§ 5. Mr. KING
asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether the General Act of the Conference at Berlin, signed on 26th February, 1885, bound this country, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, and Russia, with other Powers, in the event of all or any of them being involved in war, to place a large area of Central Africa under the rule of neutrality during the War; if so, whether this treaty was duly considered by the Government during the early days of August, 1914; and whether this provision of that treaty has been forgotten or ignored by all or any of its signatories?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The Berlin Act provides machinery by which belligerent Powers possessing territories in the Free Trade zone in Africa may, with the consent of the other belligerents, neutralise such possessions for the period of the War. It does not, however, impose any binding obligation on any Power to take this course. The question of neutralising the territories of the present belligerents in the Free Trade zone was carefully considered during the early days of last August, but the events which occurred in Africa during the first ten days of the War rendered such a course impossible.