No. 40.

Mr. Tree to Mr. Bayard.

No. 7.]

Sir: Referring again to your instruction No. 5, I have the honor to state that on Saturday evening, October 24, I received a note from Mr. Edmond van Eetvelde, administrator-general of the department of foreign affairs of the Independent State of the Congo, informing me that His Majesty would receive me at the Palace of Brussels this afternoon at half past 2 o’clock, to take from my hands the autograph letter of President of the United States, addressed to His Majesty Leopold, Sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo.

I therefore drove to the palace at the hour designated, and was immediately received by His Majesty, to whom I handed the letter of the President, and said to him at the same time, following substantially the language of your instruction No. 5 to me, that owing to the absence of the President for several weeks from the seat of Government it was not practicable to convey to him the autograph letter of His Majesty announcing the assumption of the title of Sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo until the President’s return to Washington.

His Majesty said that it gave him great pleasure to receive the letter from the President. That he had seen the office copy of the President’s letter which I had delivered to Mr. van Eetvelde, so that he already knew its contents, and that it was quite true, as the President had said, that the Government of the United States was the first of the powers to recognize the flag of the International Association of the Congo as [Page 64] that of a friendly state. He also said that he hoped the Government and people of the United States would not be impatient and expect too much from the new Government in a short time. That much work had been already done, but for obvious reasons they could not proceed very rapidly. He also spoke of a project for building a railroad around the falls and rapids of the Congo, which as yet, however, had not taken definite shape. He said he was extremely interested in the work of carrying civilization into that distant part of the world, and hoped that in time a large trade would grow up with the Congo country.

I listened attentively, and told His Majesty I would take great pleasure in communicating to my Government what he had said to me. The conversation then became more general, and I remained with His Majesty about three-quarters of an hour. He was extremely cordial, as lie had been on the two former occasions when I had the honor of being received by him.

I have, &c.,