No. 309.

Mr. von Alvensleben to Mr. Bayard.


Sir: The undersigned, Imperial German envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to communicate the following to the Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, Secretary of State of the United States:

An association of German subjects, under the name of the “German Colonization Society,” has purchased certain territories, together with sovereign rights, by means of treaties with the native chiefs. The said territories are situated in the eastern part of Africa, to the west of the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar. The association has requested His Majesty the Emperor to assume the sovereignty over these territories, which request has been complied with by His Majesty, who has caused the accompanying imperial letter of protection, bearing date of the 27th ultimo, to be issued to the association. The territories in question are situated within the extended zone of the conventional basin of the Congo, provided for in Chapter I, Article I, sub. 3, of the “Acte général de la Conférence de Berlin,” to which zone the signatory powers have pledged themselves to apply the provisions of that instrument.

The Government of His Majesty the Emperor, in consequence hereof, assumes the obligation to see that the provisions of the Acte général are executed within the German possessions lying in the said zone, and it claims, at the same time, the advantages for said possessions which are guaranteed in Chapter III of the Acte général in respect to the neutrality of the territories lying within the conventional basin of the Congo.

In obedience to instructions received the undersigned has the honor to bring the foregoing to the knowledge of the United States Government, and he avails himself of this occasion, &c.


Letter of protection issued to the German Colonization Society.

We, William, by the grace of God German Emperor, King of Prussia, hereby give notice:

The presiding officers of the German Colonization Society, viz, Dr. Karl Peters and our chamberlain, Felix, Count Behr-Bandelin, have solicited our protection for the territory purchased by the said association in East Africa, to the west of the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar and outside of the sovereignty of other powers; and having laid before us the treaties concluded by the said Dr. Karl Peters with the rulers of Usagara, Nguru, Useguha, and Ukami, in the months of November and December last, whereby the said territories were ceded to the German Colonization Society; [Page 442] and having, at the same time, requested us to take these territories under our sovereignty, we hereby declare that we have assumed the said sovereignty, and have taken the said territories under our imperial protection, reserving our future decisions with regard to other acquisitions of territory that may be made by treaty by the society or its successors in that region.

We authorize the said society, on condition of its remaining a German association, and on condition of the members of the board of directors, or other body controlling the said society, being subjects of the German Empire; and we also authorize the successors to the rights of said society, on the same conditions, to exercise all the rights accruing from the treaties which have been laid before us, including jurisdiction over the natives and over subjects of the Empire, or of other nations who may settle in those regions for commercial or other purposes, under the surveillance of our Government, and with the proviso that such ordinances as we may hereafter issue, and such regulations supplementary to this letter of protection as may hereafter be adopted by us, shall be obeyed.

In testimony whereof, we have signed this letter of protection with our own hand, and have caused our Imperial seal to be affixed thereto.

  • von BISMARCK.