Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 56 Part 2.djvu/805

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56 STAT.] BELGIUM-MILITARY SERVICE- Mar. 31, July 3, 1942 1891 Oct. 10. 16 , 1942 The Belgian Ambassador to the Secretary of State AMBASSADE DE BELGIQUE D. 488 DT/TS No. 4421 WASHINGTON, July 31, 1942 SIR: I have the honor to refer to your Excellency's note of March 31, 1942 concerning the application of the U.S.A . Selective Training Service Act of 1940, as amended, to Belgian Nationals residing in the U.S.A. Your Excellency is well aware that, according to Belgian law, Belgian nationals only and no aliens are liable for military service. Consequently, no American citizen residing on Belgian territory has ever been submitted to military service in Belgian forces; on the other hand, Belgians are liable for military service in the Belgian army wherever they reside. The Belgian Government had, therefore, reason to expect that Belgians residing in the U.S .A . be given the same treatment regarding military service as is given to Americans living on Belgian territory. In the absence of a de facto reciprocity, the Belgian Government feels that an agreement should have been reached between the U.S.A. and Belgium before Belgian citizens living in the U.S .A. be conscripted for military service in the U.S.A . forces. It may be pointed out in this connection that according to an opinion expressed by the Hague Peace Conference of 1907, the conscription of aliens should be regu- lated by special treaties between the interested governments. The Belgian Government regrets that the American Government has adopted, as regards military service, a policy which seriously hampers the efforts of the Belgian Government to carry on the fight against the Axis Powers. Since Belgium is occupied by the enemy, the Belgian Government lacks man power to reinforce its small armed forces in England as well as to meet the needs of its Colony. With the exception of the few Belgians who succeed in escaping from the occupied country, Belgian nationals residing in free countries and particularly in the U.S.A. constitute the sole available supply of man power for the Belgian Government. As has already been emphasized, it is of paramount political im- portance for the Belgian Government to raise and organize an armed force in the present conflict, while the presence of Belgian units fighting under the Belgian flag will be an obvious advantage to the common cause for the future liberation of Belgian territory and the reestablishment of law and order therein. In the note of March 31st, your Excellency states that the govern- ment of the U.S.A. is prepared to initiate a procedure which will permit non-declarant Belgian nationals, who have registered under the U.S .A . Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended, to elect, at any time prior to their induction into the armed forces of the U.S.A ., to serve in the armed forces of Belgium, in lieu of service in the forces of the U.S.A .