HC Deb 21 February 1906 vol 152 c342

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been directed to the treatment by agents of the Congo State of the inhabitants of that region; whether he will state the nature of the control of the Belgian Government over the Congo State; whether the European Powers have the right by treaty, or otherwise, to intervene in the administration of the Congo State; and, if so, whether he will approach these Powers with a view to pntting an end to the misgovernment of the natives.


His Majesty's Government are giving careful consideration to the question of the administration of the Independent State. Papers will shortly be laid before Parliament on the subject. In existing circumstances no control is exercised by the Belgian Government over the Congo State. I am not aware of any Treaty giving any of the Powers separately the right to intervene in the internal administration of the Congo State. The late Government invited, in 1903, the Powers who were parties to the Berlin Act, to join with His Majesty's Government in considering whether the obligations undertaken by the Free State at the Berlin Conference in regard to the natives had been fulfilled, but they obtained no promise of active support. Before taking any fresh steps in this direction His Majesty's Government must await the result of the Commission at Brussels which is considering the best means of carrying out the recommendations of the recent Commission of Enquiry.


Can the hon. Gentleman give the House any information as to the probable date on which the second Commission will report?

[No Answer was returned.]