Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 3, 1877
to Mr. Fish.
Brussels, October 3, 1876. (Received October 17.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith an extract from the Moniteur Beige, (with translation of the same,) in reference to the geographical congress lately held in this city, the subject being the exploration of Central Africa.
I have, &c.,
The deliberations of the geographical conference, which met at the palace of Brussels from the 12th to the 14th, are resumed in two papers, of which the following is the tenor:
i.—declaration of the conference.
To attain the object of the international conference at Brussels, that is to say, to explore scientifically the unknown parts of Africa, to facilitate the opening of ways by which civilization may penetrate into the interior of the continent, and find the means of suppressing the slave-trade among the negroes of Africa, we must—
- Organize on a common international plan the exploration of the unknown parts of Africa, limiting the parts to be explored to the east and the west by the two oceans, [Page 45]to the south, by the basin of the Zambese, and to the north by the frontier of the new Egyptian territory and independent Soudan. The best way to accomplish this exploration will be to employ a certain number of isolated travelers, commencing at divers bases of operations.
- To establish, as base of the explorations, a certain number of scientific and hospitable stations as well on the coast of Africa as in the interior of the continent. Of these stations some should be established in a very limited number on the east and west coasts of Africa where European civilization is already commenced, at Bagamoyo and Loanda for example, they could be founded at a small expense, for they could be confided to Europeans residing on the spot. The other stations should be established at the points of the interior which would best serve as the immediate basis of the explorations. These stations would have the character of entrepots, destined to furnish to travelers the means of living and exploring. They could begin to make these last stations at the places that at present are considered the most favorable for the end in view. We would say, for instance, Udjji, Nyangwe, the residence of the king, or some point situated in the domains of Muata-Yanvo. The explorers could indicate later the spots at which it would be convenient to establish stations of the same kind.
Leaving to the future the care of establishing direct communication between the stations, the conference expresses the wish that, above all, a line should be established between one ocean and the other, following as near as possible the route pursued by Commander Cameron. The conference expresses equally the wish that afterwards there shall be established lines of operation in the direction of north-south.
The conference appeals now to the good-will and co-operation of all travelers who attempt scientific explorations in Africa, whether they travel or not under the auspices of tbe international commission instituted by these means.
ii.—resolutions decreed by the conference.
- That there shall be constituted an international commission for the exploration and civilization of Central Africa; also national committees who will be in communication with the commission in order to centralize, as much as possible, the efforts made by their different nations, and to facilitate by their co-operation the execution of the resolutions made by the commission.
- That the national committee shall be constituted in the manner that appears to them preferable.
- That the commission shall be composed of the presidents of the principal geographical societies which were represented at the Brussels conference, or who will adhere to the programme, land of two members chosen by each national committee.
- That the president shall have the right to admit to the association the countries which were not represented at the conference.
- That the president shall have the right to complete the international commission by adding effective and honorary members.
- That the central commission, after having made its rules, shall have the power to direct by means of an executive committee the enterprises and works tending to -attain the end of the association, and to manage the funds furnished by the different governments, by the national committees, and by private people.
- That the executive committee shall be constituted near the president, and composed of three or four members named beforehand by the actual conference and later by the international commission.
- That the members of the committee shall hold themselves ready to respond to the call of the president.
- That the president shall name a general secretary, who by the fact of his nomination shall become a member of the international commission and of the executive committee, and also a treasurer.