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CONVENTION REVISING THE GENERAL ACT OF BERLIN, FEBRUARY 26,
1885, AND THE GENERAL ACT AND DECLARATION OF BRUSSELS, JULY 2, 1890.
Signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye September 10, 1919.
1. Commercial equality in territories
defined by article 1 of Berlin act. 2. Free access for merchandise and
vessels. 3. Acquisition of property. 4. Development of natural resources. 5. Navigation of the Niger system
free. 6. No restriction based on fact of
cations subject to same rules ;
8. Navigation rules.
of slavery. 12. Arbitration of disputes. 13. Abrogation of general acts of Ber
lin and Brussels. 14. Adhesions. 15. Revision in 10 years; ratification.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BELGIUM, THE BRITISH EMPIRE, FRANCE, ITALY, JAPAN AND PORTUGAL;
Whereas the General Act of the African Conference, signed at Berlin on February 26, 1885, was primarily intended to demonstrate the agreement of the Powers with regard to the general principles which should guide their commercial and civilising action in the little known or inadequately organised regions of a continent where slavery and the slave trade still flourished; and
Whereas by the Brussels Declaration of July 2, 1890, it was found necessary to modify for a provisional period of fifteen years the system of free imports established for twenty years by Article 4 of the said Act, and since that date no agreement has been entered into, notwithstanding the provisions of the said Act and Declaration; and
Whereas the territories in question are now under the control of recognised authorities, are provided with administrative institutions suitable to the local conditions, and the evolution of the native populations continues to make progress;
Ratifications have been deposited by the British Empire, Belgium, and France.
Wishing to crosure by arrangements suitable to modern requirements the application of the general principles of civilisation established by the Acts of Berlin and Brussels,
Have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries:
The Honourable Frank Lyon Polk, Under-Secretary of State;
nary and Plenipotentiary of the United States at Rome and
States on the Supreme War Council;
M. Paul Hymans, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of
Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of the Belgians,
Minister of State;
M. Émile Vandervelde, Minister of Justice, Minister of State; HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRE
LAND AND OF THE BRITISH DOMINIONS BEYOND
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs;
Secretary of State for the Colonies;
The Honourable Sir Albert Edward Kemp, K.C.M.G., Minis
ter of the Overseas Forces; for the COMMONWEALTH of AUSTRALIA:
The Honourable George Foster Pearce, Minister of Defence; for the UNION of SOUTH AFRICA:
The Right Honourable Viscount Milner, G.C.B., G.C.M.G.; for the DOMINION of NEW ZEALAND:
The Honourable Sir Thomas Mackenzie, K.C.M.G., High Co:n
missioner for New Zealand in the United Kingdom; for INDIA:
The Right Honourable Baron Sinha, K.C., Under-Secretary of
State for India;
M. Georges Clemenceau, President of the Council, Minister of
HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF ITALY:
Minister for Foreign Affairs;
dom; The Honourable Guglielmo Marconi, Senator of the Kingdom;
The Honourable Silvio Crespi, Deputy;
Viscount Chinda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipoten
tiary of H.M. the Emperor of Japan at London; M. K. Matsui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of H.M. the Emperor of Japan at Paris; M. H. Ijuin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of
H.M. the Emperor of Japan at Rome; THE PRESIDENT OF THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC: Dr. Affonso da Costa, formerly President of the Council of
Ministers; Dr. Augusto Luiz Vieira Soares, formerly Minister for Foreign
Affairs; Who, after having communicated their full powers resognised in good and due form,
Have agreed as follows:
The Signatory Powers undertake to maintain between their respective nationals and those of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention a complete commercial equality in the territories under their authority within the area defined by Article 1 of the General Act of Berlin of February 26, 1885, set out in the Annex hereto, but subject to the reservation specified in the final paragraph of that article.
Article 1 of the General Act of Berlin of February 26, 1885.
The trade of all nations shall enjoy.complete freedom:
1. In all the regions forming the basin of the Congo and its outlets. This basin is bounded by the watersheds (or mountain ridges) of the adjacent basins, namely, in particular, those of the Niari, the Ogowe, the Shari, and the Nile, on the north ; by the eastern watershed line of the affluents of Lake Tanganyika on the east; and by the watersheds of the basins of the Zambesi and the Logé on the south. It therefore comprises all the regions watered by the Congo and its affluents, including Lake Tanganyika, with its eastern tributaries.
