Page 1, 18th October 1940

18th October 1940
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Page 1, 18th October 1940 — The Belgian Forces in Great Britain Acclaim King Leopold
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The Belgian Forces in Great Britain Acclaim King Leopold

By PETER J. O'GRADY

(Our former Correspondent in Belgium)

M. Gutt, Belgian Minister of Finance, is ow also Minister of National Defence. He has taken over the portfolio of General Denis, who , has resigned.

The new Minister for War is to-day a busy man. Yet he cordially granted me an interview when I c-iled at the Belgian Ministry in London.

I asked him for his policy as Minister of War. He answered: " Our object is to fight on to reconquer Belgium, to liberate our prisoner King, and to join our effort to that of Great Britain to bring the war to a victorious end."

THE LEGAL BELGIAN GOVERNMENT M. le Commandant Wouters, Belgian Air Attache, then told me the story. He had just flown back with Minister Gun from a visit to the Belgian Military Camp somewhere in Great Britain, M. Gull there spoke to the troops in his new capacity as Belgian Minister for War, and clearly defined to them the position and powers of the one and only legal Belgian Government.

M. Gutt told the troops how the French Government had refused to allow Premier Pierlot permission to broadcast a definition of Belgian Government policy and position, which it was vital for all Belgians in Belgium and abroad to hear. That was on July 21 last. Permission to communicate it to the Press was also refused.

" Belgium is occupied by German armies," said M. Gutt to the troops. " Our King is a prisoner of war. We are the only legal Belgian Government, the only Ministers appointed by the King. We, the Belgian Government, want a free Belgium and a free King, free without reserve, as they were before August 4, 1914, and before May 10, 1940. To achieve this we shall fight side by side with Great Britain until final victory.

NO PEACE TREATY

" When Belgium was unjustly attacked last May, she took up arms and appealed to her guarantors. Since then she has concluded no armistice convention nor signed any peace treaty. Legally and de facto she is at war with Germany, who is now apply

ing war measures on Belgian territory. I think that on these principles and with this object we cannot but be in full agreement.

FOUR BELGIAN MILITARY CORPS.

There are now four Belgian Military Corps in Great Britain. Two arc in position guarding a sector of the coast of Great Britain.

The legal Belgian Government, I am officially informed, is represented by M. Hubert Pierlot (Catholic), Premier ; M. Paul Spaak, Foreign Minister (Socialist); M. de VIceschauwer, Minister of Colonies (Catholic), and M. Camille Gutt, Minister of Finance and of National Defence (no party). A small National Cabinet, but one representing the ideal working Cabinet that the Belgian Press and public opinion have long campaigned for.

The nine Ministers remaining after the expulsion of M. Marcel Jaspar formally tendered their resignation to Premier Pierlot who, as head of the Council of Ministers legally replacing the King, now prisoner of war, accepted.




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