No. 24.
Mr. Tree to Mr. Bayard.

No. 112.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I have sent by mail of today, under separate cover, as printed matter, three copies of “The Moniteur Belge” of the 16th instant, which officially prints in its issue of that date a treaty of friendship and commerce concluded between Belgium and the Republic of Liberia.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure In No. 112.]


His Majesty the King of the Belgians and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Liberia, desiring to settle in a definite and complete manner the commercial relations between Belgium and the Republic of Liberia, have decided to conclude, for this purpose, a new treaty, and have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries:

  • His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the Prince de Caraman, ofiacer of his Order of Leopold, Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star of Sweden, &c., his Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • His Excellency the President of the Republic of Liberia, Adolphe Louis, Baron de Stein, Commissioner and Special Plenipotentiary of his Government;

Who, having communicated to each other their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:

  • Art. I. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Republic of Liberia, as also between the subjects and citizens of both countries.
  • Art. II. There shall be reciprocal freedom of commerce between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Republic of Liberia. The Belgians may reside and trade in any part of the territory of the republic to which any other foreigners may be admitted; they shall enjoy full protection for their persons and property; they shall be free to buy from and sell to whom they please, without any prejudice or restriction being placed upon them by any monopoly, contract, or exclusive privilege of sale or purchase whatsoever.
  • They shall have the right to possess personal property of all kinds and to dispose of the same according to the laws of the country, to succeed to and transmit the inheritance of such property by testament or ab intestato, on the same footing with the Liberians without being subject, on account of their quality of foreigners, to any defalcation or tax to which the citizens and subjects of Liberia would not be subject. They shall enjoy, besides, all other rights and privileges which are or may hereafter be accorded to any foreigners whatsoever, subjects or citizens of the most favored nation. The citizens of the Republic of Liberia shall enjoy, in return, the same protection and privileges in the Kingdom of Belgium.
  • Art III. No tonnage duty or other duties, charges, or taxes shall be levied in the Republic of Liberia on Belgian vessels or on goods imported or exported in Belgian vessels other or higher than those which be may levied on Liberian vessels. In like manner no tonnage duty or other duties, charges, or taxes shall be levied in the Kingdom of Belgium upon vessels of the Republic or upon goods imported or exported in Liberian vessels other or higher than those which may be levied, under the same circumstances, upon Belgian vessels or goods imported or exported by the said national ships.
  • Art. IV. In the following cases ships will be totally exempt from tonnage dues and enjoy the treatment of the most favored nation as regards expedition dues:
    The ships which, arriving in ballast, from whatever place it may be, leave in ballast.
    The ships which, passing from one port of one of the two states to one or more ports of the same state, whether it be to deposit all or part of their cargo, or to compose or complete their cargo, shall have already discharged these dues.
    The ships which, coming laden into a port, whether voluntarily or by force of circumstances, shall leave without having effected any commercial operation.
  • In case of compelled putting into harbor, will not be considered as commercial operations, especially the unloading and loading of merchandise for the reparation of the vessel, as also the transshipment on another vessel in case of innavigability of the first.
  • Art. V. The Belgian ships coming into a port of the Republic of Liberia, reciprocally the Liberian vessels coming into a Belgian port, and which disembark only a part of their cargo, may, in conformity, however, with the laws and regulations of the respective states, keep on board the part of the cargo destined to another port, be it of the same country or of another, and may re-export such cargo without being obliged to pay for this part of their cargo any custom-house duty, except those of supervision. Such dues can, besides, be only mutually levied at the rate fixed for national navigation.
  • Art VI. The produce or merchandise coming from Belgium on board any ships whatever, or from any port whatever on board of Belgian vessels, shall, for importation into the Republic of Liberia, neither be prohibited nor subject to any higher duty than that levied in the same cases on the merchandise or produce coming from any other foreign country or imported on board of any other foreign vessels. All articles the produce of the Republic may be exported by Belgians and Belgian vessels on as favorable conditions as by the subjects or ships of any other foreign nation.
  • The same advantages shall, by reciprocity, be granted to Liberian, commerce.
  • The goods imported in the ports of Belgium or of the Republic of Liberia by the ships of one or the other state may be put into bond where Government bonding warehouses are or will be established, delivered for transit or for exportation without being subject to duties other or higher, of whatever nature it may be, than those to which will be subject the goods brought by national vessels.
  • Art. VII. In case it shall be the intention of the Liberian Government to traffic in certain articles of import for the purpose of creating a revenue by selling such articles at an advance on the cost price, it is distinctly understood that in no case shall any particular merchants be prohibited from importing any of the above mentioned articles, or any other article in which the Republic may at anytime find it profitable to traffic.
  • Moreover, neither said articles, nor any other goods in which the Government of the Republic may at any time traffic, shall be subject to any higher duties than the difference between the cost price and the price fixed by the Government for the sale of said articles.
  • In case the Government of the Republic shall fix the price of any article of native production, with the design that said article shall be given in payment for other articles in which the Government may traffic, all persons trading with the Republic shall be allowed, in payment of taxes, to present to the treasury the said article of native production at the price established by the government.
  • Art. VIII. The protection of the Republic and of the Government of the same shall be accorded to all Belgian vessels, their officers and crews. If any Belgian vessel shall have been wrecked on the coast of the Republic, the local authorities shall succor and protect the same against plunder. They shall see that all articles saved from the wreck be restored to their lawful owners. The amount of the salvage dues shall be regulated, in case of dispute, by arbitrators chosen by the two parties.
