A large crowd welcomed King Baudouin when he arrived at Brussels airport his two-week fact-finding tour of the Belgian Congo, Jan 2.
A large crowd welcomed King Baudouin when he arrived at Brussels airport his two-week fact-finding tour of the Belgian Congo, Jan 2. Bare-headed and wearing civilian clothes the bespectacled monarch inspected a guard of honour before driving to Laeken Palace.
He was received warmly by people along the route and at the palace gates his car was mobbed and flowers thrown to him.
King Baudouin flew from Coquilhatville, his last stopping place in the Congo, where he celebrated New Year's Eve with Minister for Belgian Congo Auguste de Schrijver, who accompanied him on the tour.
This Royal visit, met with nearly equal portions of enthusiasm and misgivings, resulted in plans for a round-table conference between Belgian Government and Congolese politicians sometime this month in Brussels. Federalism is thought to be the most probable form of government in an independent Congo, With the six provincial governments with wide powers envisaged by Africans, the fears of minority tribal groups could probably be allayed.
Such talks became part of African Nationalist policy after a meeting between the various political parties in Leopoldville during the King's visit. Most insistent of the African leaders for round-table talks was Mr. Kasavubu, head of the Abako party. The Belgian Government originally planned, after the bloody Leopoldville riots of last year, to give responsible government to the Congolese in mid-1960 and independence within four years. The Congolese want independence this year.