No. 423.
Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.

No. 518.]

Sir: On the receipt yesterday of your telegram of the 11th instant, I called on Count Bismarck, secretary of state for foreign affairs, at 6 o’clock in the evening, the hour which he had appointed to receive me. Without reading to him the telegram, I explained to him that the latest advices of the Department from Samoa represented the condition of affairs in the islands to be very bad, indeed, only to be made worse by the prolongation of the war there existing that the consul of the United States had been instructed to preserve a strict neutrality, and was believed to have observed his instructions, but that the Government of the United States was anxious, in the spirit of its treaty with Samoa, to urge peaceful adjustment and fair treatment of the Samoans, and that in this spirit I was instructed to propose to the German Government an immediate election of a king and vice-king as agreed in the conference, and that the three powers should issue identical instructions to their representatives to promote such election. I told him that a like suggestion on your behalf would be made to the British Government by the minister of the United States at London. He listened, as he always does, with an attention almost painfully strained, to catch each word, and immediately replied that there had already been an election of king; that the last telegram from Apia had notified him of the fact. I expressed some astonishment, saying that I had no intimation of the fact from the Department, or in the newspapers, and that the knowledge of the fact by the Department seemed inconsistent with the proposal which I had just been instructed by telegraph that day to present to him. He rang for the telegrams, but as it was a late hour, and the person in charge of them had left the office, he asked me to return this morning at 11 o’clock, when I should see them.

He then fell into general conversation on the subject, saying that the conduct of Malietoa had become unbearable, maltreating the Germans, seizing and confiscating their property, and finally permitting, if not stimulating, outrages upon those who were properly celebrating the birthday of the Emperor that the German Government had determined to deal with him personally, making war, so to speak, against his person, but not attacking the Government or people, or violating in any respect the rights or interests of foreigner, and especially the citizens of either of the other powers, the United States or Great Britain; that this determination had been notified to these powers, and seemed to be received, if not with approval, at least with acquiescence, that when the crisis actually came, Malietoa was received on a German ship with an assurance of protection and good treatment, and very much more to the same effect. He also said that the conference in Washington had not reached final conclusion, and had, he was advised, adjourned its sessions for a time, Alvensleben having obtained and entered upon his usual leave, and being now either on the ocean or already arrived in Germany. He also said that the German Government desired to maintain the good entente between the powers in regard to Samoa, upon the principles to well known to them all, and that while he does not conceive that the change of King can make any change in the relations of the three Governments to each other, or to Samoa, or the course they had adopted, [Page 576] the German Government would be prepared to consider in the most friendly spirit any suggestion which might be made.

Returning at 11 o’clock this morning, Count Bismarck showed to me a dispatch from the consul at Apia, dated September 17, 1887, saying that all the important chiefs had been called to meet on the 15th of September, and that coming together they had recognized Tamasese as King, established and submitted to his authority, that quiet reigned on the island; there were no more disorders.

He showed me also a telegram from the German commodore at Apia of the 20th September, repeating somewhat in detail and generally the statements of the earlier telegram from the consul, and adding that the fleet would remain in those waters for several weeks, by the moral effect of its presence to restrain any tendency to outbreak or disorder, of which there was then, however, no symptoms.

I took the opportunity to repeat the tenor of your proposal, that there should be an immediate election of a Kingand Vice-King, as agreed by the conference, and that identical instructions should be given by the three powers to promote this end, laying some stress upon the words as had been agreed by the conference, and the propriety of identical instructions, etc.

The idea of a Vice-King seemed to be new to him. He said of course if the Samoans desired such an officer the German authorities would be too happy that they should be gratified, but that the suggestion should perhaps come from them. He repeated quite at length that the conference had not yet reached definite results, but had adjourned for a season, adding that this course was perhaps quite as well, as it would give an opportunity to observe how the new order of things would work, and with this additional knowledge the threads of discussion could be taken up where they had been broken; that there seemed to be no reason for haste just now, and that with new light on the status as it should then appear, all the Governments would go forward in the same spirit which had actuated them heretofore. He rather felicitated me that the laudable purpose of my Government in proposing the immediate election of a King, as a means of preserving the peace and order of the islands, had been anticipated by the Samoans, and that this having been so readily accomplished, and with happy results, there was nothing for the Governments to do in that direction.

I have, etc.,

Geo. H. Pendleton.