RETURN OF KING LEOPOLD
From Our Own Correspondent
More than 20,000 persons in the most imposing rally of its kind in Belgium up to the present time, meeting in Brussels on Sunday last, demanded the return of King Leopold from his exile in Switzerland.
This national Congress, which was organised by the Commission of eight prominent Belgians set up by King Leopold in 1946, to enquire into the King's behaviour, was held in the grand Hall of the Palais Centenaire, the largest in the country. The Congress which was attended and addressed by members of the Cabinet, deputies and senators, for the most part of the Christian Social Party, was to have been presided over by M. van Zeeland. the former Prime Minister.
M. van Zeeland was, however, still on his way home from Batavia a message from him opened the proceedings. M. van Zeeland said: ROME. " The Belgian constitution has been copied by many countries and has given Belgium 120 years of prosperity and justice.
"In it the prerogatives of the crown are an essential! element and Leopold III in the most tragic circionstances was faithful to his constitutional oath and his exile is unjust and unconstitutional.
" In the name of the principles," continued the message, " which hre the foundation ofthe public life of the country, the King should be invited without delay to take up again the exercise of his constitutional functions."
M. de Vleeschauwer. Minister of the Colonies in the wartime government in exile in London, presided in M. van Zeeland's absence and immediately after the reading of this message called on the Burgomaster of Namur, Senator Hued.
" The King's cause is the cause of respect for the constitution and the will of the immense majority of the population yet despite this the Communists have vetoed the return of the King and proclaimed the fall of the Royal House, demanded the setting up of a Republic and, up to the thne they left the government, have endeavoured to run Belgium themselves which just could not be allowed."
THE PEOPLE WISH IT
M. Segers, of Antwerp, spoke in the name of thousands of burgomasters and mayors of smaller towns and said that responsible statesmen and defenders of the King ought to demand his return because " the people wish it."
He also urged that an address be made to the Regent to urge him to take the initiative to bring the King back to Belgium and The country to the path of the constitutional.
The resolution addressed to the government adopted by the congress declared that the present unconstitutional situation threatened the peace of the country and an end should he put to h. The Congress finally called upon the committee to initiate an active campaign for the return of the King and failing a solution by this means to have recourse to a popular referendum.
It was also suggested that each commune should organise a day of reparation for the outrages and insults offered to the King.
The congress made it clear that the Christian Social Party is no longer willing to continue in coalition unless the King is recalled within the next month or two.