855.001 Leopold/5–1445: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium (Sawyer) to the Secretary of State

638. Van Acker told me this morning that Leopold has been living under great strain not knowing from day to day whether he would be saved or shot. At times during the conference with Van Acker and the latter’s colleagues the King seemed in a state approaching nervous collapse. He spent one entire day alone with Van Acker and seemed to take a sensible attitude toward the situation and to realize the difficulties which confront him and the country. Van Acker is not unaware of the troubles which may lie ahead. He says that the dynasty is in his opinion even as a socialist a necessary amalgam for his country. He made no demands whatever on the King and the suggestion that the King remain out of the country for some time came from the King himself. It is not impossible that he will decide to abdicate giving his health as the reason. He intends to invite some of his advisors to come to see him at his present place of residence and it is of course possible that after talking to these persons he will regain his composure and decide to return to Belgium and resume his functions.

Apparently the conversations between the King and the Regent were friendly and restrained although they were not in the past the most companionable of brothers. The Regent is returning to Brussels today.

Van Acker seems to feel that public opinion may now crystallize and that a more tolerant attitude may be taken by both Leopold’s supporters and opponents.