HC Deb 11 May 1908 vol 188 cc722-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the representations made that, when the Treaty of Transfer and the Colonial Law came before the Belgian Parliament, representations would be made by this Government to the Government of Belgium upon the abolition of the present system of appropriation of the soil and the products of the soil in districts of the Congo inhabited by natives and where natives have tenure, whether he can now publish the Memorandum presented by the British Government to the Belgian Government upon the question.

MR. J. A. PEASE (for Sir E. GREY) Essex, Saffron Walden;

We have made the communications to the Belgian Government to which the Question refers. My right hon. friend has no objection to their publication; but, when they are published, it will be of equal importance that the communications made by the Belgian Government should also be known, and the time for the publication of these must depend upon the Belgian Government. My right hon. friend cannot, at the present moment, do more than repeat the statement already made that they will be laid before Parliament, before His Majesty's Government take any step committing them to recognition of a transfer of the Congo State.