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The regulations which it shall establish for the safety and control of navigation shall be conceived in a manner to facilitate so far as possible the circulation of merchant vessels.
It is understood that nothing in the engagements thus taken can be interpreted as preventing or able to prevent Great Britain from making such regulations of navigation whatever they may be, as may not be contrary to the spirit of these engagements.
Great Britain engages itself to protect the foreign traders of all nations carrying on commerce in the portions of the course of the Niger which are or shall be under its sovereignty or protectorate, as if they were its own subjects, provided always that these traders conform to the regulations which are or shall be established in virtue of what precedes.
France accepts under the same reserve and in identical terms the obligations established in the preceding Article, in so far as the waters of the Niger, of its affluents, branches and issues are or shall be under its sovereignty or its protectorate.
Each of the other signatory Powers engages itself likewise, in case it should exercise in the future rights of sovereignty or protectorate upon any part of the waters of the Niger, of its affluents, branches and issues.
The dispositions of the present Act of navigation shall remain in force in time of war. Consequently, the navigation of all nations, neutral or belligerent, shall be free at all times for the uses of commerce upon the Viger, its branches and affluents, its embouchures and issues, as also upon the territorial sea opposite to the embouchures and issues of this river.
Trade shall remain equally free, notwithstanding the state of war, upon the routes, railroads and canals mentioned in Article 29.
There shall be no exception to this principle except in what concerns the transport of objects destined to a belligerent and considered, by virtue of the law of nations, as articles contraband of war.
DECLARATION RELATIVE TO THE CONDITIONS ESSENTIAL TO BE FULFILLED
IN ORDER THAT NEW OCCUPATIONS UPON THE COASTS OF THE AFRICAN
CONTINENT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS EFFECTIVE.
The Power which henceforth shall take possession of a territory upon the coast of the African continent situated outside of its present possessions, or which, not having had such possessions hitherto, shall come to acquire them, and likewise, the Power which shall assume a protectorate there, shall accompany the respective act with a notification addressed to the other signatory Powers of the present Act, in order to put them in a condition to make available, if there be occasion for it, their reclamations.
The signatory Powers of the present Act recognize the obligation to assure, in the territories occupied by them, upon the coasts of the African Continent, the existence of an authority sufficient to cause acquired rights to be respected and, the case occurring, the liberty of commerce and of transit in the conditions upon which it may be stipulated.
The signatory Powers of the present general Act reserve to themselves to introduce into it later and by common accord the modifications or ameliorations the utility of which may be demonstrated by experience.
ARTICLE 37. The Powers who shall not have signed the present general Act may adhere to its dispositions by a separate Act.
The adhesion of each Power is notified, in a diplomatic way, to the Government of the German Empire, and by the latter to all the signatory or adhering States.
It carries by full right the acceptance of all the obligations and admission to all the advantages stipulated by the present general Act.
ARTICLE 38. The present general Act shall be ratified within a delay which shall be the shortest poseible and which, in any case, shall not exceed one year.
It shall enter into force for each Power to begin from the date when it shall have ratified it.
Meanwhile the signatory Powers of the present general Act bind themselves to adopt no measure which may be contrary to the dispositions of the said Act.
Each power shall address its ratification to the Government of the German Empire, by whose care notice shall be given to all the other signatory Powers of the present general Act.
The ratifications of all the Powers shall remain deposited in the archives of the Government of the German Empire. When all the ratifications shall have been produced, there shall be drawn up an act of deposit in a protocol which shall be signed by the representatives of all the Powers having taken part in the Conference of Berlin and of which a certified copy shall be addressed to all these Powers.
In faith of which, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present general Act and have affixed thereto their seal.
Done at Berlin, the 26th day of the month of February one thousand eight hundred eighty five. [L. S.]
JOHN A. KASSON. [L. S.]
H. S. SANFORD. [L. S.]
V. BISMARCK. (L. S.]
Busch. [L. S.]
v. KUSSEROW. [L. S.]
SZECHENYI. (L. S.]
Cte Aug te van der STRATEN PONTHOZ. [L. S.]
