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present concessions and privileges or otherwise, the claimants shall resort to the government of the Republic of Panama and not to the United States for any indemnity or compromise which may be required.


The Republic of Panama renounces and grants to the United States the participation to which it might be entitled in the future earnings of the canal under article XV of the concessionary contract with Lucien N. B. Wyse now owned by the New Panama Canal Company and any and all other rights or claims of a pecuniary nature arising under or relating to said concession, or arising under or relating to the concessions to the Panama Railroad Company or any extension or modification thereof; and it likewise renounces, confirms and grants to the United States, now and hereafter, all the rights and property reserved in the said concessions which otherwise would be long to Panama at or before the expiration of the terms of ninety-nine years of the concessions granted to or held by the above mentioned party and companies, and all right, title and interest which it now has or may hereafter have, in and to the lands, canal, works, property and rights held by the said companies under said concessions or otherwise, and acquired or to be acquired by the United States from or through the New Panama Canal Company, including any property and rights which might or may in the future either by lapse of time, forfeiture or otherwise, revert to the Republic of Panama under any contracts or concessions, with said Wyse, the Universal Panama Canal Company, the Panama Railroad Company and the New Panama Canal Company.

The aforesaid rights and property shall be and are free and released from any present or reversionary interest in or claims of Panama and the title of the United States thereto upon consummation of the contemplated purchase by the United States from the New Panama Canal Company, shall be absolute, so far as concerns the Republic of Panama, excepting always the rights of the Republic specifically secured under this treaty.


If it should become necessary at any time to employ armed forces for the safety or protection of the canal, or of the ships that make use of the same, or the railways and auxiliary works, the United States. shall have the right, at all times and in its discretion, to use its police and its land and naval forces or to establish fortifications for these purposes.


No change either in the Government or in the laws and treaties of the Republic of Panama shall, without the consent of the United States, affect any right of the United States under the present convention, or under any treaty stipulation between the two countries that now exists or may hereafter exist touching the subject matter of this convention.

If the Republic of Panama shall hereafter enter as a constituent into any other government or into any union or confederation of states, so as to merge her sovereignty or independence in such government, union or confederation, the rights of the United States under this convention shall not be in any respect lessened or impaired.


For the better performance of the engagements of this convention and to the end of the efficient protection of the canal and the preservation of its neutrality, the Government of the Republic of Panama will sell or lease to the United States lands adequate and necessary for naval or coaling stations on the Pacific coast and on the western Caribbean coast of the Republic at certain points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States.


This convention when signed by the plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties shall be ratified by the respective governments and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington at the earliest date possible. In faith whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the present convention in duplicate and have hereunto affixed their respective seals.

Done at the city of Washington the 18th day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and three.




January 11, 1909.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 4th of November last, transmitting a copy of the Moniteur Belge in which is published the law approving the treaty by which Belgium takes over the sovereignty of the Independent State of the Kongo, and stating the Belgium authorities in the Colony will hereafter transact business with consular officers, to whom new exequaturs will be issued if their governments so desire.

The Government of the United States has observed with much interest the progress of the negotiations looking to such a transfer, in the expectation that under the control of Belgium the condition of the natives might be beneficially improved and the engagements of the treaties to which the United States is a party, as well as the high aims set forth in the American memoranda of April 7 and 16. 1908, and declared in the Belgian replies thereto, might be fully realized.

The United States would also be gratified by the assurance that the Belgian Government will consider itself specifically bound to discharge the obligations assumed by the Independent State of the Kongo in the Brussels Convention of July 2, 1890,2 an assurance which the expressions already made by the Government of Belgium in regard to its own course as a party to that convention leave no doubt is in entire accordance with the sentiments of that Government. Among the particular clauses of the Brussels Convention which seem to the United States to be specially relevant to existing conditions in the Kongo region are the clauses of Article II which include among the objects of the Convention,

To diminish intestine wars between tribes by means of arbitration; to initiate them in agricultural labor and in the industrial arts so as to increase their welfare; to raise them to civilization and bring about the extinction of barbarous customs.

