Minister Wilson to the Secretary of State.


Your telegram January 9 just received. The death of Prime Minister de Trooz has very much altered the situation relative to the annexation of the Kongo. I am informed that Minister Schollaert, on taking office, insisted on such changes in the treaty of annexation as would lead to the absolute suppression of the so-called Domain of the Crown, which is the source of the greatest complaint, and the free and unrestricted exercise of Belgian sovereignty in every part of the Kongo. The new minister has just taken office this day, and all questions of policy are supposed to be in a state of transition.

Immediately on receipt of the department’s telegram I submitted to the British minister, Sir Arthur Hardinge, a copy. He emphatically expressed the opinion that any action at the present time of transition would be unfair and ill considered. He stated also that he had as yet no definite instructions to act; that his instructions did not contemplate an urgent representation, but simply a private and informal hint.

As the spirit of the department’s prior instructions, as well as the fact that we are not signatory to the Berlin act, would indicate that [Page 538] in concerted action with the British minister my role should be one of support and in some sense secondary, I am obliged to ask whether the department now desires me to make an immediate and independent representation based on its instructions to American Ambassador Reid and its telegram of December 16.