§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I beg to ask, with reference to a statement in the Siécle newspaper which has been copied into the English Press, that the Portuguese Government has granted to the Mozambique Company a Charter whereby the latter will obtain exclusive rights over the territories between the Rivers Sabi and Zambesi, whether Her Majesty's Government recognise these territories as being within the Portuguese sphere of influence or Dominions; and has Portugal a right to grant a Charter over them?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
The Convention of August, 1890, not having been ratified by Portugal, Her Majesty's Government are under no engagement as regards the boundaries of the respective spheres of influence except the agreement in the modus vivendi, which will expire in May next, and under which we are bound not to perform any act of sovereignty, beyond the line fixed in the unratified Convention. We understand that the Portuguese Government are about to issue a Charter to the Mozambique Company. Her Majesty's Government could not recognise the application of such a Charter beyond that line; and recent events have made it improbable that Her Majesty's Government can be a party to any future Convention as favourable to Portuguese claims to the south of the Zambesi as 1029 that which. Portugal failed to ratify. In these circumstances, my answer must be in the negative.