  • The same protection is assured by Belgium to the Liberian ships, to their officers, and to their crews.
  • Art. IX. The Belgians in the Republic of Liberia, and, reciprocally, the citizens of the Republic in Belgium, will enjoy perfect liberty of conscience in the matter of religion, conformably to the system of toleration observed in the respective countries where they belong.
  • Art. X. It being the intention of the two contracting parties to engage themselves by the present treaty to accord to each other the treatment of the most favored nation, it is agreed that all favors, privileges, or immunities whatsoever, in matters of customs, commerce, and navigation, which either of the two contracting parties has accorded or may hereafter accord to the subjects or citizens of any foreign state whatsoever shall likewise be extended to the subjects or citizens of the other contracting party.
  • In case of a change in the existing income duties of the Republic of Liberia, Belgian goods or produce under way at the time of such change will be admitted at the ancient rates as long as raw palm-oil and raw rubber will be free of duty in Belgium.
  • Art. XI. Neither of the contracting parties shall subject the other to a prohibition of importation or exportation, or of transit, which would not be applied to all other nations, except the special regulations which the two countries reserve to themselves the right to establish for a sanitary purpose or in view of events of war.
  • Art. XII. The Belgians in the state of Liberia or the Liberians in Belgium are exempt as well from military service on land or sea as from the service of guards or national militia, and may not be subject for their personal property to any other charges, restrictions, or taxes or dues than those to which will be subject the nationals themselves.
  • Art. XIII. The high contracting powers declare to recognize mutually to all companies [Page 36] or other associations, commercial, industrial, or financial, constituted and authorized according to the special laws of either of the two countries, the power to exercise all their rights and to appear in court before the jurisdiction, be it to enter an action or defend one, in the whole extent of the states or possessions of the other power, without any other conditions than to conform to the laws of said states or possessions.
  • It is understood that the preceding dispositions are to be applied as well to the companies and associations constituted and authorized previous to the signature of the present treaty as also to those that will be so hereafter.
  • Art. XIV. The Belgian commercial travelers traveling in the Republic of Liberia on behalf a firm established in Belgium shall be treated as to the license tax on the same footing with the national travelers or those of the most favored nation; and, reciprocally, it shall be the same for Liberian travelers in Belgium.
  • The articles liable to the import duty, serving as samples, which will be imported by the said commercial travelers, shall be reciprocally admitted in temporary franchise, but under the necessary customs-house formalities requisite to insure their reexportation or their reintegration into bond.
  • Art. XV. The goods of all nature, coming from one of the two states or going there, shall reciprocally, be exempt in the other state of all transit dues, however the prohibition is maintained for gunpowder and arms of war, which the two high contracting parties reserve themselves to submit to special authorization.
  • Art. XVI. The ships, goods, and chattels, Belgian or Liberian, taken by pirates in the limits of the jurisdiction of one of the contracting parties or on the high sea, and which might be taken or found in the ports, rivers, roads, or bays under the dominion of the other contracting party, shall be given up to their owner on payment of the eventual costs for recapture, such to be fixed by the competent law courts after the right of property shall have been established before the competent law courts, and on the claim being made within one year date by the interested parties, by their agents acting under power of attorney, or by the agents of their respective governments.
  • Art. XVII. Each of the contracting parties shall be permitted to appoint consuls, vice-consuls, consular agents, to reside in the country of the other for the protect ion of its commerce. Nevertheless, no one of said agents shall be permitted to exercise his functions before having received authority in the usual form from the territorial government.
  • They shall enjoy, in their respective countries, the same privileges and the same protection both for their persons and in the exercise of their duties, that are or shall be accorded to the consuls of the most favored nations.
  • Art. XVIII. The respective consuls shall be permitted to have arrested and sent back, either to their vessel or to their country, such seamen as may have deserted from the vessels of their nation in the ports of the other.
  • To this end, the said consuls shall apply in writing to the competent local authorities and they shall justify by the exhibition of either the original or a copy duly certified of the register of the vessel or of the roll of the crew, or by other official documents, that the individuals whom it is desired to arrest formed a part of the crew. Upon this demand, thus supported, the delivery of the deserters shall be granted to them. All necessary aid shall be afforded them for arresting said deserters, who shall be detained in the public prisons, subject to the demand and at the expense of the consuls, until an opportunity of sending them home shall be presented. If, however, such an opportunity should not occur within two months from the day of the arrest, the deserters shall be set at liberty and shall not be liable to arrest for the same cause.
  • It is understood that the seamen subjects of the country in which the desertion shall occur shall be exempted from the present provision, unless they be naturalized citizens of the other country.
  • However, if the deserter shall have committed any offense, his being sent back may be delayed until the competent tribunal shall have rendered judgment and said judgment shall have been executed.
  • Art. XIX. The present treaty shall be in force during ten years from the date of the exchange of ratifications and beyond that term until the expiration of twelve months after either of the high contracting parties shall have announced to the other its intention to terminate the operation thereof; each of the high contracting parties reserving to itself the right of making such declaration to the other at the end of the ten years above mentioned or at any later period.
  • Art. XX. The present treaty shall be ratified and the ratification thereof shall be exchanged at Brussels or Monrovia in the course of eighteen months, or sooner if possible, from the date of its conclusion.

In faith whereof the plenipotentiaries above-mentioned have signed the present treaty and have affixed thereto there seals.

[l. s.]
Baron von Stein.