Social-Demo- 
crats declared themselves in favour of compulsory arbitration 
in all wars. 

At Copenhagen, London and Vienna they demanded re- 
duction of armaments, with the ultimate aim of general dis- 

The confirmation of these four points, which form the 
basis of the resolutions of Stuttgart, Copenhagen and Bale, 
constituted certainly a step forward. It is a commonplace to 
say that if the conduct of events had been in the hands of 
Social-Democrats the war would never have begun. Yet we 
may equally well point out that the bourgeoisie on the day 
when it sees to what madness it has been brought by its Im- 
perialist policy must seek its salvation in the direction of 
our ideas. 

To complete our action it was important to determine pre- 
cisely the different points on which we are agreed in theory. 
And to come to a practical result, we proposed to the Execu- 
tive Committee, who agreed, to invite, from January and 


February of 1915, the various delegations to come separately 
to The Hague, so that the Executive Committee could dis- 
cuss with each delegation the general situation, and also the 
particular position of each one of them. It was only after 
such a series of consultations that it could be seen whether a 
meeting of the Bureau was useful and possible. That pro- 
posal was approved by nearly all the parties, but it met the 
opposition of one party, and later, of two parties. Belgium, 
although she was occupied, came officially and gave her point 
of view. 

Germany came once officially, and then, a second time, 
officially. France replied that the sending of a delegation 
to The Hague would be considered as an indirect negotiation 
with the Germans. That policy seemed to her impossible 
while the German armies occupied a part of France, and all 
efforts were concentrated upon national defence. 

At first the English were ready to come. But the appoint- 
ment of Henderson as Minister compelled the delegation to 
postpone its visit. Afterwards they preferred to meet us in 
London, and that meeting is in course of being arranged. 

But, I add, if you compare the resolutions and the declara- 
tions of the various parties, passed since August, 1914, with 
those adopted during the last few months, then it must be 
seen that they mark, from a Socialist point of view, a ten- 
dency towards a closer unity of idea. 

I take, for example, the manifestoes and speeches of the 
Germans from August, 1914, to December, 1915. 

On August 4th, German Social-Democracy, believing in 
the " Russian peril," bases its position on the ground of 
national defence. 

On December 2nd they condemn with more firmness the 
annexationist tendencies and the propaganda of hatred which 
had swept over Germany. 


On March 10th, 1915, they declare that the hour of peace 
has sounded, and that it must be a peace which does not con- 
tain in it the germ of new wars. They demand also that 
prisoners of war should be treated better. 

On May 27th, 1915, they condemn anew, in opposition 
to Conservatives and National Liberals, all wars of conquest. 

On June 26th, 1915, they publish a pacifist manifesto, and 
they exhort the other Socialist Parties to work for the re- 
establishment of peace in Europe. 

On August 20th, 1915, the spokesman of the Party re- 
proaches the enemy with pursuing a war of conquest, and the 
tone of his speech seems less pacific. 

But on December 9th, 1915, we find more restraint. The 
speaker for the Party, who also spoke for the Austrians, 
declared that all nations desired the end of hostilities, and 
that Germany, free from occupation, ought to take the initia- 
tive in action in favour of peace. He asks the Government to 
declare upon what terms it is ready to conclude peace, a peace 
which should be based upon the integrity and the liberty 
of economic development of the German Empire. The Ger- 
man people, he says, ought not to live above the other 
nations, but by their side. In the course of his speech 
he also made an allusion to the aim of the enemy, who, 
according to him, seeks to annihilate German militarism, 
words that he interprets as synonymous with the annihila- 
tion of the German troops. Lastly, he rejects under any cir- 
cumstances the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by France. 

The resolution dealing with the aims of the war adopted 
by the Chief Committee and the Parliamentary fraction of 
the Party is still clearer. It condemns all annexation, as well 
as the weakening of the Austrian and Turkish Empires. 
Especially, it demands the freedom of the sea, the system of 


the open door in all colonies, and the adoption of the most 
favoured nation clause. In one special paragraph it demands 
the restoration of Belgium. This paragraph was cut out by 
the censor, and was not made known abroad for some con- 
siderable time. 

What are the ideas in France at present? 

From August 4th the French Party takes it stand on 
national defence, and accuses Germany of brutal aggression. 
It proclaims the necessity of defeating the enemy in order to 
teach it a lesson. 

