§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in defining "Sphere of Influence" in International Agreements in regard to Africa, Her Majesty's Government interprets the declaration as giving to the paramount European Power the right to bring under its authority the Native Races or States within such district, even against their will; or whether Her Majesty's Government interprets the phrase to mean that the other European Powers bind themselves 405 to abstain from attempting to set up their own authority within such district?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
The definition of a sphere of influence by agreement between two or more Powers cannot be interpreted to mean more than the Instrument declares, and does not restrict the parties to the agreement from exercising their influence or control within their respective spheres, according to their individual discretion. Her Majesty's Government have repeatedly stated that within the spheres assumed by them they do not assume sovereignty or administration, except with the concurrence of the Native rulers. The last sentence of the question accurately defines the general position.