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Reichstagsakten 1888/89, 7. Lp., Vol. 121, Attachment 41: Collection of Documents pertaining the Uprising in East Africa, No. 27: Directive to the Imperial ambassador in London
Friedrichsruh, October 21st 1888

The movement of the Muslim Arabs, supported by slave traders, which first found its expression in the Mahdi revolt in the Egyptian Sudan, has since expanded and had also resulted in collisions with European enterprises at other points of the African continent. The raid on an Italian expedition in 1886 by the Emir of Harar, the threat to stations on the eastern border of the Congo Free State by Arabs, the treatment of Stanley and his companions by Tippu Tip, the attacks on English mission stations in Uganda and on trade settlements on Lake Nyassa, the rebellion in coastal stretches of the Sultanate of Zanzibar which are under British and German administration - all these events give the impression that they are connected with each other, a connection which provides evidence for a slowly increasing, but freely forming movement among the Muslim population in the direction of a reaction against Christian and civilisatoric efforts, namely in the area of slave trade. All nations interested in the promotion of Christian morale share an equal interest in counteracting the dangers posed by such a movement.
The rising importance and expansion the Muslim agitation has gained over the last years in Africa, goes hand in hand with a rising export of powder and arms from Europe to equatorial Africa.
Ample equipment with arms and ammunition facilitates the slave trader's raids and the Arabs' attempts to keep the European opponents of slave trade from penetrating further and to repel them from their present positions.
Therefore it seems to us a common obligation of the European nations engaged in the peaceful opening-up of Africa to obstruct both the slave trade and the arms trade with greater emphasis, than it has been done so far. Such an aim seems only feasible by a blockade of the entire East African coast, which is strong and firm enough to obstruct the export of slaves and the import of arms more effectively as before. If the Royal British government does approve such a measure, we are prepared to enter negotiations with all other concerned powers in order to obtain their approval. I would regard it especially appropriate to obtain France's accord in regard to reject Arab slave trader dhows the right to sail under the French flag.
I ask Your Excellency most humbly to communicate with Lord Salisbury according to the beforementioned comments and to report his answer.

signed von Bismarck

His Excellency the Imperial ambassador
Count von Hatzfeldt
London


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translation and English language table of contents: AG