Carleton Place Herald, 04 August, 1914
Britain Still Aloof
Her Intentions Regarding Conflict Not Yet Announced.
Until Premier Asquith Makes His Announcement In the Commons To-day the Public Will Be in the Dark Regarding Her Position –
Censors Have Taken Charge of Cables and Wireless Offices.
LONDON, Aug. 3. – Now the die is cast and Europe is to be plunged into a general war which has been the apprehension of European statesmen for generations past.
The only redeeming feature of the darkest prospect with which Europe has been faced for half a century is that Italy has declared her neutrality. But how long that neutrality can be maintained is an exceedingly debatable question.
The Daily Chronicle (a Government organ) says that the British Cabinet has definitely decided not to send an expeditionary force abroad, but to make every honorable effort to prevent Great Britain from being drawn into the war.
Great Britain’s position has already been defined by Premier Asquith in the British Parliament, namely, that she is under no formal obligation to go to the assistance of France in the event of a European war. The British Government, however, has made full preparations in both services for whatever may happen.
No statement of the decision taken by the Cabinet was made last night. Premier Asquith will announce Great Britain’s position in the House of Commons to-day. Prior to this announcement another Cabinet meeting will be held.
Censors took charge of all the cable offices in the kingdom last night. All code messages were prohibited even to Australia. Telephonic communication with the continent was entirely stopped. The Brussels telephone, which was the last line working, was silent last night.
The king issued a proclamation declaring a moratorium for a month, and the suspension of the Banking Act to-day appears assured. Parliament will probably pass a bill for a loan for defensive purposes to the amount of $250,000,000. A rise in the price of foodstuffs is expected today, although the Board of Trade has issued a reassuring statement that there is a wheat supply of four months in the country.
The peace movement continues, but finds little popular response. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London both spoke for peace yesterday. A number of Cambridge professors have issued a manifesto deploring the possibility of war with Germany, while another manifesto emanated from influential quarters quoting Premier Asquith’ recent statement that Great Britain had no understanding with France and Russia which would compel her to join with them in war.
The Socialists and a section of the labor union men are strong for peace. Peace meetings were held yesterday in Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park.
The Times, in a special war edition yesterday, said that it is plain and acknowledged that the duty and interest of Britain, which consist in the support of France, against Germany and the preservation of the neutrality of Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg against German invasion, must be fulfilled.
“There is no room for difference of opinion,” The Times continues. “The prospect before the Government is that of having to fight not only for its honor, but for self-preservation against attack on the whole foundation on which the peace and civilization of Europe are based.”
The Government has assumed control of all wireless transmission. A special Gazette announces this fact and says that the Government in the present emergency has taken over control of wireless telegraphy, and that the use of wireless by foreign vessels while in British territory waters will be subject to such rules as may be made by the Admiralty.
The London morning papers are giving plentiful counsels to the public to display a self-sacrificing spirit, to refrain from excitement and to avoid selfish actions, such as laying in large stores of provisions which would tend to raise prices and lead to hardships for the poorer classes.
Field marshal Lord Kitchener, who was to return to his Egyptian post, is detained in London. According to telegrams from European capitals Great Britain’s decision on this point was awaited with the deepest anxiety, especially in Paris and St. Petersburg.
King George held a Privy Council yesterday afternoon. According to The Press Association, he signed a proclamation authorizing the suspension of specie payments.