The British Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

No. 75.]

Sir: I have received a telegram from Sir E. Grey, instructing me to inform you of the line of policy which he proposes to adopt toward the Belgian Government with reference to the Kongo question.

He states that it is his intention to request the Belgian Government to issue a declaration to the effect that, if the Kongo Free State is taken over by Belgium, their first object will be to put an end to the forced-labor system which has been so fully described in reports sent home by British and United States representatives in the Kongo State.

The Belgium Government have, continues Sir E. Grey, informed His Majesty’s Government that they recognize the obligations imposed by the Berlin act. But they have not yet stated whether or not they consider the commercial monopolies established under actual concessions and the general commercial policy adopted by the existing government of the Kongo as inconsistent with the provisions of that act respecting freedom of trade.

Sir Edward Grey proposes, therefore, to ask that if any differences of opinion should arise in respect of commercial as distinct from humanitarian questions the Belgian Government should agree to refer such differences to arbitration.

In explaining the above to you, I am desired to express the hope that if the views of the United States Government prove to be similar to those above outlined they may see their way to supporting the line proposed to be adopted by Sir E. Grey, and that in that event instructions may be telegraphed to the United States minister at Brussels accordingly.

I have, etc.,

James Bryce.