While Stanley was at work, Leopold did his best to construct a framework of legitimacy for his pretensions in the Congo. Around the end of 1882, we begin to hear the use of the words ‘free’ or ‘independent’ to describe the indigenous communities or ‘states’ which were accepting the treaty relationships proposed by Stanley and his subordinates. The purpose was no doubt to suggest that these communities had their own inherent legitimacy, and hence that by being in association with them, the AIA had acquired a legitimacy on its own account. In the course of 1883, Leopold went somewhat further by sending out a British representative, General Goldsmid, to gather signatures to a ‘Charter’ creating a ‘Confederation’ of some three hundred of the ‘independent chiefs’ with whom treaties had been signed. It seems that Leopold was trying to realise the concept of the ‘republican federation of free negroes’ which he had earlier floated with Stanley. In fact this Confederation was completely devoid of content and the objections to which Stanley had drawn attention remained valid. The purpose was clearly once again to enhance the standing of the AIA, which was given the responsibility of representing the Confederation ‘before all the states of Europe’.