In the archives of the family De Moor there are several cartoons which refer to political situations that took place. Since the events often took place more than 60 years ago, it’s not always easy to understand what was the real political background of these cartoons.
Today I’m going to dissect a cartoon, which seems to have been drawn between 1946 and 1948. The cartoon shows a man descending from an airplane, surrounded by what looks to be journalists.
If that would be the only lead, I wouldn’t know what to think of it. However, on the back of that drawing you can see 2 lines. The first is the title Bob De Moor gave to this cartoon, the 2nd is the line that had to go under the drawing to give the cartoon its meaning (at least back then). The title reads “When Spaak arrives”, the legend of the cartoon says: “I’m sorry gentlemen, I can’t speak to you… my beard is obstructing me.”
We are probably dealing with a cartoon about Paul Henri Charles Spaak. Spaak (25 January 1899 – 31 July 1972) was a Belgian socialist politician and statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Belgium (1938–1939, 1946 and 1947–1949), as the first President of the United Nations General Assembly (1946–1947), as the first President of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (1952–1954), as the first President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, then called the Consultative Assembly (1949–50), and as the second Secretary General of NATO (1957–1961).
Lot’s of roles, but it’s my guess that the cartoon is about him being the Belgian Secretary of State (1946-1949). The fact that we see Spaak descending from a plane indicates that he has been traveling abroad (in Belgium politicians don’t travel by plane for local duties) and considering the style used here by Bob De Moor, I’m inclined to think we are dealing with a cartoon from 1947-1948.
One small details though, Spaak didn’t have a beard in real life… So, it’s pretty sure that De Moor’s joke is exactly about that. Perhaps Spaak had been away for quite some time and hence the beard? Unless we can find the publication where this cartoon appeared, it will be pretty difficult to get the meaning of it all.