By PETER 1. O'GRADY [Our former correspondent in. Belgium]
The Catholic Premier of Belgium, M. Pierlot, and Foreign Minister, M. Spaak, arrived with dramatic suddenness last week.
1 called on M. Pierlot at the Belgian Ministry to welcome him in the name of the CATHOLIC HERALD and in my own. He greeted me as an old friend with warmth. I found bins looking worn out, his features drawn, after the tragic events of the last few months, and appearing much relieved to he at liberty again to take up the helm of government. in co-operation with his Cabinet colleagues now established in London,
For the moment M. Piertot prefers not to grant any interview or make any public pronouncement. In deference to this wish of Ins. I refrain from referring to our personal talk.
I am able, however, to state from authoritative source that entire agreement has now been reached between the Belgian Government and the British Government, and that the Pierlot, Speak, de Vleeschauwer and Gull Cabinet is officially recognised by the British Government as the grit), legal Belgian Government.
Fuller light is forthcoming on the tragic events of the Belgian capitulation., M. Pierlot's broadcast to the Belgian people from France was based, 1 understand, on an erroneous impression given by M. Reynaud, the French Premier, that led him to the belief that Belgium, at that moment, was concluding a separate peace. This, of course, was false.
The tragedy of the situation, said the Belgian military representative to me in London, is that King Leopold, as head of the army, must share the fate of his army as prisoner of war, whereas as head of the State he ought to be wills his Government in England. A tragedy, in fact, that the Belgian Constitution provides that the King is both political chief and military chief.
A masterly reply has been given by Finance Minister Gutt to the virulent attack on King Leopold made by H. G. Wells in a popular Sunday paper, attributing " deliberate treason " to the King, proposing his " trial by his own people, to be either acquitted as a foolish weakling, unfit to govern .. or else condemned and executed."
Minister Gutt, Acting Minister of War, denounces this as false; for King Leopold had made no treaty with Germans, nor consented to govern under German occupation. An outstanding fact is that His Majesty has made no treaty whatever, and does not govern. " He surrendered without terms." He is a prisoner, as are all his officers.
The opinion of the Belgian Government, insists Minister Gutt, is that the surrender was inevitable, because of the total collapse of the French armies in the south, and because the French Generalissimo's orders obstructed the retreat of Belgian troops whilst still possible, and the resultant encirclement of the Belgian Army made surrender unavoidable.