The Belgian Minister to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: The powers represented at the conference that met at Brussels in 1899 to revise the regulations applicable to spirituous liquors in Africa have, by means of provisions in Articles I and II of the convention of June 8 of the same year, modified and raised the import duty that had been fixed in 1890 by the general act of Brussels.

Article I of the convention further provides that at the expiration of a period of six years the import duty on spirituous liquors shall be subjected to a revision based on the results shown by the preceding tariff rate.

Under Article V the convention went into effect on the thirtieth day after the date of the signature of the protocol of deposit of ratifications—that is to say, July 8, 1900. The term stipulated by Article I will thus expire on July 8, 1906.

The Government of His British Majesty has asked the Government of the King, my august sovereign, to consider the expediency of calling at an early date a conference at Brussels, whose mission would be to undertake the revision provided for in the said Article I.

In deference to this wish, the minister of foreign affairs has addressed to the Governments signatories to the convention of 1899 an invitation to be represented at a conference that would meet in Brussels before July 8, 1906.

As for the other Governments signatories to the general act of Brussels of 1890, and amongst them the Government of the United States, which, deeming that they had but a remote interest in the revision of the regulations applicable to spirituous liquors in Africa, did not send delegates to the conference of 1899, they would, now as then, have the faculty of subsequently adhering to the resolutions that may be adopted.

The exact date of a new meeting of plenipotentiaries would be fixed as soon as the data, upon an examination of which the Powers may shape their decisions, could be gotten together.

While bringing the foregoing to your excellency’s knowledge, I gladly seize this opportunity, etc.,

Bn. Moncheur.