5 AUGUST 1905, Page 3

In the House of Commons on Thursday a general debate

took place on the Foreign Office Vote, the most practical question involved being that of the Congo State. Lord Percy, who spoke at great length, adopted in regard to "the reform of the administration of the Congo State" an attitude less official and more satisfactory than has sometimes been taken up by the Foreign Office. His Majesty's Government hoped that the inquiry which was now taking place would be followed by action "as prompt and effective as possible, and that it would not be made the excuse for unnecessary delay, much less for shelving altogether the question of reform." The Government had made two propositions to the Congo State. One was to refer their system of trading, which we had always declared to be "diametrically opposed to the Berlin Act," to the Hague Tribunal. To that request, however, we had re- ceived no answer. The second proposition was in regard to the administration of the State. They asked that the investigation into that administration should be referred to an International Conference of the Powers which signed the Treaty of Berlin. That request was refused, but at the same time an inquiry was promised, a Commission had been appointed, and "there were satisfactory indications that the • Congo State had been actuated by a sincere desire to meet as far as they could the wishes of his Majesty's Government."