3. Sir GILBERT PARKER
asked whether the Government has any official information that the Reforms Decree of 961 March, 1910, applicable to the third area of the Congo on 1st July of this year, has come into operation; and whether a British Consular representative will visit this area before the end of the year and report on its condition; and will the House be placed in possession of that Report when received?
§ Sir E. GREY
The Reforms Decree came into operation automatically in the third area of the Congo on 1st July. The answer to the other questions is in the affirmative.
4. Sir G. PARKER
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Belgian Government has officially confirmed the assurance given by the Belgian Minister in London on 2nd January, 1912, that Belgium has formally renounced the system adopted by the Congo State of working the products of Congo lands; whether he has taken note that the Belgian Colonial Council throws doubt on the permanence of the change, and apparently disputes the inherent rights of the natives to harvest and barter natural products; and whether representations have been made?
§ Sir E. GREY
The answer to the first question is in the affirmative. It is not necessary to make representations to the Belgian Government in regard to opinions expressed in the Colonial Council.
Sir G. PARKER
Do I understand from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that the Colonial Council has no responsibility in this matter in regard to the Congo?