The Belgian Chargé (De Selys) to the Acting Secretary of State


Mr. Acting Secretary of State: Referring to the memorandum dated July 12th last which His Excellency, Mr. C. E. Hughes, was pleased to hand to me in person, I have the honor to inform you that the King’s Government has concurred in all the suggestions presented to it by the Government of the United States in the matter of the draft of a treaty intended to secure the rights of the United States in the African territory placed under Belgian mandate.

Your Excellency will please find herewith in triplicate the French text of the draft accordingly remodeled,16 but as you will notice the draft does not include the English text. The King’s Government thought that the American Government would rather undertake the wording of that text itself.

However, three copies of the English text of that part of the mandate which must be given a place in the treaty are also enclosed.16

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Article 8 of the mandate does not textually reproduce the wording advocated by the Government of the United States,17 but the said Government was probably informed that the text as finally approved by the Council of the League of Nations was previously submitted at the time of the session of the Council held at London in July last to an American delegate who accepted it. If in the draft submitted by France concerning Togoland and the Cameroons certain phrases should not agree in form with those in the present Belgian draft, the King’s Government thinks that in order to avoid any divergence in interpretation it might be well to substitute these for its own and I am instructed to bring this to the notice of the American Government. This deals in particular with the parts that have been altered in order to meet the suggestions of the Government of the United States. Differences in the wording might indeed appear as the result of the translations made in Brussels and Paris.

When His Excellency, Mr. Hughes, handed to me the aforesaid memorandum of July 12th, he added that the text of it would also be communicated to the King’s Government by the Ambassador of the United States at Brussels.

As His Excellency, Mr. Fletcher, has not yet delivered that document to the King’s Government, the question arose whether the Government of the United States had desisted from that course and whether eventually this decision implied a desire that the treaty be signed in Washington rather than in Brussels.

Mr. Jaspar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, wishes me to inquire about this of Your Excellency, adding that he was at the command of the American Government. I shall be obliged to Your Excellency if you would kindly enable me to answer the inquiry.

I take [etc.]

Florent de Selys
  1. File translation revised.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Art. 8, which alone fails to embody completely the suggestions of the American Government, reads, in the Embassy’s translation, as follows:

    “The mandatory shall ensure in the territory complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship which are consonant with public order and morality; missionaries who are nationals of States Members of the League shall be free to enter the territory and to travel and reside therein, to acquire and possess property, to erect religious buildings and to open schools throughout the territory; it being understood, however, that the mandatory shall have the right to exercise such control as may be necessary for the maintenance of public order and good government, and to take all measures required for such control.”