855.001 Leopold/3–2645: Telegram

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

229. The Combined Chiefs of Staff despatched cable (Facs 9260) to General Eisenhower on October 6, 1944, directing him to prepare an order for the release of King Leopold and the Royal family. The General was further directed to have this order handed to the German authorities as soon as the instrument of surrender was signed “in view of the necessity for the King of the Belgians to be liberated and to rejoin his Ministers at the earliest possible moment.”

This is the extent of General Eisenhower’s orders, which do not cover the liberation of the king in the course of normal military operations.

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Since the directive to SCAEF61 was prepared at the request of the Belgian Government, we believe that any recommendation for modification thereof should be made only upon receipt of a formal request from the present Government with the assent of the Regent.

Please be guided by the above in your conversations with the British and the military and keep the Department closely informed.

  1. Military communication.
  2. Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force.