13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 2

Mr. Asquith spoke at length on the Congo problem. A

month ago he would have had to employ very different language from

that which was now possible. Up till recently the conditions on which the Congo State was founded had not merely never been fulfilled. They had been so continuously and habitually violated that the British Government, even after Belgium had taken it over, withheld recognition of the annexation until the inquiries instituted by the Belgian Government had been completed. That Government had now made a declaration of policy of a very far-reaching character. It was too soon to pronounce a final opinion, but he took the opportunity of welcoming this declaration, which opened a more hopeful prospect than any hitherto offered. Mr. Asquith went on to acquit the agitation in this country of any selfish or ulterior motive. The Government would eagerly welcome and support the annexation, if the Belgian announcement meant that complete change of the old rdgime which was needed to secure the welfare of the inhabitants of the Congo and the freedom of commerce of all nations in that territory.