IV. AMERICANS IN THE CONGO
I suggested that in Mexico he did not have as his partner Leopold, tempting him with slave labor, and that the distance from Broadway to his concessions in the Congo was so great that as to what his agents might do there he could not possibly know. To this Mr. Guggenheim answered that "Neither Leopold nor anyone else can dictate how we shall treat the native labor," that if his agents were cruel they would be instantly dismissed, and that for what occurred in the Congo on the land occupied by the American Congo Company his brothers and himself alone were responsible, and that they accepted that responsibility.
But already on his salary list he has men who are sure to get him into trouble, men of whose dossiers he is quite ignorant.
From Belgium, Leopold has unloaded on the American companies several of his "valets du roi," press agents, and tools, men who for years have been defenders of his dirty work in the Congo; and of the Americans, one, who is prominently exploited by the Belgians, had to leave Africa for theft.
That Mr. Guggenheim wishes and intends to give to the black in the Congo fair treatment there is no possible doubt. But that on Broadway, removed from the scene of operations in time some four to six months, and in actual distance eight thousand miles, he can control the acts of his agents and his partners, remains to be proved. He is attacking a problem much more momentous than the handling of Mexicanpeons or Chinese coolies, and every step of the working out of this problem will be watched by the people of this country.
And should they find that the example of the Belgian concessionaires in their treatment of the natives is being imitated by even one of the American Congo Company the people of this country will know it, and may the Lord have mercy on his soul!