§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can inform the House if the right of natives of the Congo to trade in any part of the Congo with merchants of all nationalities, named in the despatch dated 27th March last, as one of the changes required by His Majesty's Government in recognising a Belgian annexation of the Congo, is to be understood as applying to such articles as wild rubber, copal, and ivory, in which the natives are now debarred from trading, on the plea that these articles are the property either of the administration or of the concessionaires.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir EDWARD GREY,) Northumberland, Berwick
His Majesty's Government contend that all concessions should be subject to native rights; that the natives must not be debarred from the enjoyment of the fruits of the soil in all territory owned or occupied by them; and that their right to trade in any part of the Congo extends to such articles as those mentioned in the Question. But ivory, it is generally recognised, may be the subject 83 of special regulations to prevent extermination of elephants.