On December 24th the Party refused all idea of annexa- 
tion, but it asks " that Alsace-Lorraine should be allowed to 
return to the country of its own choice." 

On July 14th, 1915, the Party demands justice for Alsace- 
Lorraine and the annihilation of Prussian militarism. 

On December 25th, 1915, the Party definitely states its 
ideas on the conclusion of a lasting peace. And what are 
these ideas? 

The small nations, such as Serbia and Belgium, must be 
restored and have complete independence. 

Alsace-Lorraine must be restored to France, and the re- 
presentatives of those provinces are then to have the right 
11 to declare solemnly, as their representatives did formerly 
at Bordeaux, that they form part of the French community." 
The resolution rejects the idea that the annihilation of Prus- 
sian militarism signifies the annihilation of the German 

The annihilation of Prussian militarism neither signifies 
political subjection nor economic dependence. These words 
signify the annihilation of a system which has trampled on 
the right. 


Finally, the manifesto speaks of conditions which will 
make relations with German Socialists possible. 

These are the conditions: That German Social-Demo- 
cracy should show by its actions that it repudiates Imperial- 
ism and the policy of conquest, and that it should recognise 
the right of all nationalities to complete freedom of action, and 
that it protests against the violation of neutral countries. 

I allow myself therefore to draw attention to some para- 
graphs which are important to us from the point of view 
of the situation of the German Party. 

The French Party thinks that the separation which is 
taking place between the Imperialist Socialists and the 
minority is a hopeful sign for the re-establishment of Inter- 
national Socialist relations. 

It is the growth of the minority which will save the honour 
of International Socialism, and perhaps prepare, if the 
minority is energetic and far-seeing, the salvation of the Ger- 
man people. 

In order to understand the different attitudes of the French 
and German Socialists it is necessary to realise the difference 
of their situation. 

Germany is free from occupation, and the armies of the 
Central Powers are in Belgium, the North of France, Poland, 
and Serbia. 

France, on the contrary, is occupied in parts, and German 
troops are only 40 miles from Paris. 

Germany may desire peace, for she has in her hands a 
valuable prize. 

France cannot wish peace now, unless she wishes to be 
considered and treated as a conquered nation. I know well 


that the economic situation of these countries does not corre- 
spond exactly to their military situation. But in France and 
that some of our Dutch comrades cannot forget all their 
strength is given to national defence. In this state of mind 
every concession is looked on as a weakness. What would 
be the state of mind of Germany if the French Army were in 
Cologne and the Russian in Kcenigsberg? 

I may further add that the influence of these Socialist 
Parties is very different. 

In England and in France the Labour and Socialist Parties 
possess a real influence, and the Governments of these coun- 
tries would have difficulty in forcing a solution which would 
be strongly in opposition to the working class. 

In Germany, on the contrary, the influence of the Party 
is more relative, and we cannot yet imagine M. Bethmann- 
Hollweg, like Lloyd George, appearing before a congress of 
organised Labour. 

In comparing all these resolutions, one feels that the great- 
est difficulty arises from the problem of Alsace-Lorraine. 
Light has already been given on both sides. My aim, and 
that of my colleagues, was to make clear these points as 
quickly as possible, therefore it was arranged to assemble 
the delegations at The Hague. 

This course, which would result in enlightenment and 
understanding, still remains open. It is apparent that if we 
compare the resolutions of the French Party with those of the 
group which one calls "the German minority," the possi- 
bility of this drawing together is still more hopeful, especially 
if one considers that it is asserted that this minority of the 
fraction at the Reichstag represents, in fact, the majority of 
the Socialist electors. 


In any case, you will have noticed that, for the first time, 
the French Party has formulated conditions of a reconcilia- 
tion, and better still, I am under the impression that several 
of these conditions are realised; at least, in a measure. 

Comrades, I am of the opinion that we are on the right 
track. This opinion is still stronger if one takes into con- 
sideration that in France also we find ourselves before a 
minority, although it is only a small one. 

