16 FEBRUARY 1945, Page 1

Belgium's New Government

The Socialist M. Van Acker has succeeded in forming a new Government in Belgium, in which members of the Catholic Party and the Communists will be included. M. Pierlot held the fort bravely in the first period of liberation under conditions of ex- ceptional difficulty. He has been in the position of embarrassment felt by leaders of several Governments which carried on in exile during their countries' occupation, and it was not easy for him to create contacts with new men who had become leaders of the internal resistance movement. He experienced the handicaps which would have been suffered by any Government which had to take office when everything was still in disorder—while the resistance movements were unwilling to relinquish their activities, and the people were without food and the means of getting back to work. Moreover, for the machinery of administration there was no per- sonnel except that which had been employed by the Germans. M. Pierlot was blamed for his handling of the coal situation. It certainly was not his fault that total imports into Belgium since the liberation have been only 1 per cent. of what they were before

the war, and less than 3 per cent. of what they were under the Germans. Moreover, much of Belgium is still a fighting zone, and the recent invasion of the Ardennes was a set-back to economic restoration. But a change seems to have become inevitalie. The new Government not only includes all parties, but introduces more men who had taken a part in the resistance movement. M. Van Acker will have no easy task. It is in the interest of the Allies that everything possible should be done to strengthen his hand by putting ships, vehicles and materials at his disposal.