855.001 Leopold/7–1645: Telegram

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

638. Following is text of my no. 42 to the Secretary:

“It seems to me from Sawyer’s 946, July 16, that we may be being a little precipitate in the matter of King Leopold. This is primarily a Belgian question and one in which I think we should limit ourselves to being as helpful as we can to the Belgian government which is faced with a delicate constitutional problem. Unilateral action on our part, however justified, tends to place us in the position of an outsider interfering in a family quarrel. I agree that the King’s vacillation creates a most unsatisfactory situation and that is quite understandable that our military authorities should wish to get him off their hands. I believe, however, that it would be unwise to force the issue unless requested to do so by the Belgian government. I understand that Van Acker is currently taking the matter up with Parliament. If this leads to no clear-cut decision we might then consider the possibility of requesting our Ambassador tactfully to point out to Van Acker and the Prince Regent that King Leopold’s continued residence in our zone of occupation and his reliance on American military facilities is a growing source of embarrassment and inconvenience and to inquire whether some such line of action, as suggested by Mr. Sawyer, would be agreeable to the Belgian government.”