Minister Wilson to the Secretary of State.

No. 119.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the department’s ciphered telegram of October 9, (supra).

Immediately upon receipt of the department’s cablegram, I called at the foreign office to ascertain, in compliance with the instructions contained therein, through what channel it would be deemed best to bring the message of the President and the views of the department to the knowledge of the conference.

The Chevalier Van der Elst, secretary-general of the foreign office, after some hesitation, advised me to address the president of the conference directly. I then waited until the day of the convening of the conference for the copies of the publications stated in your cablegram as having been mailed to me. As upon that date the documents had not put in appearance, I obtained a copy of the Senate resolution of 1901, and also a copy of Secretary Hay’s indorsement thereon, and assuming that the documents en route were substantially the same I addressed a note to the president of the conference (copy inclosed) and annexed thereto the message of the President.

I also inclosed at the same time a printed memorandum from the American Reform Bureau, which arrived the same morning on which my note was sent.

The documents forwarded by the department have not yet arrived.

I inclose herewith copy and translation of the reply of the president of the conference to my note, which is sent by direction of the conference.

The conference has now been in session a week and will probably adjourn in two or three days.

I have, etc.,

Henry Lane Wilson.
[Page 55]
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Henry Lane Wilson to the president of the conference for the revision of the rules to control spirits in Africa. October 16, 1906.

Mr. President: My Government, while not officially represented at the congress over which you have been called to preside, nevertheless is most deeply interested in the problems which are to be presented for its consideration, and will follow with lively concern the course of its deliberations, hoping that they may result in the procurement of adequate measures for the protection of the aboriginal races in Africa against unrestrained traffic in intoxicants and deleterious drugs. It will gladly give its moral aid and approval in support of an organized movement of the Christian and civilized nations of the world having for its purpose these high and humanitarian ends.

Public opinion in the United States relative to this question has found expression, both official and unofficial, and it may be considered superfluous to call attention to the resolution passed by the Senate, January 4, 1901, which is as follows: “Resolved, That in the opinion of this body the time has come when the principle, twice affirmed in international treaties for central Africa, that native races should be protected against the destructive traffic in intoxicants be extended to all uncivilized peoples by the enactment of such laws and the making of such treaties as will effectually prohibit the sale by the signatory powers to aboriginal tribes and uncivilized races of opium and intoxicating beverages.”

Following this resolution, the Secretary of State, the Hon. John Hay, in replying to a letter from the chairman of the native races deputation, used the following language:

“Your suggestion that I call the attention of the nations concerned to the resolution of the Senate, adopted January 4, 1901, as likely to have influence by indicating the concurrent opinion of the two branches of the treaty-making power, the Senate and the Executive, has my cordial acquiescence. In view of the circumstance that the former representations to the other powers were made by the British Government as well as by our own, I shall initiate renewed overtures in the proposed sense by communicating the Senate resolution to the British Government, with the suggestion that it be made the basis of concurrently reopening the question with the powers having influence on commerce in the western Pacific, or in any other uncivilized quarter where the salutary principle of liquor restriction could be practically applied through the general enactment of similar laws by the several countries or through a conventional agreement between them.”

The action of the Senate in passing this resolution has been reenforced and emphasized by the public declarations of Presidents Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, and Roosevelt, and by a vast number of petitions from state legislatures and public bodies, to such extent as to warrant me in saying to the congress that the American people and Government are in full sympathy with its labors, and recognize that the work which is being begun is an expression of the highest and best sense of responsibility and duty among Christian nations.

In further evidence of the interest to which I have referred, I have the honor to inclose to the congress a copy of a cablegram which I have just received from the President of the United States, and which he instructs me to convey to you.

I also inclose a copy of a “Memorandum concerning concerted international restraint of the traffic in intoxicants and opium among aboriginal races,” by Mr. Wilbur F. Crafts, superintendent of the International Reform Bureau, secretary of the native races deputation.

This memorandum has been prepared by these organizations for submission to the congress, and I trust that it may receive consideration at your hands, not only on account of its merits, but on account of the unselfish motives of those who have charged themselves with its preparation.

I avail, etc.,

Henry Lane Wilson,
American Minister.
[Page 56]

[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter your excellency has kindly addressed to me on the 16th instant, relative to the measures to be taken for the protection of the aboriginal races in Africa against unrestricted traffic in spirits.

I have hastened to bring its contents to the knowledge of the international conference now in session at Brussels.

It is very gratifying to me, Mr. Minister, to have the honor and pleasure of expressing to you, on behalf of the conference, its thanks for the kind interest the American Government has manifested in its labors and aims.

I will also beg your obliging intervention for the transmission to His Excellency the President of the United States of America of the expression of our profound gratitude for the wishes he has personally extended to the conference and for the highly humanitarian motives which inspired his message.

I avail, etc.,