Bn LAMBERMONT. L. S.)
E. VIND. (L. S.]
Comte de BENOMAR. (L. S.]
ALPH, de COURCEL. [L. S.]
EDWARD B. MALET. (L. S.]
LAUNAY. [L. S.]
F. P. van der HOEVEN. [LS]
MARQUIS de PENAFIEL. [L. S.]
A. de SERPA PIMENTEL. [L. S.]
Cte P. KAPNIST. [L. S.]
GILLIS BILDT. (L. S.]
DECLARATION OF NEUTRALITY OF THE CONGO FREE STATE.1
August 1, 1885. The undersigned, administrator-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Congo Free State, is directed by the Sovereign King of this State to inform His Excellency ..., Minister of Foreign Affairs of
.., that in accordance with article 10 of the General Act of the Conference of Berlin, the Congo Free State declares itself, by these presents, to be perpetually neutral, and that it claims the advantages guaranteed by Chapter III of the same act, at the same time that it assumes the duties which accompany neutrality. The regulation of neutrality will apply to the territory of the Congo Free State enclosed in the limits resulting from the treaties successively concluded by the International Association of the Congo with Germany, France and Portugal, treaties notified to the Conference of Berlin and annexed to these protocols, and which are thus determined, to wit: [Here follow the boundaries.]
(S.) EDM. VAN EETVELDE.
THE KING'S TESTAMENT.
August 2, 1889. We, Leopold II, King of the Belgians, Sovereign of the Congo Free State:
Wishing to assure to our beloved country the fruits of the work which for many years we have carried on in the continent of Africa, with the generous and devoted assistance of many Belgians;
1 Declaration of neutrality of the Congo Free State, December 28, 1894. The regulation of neutrality, which formed the subject of the declaration notified August 1, 1885, to the signatory powers of the General Act of the Conference of Berlin, will apply henceforth to the territory of the State bounded as follows, in consequence of the Protocol of April 29, 1887 (Bull. off., 1888, p. 242), and of the Arrangement of August 13, 1894 (Bull. off., 1894, p. 250), concluded with the French Republic; the conventions concluded May 25, 1891 (Bull. off., 1891, pp. 213 and 217), and the declarations signed March 24, 1894 (Bull. off., 1894, pp. 22 and 29), with the Government of His Very Faithful Majesty, and the Arrangement concluded May 12, 1894 (Bull. off., 1894, p. 245) with the British Government:
[Here follow the boundaries.] BRUSSELS, December 28, 1894.
Convinced that we shall thus contribute in assuring to Belgium, if it desires it, the indispensable outlets for its commerce and industry, and in opening up new paths for the activity of its citizens;
We declare, by these presents, that we bequeath and transmit, after our death, to Belgium, all our sovereign rights over the Congo Free State, such as have been recognized by declarations, conventions and treaties concluded since 1884, between foreign powers, on the one hand, and the International Association of the Congo and Congo Free State, on the other, as well as all property, rights and advantages attached to this sovereignty.
Until the Belgian Legislature shall have acted upon the acceptance of my aforesaid provisions, the sovereignty shall be exercised collectively by the council of the three administrators of the Congo Free State and by the governor-general. Done at Brussels, August 2, 1889.
LETTER OF THE KING TO M. BEERNAERT.
August 5, 1889.
DEAR MINISTER: I have never ceased to call the attention of my countrymen to the necessity of turning their attention to countries across the seas.
History teaches that countries with restricted territory have a moral and material interest in spreading out beyond their narrow frontiers. Greece founded wealthy cities, homes of art and civilization, upon the shores of the Mediterranean. Venice, later, based its greatness upon the development of its maritime and commercial relations, no less than upon its political successes. The Netherlands possesses in the Indies thirty million subjects, who exchange for tropical productions the commodities of the mother country.
It is in serving the cause of humanity and progress that peoples of the second class appear useful members of the great family of nations. More than any other, a manufacturing and commercial nation like ours should endeavor to assure outlets for all its workmen — thinkers, capitalists, and laborers.
These patriotic considerations have dominated my life. They decided the creation of the African work.