Anglo French Agreement 1896


I would just like to say a word about the declaration on Siam. I refer to it because, in this statement, the two powers reaffirm the 1896 agreement, but only explicitly mention Articles 1 and 2 of that agreement. The reason why these two articles were chosen is that they are the only ones specifically related to the Siamese territory. By reaffirming Articles 1 and 2, we reaffirm the principle of Siam sovereignty and the principle of free trade in the Menam Valley and the upper Mekong. At the same time, we define the spheres of influence of the two countries outside this guaranteed share. In fact, the influence of Great Britain and France is already exerted in these areas; and we hope to soon draw the House into our confidence and communicate to it the agreement that contains the measures that we have deemed necessary to safeguard our interests in the districts within our sphere of influence. Parliament will note that both Powers reject any intention to annex Siamese territory and affirm that any influence they may exercise must be exercised in strict compliance with the provisions of the existing Treaties. V. The two Governments agree to appoint commissioners appointed by each of them who, after examining the titles presented on both sides, shall determine by mutual agreement the most equitable demarcation between the British and French possessions in the region west of The Lower Niger. According to this agreement, there is no disturbance of the border of the neutralized part of Siam as indicated in the 1896 agreement. The other point I would like to talk about is the issue of the French Congo. I am bitterly disappointed by the superficial way in which the honourable Member has conveyed this question. The honourable Member said that he could have upset the whole agreement if the question of the interpretation of the Berlin Treaty had been ruled out.

It could have been said about anything. The fact remains that it is very unfortunate that he has not been treated. The only reason I got up at this time in the afternoon is that I want to express the view that nothing the government has said shows that it really understands the situation as it appears to some of us. There is a double question. The question arises as to in which area free trade is not achieved. Here I admit that English traders have appeared, that their goods have been confiscated and that their treatment can be treated as a matter of private law. But when we get to the free trade area, things are very different. The Government has undertaken to respect the view expressed in the document I hold in my hand, a document addressed to the European Powers, and it reflects the Government`s view that the system of trade policy that currently exists in the Congo Free State is incompatible with the provisions of Articles I and V of the Berlin Act. The system in French Congo is the same as in the Congo Free State, and it cannot be covered by compensatory subsidies to people who happen to be treated unfairly; 577 it can be completed only by means of an international agreement. I very much regret that the honourable Member did not explain this better, because this is a matter of concern to the county in which he sits. The Newfoundland Cabinet was consulted at every stage, and the Newfoundland Legislature approved and accepted the entire Accord I.

It is quite right that sir William Whiteway`s great authority can be invoked against this agreement, and he has published articles against it, claiming that all the difficulty in the past was caused by the ambiguities of the Treaties of Utrecht, Paris and Versailles and that all the nonsense in the future will be caused by the ambiguity of this treaty. But the almost unanimous feeling in the Newfoundland legislature is that the ambiguities are dispelled by this treaty, and most of those affected now seem to be fully satisfied. There is the secret report of Sir John Brampton and Admiral Erskine to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1899. This report is known in Newfoundland and excerpts have been published. He is known to all Newfoundland statesmen and confirms the view of the British right, which is honourable. The member for King`s Lynn took it. Unfortunately, in this case, we were not bound by contractual rights, but by our own 539 actions and the secret instructions to our officers, which were designed in such a way that they prevented us from creating a high and dry vision of the meaning of the treaties. But if the colony of Newfoundland is an excellent solution to a very dangerous problem, the price to pay for it also includes Morocco and Siam.

This agreement does not eliminate internationalism in Egypt, and it prevents Egypt from being incited against Morocco. I would like to say in passing that there is an extraordinary contradiction in the wording of the agreement, because although Lord Lansdowne says at the first stage of the broadcast that makes up the agreement, that — our occupation of Egypt, which was initially considered temporary, is firmly established and that, on the third side, our task must not be hindered by any allusion, that our interest is temporary, there is a strange explanation on page 5 that says that “some provisions should remain in limbo while the occupation continues.” The words used are that the profession is supposed to be temporary in nature. In any case, there is this strange contradiction that internationalism continues in Egypt and that there is no equivalent in Morocco. Now, the position we have conceded to France in Morocco is the basis for the happy change in our relations that this Convention is bringing about in terms of present and future. It is an extraordinary and astonishing fact that our policy seems to be the result of a simple accident and a simple mistake, because it was our recognition of the French law on the hinterland of Tripoli and our permission for France to give something to Italy in return, that allowed France to win Italy in its view of Morocco. which it has undoubtedly won and which has led to the abandonment of the entire status quo in the Mediterranean. We often hear about the continuity of foreign policy. .