Until now, the war has shown that it is almost impossible 
to crush a capitalistic nation, when this nation is organised 
and inspired with a modern spirit. If Germany occupies for- 
eign territory, England is mistress of the seas. Until now 
the world-war has completely missed its mark. And for the 
massacres without end, the belligerent nations will have in 
the month of July, 1916, spent in military credits according 
to the calculation of the " Economist," as reviewed and com- 
pleted by Wibaut in the journal " Het Volk " 103 
milliards of florins, or more than 214 milliards of francs 
(about 10,000 million pounds). And that is without count- 
ing the destruction of villages and towns, the pensions 
for invalids, widows and orphans, and without counting the 
fortunes of millions of people who have been ruined, and 
without counting thousands of soldiers who will come out 
of the war safe and sound, but who will in a few years die 
prematurely as a consequence of this war. The number of 
deaths and invalids in a few months reached four million men, 
and if one counts the others wounded and missing, sixteen 
million human beings. That is where an Imperial policy 
has led us. 

Dear Comrades, I wish to show that the organisation, 
which was born at Paris in 1889, on the proposition of the 
Dutch delegation, is not dead just to please a bourgeoisie 
which remains a bourgeoisie, or Socialists who forget some- 
times what they are. , 


I will state simply that this organisation has done all that 
was possible for it to do to fulfil the mission which was im- 
posed upon it by the resolutions of Stuttgart, Copenhagen, 
and Bale. 

I want finally to show that the lines of political movement 
are not parallel lines which never meet, but are lines which 
approach and converge slowly in a direction which will ulti- 
mately see the re-establishment of a united proletariat and 
the creation of a durable peace. 

The signs of this are many. On every hand it is said 
that the International should elaborate a policy, which, quite 
apart from the military situation, would become the guide 
of society in arriving at a solution. On December 17th last 
my friend Vandervelde wrote in the " Clarion " an article 
which I have read in a sympathetic translation in the 
44 Arbeiterzeitung " of Vienna. It said: 

" I think that soon the moment will come when the true 
Socialist elements of the International will have to declare 
their views with regard to the problems of Alsace-Lorraine, 
of the independence or autonomy of Poland, or of the means 
which would prevent in the future the Imperialist and 
Colonial policy from seeking conquests and provoking new 

I consider these words to be an invitation to which a reply 
should be given. 

I will say no more at this moment. It is not necessary 
to speak of other countries and other parties because the diffi- 
culties would seem to be less. Each feels also that the 
solution of the problem of the war and the final decision 
await solution in the West. The whole question of the East 
has been fully treated in the manifesto of Bale, which has 
remained our guide even in existing circumstances. 


We will continue, with patience} prudence and persistence, 
the action we have begun, in full consciousness of our re- 

We wish to bring about agreement between the Socialists 
of the whole world, so that there shall not be added, to our 
impotence to prevent the war, our impotence to create a peace 
secure from future conflicts, so that the working class, 
which will have to bear the burden of the crime of others, 
can itself master the world crisis. For that reason unity is 
necessary. That unity should be our aim and our strength. 

I know well that numerous groups of capitalists hope that 
thousands of soldiers have given their lives to Moloch so 
that nations may be enslaved. 

That hope will not be realised. When the present fury 
has gone the peoples will see where imperialist madness 
leads, and the conscience of mankind will be re-awakened. 
Our hope is that then it will be possible to deprive the mon- 
ster of his teeth, in order that this war may be the last. 

Twentieth Century Press (1912), Ltd., Trade Union 
and 48 Hours, 373, Clerkenwell Green, London, E.G. 


TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. The translation of the Armheini 
speech has been made from a transcript revised by M. Huys- 

My thanks are due to Miss E. R, Syme and Mr. W. T. 
Easty for assistance in translation and reading the proofs. 




8 vo. 




Under this title M. Emile Royer, the Belgian Deputy, 
has collected together irrefutable documents which 
demonstrate, as M. Emile Vandervelde says in his pre- 
face to the book, that in defending their attacked country, 
the Belgian Socialists, even from the point of view of the 
International workman, have not only acted within their 
rights, but have performed their bounden duty, The 
book has the great merit of stating clearly the facts in 
their logical order, and also of showing that it is possible 
to do so even while suffering as the Belgians have suffered. 

"There have been numerous publications on the part played by the 
German Socialists in the War, but the pamphlet by M. Emile Royer is the 


FROM RHETORIC." Manchester Guardian. 

"A MINE OF INFORMATION. Every British Socialist should obtain this 
pamphlet." Justice. 


New Statesman. 

"The attitude of the Belgian Socialists towards their sometime comrades of 
Germany is set forth with TIGOROUS CLEARNESS." The Clarion. 


Morning Post. 

Ruskin House, 40 Museum Street, London, W.C. 

i . . . _._. 


Return to desk from which borrowed. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

DEC 19 1947 



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