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them on the hope that Italy was not sufficiently keen on an African Empire to object to a German establishment in this direction. In these fancies they were no more blameworthy than the British have been in aspiring to control Egypt, or France in taking possession of Tunis. But the Italians had legitimate reasons for objecting to any Germanisation of the Tripolitaine, and took the only course they could to prevent it. This being the case, they have no justification, either geographical or political, for any interference with Austrian or with German ambitions in regard to the Balkan Peninsula or the Nearer East. Italy has got the utmost share to which she is entitled in this slowly-dissolving Empire of Turkey. Therefore it is extremely improbable that Great Britain or France would actively intervene to prevent a Germanising of Trieste, or to aid Italy in any scheme she may still cherish regarding the future of Albania.1 On the other hand, both France and England, to say nothing of Spain, Portugal, and the United States, are fully justified in their apprehensions regarding the acquisition by Germany of any foothold on the coast of Morocco or on the Atlantic islands of Spain or Portugal. Such a foothold could only be desired as an ultimate naval base. Once it was obtained, the 68,000,000 of Germans (or 80,000,000 including those of Austria-Hungary), with their continually growing wealth in money, men, and other resources, would soon establish a splendid Atlantic fleet, and would irresistibly grow to the ambition of interfering in the affairs of America and of the Western Mediterranean. If Germany in her schemes of colonial expansion contemplates nothing more than a control, political or commercial, or both, over Turkey in Asia (minus Arabia), it would be unreasonable and unprofitable on the part of France or Britain to oppose her or to encourage Russia to do the like. Therefore, if she entered into an understanding or alliance on this basis with the two great Western Powers, her sea path through the Straits of Gibraltar to the Levant would always be assured to her, as well as their neutrality in any effort she and Austria together might make to obtain access to and a general control over the Balkan Peninsula.
Any British dislike to the absorption by Germany of the whole of the French Congo and Gaboon and the consequent acquisition of the harbour of Libreville on the eastern equatorial Atlantic (if it existed) may have been due to the feeling that France was being unreasonably plundered in return for the very narrow con
1 The eventual dissolution of the Turkish rule on the western side of the Bosporus and Dardanelles is inevitable, seeing that in European Turkey there are only about 1,300,000 Turks as against a non-Turkish, mainly Christian, population of over 5,000,000. The probable outcome will be the creation of a number of semi-independent, autonomous States, Albanian, Turkish, and Macedonian, united in some loose confederation with Austria, and consequently with Germany.
cessions which Germany was making in regard to Morocco. It may also have been based on the certainty that if such a tremendous sacrifice was agreed to on the part of France it would place Germany in a position to absorb the Belgian Congo likewise. But the matter was written of here and there in the British Press as though Germany had no port on this part of the Atlantic coast. This was an oversight, since the Germans already possess a very fair harbour at the mouth of the Cameroons River (Duala). But if Germany had not sent a gunboat to Agadir, and in her protest against the Frenchification of Morocco had stated most explicitly that she desired no foothold there herself; if she had not in one way or another within the last few years striven to obtain considerable claims to possess herself of Madeira or one of the Spanish Canaries, it is probable that British susceptibilities might not have been aroused regarding Libreville, any more than they were by the German acquisition of a landing-place for her cable at Monrovia on the coast of Liberia. Sir Edward Grey has justly observed that when you have a Power like Germany, with such a large population, such a perfect and huge army, such a growing navy, and-he might have added-such an intelligent Press (which is no more restrained than we are in its ambitions to found a world-wide dominion for its fellow countrymen), any nervousness on the part of the two great Western Powers is fully justified: for of necessity we are profoundly interested in the freedom of access to the Mediterranean and an unmenaced ocean route to South Africa and South America, and cannot but feel anxious when the least indication occurs of a special German interest in the coasts of the northeast Atlantic. A German establishment there in conjunction with the German hold over the North Sea coasts might crush the British naval power (and with it the French) between two fulcra. Owing to their much greater distance no such apprehension need be felt about Libreville, or the growth of German interests in the Western Congo or Angola. The only Power entitled to raise the most vivid. objection to such a sacrifice as the surrender of the huge colony of French Congo would be France herself. But French interests in that direction are not of enormous commercial value, and France by her recent cession of hinterland strips has actually cut off French Congo from continuous land communication with French Central Africa. It would undoubtedly be wise for France to regard all her territories south of Wadai and Lake Chad as being lands to be eventually transferred to Germany in exchange for equivalent values.
What could such equivalents be, consistently with the stability and welfare of the German Empire? They might take the shape of the restoration to France of French Lorraine (the Metz district) and of a complete German désintéressement in the Grand
Duchy of Luxemburg, which might then leave the German Customs Union to ally itself more closely with France and Belgium. The retrocession of Metz to France, as far as the line of the Seille and Moselle, would give back to her the only portion of Alsace-Lorraine which is really French-speaking, and which has formed part of the French State prior to the reign of Louis the Fourteenth. It should finally dispose in the minds of all reasonable Frenchmen of any idea so preposterous as that of a war of revenge, to reannex to France a region where German is the natural speech of the people. It would also, combined with relaxation of German hold over Luxemburg, materially strengthen the independent position of Belgium, and thus free the two Western Powers from any apprehension of a German invasion of that country. The French right of pre-emption over the Belgian Congo might, so far as France was concerned, be passed on to Germany, and with some modifications be recognised by the other Powers interested territorially in Central Africa.
