855.001 Leopold/7–1945: Telegram

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

961. Reference your 638 and 42 Secretary. I quite agree that nothing is to be gained by being precipitate. It is hard for me to see how it could be claimed we are precipitate. My suggestion (see my 946) was based on long consideration and discussion with interested parties here.

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Since King’s liberation on May 8 there has been total of 30 airtrips and transportation for 138 people in addition corps at Salzburg and the 106th Cavalry at St. Wolfgang have furnished for King’s household rations, gas, local transportation, etc. I have been informed there have been two increases in basic ration issued at King’s household so that now they receive more than is authorized for US Army hospitals. In addition he has had sent him by British and American transportation household supplies of various sorts.

It is generally felt after a lapse of two and half months of free transportation and service King will be taking advantage of our good nature if this program continues and that it is now necessary politely but firmly to bring an end to episode. The line suggest[ed] by me will be agreeable to everyone with possible exception of King and as matter of fact it can be presented to King in such a way that he would have no cause for complaint. While it is true question of King’s return is purely Belgian one, question of his remaining in our territory and being furnished transportation by American planes is not purely Belgian question. We cannot avoid being involved in matter. Problem is to be involved as little as possible.

Regarding last part your cable suggesting I point out to Prince Regent and Van Acker that King’s continued residence, etc., is growing source of embarrassment and inconvenience to us, I can assure you that Prince Regent will certainly not request King to move and think Van Acker will say this is matter for us to decide. Prince Regent has scrupulously endeavored to keep himself out of controversy and I know he will not put himself in position where he is demanding Americans move King out of their zone or telling Americans he wishes them to leave King in their zone. On other hand I know that a message to King such as I have suggested will be acceptable to Van Acker and the government.

As Parliament has now passed bill fixing definitely status of regency which even under King’s interpretation will remain until after elections are held in Belgium, the argument for terminating this service is strengthened.

Repeated Murphy for Byrnes as 17.