§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state how it is that the definite proposals of His Majesty's Government as to the claims of British traders in the French Congo, and the hardships wrought by the concessionaire regime, which have long been under the consideration of the French Government, are not dealt with in the recent arrangements with France; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to press for early action by the French Government in reference to the concessionaire system in the French Congo.
§ EARL PERCY
It was not found possible to include in an agreement dealing with general questions of an international character, the private claims to which the right hon. Baronet refers. We understand, however, that the claims of the British firms are in principle admitted by the French Government, and advantage was taken of the opportunity afforded by the recent negotiations to 1196 express to the French Government the earnest hope of His Majesty's Government that an equitable settlement of the questions in dispute might speedily be arrived at.