The Kingdom of Belgium declared its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 4, 1830. Most of the European powers recognized de facto independence on December 20, 1830. However, it was not until the Netherlands signed the Treaty of London on April 19, 1839 that the former ruler recognized Brussels as a sovereign state. Belgium had attempted to remain a neutral country for much of its history; however, the German invasions in the first and second World Wars made this impossible. Today, Belgium is a member of the European Union and NATO.
Modern Flag of Belgium
The United States recognized Belgium’s independence on January 6, 1832, when the Department of State issued an exequatur to the Belgian consul at New York.
Diplomatic relations were established on June 18, 1832, when Baron D. Behr, Minister of Belgium, sent a note attaching his “full powers” to Secretary of State Edward Livingston.
The U.S. Legation in Brussels was established on September 25, 1832, when Chargé d’Affaires, Hugh Legare, presented his credentials in Brussels.
The U.S. Legation in Brussels was elevated to an embassy on October 3, 1919.
The United States closed its embassy in Brussels on July 15, 1940, after the German invasion of Belgium. Rudolph E. Schoenfeld was designated on November 1, 1940, to serve as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim near the Government of Belgium established in England.
The U.S. Embassy in Brussels was reestablished on September 14, 1944, with Ernest de W. Mayer as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.