Had the cabinet forced him to DECLARE neutrality prior to be beginning of the war, IIRC.glenn239 wrote: ↑23 Sep 2019 17:25Grey stated in his memoires that under no circumstances would he have remained in cabinet had Britain remained neutral. Therefore, Grey was not getting ready to dump the French, he was getting ready for a major showdown to decide policy, in which if he failed, he and Asquith would resign from the Liberals and presumably cross the floor to the Conservatives, with maybe about half the Liberal party.
And post facto memories are a tricky thing...
"(35370) No. 426.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Bertie.
Foreign Office, August 1, 1914.
Tel (No. 299.)
D. 8:20 P.M.
After the Cabinet to-day, I told M. Cambon that the present position differed entirely from that created by the Morocco incidents. In the latter, Germany made upon France demands that France could not grant, and in connection with which we had undertaken special obligations towards France. In these, public opinion would have justified the British Government in supporting France to the utmost of their ability. Now, the position was that Germany would agree not to attack France if France remained neutral in the event of war between Russia and Germany. If France could not take advantage of this position it was because she was bound by an alliance to which we were not parties, and of which we did not know the terms. This did not mean that under no circumstances would we assist France, but it did mean that France must take her own decision at this moment without reckoning on an assistance that we were not now in a position to promise.
M. Cambon said that he could not transmit this reply to his Government, and he asked me to authorise him to say that the British Cabinet had not yet taken any decision.
I said that we had come to a decision: that we could not propose to Parliament at this moment to send an expeditionary military force to the continent. Such a step had always been regarded here as very dangerous and doubtful. It was one that we could not propose, and Parliament would not authorise unless our interests and obligations were deeply and desperately involved.
M. Cambon said that the French coasts were undefended. The German fleet might come through the Straits any day and attack them.
I said that that might alter public feeling here, and so might a violation of the neutrality of Belgium. He could tell his Government that we were already considering the Belgian point, and that I would ask the Cabinet to consider the point about the French coasts. He could say that the Cabinet had not yet taken any decision on these points."
He talks about a change of public feeling based on two situations, a CHANGE OF FEELING, indicating that there was no inclination of the public for war, the politicians might want it, but they cant simply do it without taking the people into consideration, even the Germans had to fake a French attack and they were already at war...
Here, the French are going to war on their own, no chance of Belgium, maybe a naval attack but the Germans would be weary of the RN given the UK's attitude of the time so... tough.