Mr. Bayard to Mr. von Alvensleben.
Washington, April 6, 1885.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 16th ultimo, by which you are pleased to inform me that an association of German subjects having purchased, by means of treaties with native chiefs, certain territories and sovereign rights in the eastern part of the conventional zone of the Congo basin, and having requested His Majesty, the Emperor, to assume the sovereignty over those territories, His Majesty has caused an imperial letter of protection to be issued to the association under date of February 27 last.
I observe that your reference to the circumstance o£ the territories in question being situated within the conventional zone to which the powers signing the general act of the conference of Berlin “have pledged themselves to apply the provisions of that instrument” is accompanied and qualified by the statement that the German Government assumes the obligation of executing the provisions of the general act aforesaid within those German territories, and accordingly claims for such possessions the advantages of neutrality guaranteed by that general act.
Until the United States shall, by subsequent accession and ratification of the general act of the conference of Berlin, in the manner therein provided, become a party to the stipulations thereof, it will be impossible to determine the due and proper weight to be given by this Government to the declaration and claim which you have thus communicated.