To give aid and protection to commercial enterprises; to watch over their legality by especially controlling contracts for service with natives, and to prepare the way for the foundation of permanent centres of cultivation and of commercial settlements.

1 See Supplement (January, 1909), Vol. 3, p. 94.

2 See Supplement (January, 1909), Vol. 3, p. 29.

The United States has been forced to the conclusion that in several respects the system inaugurated by the Independent State of the Kongo has in its practical operation worked out results inconsistent with these. conventional obligations and calling for very substantial and even radical changes in order to attain conformity therewith. The operation of laws requiring the natives who have little or no money to pay taxes in labor appears to have resulted in reducing the natives in certain large portions of the territory of the Independent State of the Kongo to a condition closely approximating actual slavery. The granting of concessions to various private corporations and associations giving to them exclusive rights of exploitation of very large tracts of territory, and the inclusion of a very great part of the remaining territory of the country in the domain declared to be owned in severalty, and described in various official acts as domaine privé, domaine public, domaine national and domaine de la couronne, has the practical effect of excluding the greater part of the territory of the State from the possibility of purchase and of rendering nugatory the provisions of the declaration of 1884 under which the International Association of the Kongo granted" to foreigners. settling in their territories the right to purchase, sell or lease lands and buildings situated therein, establish commercial houses and to there carry trade upon the sole condition that they shall obey the laws," and the similar provisions of the treaty of January 24, 1891, between the Independent State of the Kongo and the United States of America assuring to the citizens of the United States the right to freely exercise their industry or their business in the whole extent of the territories of the Independent State, and the right to erect there religious edifices and to organize and maintain missions, and the provisions of the Brussels Convention of July 2, 1890,5 imposing upon the Independent State of the Kongo the duty to prepare the way for the foundation of permanent stations of cultivation and of commercial settlements and to protect the missions which were then or might thereafter be established. The effect of these dispositions of territory has been to withdraw from sale and therefore from occupancy for the purposes described the greater part of the area of the Independent State and prevent the exercise of the rights conferred by the conventional stipulations referred to.

The effect of the same preemption of territory has also been to with

3 See Supplement (January, 1909), Vol. 3, p. 5.

+ See Supplement (January, 1909), Vol. 3, p. 62. See Supplement (January, 1909). Vcl. 3, p. 29.

draw from the natives in a great degree the enjoyment of those benefits. which they formerly derived from their customary tribal rights over large tracts. In a country where there has been no ownership of land in severalty by the natives, but only communal ownership of rights over extensive tracts, to allot to the Government and its concessionaires ownership in severalty to all the lands not already owned and held in severalty is in effect to deprive the natives of their rights to the soil, and this has been in a great measure the effect of the system which has been followed in the Independent State of the Kongo.

The Government of the United States is much gratified to know that since the American memoranda of April 7th and April 16th, 1908, the Government of Belgium has expressed its purpose to extend the area of the lands to be assigned to the natives for their cultivation and traffic pursuant to the Royal Decree of June 3, 1906, and it confidently expects that the restoration of land to the natives will be commensurate with the value of the communal rights of which they have been deprived hitherto, and will put the natives in a position by means of adequate provision out of their own territory to realize the benefits which were contemplated by the arrangement under which the title and control over the territory of the Independent State of the Kongo was vested in that State for the humanitarian purpose of improving the condition of the natives and securing to them the blessings of civilization.

It should always be remembered that the basis of the sovereignty of the Independent State of the Kongo over all its territory was in the treaties made by the native sovereigns who ceded the territory for the use and benefit of free states established and being established there under the care and supervision of the International Association so that the very nature of the title forbids the destruction of the tribal rights upon which it rests without securing to the natives an enjoyment of their land which shall be a full and adequate equivalent for the tribal rights destroyed.

It may be timely to revert in this relation to the hope expressed in the American memorandum of April 16, 1908, that the Belgian Government may see its way clear to accept frankly and promptly the proposition to refer to arbitration all purely commercial and economic questions, as being a procedure entirely in accordance with the rapidly growing practice of cizilized nations; and to the statement in the Belgian memorandum in reply, dated July 24, 1908, that the Belgian Government finds no difficulty in declaring that if, after annexation, it were invited to refer

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