Belgium and the Congo

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Belgium and the Congo is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Times on 17 february 1911.

Belgium and the Congo

The Times (17 february 1911)


Sir, — I am sure that Congo Reformers as well as others are prepared to welcome our Belgian guests to England, but it would be sad indeed if such a visit were made the occasion for any slackening of our efforts to procure complete justice for the unfortunate natives of the Congo. It is impossible for us to speak as if the problem were solved. So long as the Concessionaire Companies with their villainous records still retain their absolute monopoly in large sections of the country. Such a monopoly is inconsistent with that complete freedom of trade which was guaranteed by the Congress of Berlin in 1887. As to the treatment of the natives, which was guaranteed by ourselves and the other signatory Powers, it is difficult to see why any treaty should ever in the future be observed when this one has been so openly and flagrantly broken. We can but hope that at this eleventh hour Belgium will endeavour to repair the wrong which her citizens have done, and to make some reparation to their victims by such a grant in aid as all other European Powers have been constrained to make in order to administer their tropical possessions. Until this has been done there must always be reserves in the feeling which many of us would wish to have for our Belgian neighbours.

Yours faithfully,

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, Feb. 15.