I must jump twenty years ahead to continue the story of Belgian appreciations. In 1938, I responded to many urgings by King Leopold, the Prime Minister, and many Belgian friends to revisit their country. It is of no purpose to describe the many courtesies extended to me by the King, the Ministry, the Parliament, and the thousands who lined the streets.
The most touching reminder of Relief days was a convening, for the first time in twenty years, of the C.R.B. and Comité National in our old Board room in a leading bank in Brussels. We had met there monthly to determine major policies until the American withdrawal when we declared war. With Belgian meticulousness, the chairs at the Board table had been marked for each member. After the final meeting dissolving the Comité in 1919, we had never met again, even for social purposes.
On my visit to Belgium in 1938, the Vice-President of the Comité National, Emmanuel Janssen, and the Secretary, Firmin Van Brée, summoned a special meeting, with the exact old protocol, at the Comité's former meeting hour and place. Of the Americans, Hugh Gibson, now Ambassador to Belgium, Hallam Tuck, Perrin Galpin, Millard Shaler, Milton Brown, and I were present.
The Chairman declared that the agenda for the day contained only three items--to call the roll, to honor the dead, and to renew friendships built in time of trial.
I have seldom been more affected than by that roll call and the frequent reply of the clerk, "Passed beyond." More than one-half of
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Publication information: Book title: An American Epic. Volume: 1. Contributors: Herbert Hoover - Author. Publisher: H. Regnery Co.. Place of publication: Chicago. Publication year: 1959. Page number: 449.
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