855.001 Leopold/6–1145: Telegram

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

502. Department approves action reported in your telegram 780, June 11, 1945. In this connection British Embassy has shown Department extract from telegram from your British colleague to Foreign Office of June 7 reporting conversation between Van Acker and King Leopold. In response to latter’s query about attitude of United States and British governments Van Acker said that the Ambassadors had expressed no opinion but that he was convinced for his part that [Page 125] the two governments attached highest importance to the solidity of Belgium and security of the dynasty. Van Acker added that he had not informed his colleagues of this observation which he made under obligation of secrecy to the King.

The Department, of course, does not now contemplate indicating any view positive or negative either about the continuation of Leopold’s reign or maintenance of the dynasty.

The British Embassy has presented to the Department an aide-mémoire of June 13 with reference to General Eisenhower’s cable SHAEF 444 to which you refer in your 781, June 11.75 The Foreign Office appears to share your disapproval of the suggested course of action. While the Department agrees that any abrupt change in the situation brought about on our initiative would be undesirable, it believes that the King’s continued presence in occupied territory is a potential source of embarrassment, since there is a tendency for the contending parties to try to draw the military authorities into the controversy. On the other hand, Department can see no way to terminate this state of affairs or to remove the King to an area not controlled by the Army without appearing to take sides. If, however, the situation of the King is not resolved by July 9 Department will actively consider measures to relieve the Army of the King’s presence.

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