855.001 Leopold/6–1845: Telegram
The Ambassador in Belgium (Sawyer) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3:43 p.m.]
810. Discussions with Brit Ambas and SHAEF result (re furnishing plane mentioned in my 80878 and 809, June 17) in desire for instruction. My own opinion is that if King demands plane from military authorities because Govt has refused to ask for one it will be advisable to furnish it. Allies have repatriated over 230,000 other prisoners of war. They have furnished transportation for Prince Regent, Prime Minister and members of Leopold’s household to go back and forth from Salzburg to Brussels. It will be difficult to refuse same service to the King himself. If a plane is not furnished King will probably ask for an automobile and even if he is able to obtain an automobile from others, he must ask for gasoline from the military authorities. If they refuse to furnish the plane they should refuse to furnish car or gasoline. As a result King will be a prisoner; having been a prisoner of Germany for one year he will now be a prisoner of the Allies. The charges made by the Libre Belgique (see my 799, June 1579) will appear to have confirmation. If the King stays where he is because he has no way to leave he may refuse to abdicate or make any decision, in which event extremely critical condition in Belgium will continue indefinitely. It has been suggested that furnishing a plane to the King would indicate a preference for him in present controversy. Even if such an interpretation is permissible the results in my opinion would be far less damaging than the results of the opposite course.
I respectfully request your suggestions and instructions.
The Brit Ambas is sending a similar cable.