A modification should be introduced on behalf of the British Empire, and consist in a recognition on the part of Germany and France of the exclusive claim of the British Government to acquire from Belgium, if the Belgian Congo were for sale, in whole or in part, the Katanga district, the Luapula 'loop,' and the narrow strip between the north end of Tanganyika and Uganda originally intended to be leased to Great Britain under the mutilated Congo Agreement of 1894; also the acquisition by Great Britain or by the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan of any small remaining portions of the Belgian Congo lying within the basin of the Albertine Nile.
As regards the greater part of the Belgian Congo, no hindrance on the part of France or Great Britain would be put in the way of its acquisition by Germany from Belgium through any scheme of purchase or lease to which Belgium was quite voluntarily a consenting party; on the understanding, however, that all parts of the Congo Basin which might come under either German or British or other control should be placed under a régime of free trade-the free trade which was to have been applied to the Conventional Basin of the Congo, but which has been so monstrously set aside by the late King Leopold II. and by the French Government. It would, of course, be out of the question that Belgium should be coerced into parting with her Congolese territories, but it is quite clear that the conditions of fettered trade which still exist there cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. They are the cause of Great Britain's official non-recognition of the Belgian annexation of the Congo State, and they would be a legitimate excuse for German protest if indulged in much longer. At the same time, if Belgium threw open her vast colonial domain to international commerce to the same extent and on the same lines as those pre
vailing in British and German Africa, Europe and Germany would have to be content with that. But given such conditions the Belgian Congo would offer to German commerce a splendid field for its activities, and Germany would probably become as predominant there as she is fast becoming in the Dutch East Indies. Probably, however, German territorial ambitions might be satisfied, at any rate for a long time to come, by some small purchase or leasehold from Belgium which would enable Germany to rule the north-east part of the Congo State (after allowing for a British Cape to Cairo strip), and thus, by means of the northern lands of the Congo Basin (to be acquired from France in return for Metz), link up-only the narrow sea of Tanganyika in between-German East Africa with German Kamerun-Kongo. Under such arrangements Tanganyika might become a parallel to Lake Chad, only a far more navigable water space-an international lake (its waters in any case are international by treaty at the present day) on whose shores might meet the colonial possessions of Germany, Britain, and Belgium. Those who desired with fastidiousness to travel from the Cape to Cairo always under the British flag, could pass from the British South Africa Company's railway system, at the south end of Tanganyika, 400 miles northward up the lake to the Uganda railway system at the north end. But practicalminded folk would prefer to travel continuously by rail, even though the railway was in part a German or a Belgian line.
A portion of Africa fraught with very great possibilities in the way of mineral and vegetable wealth, and occupying a strategic position of some moment, is the Negro Republic of Liberia on the west coast of Africa, a strip of country about 300 miles long, lying between the British Colony of Sierra Leone and the French Colony of the Ivory Coast, and stretching inland to the watershed of the Niger. This region, settled in regard to the coast districts by the descendants of American freed slaves, is inhabited in its denselyforested interior by vigorous tribes of more or less pure-blood negroes belonging in the main to two linguistic stocks, that of the Muhammadan Mandingoes-one of the finest of African peoplesand the pagan and sometimes cannibal Krus. The civilised Liberians of the coast, even including the affiliated native element, scarcely amount to more than 50,000 people, and have shown themselves hitherto quite unable to control the warlike and turbulent million and a half of the interior. Yet these 50,000 Englishspeaking Christian negroes are gradually permeating the interior, and with some backing from a benevolent White Power might come in time to represent the real government of this little territory of 35,000 square miles. But in the recent past Liberian territory has been strongly coveted by France, who would like to add it to her West African possessions; by Great Britain, who would have
wished to see Sierra Leone influence extend in that direction; and by Germany, who on several occasions has attempted either to obtain a coaling-station, a landing-place for her cable (which quite rightly has been conceded), or even a protectorate. German trade with this region has gradually risen to the annual total of something like 150,000l. British trade is probably a little, but not much, below this figure. Another country having considerable commercial interests here is Holland. Perhaps both France and Britain would have been content to leave Liberia to her own resources, but for the growing interest felt in this country by Germany. It must be admitted that a German establishment on this coast would be a considerable embarrassment to the two limitrophe Powers, and would with the resources of modern engineering (which can create a port by mere expenditure of money) offer to Germany a position of strategic importance on the Eastern Atlantic coast which could not but raise anxiety in the minds of those who framed the naval policy of Great Britain or of the United States. The last named especially would not like to see Liberia made a base from which German fleets could operate on the coast of Brazil. Objections to the German acquisition of Libreville in the Gaboon (except on the part of France) might be regarded as foolish if raised by Great Britain, and still more so by the United States. But Liberia is perilously near to the coast of South America and to the narrowest part of the sea route to the Cape of Good Hope. Consequently, the recent intervention of the United States in the affairs of Liberia has come as a happy solvent to what might have grown by degrees into a nasty little question, disturbing the relations of Germany, France, and Great Britain.
But although the great republic of North America may perhaps legitimately extend the right of intervention across to the equatorial coast of the Eastern Atlantic on the one hand and to the Asiatic Pacific on the other, it would be unfortunate and even unfair if she were to attempt unduly to interfere with the reorganisation of Turkey or of Persia-that is to say, to back up with her national strength the private efforts of American citizens. The United States cannot be expected to forbid American citizens to serve any foreign country; in fact, if she did so, American citizens would decline to pay any attention to the order of their own Government. It is sufficient that it should be intimated to them that if their engagement takes place anywhere in the Old World -except in Liberia or in Easternmost Asia-their employment is not held to give the United States any claim to intervene, provided her treaty rights are respected.
It is scarcely necessary to remind readers that the State of Liberia was founded by the private enterprise of United States citizens between 1821 and 1848.