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FATEFUL ACTION

KING'S SURRENDER

Separate Treaty Made With

Germany

On May 28, iy4o, King Leopold of the Belgians surrendered with his army of more than 400,000 men to the German invaders. The Belgian Prime Minister, M. Pierlot, in a broadcast speech from Paris said King Leopold had broken the Belgian Constitution. He had made a separate treaty with Germany which must be considered null and void. "Belgians," he said, "we must face the most difficult trial of our life. We will fight on to ultimate victory."

Belgian Ministers announced that they would disown Leopold, and they met at the Belgian Embassy in Paris to organise a provisional Government. Hitler, meanwhile, decided that the King and his army should be treated as men of valour deserved and he gave Leopold a Belgian Castle as a residence, various reports gave contradictory accounts of the King's activities. Most indicated that he refused to co-operate, but accepted passively the restrictions of his new life. Dr. Marcel Jaspar, Belgian Minister of State, and nephew of M. Pierlot, was the first member of the Belgian Cabinet to reach London. In a broadcast he appealed to all his countrymen to fight on beside Britain. "It is a time for deeds, he said "and not lamentations. Death rather than slavery. God will protect Belgium and her Allies " At the end of October, 1940, M. Pierlot arrived in London with the Foreign Minister, M. Paul Spaak. The next day the Minister of Finance, M. Camille Gutt, said it was then possible to make a full statement of the position of the Belgian Government in Britain. King Leopold, as. a ■prisoner of war, had caused the executive powers normally vested m him to pass to the Cabinet. No armistice," he added, "much less a peace treaty, has been concluded with Germany." . The Belgian Government in London kept in constant touch with the underground movement of _ their country and directed all Belgian resources outside Europe to the benefit of the Allied cause. Possibly one of the most important cases the people have against King Leopold is his marriage to the Marie-Lelia Baels, the beautiful daughter of one of Belgium's wealthiest men, who has been accused of collaboration with the Germans. The King's brother, Prince Charles, however, is high in popular favour because of his known activities with the underground m Ttfe l1 Belgian Parliament was last elected on April 2, 1939, for four y6 After the return of the exiled Government to Belgium M Pierlot, early in February, resigned, and M. van Acker formed the present Government. He was a prominent member of the resistance movement.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450718.2.51

Bibliographic details

FATEFUL ACTION, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

Word Count
435

FATEFUL ACTION Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

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