740.5/1–1251: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State 1


1152. For Perkins. Your 5 from Copenhagen. As Belgian Liberal Party has during recent months adopted policy refusing support for present Catholic Government’s military program because (1) it disapproves government and (2) it considers some features of proposed legislation defective, it was arranged for Dr. R. Motz, President Belgian Liberal Party and Baron Kronacker, prominent party member, to be received by General Eisenhower in Brussels.

General Eisenhower outlined to his visitors general purpose of his voyage to Europe, stressing urgency of our defense requirements and necessity that several member countries of NATO rise above local political considerations in all-out drive to accomplish their common objectives. He recognized difficulties of local politics everywhere, saying that we had our own difficulties in US which our European friends undoubtedly understand. However, if he could return to US and report that in countries like Belgium a proportionate and united effort to provide for Western defense is being made, it would facilitate American share of undertaking to important degree. His remarks were enthusiastically received by his visitors who were visibly impressed.

Doctor Motz said that he fully agreed with General Eisenhower but he thought that we all have indulged too much in talk of dangers of situation. He believed that population needed encouragement and belief in victory and in their own capacity to defend themselves as result, too many are defeatists feeling that it would be hopeless to [Page 416] resist. Baron Kronacker stated disagreement with this view, asserting that there is far too much complacency and inclination to believe that US will carry load. General Eisenhower emphasized our interest in military service requirements of all NAT countries stressing, of course, that he would not venture to say what Belgium should do but pointing to program of military service in US. If Belgium would vote a period of 24 months military service, he would find that gratifying and encouraging and it would help him when he returns to face congressional committees in Washington as evidence of determination of Belgium to bear its share of burden.

Dr. Motz explained that his party’s position in abstaining from vote yesterday in Chamber committee, which is considering militia bill, was not due to opposition to purposes of measure but because of Liberal belief that law is defective and also because of lack of confidence in present weak government. However, Dr. Motz said that Liberals knew that bill would be enacted and merely wanted to use vote as demonstration of their dissatisfaction with what they consider defects in text as well as of their general dissent with present government. Government has failed constantly to tell people what is necessary and Minister of Defense according to Doctor Motz is utterly incompetent.

(During subsequent meeting, Defense Minister de Greef told us that he had used meeting with Chamber committee to read riot act to committee, pointing out to them that attitude of Socialists and Liberals in opposing and abstaining created misunderstanding in US and made it much more difficult to persuade US Congress to vote funds in support of Western European military effort.)

  1. Sent to Oslo for MacArthur, repeated to Department of State for information.