855.001 Leopold/5–1545: Telegram

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

651. Extended talk with Prince Charles this afternoon describing trip to Strobl confirmed earlier accounts and indicated Leopold had had no expectation that he would not be welcomed back with enthusiasm by Belgian populace. His continued confinement, his complete lack of information, the imminence of probable death shortly before he was liberated and his own normal tendency to resent advice and suggestions made difficult the task in pursuance of which certain of delegates undertook to acquaint him with difficulties which would follow his return to Belgium. Apparently Charles feels King’s wife has. great influence with him.

Attitude of Charles is one of complete loyalty to his brother and belief that King may return without real danger to his throne and that while there is considerable talk about demands for abdication these will not really be pressed when King himself returns. Charles says question of royal position is above discussion. Personally I feel this attitude of his is wholly sincere and that he would like to see King return. He is a very wise man, however, and well aware of great dangers which lie ahead if the King does not both in words and actions handle situation with extreme skill. He is in agreement with my feeling that everything will depend upon what King himself does and as Charles says “does within near future”. His feeling is the King cannot long delay decision. There is no doubt whatever King’s return will present some problems which may be aggravated intensely by unwise speech or action of the King and that if he should not return and Charles should remain Regent the country would breathe a sigh of relief and agitation which has grown to serious proportions immediately subside.