No. 23.
Mr. Tree to Mr. Bayard.

No. 108.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 44, which comments on the decree of the Congo Independent State, concerning the extradition of criminals.

The construction which you place on Article I of the decree, which seems to be without doubt the correct construction, would, as you observe, preclude us from effecting under it the return of a fugitive criminal if it were strictly adhered to.

I met Mr. van Eetvelde, the administrator-general of the Congo State, to-day, and in the course of conversation called his attention to the terms of Article I of the decree in question. He said that if a case arose in which the United States Government should signify its desire for the return of a criminal escaping into the Congo Independent State, such criminal would be arrested, and on the proper showing as to the character of the offense would be delivered to our Government. That he could assure me that this would be done without regard to whether there was any extradition treaty or reciprocal arrangement with our Government or not. * * *

I think there is no doubt that the Government of the Congo Independent State would be agreeable to the formation of an extradition treaty if the Government of the United States should deem it necessary or useful.

I have, &c.,