§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, before the forthcoming Debate on the Congo State, it would be possible to lay before the House the recent Reports of His Majesty's representatives in Africa as to the condition of the Congo State, and especially of the territories within that State which are subject to monopoly concessions; and whether His Majesty's representatives have been instructed to make independent inquiries as to the observance or violation of the stipulations of the Berlin Conference for the protection of natives.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (LORD CRANBORNE, Rochester)
There is only one British Consul for the Congo Free State. For various reasons he has been unable to travel to such an extent as to enable him to form anything like a full opinion on the condition of the State. As I stated on March 11th, †it would be premature to consider the propriety of laying Papers before Parliament. There† See (4) Debates, cxix., 382.1197 have been no definite instructions upon the points mentioned in the last part of the Question, but they have, in fact, been the subject of repeated attention by the Consul, especially where native British subjects have been concerned.
§ MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire, W.E., Barnsley)
May I ask the noble Lord if the Government will consider the desirability of appointing additional British Consuls for the Congo Free State?