855.001 Leopold/7–645: Telegram

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

904. Dept in its 502, June 14 stated if intention of King is not resolved by July 9 Dept will actively consider measures to relieve army of King’s presence.

As background for this consideration will say that Van Acker is planning to leave for Salzburg tomorrow and requested transportation. He has requested that Irenne [Pirenne?], who says that King wants him to come, be given no transportation. Van Acker is prepared to tell King he must abdicate or return immediately. If King decides to do neither he will request military authorities to give no more transportation. SHAEF mission is asking instructions of SHAEF Main covering situation where transportation is requested by friends of King and opposed by Govt.

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This morning Libre Belgique Catholic pro-Leopold paper quoted an order of Commanding General Trier sub area dated June 12 as follows:

“To CO84 the Belgian Fusilier Battalion. Should the Belgian King be seen by your unit, he is to be detained, arid this Hdqs is to be notified immediately. Commanding General Trier sub area (S) Major General Matchett official designation of sender (S) A. Pollick, Capt.”

Paper claims Allied military authorities have in effect held King as prisoner and mentions particularly the Americans.

Cor [Col.] Sherman who knew about order shortly after it was issued states unfortunately worded order had been promptly countermanded, that of course there was never any intention to imprison King or to restrict his movements in least. He is making statement to that effect today.

I recommend that plan of Dept be carried out. It seems to me that this could be covered by statement to King that Army would refuse to furnish transportation after specific date and that until that date would take him anywhere he wishes to go. If opinion of Dept has not changed this would of course be limited to place adjacent to Belgian border in Germany. I call Dept’s attention to fact that this would put King into Brit territory and take him out of American territory.

Rptd to Murphy as 3.

  1. Commanding Officer.