2. In the maritime zone extending along the Atlantic Ocean from the parallel situated in 2° 30' of south latitude to the mouth of the Logé.
The northern boundary will follow the parallel situated in 2° 30' from the coast to the point where it meets the geographical basin of the Congo, avoiding the basin of the Ogowé, to which the provisions of the present Act do not apply.
The southern boundary will follow the course of the Logé to its source, and thenee pass eastward till it joins the geographical basin of the Congo.
3. In the zone stretching eastward from the Congo Basin as above defined, to the Indian Ocean from 5° of north latitude to the mouth of the Zambesi in the south, from which point the line of demarcation will ascend the Zambesi to 5 miles above its confluence with the Shiré, and then follow the watershed between the aßuents of Lake Nyassa and those of the Zambesi, till at last it reaches the watershed between the waters of the Zambesi and the Congo.
It is expressly recognised that in extending the principal of free trade to this eastern zone, the Conference Powers only undertake engagements for them. selves, and that in the territories belonging to an independent Sovereign State this principle shall only be applicable in so far as it is approved by such State. But the Powers agree to use their good offices with the Governments established on the African shore of the Indian Ocean for the purpose of obtaining such approval, and in any case of securing the most favorable conditions to the transit (traffic) of all nations.
Merchandise belonging to the nationals of the Signatory Powers, and to those of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention, shall have free access to the interior of the regions specified in Article 1. No differential treatment shall be imposed upon the said merchandise on importation or exportation, the transit remaining free from all duties, taxes or dues, other than those collected for services rendered.
Vessels flying the flag of any of the said Powers shall also have access to all the coast and to all maritime ports in the territories specified in Article 1; they shall be subject to no differential treatment.
Subject to these provisions, the States concerned reserve to themselves complete liberty of action as to the customs and navigation regulations and tariffs to be applied in their territories.
In the territories specified in Article 1 and placed under the authority of one of the Signatory Powers, the nationals of those Powers, or of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention shall, subject only to the limitations necessary for the maintenance of public security and order, enjoy without distinction the same treatment and the same rights as the nationals of the Power exercising authority in the territory, with regard to the protection of their persons and effects, with regard to the acquisition and transmission of their movable and real property, and with regard to the exercise of their professions.
Each State reserves the right to dispose freely of its property and to grant concessions for the development of the natural resources of the territory, but no regulations on these matters shall admit of any differential treatment between the nationals of the Signatory Powers and of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention.
Subject to the provisions of the present chapter, the navigation of the Niger, of its branches and outlets, and of all the rivers, and of their branches and outlets, within the territories specified in Article 1, as well as of the lakes situated within those territories, shall be entirely free for merchant vessels and for the transport of goods and passengers.
Craft of every kind belonging to the nationals of the Signatory Powers and of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention shall be treated in all respects on a footing of perfect equality.
The navigation shall not be subject to any restriction or dues based on the mere fact of navigation.
It shall not be exposed to any obligation in regard to landing, station, or depôt, or for breaking bulk or for compulsory entry into port.
No maritime or river toll, based on the mere fact of navigation, shall be levied on vessels, nor shall any transit duty be levied on goods on board. Only such taxes or duties shall be collected as may be an equivalent for services rendered to navigation itself. The tariff of these taxes or duties shall not admit of any differential treatment.
The affluents of the rivers and lakes specified in Article 5 shall in all respects be subject to the same rules as the rivers or lakes of which they are tributaries.
The roads, railways or lateral canals which may be constructed with the special object of obviating the innavigability or correcting the imperfections of the water route on certain sections of the rivers and lakes specified in Article 5, their affluents, branches and outlets, shall be considered, in their quality of means of communication, as dependencies of these rivers and lakes, and shall be equally open to the traffic of the nationals of the Signatory Powers and of the States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention.
On these roads, railways and canals only such tolls shall be collected as are calculated on the cost of construction, maintenance and management, and on the profits reasonably accruing to the undertaking. As regards the tariff of these tolls, the nationals of the Signatory Powers and of States, Members of the League of Nations, which may adhere to the present Convention, shall be treated on a. footing of perfect equality.
Each of the Signatory Powers shall remain free to establish the rules which it may consider expedient for the purpose of ensuring the safety and control of navigation, on the understanding that these rules shall facilitate, as far as possible, the circulation of merchant vessels.
In such sections of the rivers and of their affluents, as well as on such lakes, as are not necessarily utilised by more than one riverain State, the Governments exercising authority shall remain free to establish such systems as may be required for the maintenance of