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King Baudoin receives members of the Belgo-Congolese round tabel conference at the Royal Palace

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Belgisch Congo
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gepubliceerd op 22 Nov 2021 / In Wetenschap / Geschiedenis

Sunday February 21, 1960, King Baudoin receives members of the Belgo-Congolese round tabel conference at a Reception in the Royal Palace of Brussels where he gives the following speech:Gentlemen,The work of the Round Table, the results of this conference that will serve as the basis for the political and socio-economic organization of Congo, has just ended in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, I am very pleased today to welcome the Congolese delegations to be received in the presence of members of the Belgian government and parliament.More than ever, our thoughts return to King Leopold II, who founded the state of Congo some eighty years ago. In a completely unexplored wilderness, unknown to most of the world, from an area of ​​diversity of kingdoms and tribes chiefly hostile to one another and victims of the slave trade and disease, a mighty land has grown.The exceptional and admirable factor is that my great-great-uncle achieved this union not by conquest, but essentially by peaceful means, through a series of treaties signed by the king and the chieftains. Thanks to these treaties, the Belgians were able to establish prosperity, peace and all other conditions of truth in the heart of Central Africa.those who will succeed us at the helm of the Congolese state will learn how great, how brave and I say without hesitation how generous was the task accomplished by Belgium in Congo.When we got there, everything still had to be done. We give you back your Congo with a complete administrative system, major cities, railways, highways, airports, hospitals, schools, an intellectual class, a currency, a number of industries, a developing agricultural industry, a standard of dear and an economy that many young nations could envy.Today our deeply moved and grateful thoughts are with the Belgians who live in Congo and who, far from their homeland and often in circumstances that leave much to be desired, have devoted their lives to you with urgent self-denial.The statements you made at the round table convince us that you fully recognize all that Belgium has done for you and all that it will do in the future as - as I am sure they will - our two peoples united remain through the bonds of sincere friendship.In your presence. Gentlemen, it is my wish to formally take note of these statements. They prove that your firm intention is to ensure the safety of persons and property within the borders of the future independent Congo state.They also prove that you are fully aware of the enormous difficulties of all kinds that your country's government will face, and that it can count on Belgium with confidence for help to overcome them. Gentlemen, we count on your loyalty as you can count on ours.So far, only Belgium has taken on the overwhelming responsibility of governing the peoples and territories that they, I am proud to say, cast in the state of Congo. We have been obliged to fight valiantly to defend your borders; you too will be called upon to defend this great legacy against foreign intrigue and envy who, under the cover of pretended aid, will do their best to take advantage of your inexperience.Tomorrow these responsibilities will be yours. Never forget that our hand remains outstretched to assist you in carrying out the task we can be proud of having successfully accomplished, as it ultimately led to your independence.May God protect Congo.

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