Great Britain and Belgium (9 march 1911)
See also his second letter on the same topic: Great Britain and Belgium (13 march 1911).
Great Britain and Belgium
To the Editor of the "Express."
Sir, — In his interesting letter from Brussels your special correspondent says, speaking of the Congo outrages, that "every one here, Clerical, Liberal, and Socialist, absolutely believes them to have been grossly exaggerated."
That the Clericals should profess to believe so is natural enough, since it was this party which for so many, years defended, and in some cases actually administered the Leopold régime. That the Socialists think so is inconceivable, since, through their two great spokesmen, Vandervelde and Lorand, they have repeatedly quoted and attacked these some outrages both in the Press and in the Belgian Chamber.
'There can, as a matter of fact,' be no question of exasperation so far as the infamies are concerned which Mr. Morel cites in the terrible pages of his "King Leopold's Rule in Africa," or I, on a smaller scale, have compiled in any "Crime of the Congo." The facts are taken from the judicial proceedings at Boma, from the evidence given before the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, from the admissions in the report of that Commission, from the British consular reports, from the printed accounts of Belgian and Italian officers, and from the personal experiences of numerous missionaries of many faiths and nations.
It is impossible for human imagination to exaggerate the accounts received from these sources.
These evil deeds are quite recent. The evidence of the German scientist, Dr. Dorpinghaus, brings them down to 1908. Since then we have had a change of regime, but the same concessionaire companies, acting in many cases through the same agents, still retain their monopoly in the old scenes of their misrule.
Until we are quite certain, then, that conditions have indeed utterly changed it would be madness upon our part to do what your correspondent recommends, and to throw away the only weapon which we posses by which we, acting concurrently with the United States, can hope to control the situation.
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Hotel Metropole, W.C.