1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/De Broqueville, Charles, Comte

DE BROQUEVILLE, CHARLES, Comte (1860–), Belgian statesman, was born at Tostel, Belgium, Dec. 4 1860 of a family which was French in origin. He was privately educated and passed much time at his father’s estate. It was his marriage to Mdlle. d’Huart, granddaughter of Jules Malou (see 17.496) the Conservative leader, that paved the way for his entrance into public life. At the age of 25 he became a member of the provincial council of Antwerp, subsequently being elected deputy for Tournhout, and in Aug. 1910 was appointed Minister of Railways, Posts and Telegraphs in the Schollaert Cabinet. On the fall of this Ministry (July 1912) Baron de Broqueville undertook the formation of a new Cabinet, and in Nov. 1912 also became Minister of War, in this position successfully pressing through the bill for strengthening the Belgian army. When in Aug. 1914 the Belgians determined to resist the passage of the Germans through their country, the Belgian premier well expressed the feelings of the nation in his declaration “Nous serons peut-être vaincus, mais soumis, jamais!” On the retreat of the Belgian army towards the Yser, De Broqueville established himself at_ Dunkirk and there assisted the military authorities to recreate the units of the Belgian army which had been broken in the retreat. He established the Belgian base at Calais, and after the battle of the Yser worked indefatigably for the reconstitution of the army. In Aug. 1917 Gen. de Ceuninck became Minister of War and De Broqueville succeeded Baron Beyens as Foreign Minister. One of his more important actions was to establish a war Cabinet of six members on the model of those in France and England. In Jan. 1918, however, he was succeeded as Foreign Minister by M. Paul Hymans, already a member of the war Cabinet. It was found that in Sept. 1917 De Broqueville had transmitted to M. Briand peace proposals secretly made by the Germans through Von der Lancken, head of the political department in Brussels, without informing his colleagues in the Cabinet, and this incident seriously diminished his power. In Jan. 1918 he took over the charge of the new department of national reconstruction, but in June of the same year his resignation of the premiership was accepted by the King. At the end of the war he became Minister of the Interior in the Delacroix Cabinet, and retained this office until Nov. 1919, when he retired, having the same year been created a count.